Sport » Cricket

Updated: January 16, 2012 12:31 IST

India capitulates to yet another innings defeat

S. Ram Mahesh
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Rahul Dravid walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed for 47 against Australia on the third day of the third Test in Perth on Sunday.
Rahul Dravid walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed for 47 against Australia on the third day of the third Test in Perth on Sunday.

It lasted three hours on Sunday — two hours and 20 minutes if you subtract the time for luncheon — India's attempt at extending the third Test, at salvaging dignity.

That this was merely the third day said everything about the nature of the contest here at the WACA; that the defeat — when it came, by an innings and 37 runs — was the seventh successive loss overseas showed how far the erstwhile No. 1 team has fallen.

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy will now be transported to the Jolimont offices of Cricket Australia. Since its unveiling in 1996, it has spent more time in India than in Australia. But most of the duels fought over the trophy have been close-run things — not since 1999-2000 has India been at the receiving end of such a beat-down from its rival.

India began Sunday on 88 for four, the hopes of a miracle keeping its world from collapsing. For a little more than an hour, Virat Kohli (75) and Rahul Dravid (47) did what this Indian batting line-up has struggled to do abroad over the last year. They built their partnership, each ball considered on its merit, each run stolen when not taken by right; but the feeling, that it was too good to last lingered, like cheap aftershave.

Kohli impressive

Kohli was particularly impressive. He had shown in his brief stints in Sydney, the talent for picking length and accelerating his hands through the ball. Questions remained, however. Was his defensive technique tight enough? Could he discipline himself into leaving deliveries? Could he moderate his overeager bottom hand, which tended to get him out of shape, for he went at the ball instead of meeting it within his body-range?

The young man answered those questions on Sunday. He will be asked these questions, again and again and again by capable bowling attacks, and if he responds as calmly and as skilfully as he did at the WACA, where the ball swung, bounced, and deviated, both off the surface and off the widening cracks, he'll have a Test career.

Kohli's ambition is plain enough; what he showed, on all three days of this Test, was that he can organise his game in response to conditions he is not accustomed to — this, after being found deficient earlier in the series. It's a special ability. Add to the mix, his ticker and a growing self-belief, and you have one of India's two ‘positives' from the Test; the bowling, especially Umesh Yadav's revival, the other.

Dravid's effort

Till he was bowled for the fifth time in the series — sixth if you consider the Peter Siddle no-ball in Melbourne — Dravid exhibited why he has been such a prolific run-maker. He wasn't in full control of his batsmanship, but the 39-year-old found a way to bat time.

The first stage of Dravid's trigger movement, the back-and-across shift of the back-foot, has appeared to change marginally this series: it hasn't quite moved to middle and leg, as it often does when he's batting well, but has either stayed at leg or crept minimally. On occasion, it has also retracted, slightly outside the line of leg-stump. This has meant he has covered less area with his front foot; his right eye hasn't aligned with off-stump.

Hence the sight of Dravid leaving deliveries, stumps exposed; also the uncertainty of what to play, and — more significantly — the opening of a chasm between bat and front foot, for he has had to compensate with his arms to reach the ball. Ryan Harris exploited this with a fast in-swinger, but before it, Dravid gutsed it out, like he so often has.

Dravid said he had watched videos of his batting from England, and hadn't found anything radically different; but the trigger movement was more consistent then. (There were occasions then when the back foot didn't move as much, just as there were occasions here when it did, but, overall, this has troubled him in Australia).

Once Dravid went, the slide was rapid. Australia's bowlers got reward for the persistence and quality of their efforts. M.S. Dhoni again disappointed, pressured into feeling for a ball outside off-stump — he has said he can't change his technique, that it's more a case of trying to avoid such deliveries, but as long as he continues to push his hands at the ball, feet following the stroke, he'll struggle when there's bounce and movement.

Hilfenhaus strikes

The tail had no chance. Ben Hilfenhaus, whose wicket-luck has complemented his bowling, again changed his length to the lower-order batsmen, giving them nasty lifters. He took three in five balls, but the connoisseur felt for Harris, who bowled magnificently without the rich returns that he deserved. Of all Australia's bowlers, it was Harris that tested and bested Kohli, only for fortune to intervene on the batsman's behalf.

Siddle eventually took Kohli's wicket to honour the bowlers' pact with their captain: to not force the pampered Australian batsmen to bat again. India must start making and keeping pacts of their own: the batsmen must provide their bowlers greater support.

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I wonder why people are still discussing this bloody game cricket. Imperialistic British imposed this lazy men game on us and we are still hovering around this (time eating) spiritless game. That is why We are far behind many a countries in athletics and other sports. We could not surpass the single digit mark(gold medal tally) in Olympics even after 65 years of Independence.Our neighbouring country China is making rapid strides in the field of sports. They are already in No.1 spot in Table tennis, badminton, synchronised diving etc., I think we can not cherish the other fields of sport unless we stop giving undue importance to cricket. All our cricket heroes habituated to become zeroes the next day. It is a million dollar question for all Indian people. I think my decision not to watch, play and love cricket anymore has proved correct after I relinquished this dirty sport some years ago.

from:  m satyanarayana
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 21:28 IST

Sir, When players are selected on considerations other than cricket, this will naturally be the result ! A cricketer who was declared 'Man of the Match' is dropped from the team for the very next match !! This will happen only in India. Now in Australia, Ashwin has been dropped. He was the one and only consistent batsman (!) and he was dropped. Saha the reserve wicketkeeper has been cooling his heels since Dhoni was on stage. Now that Dhoni has to sit in pavillion for the 4th Test, BCCI flies out Parthiv Patel to play in place of Dhoni. Why was Saha taken to Australia at all ? For go-karting ?? The problem is not with the players, but with the Selectors and BCCI.

from:  V. VEDAGIRI
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 16:02 IST

I think its definitely the time for the seniors to self assess themselves in terms of their caliber and if they can continue for the future days with the same caliber and most impotently with fitness. If they feel no, then its time for them to make the final call themselves rather someone to come and ask them to make the call. This is because we respect the talent they posses and the amount of contribution they have made to the country. And our respect will increase for them if they quit and give a chance to someone younger to fill their shoes which will be another big contribution to the country in terms of improving the quality of cricket in india in future.

from:  shiva
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 15:15 IST

Way back in the Eighties, Pakistan tour of India ended the career of our spin quartet along with the genius Vishwanath. The Present series also will most likely see the career ending for VVS and Dravid, if not of Sehwag. It is astonishing that men of such calibre will lose their timing and grace and succumb to a fast bowling combination , when they have conquered greats on the same soil. It is high time, Sachin also left the scene, after his ever eluding 100th century.People like badrinath, pujara, raina, virat, rohit, yuvraj, gambhir should take over the batting responsibility and take Indian cricket to the next generation. It is painful to see them surrendering very meekly even without a semblance of fight Dhoni does not belong to test cricket. It would be better if parthiv patel or dinesh karthik takes over in tests and Dhoni for one day formats.His mind is not there on playing test matches.

Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 14:28 IST

A Pathetic indian team ,what else should i say never seen an Indian team with this level of dismal performance.Seven straight losses in foreign soil.The England tour was hit by injuries of some of the key player but what happened in Australia? The team does lacks the spirit, the desire to win and prove themselves as the best team .On the contrary every member seems to be in a cocon where personal interests are being served better rather than fulfilling the main objective of winning . Its a team game and some one or the other has to rise to the occasion and do it for the team.It's not that they are incapable but just the lack of intensity which has resulted in a poor performance abroad.

Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 14:20 IST

My son and I are mortified at the performance by the Indian team. They really have brought the game into disrepute by playing like amateurs. It was amply clear that our seniors have lost sight of the fast ball bowled by younger, fitter, faster bowlers and that their split-second reflexes are now a thing of the past. They need to turn their attention to less strenuous pursuits such as gardening and leave international cricket to 19 and 20 year olds.

from:  Pradip
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 13:14 IST

Go carting and sea side stroll with wives are not perfect preparation for a tough tour.Is it not too much to expect these players who have gone to Australia with their families for holidaying to play for the country with involvement? They will perform to their potential not on the field but off the field only.The Players and the B C C I are more concerned about the money than the honor of our country.

from:  D. Sreedharan
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 13:11 IST

Hello! In my view Indiam team is talented and the players engaged currently in Australia is a balanced team. The problem is with the mind set. Five days cricket is not enjoyed by the players, I believe they rather focus on One Day or Twenty Twenty format. The second issue is players look very tired. I was amused to see some of the key players when they were out cheaply, did not show any regret on their face, as if it is all right. Passion and pride was missing. And finally, I think it is leadership on ground or out side ground. I hope the strategist will think better way forward .

from:  Abu Anas
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 12:49 IST

I donno what to say about the famed Indian Batting Line up. Why to show more aggression in words rather than their skills do the talking. What won the series for Australia is their captain's temperament and the way the bowlers executed their plan to perfection. Not Just remember how Hilfenhaus altered the line and length when Zaheer came to bat and the way clarke took the catch was simply superb. Not easy to take a catch when the wicket keeper's gloves comes in between you and the travelling ball. Remember what Clarke said when Australia were all out for 43 in South Africa : Every Australian Player should remember this defeat then only they can play to their potential. They just did that and have pocketed the series. Now the Indian Team should try to salvage some pride atleast in Adelaide. Which will have a good impact to the One Day Series. Not to forget that We are WORLD CHAMPION in the 50 over format of the game.

from:  Sathya Narayana Kandan
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 12:43 IST

That the jam-packed itinerary is taking it's toll on the performance and fitness our players' is a given. Having said that, the downward spiral started not from the England tour, but on the day our team, quite spinelessly and inexplicably, gave up the run chase of 180 against a weak (understatement?!) West Indian team. That indefensible decision by the much touted captain has, i believe, destroyed the adventurous, positive streak in our players. In effect, we have lost 8 matches on the trot. The 1st loss (i.e. the drawn test) being the most damaging. Cricket has much to do with mental toughness and we lost it where it matters the most - MIND! No wonder, we were on the defensive even when we had the Aussies reeling at 27 for 4. It's anybody's guess as to what the IPL has done to cricket. Here's hoping our cricket-lorn people teach a fitting lesson to those who are taking us for a ride. The empty stands during the Champions League was a precursor. IPL should follow suit.

from:  Rakesh Reddy
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 11:37 IST

Victory and defeat are part and parcel of any sport. But, surrendering to the opponents without a semblance of fight does not speak well of the supposedly strongest batting line-up of India. After seven consecutive overseas defeats, with such margins, India, cannot make a claim for top ranking. Most of the Indian Cricketers on view down under did not appear to deserve a place to play test cricket. There definitely was attitude problem and they were playing like ODI matches. But do they care? Even if they are dropped, they can earn pots of money, thanks to IPL. BCCI should take complete blame for such drubbing and allowing such disgrace to the country.

from:  K.Vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 11:00 IST

It is high time that Dravid and Laxman should retire at the end of the series. By doing so they will be giving a chance to the youngsters and for the good of the Indian Cricket. Dhoni has already started thinking on the above lines. His mind is on the future of the Indian Cricket above self.

from:  S.Chandrasekaran
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 10:37 IST

it is natural way when a Man suddenly dies and people trying to find out the root cause.But in the case of India getting defeated for the 3rd time.once they have already tasted twice.Hence Adelaide test captained by shewag,might be different provided Aussies looses the spirit of the game. But this is a test time for the New captain shewag to try new method,and having removed Dhoni, Let him remove some serviced Players like Dravid and lakshman,to infuse new young blood who are craving or years to find a place in the 11. with 3 players replaced by new caps,even if India looses,there is nothing but trying of new caps yield result and given a chances for others to show their talents and let them also earn something,why only to old contractors who can be given a break or permanently,if the new team prove otherwise in favour of India.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 09:49 IST

Indian cricket players know that they will be defeated by Australia, hence, they did not want to waste the time to spend more time at the stumps as there are several appointments in the next two days. They have to go to market for shopping with spouses, they have to act in ad films for multinationals to earn a few bucks, their children's wish is to be seen, they have to attend the parties arranged by both Australians and NRI, they have to go for sight seeing etc. are the important issues to be looked after and the cricket can be played at another time. Let us satisfy with 0-4 defeat of the current series.

from:  Rallabhandy Ravindranath
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 09:32 IST

It is obvious that BCCI and Media are the main reasons that India will reach its nadir in Cricket as in Indian Hockey. The BCCI's greed will be its undoing. The media hype that Indian cricketers are super-human sportsmen hiding the fact they are giants only in slow India pitches (Is there any sport that is organized to be played slowly than faster, higher & stronger than cricket in India?) and often belittling the players on slightest poor performance without highlighting the fact that BCCI has not equipped them for it (as in other athletics)is the fault of the Media.

from:  Therazh
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 08:17 IST

sachin,lakshman,veteran players should retire from cricket.give place to young players.

from:  indian
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 08:03 IST

Eight consecutive defeats in foreign soil,our senior cricketers show their might in Indian soil, in foreign soil they are paper tigers. This is a highly competitive world, we need to perform very aggressively , none is bothered about the past glory, So perform or get lost. mr.Srinivasan the BCCI president please be dynamic, your defense for the current team is totally unjustified.

from:  C s sivakumar
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 03:46 IST

Indian team and the team management were more focused on Tendulkar's 100th ton than on the game in hand. This did cost us the games(s). While the milestone is miles away, we (Indians and the Team) had to face humiliation.

from:  mani Sandilya
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 03:16 IST

Pampered Australian batsmen? Those in glass houses...

from:  Brent
Posted on: Jan 16, 2012 at 02:17 IST
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