The Australians have not forgotten the way they were beaten in India two years ago and they wanted to make sure that the Indians would have nothing to show against them on this tour so even though Symonds was rested it did not make their side any weaker. This has been Australia's strength where even if one of their regulars is not playing the reserve player is able to come in and make it look as if they have missed nothing. The reserve bench being strong always puts pressure on those in the side not to relax and take their places for granted. Even on the field there is a healthy competition between the players as after a brilliant effort on the field the others will try to better that attempt and so keep on raising the standards.
Ganguly's absence meant that Gandhi got another opportunity to salvage something from this tour though having not played for a long time he would have been short not only of match practice but also confidence. To be asked to play on the fastest pitch in Australia was never going to be easy but he fell tamely to Warne just when he was beginning to look as if he was settling down. Laxman too failed but knowing Indian cricket the way we do his century in the last test will keep him in the side longer than some others. He has the talent but there is a strange inability to learn from earlier mistakes and he has to work very hard on his feet movements if he has to make an impact at this level. Tendulkar got bowled playing down the wrong line and though he is going through a bad patch which no player is immune to, the fact that he has got bowled twice playing down the wrong line means that in the time before the series against South Africa starts there is no harm in getting his eyes checked. Dravid and Kanitkar played most impressively and their footwork was positive, either forward or back and so even on this quick pitch they looked in no trouble at all. Their partnership coming as it did after India were two down for only 11 not just steadied the innings but also gave the lower order batsmen the chance to play some shots towards the end.
Dighe who has looked at sea against the quicks finally batted as he does in domestic cricket and that too on the fastest pitch so far and it was his cheeky batting and running between the wickets that helped India to score at the rate they did in the last few overs. Robin Singh was his senior partner in the adventurous stand and it was exciting to watch them play with the freedom they did.
Srinath and Prasad were strangely off colour and it could be because there was nothing in the match and though Gilchrist was consumed early Mark Waugh was given enough width to play his shots and Ponting contemptuously pulled Srinath to the boundary off the front foot. That this kind of treatment should be meted out to a quick bowler on the quicker wicket here shows the mental frame of mind of the Indians. To Srinath's credit he has bowled superbly throughout the tour without quite having the luck going for him and having a bad match is part of the game. Joshi playing his first game of the tour used the wind well to drift the ball into the right handers and get it to turn the other way. The way he bowled made one wonder why he was not tried earlier for the variety that he would have brought to the attack and especially when some other bowlers were looking ineffective and tired and importantly clueless as well. And by earlier one means not in this game but earlier matches.
The team has sometimes suffered because of rigid thinking and that is an aspect that needs to be looked at as India square up with another top side in the series to start soon. There has to be flexibility and options have to be given consideration as stubbornness does no good to the team or to the individual.
Professional Management Group