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Home > India > Cricket > Column > Amit Masram

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Sehwag set it up for India

December 16, 2008

What a Test match it turned out to be! After it looked like the sheen had been taken off by the Mumbai terror attacks [Images] India chased a Herculean 387 runs in the fourth innings, riding on a blistering start by Sehwag and significant fourth-wicket stand between Yuvraj and Tendulkar.

One man set the game up for India when it appeared that England [Images] would merge winner: Virender Sehwag [Images]. Sehwag is an uncomplicated man, believes in hitting the ball; that's all what it matters for him, irrespective of the state of the match, condition of the strip, or the aura of the bowler.

This is clearly the acme of the Sehwag's career, where he combines positive outlook with instinctive stroke play. Amidst the attacking field placings in the longer format of the game, to get the batsman out, Sehwag materializes the gaps with ridiculous ease and has become a factor, for the opposition to set targets in the fourth innings.

He was instrumental in earning a hard-fought draw with a scintillating 151 at Adelaide earlier this year .In this game, the positive attitude rubbed off to the Indian dressing room as well, instilling the belief that they can win. The win will go down as one of the most incredible victories in Indian cricket, with Tendulkar erasing the blemish of the 12-run defeat from Pakistan with an undefeated ton, his 41st, and was instrumental in guiding Yuvraj through. Tendulkar played with loose bottom hands while playing Swann and really kept his nerves, taking a few blows on the body when the ball was pitched well-outside the leg stump.

From an English standpoint they played well and should not be disappointed with their effort. They played good cricket and dominated most part of the match. The strip played true till the last day, with the ball turning sharply from the patches created by bowlers' footmarks.

Zaheer bowled exceptionally well on an unresponsive track and got the bowl to reverse and changed the angles superbly. He clearly looks assured of what he is doing.

Rahul Dravid [Images] must have had a huge sigh of relief after seeing his name in the grade A contracts. He is a shadow of the batman that he was a couple of seasons back and would now realize the importance of the word "confidence" and "uncluttered mind".

The positives for England are that Strauss is back in business with successive tons in each innings; he showed how conventional Test cricket is played. The Test had everything and till day 5 at lunch all three results likely.

However, England lost the plot a bit when in one session on day four before tea They adopted a "go slow" strategy. Questions would be posed about that by the British media for sure.

Mohali as a venue will make the Englishmen better with its true bounce and lush green outfield. However it was one-way traffic as India romped Australia by 320 runs in the second Test in October.

England will have a break of three days to get their act right.

Dhoni's [Images] captaincy was put to test when the pair of Collingwood and Strauss were at the crease and nothing was happening. However, it was good to see the patience exhibited by the skipper.

The Indian bowling attack looks balanced, with variety as against England's. The second Ttest well might be decided by how England bowl to the inform batting line-up , as Panesar and Harmirson looked rusty .Only Flintoff looked like a bowler who can pick up wickets. Pietersen and Moore will have come with a plan to deal with the Indian openers, as they lay the platform for the middle order to capitalize. England will have to pull out something extraordinary from the hat to draw the series in Mohali 


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