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India needed more runs on the board
Krishnamachari Srikkanth - 07 October 2001

You have to hand it to the South Africans. They easily overhauled what was a record score at the Wanderers. Gary Kirsten, in particular, and Herschelle Gibbs would have to take a lot of credit for the professional way in which they went about chasing the Indian target. Jacques Kallis also played his part as the favourites cantered to a win that would have pleased them no end.

Sourav Ganguly
This after stellar performances from Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. Despite the duo's magnificence, I feel the Indian batting has to cop a major portion of the blame. On a perfect batting track, that was almost Indian in its nature, the batsmen should have run up a 300 plus score. This would surely have given their team a great psychological boost. The picture of Ganguly shaking his head at the end of the innings then said it all.

The Indian skipper had every right to be disappointed after playing one of his finest knocks. Coming into the series, he was seen as one batsman who would be a sitting duck to a South African pace artillery going to benefit from the new one bouncer per over rule. Agreed the wicket was a batting paradise, but who would have expected the 'Prince of Kolkata' to pull the home team bowlers into the stands! And repeatedly at that!

When Ganguly was at the crease anything seemed possible. The memorable innings should surely have given him great confidence for the upcoming encounters.

Sachin scoring his first fifty and then his first hundred against South Africa in South Africa was also a welcome sight. The little champion's record against his opponents surely did no justice to his enormous abilities and he seemed committed to set that right. The two difficult chances that the South Africans dropped, helped him on his way to his hundred. He has finally rid himself of the albatross that hung around his neck and that might see him playing with greater freedom and confidence the next time around.

Sachin Tendulkar & Sourav Ganguly

Before moving further, I would like to strike a note of caution. Ganguly's merry run saw India step on the accelerator during the middle overs. But then every day is not a ‘Wanderers Friday’ and Indians would do well to concentrate on consolidating the starts in the upcoming matches. What is needed is sensible batting that would help maintain the run-rate. Going hell for leather might only see them losing wickets unnecessarily.

The batsmen coming lower down also need to have a plan of action. I was shocked to see them failing to get the ones and the twos when they were not going for the big shots. Being perturbed or excited will get them nowhere. They should rely more on the good old commonsense that our Indian grannies are so justly famous for.

As for the bowling, the less said the better. For what is an Indian attack if they do not spray all over the place!

I feel then that it is the batsmen who would have to learn the lessons and put up a better performance next time. And then probably they should all pray to my favourite Surya bhagwan and ask him to shine kindly on the men who hold the cherry.




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