Much against the doubts about a timely start to the second test cast over by the recent heavy snowfall in Delhi over the last week, play started with a delay, but only of about 20 minutes. India won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch that has been a point of heated discussions over the past few days.
Chairman of the PCI (Pitches Committee of India), former Indian captain M.S.Dhoni had hinted before the game that off spinners will need to pitch the ball way outside off-stump for it not to be called a wide down the leg side. Infact, the first few short balls from the English off-spinner Mushed-up Ahmed (Son of England’s spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed) pitched on the off stump and hit the short leg fielder straightaway without heading towards the batsman. Silly point fielder had to take cover when the leg spinner came on, with the batsman standing in a stance with shouldered arms as soon as the bowler came to bowl.
India finished the day with 123/8, Sachin Tendulkar doing the bulk of the scoring there (67*) hitting 3 boundaries, 1 six, and an 8 over the keeper’s head. Sachin’s son Arjun Tendulkar who retired from international cricket last year after a stellar career was a part of the commentary team applauding his father’s performance with the bat.
India lost 6 wickets to run-outs, all of them happening while Sachin was batting, raising the critic’s voice over the running between the wickets from Sachin , which has come under the flak in recent times.
“Well, the ball was coming onto the bat nicely. I mean when I took the crease today, I had to concentrate harder and play the ball after calculating a turn of minimum 80 degrees in my head once the ball has pitched. But I guess we always had it in our mind after the comments from MSD about the pitch. My running between the wickets hasn’t been too bad after I got the aluminum legs last year . The surgery was successful and I am pretty sure I am running well. Retirement is something I have not thought about yet but the day I feel I cant contribute anymore, I will be the first one to admit that and retire,” Sachin answered when asked about the day’s performance.
It is important to notice that 33 runs came off wide balls bowled by the England spinners. With one day already gone, this test match can get over quickly as is the norm. ICC has already requested BCCI to reduce the number of days in a test match played in India to 3, so that the itinerary can be planned better, and loss of time owing to free days can be minimized.
This match seems like India’s to lose unless their spinners can bowl more wides. India is desperate to win a few test matches in it’s own backyard after having faced defeat in the last 198 test matched played abroad.