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Stop! Hammer Time!

December 1, 2009

3 tests and a ODI series can seriously drain a man.  But they’ve been scheduled such that everyone takes a break at the same time and thank god for that. While I have my chance, here’s a review/preview/now view?.

India vs Sri Lanka

Well well well, we had Sreesanth returning in style with a brilliant job at Kanpur. All the bowlers have been majorly violated by the batsmen thanks to the pitches but Sree and Herath managed to raise the hopes of their kind with their display.

This series took a big list of dependable, bankable, marquee names and put in tracks that guaranteed that the batting half of these names certainly don’t fail. Pitch = road jokes were cracked. The Kanpur pitch woke up on the second day, showed everyone the finger and brought back life into the series. Most batsmen on both sides are safe as of now, Sangakkara would be disappointed with himself though.

The teams were evenly matched in most departments and it was expected to be a contest between the pace attack of both the teams and with the Brabourne pitch is being talked up as a gift for the pacers, let’s just see how it’s gonna be.

ps: Murali Vijay thanks Gambhir for putting family first.

England vs South Africa

SA’s ODI form over the past two years has been exceptional with the only blemish being the NatWest series loss in England. Right now England lead the series 2-1 with one match to go in wet Durban. Graeme Smith’s himself has been frustratingly inconsistent and the collective batting slump between him, de Villiers and Duminy has become even more problematic thanks to the absence of Kallis.

Their team selections have become erratic with no one, not even vice captain Johann Botha being spared from a drop while England made all the sensible selections even as their main players were injured.

New Zealand vs Pakistan

Pakistan’s home series away from home began with a hard fought test which the Kiwis won in the last session. The Akmal brothers carried the team in the first innings after the top order  misfired and were supported only briefly by the seniors in the second innings. Shane Bond’s injury and the doubt over Iain O’Brien’s recovery however tilt the scales heavily in favor of Pakistan. Darryl Tuffey has a good record against Pakistan but being forced to play Jeetan Patel or call up Ian Butler/Tim Southee is not a position they would want to be in.

Add to that the inconsistency in the top order and yet another rescue act by Vettori in the first innings, NZ have to play out of their skins to win the second test.

Pakistan’s pace attack was simply brilliant, Asif returned to test cricket with his skills intact while Aamer and Gul backed him up clinically. Kaneria being a wicket taking prospect might get a go ahead of Ajmal but that is not something Pakistan would worry about. For all the fragile batting, where to fit in Misbah is still a big question. Alam, Farhat, Manzoor were all equally average at Dunedin while Yousuf and Malik only chipped in in the second innings. S o do they get another chance or are does the conveyor belt move on?

Update: Tim Southee has been called up to replace Shane Bond. But Tuffey has a better chance of playing.  It will be O’Brien whom Southee will replace if he plays.

Australia vs West Indies

The return of the not so spectacular first line up of the West Indies has been memorable for the grit of their bowlers and of the young Adrian Barath and Travis Dowlin.  The injuries to Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jerome Taylor has affected them badly but Roach, Bravo, Rampaul and Benn kept running in. Gavin Tonge and  Darren Sammy are the options Gayle has to fill in for the injured Taylor. Now if only the seniors like Chanderpaul and Gayle put in as much of an effort.

Australia face a problem with Hilfenhaus being injured. McKay has been named as a replacement but Bollinger will probably get a chance ahead of him. The rest of the line up is settled, even Michael Hussey got a half century and Australia will try their best for another three day victory.

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