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Clarke is a class act


During the build up to this series, a lot of words like `burnout', `fatigue', `staleness' and `slumps' were liberally used. All these words have something in common with the basic reference made either to the players' state of mind or their body.

With 15 years of international experience behind them, the senior most Indian players like Sachin and Anil were not spared and these terms were used while discussing about them. All this a cumulative effect of the state of mind, emotions and physical exhaustion brought on in pursuit of

excellence. For performers like Sachin and Anil, who are tremendously motivated players, along with the team wins, personal landmarks are extremely instrumental in their progress.

They are a direct indication of the commitment, dedication and sacrifices the players have made for the game.

Like Anil's 400 wickets has boosted his morale, Sachin's cricket will also evolve further on his equalling the world record of 34 Test centuries.

Personal satisfaction

The faster one from Anil that castled Simon Katich brought out a child-like smile and reaction from Anil. It only proves how much professional satisfaction he has derived from this. These personal landmarks make the players sit and take a stock of their career in better light. Anil, I have no doubt, has another good three years of cricket ahead of him. It was great to see that he achieved this target with his mother sitting among the home crowd. It was quite an emotional affair.

So far the Bangalore Test match has belonged to the young debutant Michael Clarke. Scoring a century on debut speaks volumes of the strong cricketing culture the world champions possess. Clarke, who always looked busy in the middle, kept his cool suggesting that the baggy green cap fits very well on his head.

Clarke's high-class performance in the one-day internationals helped him build confidence and made him believe that he also belonged to Test cricket.

His successful entry into Test cricket once again proved that there is very little difference that exits between Australian domestic and international cricket.

Gilchrist always turns out to be a difficult customer for the opponents. A batsman with aggressive instinct, Gilchrist becomes doubly efficient while facing the tired bowlers at the fag end of the day.

Indians will have to come up with a different strategy to counter Gilly, who could be the most dangerous factor.

Hard toil

The Indian bowlers toiled hard on a flat pitch. Although Irfan Pathan had a few fine spells on the first day, Zaheer is yet to come out with his best. Harbhajan bowled with better control on the second day, as it is never easy for the spinners to be penetrative on the first-day wicket.

The Indian batsmen drove themselves into a corner. The dismissals of Sehwag and Yuvraj would prove too costly for the Indians. Both the deliveries didn't deserve a wicket.

On docile tracks like this one, it is extremely difficult to bowl wicket-taking deliveries; hence the bowlers work on the batsmen to gift their wickets.

The Indian batsmen have to put their heads down, otherwise this series could be a long and painful one for them.

The only silver lining in the dark cloud was Laxman's fine show, but a beautiful delivery from Shane Warne bowled him.

That dismissal has sounded the arrival of Warne in the series.

Even after losing a yard of pace, the aging Glen McGrath made excellent use of the new ball in the first two overs to the Indian batsmen. Rahul's dismissal must have immensely pleased McGrath, as there cannot be a better ball than the one that pitches in the right area and moves enough to hit the bail of the middle stump.

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