There was a particular beauty to yesterday’s contest which underscores the times we live in. Everything is lightning quick. Everything is under the scanner and must be right. Every mistake is analysed. The run fest at the Oval showed that not all of that is bad.
A number of mistakes were made by a host of people yesterday. With England looking for a long awaited one day series win and India fighting to stay in it, there was so much at stake that frailties which characterise humans were bound to surface. So an umpire made an error – then saw a giant screen and changed his mind, Kevin Pietersen ran out Paul Collingwood, then ran himself out with Owais Shah at the other end, Rahul Dravid ran out of bowlers, Yuvraj Singh ran out of ideas and after a wonderful summer, James Anderson looks like he’s probably running out of steam.
But yesterday will be remembered not for the mistakes but for the achievers.
Owais Shah had stood rooted to his crease in the one game when the superstar KP had got his first ODI 50 of the summer. Surely, he could have sacrificed his wicket. He should have. But he didn’t and he stuck on. And how.
Luke Wright making his one day debut. (Wonder how many in history have a 4 and six as their first international scoring shots?) To my mind, Luke Wright set up the move from 137-5 to 316-6. If that was the nervous beginning, watch out once he settles in.
Dimitri Mascarenhas is not in England’s Twenty/20 squad. Go figure.
Zaheer Khan, Piyush Chawla and Romesh Powar . Irrespective of the result of the series , they have been terrific. 29 overs between them for 131 between them tells its own story.
Sachin Tendulkar – if anything batted better than he did in the match before. The joy is not so much that he’s playing with the fluency of old but that he’s rediscovered the concept of inspiring. Yesterday was the second consecutive century partnership. (When Ganguly fell in the 23rd over , we were 150 and Ganguly was all of 53). Sachin plays and India wins, is back. Man of the match.
And finally to Robin Uthapa. He’s been in the sidelines all summer as a makeshift opener has done brilliantly in the Tests and another has been given a number of chances till he’s finally begun to come good. Yesterday, Uthapa got his chance at no 7. He’s never batted there before. He came in to bat at 234-5 in the 41st. There was no batting to come. The composure and cool of it all in a never-before-but-must-now was the impressive part. The buildup to the finale. The fact that he got 24 of the final 27 runs. That audacious shot over fine leg for a boundary with 4 balls to go and 8 to get which prompted Collingwood to bring long off in and move fine leg back. And then the confidence to take a couple of steps forward to get to the pitch of the next delivery and drive it past that mid off for the winning boundary. Outstanding.
Unlike the lyric in the song, a number of performances yesterday that were keen on taking the lead role in the war….
And so 3 all and to Lords we go for the decider. Thats where it all began.
Wish I was there …