A combination of errors does India in

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2000, 20:00 [IST]
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Bangalore: Whatever it is going to take to beat the Aussies it is definitely not going to be just pure cricketing talent. If it was going to be just cricketing merit, (given the home conditions) India should have won the first match hands down.

No, the fault lies much deeper.

Given the fact that we had turning tracks and, what, asked to bat in spite of having lost the toss, India could not have asked for more!

In the first innings there definitely was no devil in the pitch but one felt the Indians - barring...who else? - were overawed by the occasion - given the build up and the media attention. One saw stiffness and nervousness, normally displayed on the faces of debutants, accompanying our top order bats - the dismissal of Ganguly typifying it the most. Not surprisingly the Aussies cashed in on it to take the initiative.

However, all was not lost for the Indians. They had the Aussies on the mat on day two but failed to execute the touch down. Barring poor fielding, it was poor cricketing insight that did India in. Yes, Gilchrist batted like a man possessed but India let him get that far. He could have been nipped in the bud and it won't take a cricket pundit to ascertain that.

So while India had its chances it let them slip by, whereas when Australia saw no chance or didn't see a way out, they created one. That is what Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) can bring about.

Barring the on field lapses, what intrigues one is why the Indians went in with only two, if I may say one and a quarter, spinners, when all along they went on about spinning tracks. Did they fail to read the wicket? Because there is no two ways about the fact that the wicket was turning square from ball one (with regards to spinners).

If only Harbhajan would have received support from one end, it would have made a world of a difference.

The selectors, on their front, have to shoulder quite bit of the blame. When we have two proven quality left-arm spinners in Sunil Joshi and Venkatapathy Raju why in the world would anybody settle for Sanghvi - with due respects to the bowler.

In the final analysis, although one must accept that India got a drubbing, the final score-line of a 10-wicket victory within three days is not a true indicator of the balance of the match. Australia found itself in the dock once and even on day three - with India close to wiping the lead - it looked like India just might squeeze through until that stunner of a catch and the eventual collapse.

If one weighs things, one will realise what a difference, in fact all the difference, Positive Mental Attitude along with an immense drive for success can bring about.

Anyhow it is not 'curtains' for the Indians. They do possess genuine talent - at least Waugh for one acknowledges that, and if they can settle their nerves they definitely can pull one back here.

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