Confession: I’m hoping for a triple hundred, and I think it is possible.
I haven’t seen all of his 35 hundreds, but the 35th one was special, and not just because it was his 35th: Tendulkar seemed to be in control throughout the innings, and was doing things at will – the three consecutive boundaries off Murali, followed by three exaggerated forward defence strokes afterwards just showed that if he was taking his time to get to a hundred, it was merely because he didn’t want to take any risks. He’d walked out to get a hundred, and he didn’t want to take any chances.
The wicket seems a little slow at times, and the bounce is occasionally uneven, so the Indians might consider themselves lucky that those that kept low weren’t pitched in line with the stumps. One ball from Fernando reared up and that was probably one of the few wherein Tendulkar was not in control. Tendulkar seemed to be in the zone, and uhh…at times almost indifferent to the Sri Lankan bowling. Sachins innings was a combination of Dravids and Laxmans – he played with the control that Dravid exhibited when he came out to open, and the shotmaking had the finesse of Laxman’s touch. But it had the control that only Sachin can exercise over the bowling. I reckon he can make a treble if he bats all day today.
This innings was in contrast to my favourite Tendulkar innings – the fighting double hundred in Sydney. I loved the way he reigned in his attacking instincts and cut out almost all off side play in that innings. He had be snicking ’em to the keeper/slips before that, so to patiently wait, and force the bowlers to bowl at the stumps takes some doing. Similarly, I rate Sehwags hundred in England (Northampton?), where he (with Bangar) survived the initial swing and bounce to reach a uncharacteristically careful hundred. I never saw the innings at Perth, which Sachin rates as his highest, so the innings at Sydney will be my favourite.
Ganguly also seemed to be pacing himself well. He didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry, and there were very few occasions where a rush of blood put him a risk. I think a stint in domestic cricket did his head a lot of good, he can now focus on his batting. If the pitch plays like this on days two and three, we might expect a draw. I’m very pleased by the fact that Kumble’s back in the side, so we can probably still win. The Kotla pitch can crumble on days four and five. It’s a small ground, I think, so Sehwag was missed.
Incidentally, I find it interesting that Ganguly, Sehwag and Dhoni – big hitters, all three – are all uncomfortable against the short stuff.
I might go to the ground tomorrow. Switched on the teevee to see M’s face on screen. Messages:
“Smile, fucker. Just saw you on TV. Sitting in the sun, kya?”
“Yo. How was it. Thanks. Wanna come for the match”
“You looked ugly, as usual. On monday, for sure. Day three is most interesting. Have fun.:)”
Day three, then.
(Ganguly just got out; I thought he played exceptionally well. When watching test matches, I tend to look at ‘balls survived’, and in particular – partnerships.)
spoke too soon. going down leg, imho.