Hello and welcome to Rs. 5’s coverage of the fifth day of the third test between
As always, all times are local (i.e.
This pitch is behaving very badly. Some are taking off, and others are staying really low. The one positive for
Shoaib bowling a lot of short-pitched stuff to Ganguly here. One hits him on his ribs/side and flies to the boundary. That’s going to hurt tomorrow.
Dani is offering complete rubbish to Ganguly. What’s happened to him? Does he need a rest? (Well, he doesn’t play ODIs or 20/20s). Has he just become crap? (Possible). Have batsmen the world over figured him out? (Probable).
Shoaib looks T-I-R-E-D. I know he bowls quick and all, but is that unreasonable to expect your “ace” to get through a six over spell without flagging?
9.58 a.m. Zeyd must be rejoicing. Sami is on. I miss Gully and Asif.
I see that Dravid has quietly moved on to 41. He really needs a score here to get him in groove for
10: Supersport runs a promotion/ad/congratulatory message for Dale Steyn being the second South African ever to get 10-wicket hauls in two consecutive tests. Did I mention I miss Gully and Asif?
Wow. That has to be the most anticlimactic wicket ever. Dani bowls a googly from around the wicket. Dravid plays for the turn, gets hit on the pad, and Dani and Akmal go up in the most muted appeal (well, as muted as Dani and Akmal can get) you’ll ever see. Taufel raises the finger and Dravid’s gone. Even though that was definitely out, I didn’t really expect Taufel to give it. Clearly, neither did Dravid.
Wow. Sami got a wicket. Sami got a wicket. Pretty nothing delivery and Ganguly slashed it straight to a fourth slip/fine gully. So Ganguly doesn’t get his second hundred of the game and Sami (Sami!) gets a wicket.
Birthday boy Yuvraj comes out to a roaring ovation.
Bruce Yardley: “Shoaib Akhtar is back on the field. Spends a lot of time off the field, does Shoaib Akhtar.” Yes. Yes, he does.
Sami gets another! Yuvraj isn’t happy. Plays (and misses) outside off and Rudi gives it. Yuvraj’s reaction was hilarious. He just stood there in shock and stared at the umpire and started giggling. Snicko, for whatever it’s worth, shows he hit it.
Consecutive boundaries for Laxman. Now that’s the Sami we know and love. Over pitched on leg stump followed by short and wide outside off.
The camera pans to the Indian dressing room where the entire team is eating popcorn. Rameez tries to say something intelligent about intermissions and the drama being put on hold, trying to make a connection to a declaration, but fails miserably.
Kartik smashes a Kaneria waist-high full toss for six before hitting him for four through midwicket.
Another four for Kartik off Dani. Maybe a declaration is imminent with Kartik being this aggressive. Or maybe Dani’s just a crap bowler for whom being carted around is a natural state of being. Who can say?
Kartik sweeps Dani for four.
Dani bowling the last over before lunch. If
And that’s lunch.
Ouch. Shoaib hits Laxman smack on the elbow. Laxman is not wearing an arm guard. He’s in real pain here. Who knows, the Yuvraj/Dravid opening conundrum may just have solved itself.
One thing’s for sure.
Laxman’s walking off. You think a couple of guys by the names of Ponting and Lee might be smiling as they see that image?
Through sightscreen delays, injuries, and an inordinately long run-up, Shoaib’s first over after lunch took 13 minutes.
A number of the guys in the commentary crew have picked their 11s for the
Aamir Sohail has almost the exact team I just laid out. The only difference is he substitutes Sharma for Harbhajan instead of Sharma for Pathan as I do. He also has Dravid opening, as I do.
The only reason I can even remotely think of for
12: Bruce Yardley is as bemused as I am. “What’s the purpose of all this, Bish?” “All this,” of course, being
Yousuf drops an absolute sitter to let Pathan survive. Dani’s pissed. My God, that was shameful.
Bishop and Yardley are shocked by the dropped catch, and take the opportunity to talk about the fielding standards of both teams in general. Neither is particularly enthusiastic about either
Yardley pronounces, “For the sake of the crowd, I think
Arafat gets Karthik caught behind after drinks and, lo and behold,
Rameez, enlightening us all: “I don’t think
Pathan beats Butt first up with a ball that swings out before seaming in. Hmm.
They’re showing the cracks on the pitch. They’re wide enough for Bruce Yardley’s finger to go through, on the evidence of the pitch report this morning. They’ve obviously only widened since then with the sun beating down on them. Have I mentioned this is a terrible pitch?
While Arun Lal and Ramiz yap away about their
Arun Lal just compared Bad Haircut to Mohammad Asif. I don’t even know what to say. You see, Indians, this is why we can’t stand you. It’s not
A good length Pathan delivery outside off bites the pitch and jumps viciously at Butt, who is startled. Pathan smiles and mockingly rubs his biceps.
It’s nice to see Butt look really solid. He looks like he’s tightened up his game and doesn’t look to be too bothered with not having gotten off the mark yet. That’s a good sign.
Butt gets off the mark off the 21st delivery he faces. Edges Kumble and it just eludes Dravid at slip.
Yasir Hameed flashes Pathan hard to gully and is dropped twice. Once by Kumble and then once by Dinesh Karthik on the rebound. I told him to stop flashing. Idiot.
Butt is clearly not in the mood to score a run today. Which is completely fine with me. I really want to see one of our young openers make a 30-off-145 type innings. I want to see if they can.
Clearly Hameed can’t. As soon as I finished typing that last sentence, Hameed doesn’t control a hook off a bouncer from Pathan. Could have gone anywhere really; just so happened to go to long leg for four.
And one more. Another attempted pull off Pathan, this one takes a bottom edge that just misses the stumps and goes to fine leg for four. As Aamir Sohail says, he’s just trying to get some runs before he’s exposed by Anil Kumble.
That’s a little more convincing. Back foot drive through the covers. Four more.
They show a cute woman sitting next to Aamir Sohail’s wife. Aamir tells us its Vengsarkar’s daughter. I don’t know how I quite feel about that.
Butt barely survives a couple of balls from Bad Haircut that stayed low. And that’s tea. Be back in 20.
And we’re back. We join the action nine minutes late because I had to meet someone. Anyway, in breaking news, Yasir Hameed is looking completely lost against Kumble.
Except for the whole “two convincing boundaries in two balls” thing.
After hitting Kumble through midwicket for four, Kumble beats Yasir Hameed with a really quick leg break, almost a leg cutter. The off stump is knocked back, and Yasir’s brilliant showing against the Indian spinners has mercifully drawn to a close. In comes what is becoming my second favorite Pakistani cricketer, Younis Khan.
Gone. Younis knocks a straight quick one right back into Kumble’s lap. Suddenly those 35-odd overs left in the day seem to be a long, long time.
Out comes Faisal Iqbal. I have absolutely no idea why they’ve done this.
Kumble and Harbhajan really mixing it up with some quicker stuff, almost like they’re bowling slow-medium cutters. It might not be a bad ploy on this pitch where the slower it is, the more time the batsmen have to adjust to variable bounce.
I think we settle into a long afternoon of Kumble and Harbhajan.
Five guys round Faisal Iqbal’s bat as he faces Harbhajan. Nice going Kumble, but if you wanted to be aggressive, shouldn’t you have declared when you got a lead of 250?
Butt gone, caught behind off Kumble. Are we actually going to lose after being asked to survive less than 50 overs? Are you kidding me?
I’m being beckoned for lunch. Hope nothing untoward happens in the next 20 minutes.
And we’re back.
Everyone’s laughing as a quick one from Kumble hits a crack and turns it a mile, defeating Karthik by a solid 12 inches. Kumble is now essentially bowling cutters at medium pace. The slips have moved back to where they would be for a guy like Ponting bowling his little dobbly medium pacers. Just a terrible, terrible surface.
Faisal Iqbal hits Harbhajan straight down the ground for a couple of boundaries. Given his prowess against spin, Faisal could develop into a really good player if he could sort out his problems against pace. To be fair, that’s a little like saying that given her hotness, Lindsay Lohan would be a great life partner if she was slightly more intelligent. The Faisal-Misbah partnership has put on 60-odd at more than a run a ball, for whatever it’s worth.
Faisal gets his fifty with a straight drive for three off Kumble. Well played, bhanja. I know for a fact this score is going to infuriate the Pak Passion crowd.
Kumble gets two in two balls. Faisal plays an atrocious shot to hole out to mid-on and then Akmal is bowled exactly like Hameed was. 16 overs to go.
Yuvraj bowls Misbah through the gate. Oh dear.
I’m going to be very upset if we lose.
Yuvraj gets Arafat with one that stays low. 13.4 overs to go and 3 wickets to get. They might win this with plenty of overs to spare,
Umpires checking the light meter. Oh Lord, please send some rain, or at least dark clouds. Please.
No rain, but Sami is here.
Just confirmation of the collapse: 4 wickets for 10 runs in 16 deliveries.
Come on, Yousuf. Play an Inzi innings here. Come on. 12.4 overs to go.
All nine fielders are within 10 yards of Yousuf. Rudy looks at his light meter. Come on, darkness. Come on!
Umpires conferring. Offer the light. Come on!
They’ve offered the light! Hallelujah! They’ve offered the light!
If this ends in a draw, Kumble has only himself to blame. Why they batted well past lunch is completely beyond me. They should have declared about 45 minutes after the start of play today. They always had enough runs – no way
Complete chaos here. So the artificial lights were turned on for some reason, despite the lack of an agreement between the captains prior to the series. So the lights need to be turned off for the umpires to gauge whether the natural light has improved. But for some reason, they can’t get one set of lights off.
4: Kudos to the scoreboard people at
Arun Lal: “The sun is going down on the horizon.” Heh. Hope the horizon enjoys it.
So the light is getting worse, not better, which makes more play unlikely. This game is now a draw, which means