November 19, 2009

Tale of 2 centuries -- by Steam

Recently, we witnessed two very well compiled knocks, two knocks very contrasting in nature, in style, in almost every aspect. Very much like Mock n me, but what was common in the two knocks at Hyderabad and Ahmedabad was the pressure the two men handled in circumstances where most fail to deliver. Sachin and Dravid have for years been the responsible for some brilliant knocks under pressure.

Sachin’s knock at Hyderabad chasing a 350+ score in a 50 over game against the no.1 team in the world silenced a lot of critics who, have questioned his place in the team. When you are chasing a mammoth total from the word go, you don’t have time to settle in and take measure on how the wicket is playing. But, with no less than 20 yrs of experience in hand, Sachin showed his class with a brilliant 175, although it was for a lost cause many agree it was one the best innings Sachin has played.

Dravid’s innings in the first test against Sri Lanka at Ahmedabad on the opening day was not in the same pace but the pressure of the home team being at 32/4 on the first day of the first test dropped from the one-day side, playing for pride and honor. It was all visible, clearly Dravid had a point to make. And he did that with the bat in hand. Scoring 177 on the first day taking India past 350 in a single day’s play along with Yuvraj and then Dhoni, he showed all maturity and a cool head that was required to bail out from that situation. Undoubtedly, he had played a solid and typical Dravid inning, also scoring at a brisk rate for which he has, time and again been criticized.

So, which knock was one better? Experts argue, favoritism, test cricket/ODI’s, yada yada.. I’m sure Mock would pick Sachin’s knock, as it hit back at the opposition, giving them a blow for a blow, burdening the opposition captain as to how to get the great man out? Only, Sachin could have given his wicket away, seen by the quality of his game. And that is exactly what happened when he played one to short fine leg. And then India lost the game! Really? I thought India had lost it predominantly in the first 50 overs when they were on the field. Allowing the opposition to a herculean total was the first sign of defeat. But it was heart-warming to watch Sachin, tame the Aussie bowling at will. Dravid on the other hand, played with caution since India had lost their top order in the opening session of play. Then along with Yuvi and MSD he built his innings, to secure the position for India in the match. Score of 386 in a day was India’s second highest ever achieved in tests. Dravid too got out early on day 2 and from there India lost their grip on a match that was theirs for the taking. As I write the Lankans thanks to a brilliant double century by Mahela Jayawardene, centuries by Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardene and runs from Samaraweera have taken the control from India. Final two days on a sub-continental weary pitch facing the likes of Murali, Welegedra, an co. could result similar to what happened at Hyderabad. As of now it’s not the writing on the wall.. and which knock was better? That is not what you and I can decide over ten minutes of analysis. Both innings deserve the respect and love they got. Both men are widely admired and worshiped; it is for this very reason. Their passion for the game, honor of representing their country is seamless. They take pride in representing 1 billion Indians and do it in style.

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