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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts and prayers with Jesse Ryder



The sporting world is in shock following news that Jesse Ryder is in an intensive care unit with a fractured skull after being assaulted  near a bar.

Such terrible news and a tragedy. Thinking of Ryder, one is reminded of the late David Hookes of Australia. Hope that Ryder's story doesn't end the same way as Hookes' did.

Hookes' Wisden obituary says, "Natural, aggressive and irrepressible, " and watching Ryder bat one thought the very same. He was always a treat to watch when batting and I still remember his double century against India in 2009 at Napier where he smashed the bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Wish the big guy a speedy recovery. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Wicket Post Fantasy League Contest: IPL 2013



In just nine days time, the sun will start shining a little more bright, birds will chirp in the air, scantily clad girls will start dancing, and the cricket carnival (or mayhem as some call it), IPL returns! Like last year The Wicket Post is going to host a fantasy league contest and here's proudly presenting just that!

It's time put on your thinking hats and become the selector! Time to show off your cricketing gyan and your tryst with lady luck as you try to find that dream IPL team combination to top the 'The Wicket Post League'!!! So what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and join the The Wicket Post. League!


The League Invitation Code is 8107.

Here's how to join the The Wicket Post League in 3 easy steps.

1.) Head over to IPL Fantasy League, (https://fantasy.iplt20.com/) and register yourself.  You can log in using your Facebook account. If you have an existing account, you can use that and all you need to do is log in.
2.) Create your fantasy team.
3.) Click on the 'Join Leagues' button on the right.
4.) Enter the invitation code (8107) and you're in! 

OR you can drop your mail ID in the comment column below and I'll email you the invite.



The scores will be updated weekly (every Sunday) on The Wicket Post.

If you have any problems you can always contact me at christopher[at]thewicketpost[dot]com.  For any questions on how this fantasy league works, head over to the FAQ.  Don't forget to tell your friends and spread the word.

You can catch all the IPL action right here at The Wicket Post. 

T&C - *All decisions are final, and The Wicket Post holds all rights to withdraw any team or the competition itself.  * Prizes are at the sole discretion of The Wicket Post. * All teams finishing above 20 in the league will get a honorable mention in the blog. * All rules can be changed at the discretion of The Wicket Post.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Is this Sachin Tendulkar's last test match for India?



Imagine a world without Sachin Tendulkar. Seems almost impossible, doesn't it? Who else will fill in the legendary number 4 position of the Indian team if Tendulkar leaves? For over two decades, he has made that spot his own, carved his name in bold, and etched it in time. However one day it would be just his name there and not Sachin Tendulkar the five feet 4 inches of human flesh. And when is such a day that Tendulkar should leave the game?

He has already bid adieu to ODIs and T20Is and now it's just a matter of time before he says goodbye to tests and international cricket. But just how soon is it?

Now Tendulkar is a legend of the game without a doubt and surely would love to leave on a high. His ODI farewell wasn't exactly that and hence he would wish his final farewell from international cricket to be special. Now with India standing at the threshold of a historical 4-0 whitewash of the Australians at home, has that time come?

Tendulkar is the last remaining man from his era. The Dravids, the Kumbles, the Gangulys, the Laxmans – all who made their debut years after Tendulkar have moved on. Tendulkar is 40, and not getting any younger and as much as he would love to continue playing and fans continue watching him play, he eventually does have to draw a curtain on his illustrious career.

Tendulkar's retirement is sure to send shock-waves throughout the sporting fraternity and hence he would probably announce it near the end of the series and bow out discreetly as Michael Hussey did for Australia. Since it is Tendulkar, it won't be all that simple. However the stage is set for that.

Tendulkar can stay on for the South Africa tour and provide the much needed experience in the Indian middle order, or he can give up his place for a youngster to be blooded in one of the most difficult conditions for an Indian batsman. The transition phase of the Indian team has been rocky and turbulent, but there are young guns more than capable of taking the team forward and has the time come for Tendulkar to pass on his responsibilities?

He is currently on 198 tests and might want to reach that landmark 200, and maybe this series is not his last. Whatever the case, with the next home series in October 2014, surely this test is Sachin Tendulkar's last test match at home if not his final one for India.

Now a few years ago the thought of Tendulkar's retirement would have been impossible to imagine, but now with great difficulty some of us can indeed imagine it. Imagine it with great pain, loss and pride. And that imagined world after Sachin Tendulkar may come in just a few days time.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How not to field [Video]



This is definitely not this
I don't know much about Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) other than that second grade actors from India participate in it watched and cheered by their heroines on screen and their respective fan clubs.

CCL is non-professional and though I've still haven't watched a single match of the CCL, I've been informed by friends who follow it that it indeed has some decent quality of cricket which considering the fact that most of these film stars who play in it played for their high school and college teams, it makes sense. But after watching the following video I'm doubting my friend's judgement.

Here's presenting to you 'How not to field',



The fielding team was Telugu Warriors and the lucky batting team was the Chennai Rhinos.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Australian Performance Analysis, India vs Australia, Mohali, 2013



Clarke looks dejected as Australia lose the series
Another test match lost for Australia, and this time with it the series. The last month has been one of disaster both on and of the field for the Australian team and Mohali only further blackened it. The defeat at Mohali was comprehensive considering that India won in just 4 days, after the first day was washed away and also added to that is the fact that Australia had won the toss. Australia fielded a depleted side after homeworkgate and the depleted side held consistent with the results of the previous two tests. There's not many positives from the match and Australia would well try to forget it as they head to Delhi and try to salvage some pride.

Australian Player Performance Analysis - read as name: TWP performance score (1st innings; 2nd innings) (DND = did not bat, * = not out, pass = 4/10) 

Ed Cowan: 6/10 - (86 runs; 8 runs)
Ed Cowan looked well in the first innings and put Australia on track with a solid start. It was a shame that the Australian team failed to capitalize on it, but nevertheless as an opening batsmen, he did his job and seemed to have finally got accustomed to the Indian conditions.  

David Warner: 6/10 - (71 runs;  2 runs)
Warner with Cowan put Australia on a winning track on day one but that was soon wasted. He however in his usual aggressive best put the Indian bowlers under immense pressure and for once it was an Australian batsman dominating the spinners. His run out of Tendulkar gave India some anxious moments. His first innings knock was a treat to watch and come Delhi, Australia would be expecting him to fire again. 

Michael Clarke: 1/10 - (0 run; 18 runs)
Clarke promoted himself to first drop in the first innings and I thought that this move was a very good move. However it wasn't one that paid off as he was out for duck. In the second innings braving an injured back he did his best to take Australia to safety but his tormentor in the series Jadeja got him yet again. This series has surely been Clarke's biggest challenge so far as a captain and though at times he's looked dejected and bemused, he has carried himself well.

Phil Hughes: 5/10 - (2 runs; 69 runs)
Hughes who had scored 23 runs in the series before this match, finally decided to show the world that he indeed can bat and in the second innings played a classy innings and prolonged the match. He was unlucky to be given out and must be ruing that. However he did show that he can bat against the spinners and repaid some of the trust the team management had placed on him and surely that's one of the few positives that Australia can take from this match.

Steven Smith: 7/10 - (92 runs & 1 wicket; 5 runs)
Steven Smith was one of Australia's saving grace in the match. He held the team during the first innings collapse and played a dashing innings of 92. He sure can bat and he showed that, taking it straight to the Indian spinners. His bowling however leaves plenty to be desired, and though his leg-spin did bag the Tendulkar wicket, it came at a cost of over 6 runs an over.

Matthew Wade: 3/10 - (21 runs; 30 runs)
Matthew Wade finally seemed to have understood the Indian conditions and looked much better both in front and behind the wicket. He would be mighty disappointed that he got out twice after getting starts but he did show some improvement and that's something positive.

Moises Henriques: 2/10 - (0 run & 1 wicket; 2 runs)
Henriques after that dream debut at Chennai seems to have tapered off. With the bat, he hardly troubled the scorers. He was no better with the ball though he did manage to pick up the wicket of a Indian tail end. Australia desperately needs its players to perform and Henriques would be hoping to set right Mohali at Delhi.

Starc - Australia's best batsman at Mohali
Mitchell Starc: 8/10 - (99 runs & 2 wicket; 35 runs)
Starc was Australia's best man and deserves every bit of credit. His attacking innings of 99 which is also incidentally his highest score in test was a knock that even a top order batsman would have been proud of. He was unlucky to not get a hundred which he very well deserved. However the importance of that innings cannot be underwhelmed and put Australia in the match. Likewise his knock in the second innings gave Australia a fighting chance to save the match. Maybe a few minutes more and who knows? His bowling struggled but he did end up with 2 wickets and enhanced his name as a lower order batsman.

Peter Siddle: 6/10 - (0 runs & 5 wickets; 13 runs & 1 wicket)
Siddle in the absence of Pattinson took over as the spearhead and bowled brilliantly throughout the test. If there was one bowler that the Indian batsmen didn't like facing,  it was Siddle. His spell with the new ball turned the match on it's head and India who till then were cruising suddenly collapsed. He received very little support from others but on a personal front, he sure would be pleased by his performance.

Xavier Doherty: 2/10 - (5 runs & 18* runs & 1 wicket)
I have no idea how anyone considers Doherty as a spinner. He's one of those players who gets selected to make up 11 players in the team I suppose. The Indian batsmen however were somehow tested by him at times and he did bowl a decent line keeping his end tight, but is that enough at the test level?

Nathan Lyon: 3/10 - (9* runs & 1 wicket; 18 runs & 1 wicket)
Lyon looked more impressive than he did in his previous two matches and picked up two Indian batsmen. Australia have yet to find a replacement for Warne and they lack spinners of quality such as Hogg, but Lyon is the best that they have currently and even he is not good enough.

Overall team Australia's average - 4.5/10

Australia have plenty of problems with both their batting and bowling units but they are slowly adapting to the Indian conditions. It's a little too late, but their team averages are improving and compared to Chennai, they've managed to add one entire point to it. Will they be able to a point on the scoreline and make it 3-1 and salvage some pride at Delhi? That remains to be seen.

You can find the Indian analysis of the Mohali test here.
Check out the mini-session analysis of the match here

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Indian Performance Analysis, India vs Australia, Mohali, 2013



The deed is done - India take an unassailable lead
The first day of the match might have been washed out due to rain, but that didn't matter much as India once again got the better of Australia and managed to win the test in the final few minutes of fifth day to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series [SCORECARD]. Australia deeply missed their stars who were dropped for the match for failing to follow team orders, and India made merry of that and the Australian batsmen's weakness against spin bowling. The Indian batting found a new hero in Shikhar Dhawan who went on to score the highest by an Indian on debut and set up India's win. It's not often a team which has lost the toss in a four day match that ends up as the winner and the fact that India did, tells you just how incredibly well they performed. India had plenty of memorable moments and here's a look at how each player in the team performed.

Indian Player Performance Analysis - read as name: TWP performance score (1st innings; 2nd innings) (DND = did not bat, * = not out, pass = 4/10) 

Murali Vijay: 10/10 - (153 runs; 26 runs)
Murali Vijay brought up back to back scores of 150 plus. At Hyderabad Vijay played a stunning knock of 167, and at Mohali he scored 153 in the first innings and was involved in a massive 289 run partnership for the first wicket with Shikar Dhawan that set up the platform beautifully for India. Vijay played the second fiddle to Dhawan and was more than content in that role. He showed a composed and mature head and from his performance with the bat in the last two tests, it looks like Vijay has finally made the big leap to test level.  

Shikhar Dhawan: 10/10 - (187 runs;  DNB)
Sehwag was controversially shown the door, but no one seemed to miss the aggressive opener as his replacement played an innings that even Sehwag would have been incredibly proud of. Like Sehwag who made scored a century on his test debut, Dhawan did the same. However he went a few steps ahead and converted that century into a big one and in the process scored the highest on debut.  Dhawan brought up his century in a single session and his entire knock took just 10 minutes over 4 hours. He faced only 174 deliveries for his 187 and at a strike rate of over hundred, he sent the Aussie fielders continuously towards the boundary to fetch back the ball. It was a brave innings and one played without any fear. Dhawan simply didn't show nerves or any anxiousness of this being his first test for India. He was right at home from the word go and go he did. It looks like he might miss the next test due to fitness issues, and if that happens, it'd be a huge blow for both Dhawan and India. 

Cheteshwar Pujara: 4/10 - (1 run; 28 runs)
Pujara was unfortunately given out in the first innings courtesy of a blunder by Aleem Dar. Pujara looked good in the second innings, opening the innings for India. He was rock solid and played his shots to the loose balls send it scampering to the boundary till he played one shot across the line and got rapped plumb in front.

Sachin Tendulkar: 5/10 - (37 runs; 21 runs)
Sachin Tendulkar was at his brilliant self in both innings and played some breath taking strokes. Considering that it was such a pity he left so early in both innings, specially in the second when he could have seen the team home. Many wondered why he didn't come at first drop in the second innings as Dhawan wasn't to bat and I suppose it was just superstitious decision. Whatever it was, another Indian win with the master in the team. Also watching him bowl those couple of overs, it looks like his leggies are still very much alive!

Virat Kohli: 7/10 - (67* runs; 34 runs)
Kohli was quite unlucky in the first innings to be left stranded as the last man. His innings of 67 not out was vital considering that India were about to throw away the good work done by the openers by collapsing. Kohli held the innings together and got the vital first innings lead which played a huge role in the decision of the game. In the second innings he looked like he would see the team home, but that wasn't to be and he'd be mighty disappointed with that.

MS Dhoni: 5/10 - (4 runs; 18* runs)
Dhoni's name must be synonymous with drama. He did see India home smashing three consecutive boundaries in the dying stage of the match, but that was well after he let an easy victory drag till the very end. However it was great entertainment and captain cool seemed to have the situation well under control, and he certainly did. 

Jadeja - the wonder boy of India
Ravindra Jadeja: 7/10 - (8 runs & 3 wickets; 8* runs & 3 wickets)
Ravindra Jadeja continued to torment the Aussie skipper, Michael Clarke and he got him both times in the test taking the tally to 5 out of 6 times. He picked up 6 wickets in the match and was largely instrumental in India's win. He's  been a revelation! Playing just 4 tests, he already has 20 wickets to his name! I'm sure no one expected that. Not even his own mother! It's a treat watching Jadeja bowl and now if only his batting too becomes exemplary like his bowling.

Ravichandran Ashwin: 6/10 - (4 runs & 2 wickets; DNB & 2 wickets)
Ashwin wasn't all that effective, but nevertheless he did end up with 4 wickets and kept the Aussie batsmen under constant pressure. There's still certain elements of Ashwin's bowling that can be improved. His carom ball was right on the money in this test and that is one lethal weapon on tracks with a little bounce.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: 5/10 - (18 runs; DNB & 3 wickets)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar set the match up for India at Hyderabad with quick early strikes on day one at Hyderabad and at Mohali those strikes came in the final session of Day four when he picked up three wickets. Kumar is a very good bowler who bowls within his limitations but he's not very consistent and as shown in the first innings can leak runs at an alarming rate.

Ishant Sharma: 5/10 - (0 runs & 3 wickets; DNB)
Ishant Sharma finally came good and in the first innings bowled his heart out and the 3 wickets shows his reward. Sharma playing in his 50th test, one must wonder whether he really has been that good a bowler or does India go to him as there is no other alternative?


Pragyan Ojha: 5.5/10 - (1 runs & 2 wickets; DNB & 2 wickets)
Harbhajan Singh was made to miss his home test and Ojha came in. Ojha's performance didn't set the world on fire but he did fulfill his role picking up 4 wickets in the match. Ojha was certainly very unlucky to be left out for the first two tests considering his recent performances and it will be interesting to see if it is whether Harbhajan or Ojha who gets the nod at Delhi.

Overall team India's average - 6.3/10

India's overall team average at 6.3 is the best so far in the three tests. They scored 5.4 at Hyderabad and 5.6 at Chennai and this huge difference tells just how incredibly well they performed at Mohali despite losing the toss and a day to rain. The Australian team being depleted also helped the cause. As the team heads to Delhi with an unassailable lead, it looks like 4-0 is well and truly on the cards.

Check out the mini-session analysis of the match here

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Does Fletcher's mediocre record justify extension as coach?



Fletcher lucky to get an extension on his contract
The big news today in Indian cricket is that Duncan Fletcher has been handed another year as the coach of the Indian team. His two year contract signed in 2011, following India's World Cup victory is about to expire and the BCCI's move to rename Fletcher has caught almost everyone by surprise.

Looking at the numbers, under Duncan Fletcher India hasn't fared too poorly as the popular thought goes. Maybe India haven't done as well they would have liked, and the Fletcher's record isn't as good as his former, Gary Kirsten's, but he has held his own.



Played Won Lost Tie Draw N/R Win percent.
Tests 23 8 10 0 2 0 34.78
ODIs 44 25 16 2 0 1 56.81
T20Is 17 9 8 0 0 0 52.94

However what the numbers fail to mention that is that most of that success has been largely due to India's dominance at home. India at home won over 60% of their games while on tours struggled to win half of that stat. And here is where Kirsten did better than Fletcher.



Played Won Lost Tie Draw N/R Win percent.
Home 36 22 11 0 2 0 61.11
Away 37 12 21 1 2 1 32.43
Neutral 11 8 2 1 0 0 72.72

While even these numbers don't show Fletcher in all that bad light considering the factors that India generally haven't been very good visitors. Probably no team apart from South Africa has had success on away tours in the last 2 years. Also India during the time lost many of its legendary stars and the team has undergone and still is very much in a transitional phase.

Here's all the series India played under Fletcher,

Series/ Opposition Format Result
Tour of West Indies – 2011 T20I Won (1-0)


ODI Won (3-2)


Test Won (1-0)
Tour of England – 2011 Test Lost (0-4)


T20I Lost (0-1)


ODI Lost (0-3)
England in India ODI Won (5-0)


T20I Lost (0-1)
West Indies in India Test Won (2-0)


ODI Won (4-1)
Tour of Australia - 2012 Test Lost (0-4)


T20 Draw (1-1)
Tri-series with Aus & SL (Aus) ODI Knocked out before finals
Asia Cup ODI Knocked out before finals
Tour of South Africa T20I Lost (0-1)
Tour of Sri Lanka ODI Won (4-1)


T20I Won (1-0)
New Zealand in India Test Won (2-0)


T20I Lost (0-1)
T20 World Cup (Sri Lanka) T20I Knocked out before SF
England in India – 2012/13 Test Lost (1-2)


T20I Draw (1-1)
Pakistan in India T20I Draw (1-1)


ODI Lost (2-1)
England in India - 2013 ODI Won (3-2)
Australia in India* Test Leading (2-0)
* Ongoing series

I've marked all the aberrational series result in red and there are quite a few of them. India under Fletcher have failed in every major tournament and also in tests when up against the better teams such as England, and Australia. India's only test series victories are against West Indies and New Zealand - two teams who are clearly not the top 5 test playing nations and that's the only honor Fletcher has, and this is the worry. Fletcher's numbers while they may look good on the outside, contains plenty of red marks and I feel hasn't been a successful coach for India. So should his contract have been renewed?

I feel India should have looked elsewhere. It's good to have continuity specially when the team is going through a transition phase, but does that mean one sticks with a coach who has so far put up only mediocre results? Sports is all about cut throat competition and there's no place for mediocrity. 

Aakash Chopra best summed it up saying,
"So all assumptions about Fletcher were grossly misplaced. He’s indeed contributed to this team’s performances. How do you judge a coach? By team performances and player development. Fletcher hasn’t impressed on both counts."     
So the question now is, why is BCCI sticking with a coach who simply hasn't impressed? Guess that's not a question that's going to be answered.  Bishan Singh Bedi on the topic said, "It’s their (BCCI’s) money, if they want to blow it, let them." And that is exactly what the board is doing much to the displeasure of fans.

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's a BCCI conspiracy says Pattinson after being dropped



It's a BCCI conspiracy alleges Pattinson
The big uproar in the cricketing world has been the dropping of four Australian players (Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja) for ignoring team orders. What were these all important team orders that they ignored? The four players failed to complete a team assignment assigned by their coach Mickey Arthur. The assignment asked the players to mention three points on how to improve their individual and team performances following the two disaster tests in India. The entire team failing the four completed the task and for that they've been shown the door.

So what have Australia done in the process? They have just denied themselves their vice-captain, two most experienced players in Indian conditions, their most successful bowler in the series so far, and a talented young player who was rumored to play at Mohali. In other words, trailing the series 2-0, the team management has managed to weaken itself.

The world of cricket reacted sharply at the over-reaction for such a small offense and here are just some of the voices over the issue.
"I'm stunned. I've never heard of this sort of thing before at top level in any sport. When you are losing there are niggling things there but they're grown men, it's not school boy stuff. It's not under-6s, this is Test cricket… there would have been a better way." - Mark Waugh 
"Financially cricket is great these days, but I'm glad I played when it was enjoyable and cricket was all that mattered - wickets and runs." - Darren Gough  
"From my experience report writing is not a player's strength, no surprise to hear some failing, need to focus more on field short comings?" - Tom Moody  
"Adults we are, not schoolboys! Please let's act properly and make good decisions in India! Need these boys playing." - Darren Lehmann
Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja, shocked told that they possibly couldn't do a presentation on how to improve their performances as they weren't playing in the first two tests. Shane Watson is said to be over-reacting to the over-reaction and considering his future, while Pattinson is nowhere to be seen. Sources close to him claim that he considers this to be a BCCI conspiracy.

Phil Hughes' homework. (click to enlarge)
Phil Hughes has come out and said that he sees this as a very big deal and that the right perpetrators of the crime have been nabbed. He also said that maybe the other four should have done what he did and copy a template and change the background color and submit it. "The homework took less than 5 minutes," he was quoted as saying, "I don't see why anyone couldn't have done it. I mean it took about the same time as one of my innings."

Watson's reacts seeing his disappointed parents.
Shane Warne has alleged this is just another huge mess with the Australian coach. "Why do we pick such whack jobs to be our coaches? First Buchanan, and now this? What Australia needs is direction." He also added that he was up for the job if an opening should occur.

In other news, Watson who failed to turn in his homework, today was most viciously told by Arthur today that he will not play in next test. He broke down in tears and his parents were telephoned. He returned to Australia to meet his parent's wrath and is now said to be taken to task for his behavior. His mother briefly said that she was very disappointed in Watson and that he always did his homework in school. "I'll have to talk to him and figure this out," she said.

-----

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ravindra Jadeja's ball of the century!



Sir Ravindra Jadeja, has played just three tests and has already made himself a super star. The 24 year old lad from Saurashtra is being hailed as the next big thing of Indian cricket and the media claim that he is here to stay!

In the Hyderabad test, Jadeja bowled an absolute beauty to Michael Clarke in the second innings and Sunny Gavaskar termed it the 'ball of the century'. The media has gone crazy over it and has been debating for the past few days whether Ravindra Jadeja really bowl the 'ball of the century'. Shane Warne is aghast at learning this and refused to appear on TV to even talk about the delivery. Ashley Giles meanwhile politely declined saying that he was sick to comment on it. So did Jadeja bowl the ball of the century? I'll let you be the judge of that.



In other news Lance Armstrong has named that Jadeja took performance enhancing drugs along with him and that is what gives him such incredible abilities to bowl such magical deliveries. He said, "how can someone so absolutely rubbish, be so great all the sudden? Just a few months ago he bowled the worst delivery in the history of cricket and now he does this (bowl the ball of the century)? Unacceptable. I'm sure Oprah would like to speak to Jadeja over this."

Here's Jadeja against England in December bowling what surely must be one of the worst deliveries in cricket. So did Jadeja take performance enhancing drugs as Armstrong says? Do we believe Armstrong's words? The BCCI President, N. Srinivasan has ordered an inquiry into the matter, after the IPL. He said that the inquiry had to wait as Jadeja was integral to CSK's plans for the upcoming IPL.



Also in the news, Ajay Jadeja has come out and said that Ravindra Jadeja is the younger brother he never had. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Indian Performance Analysis - India vs Australia, Hyderabad, 2013



Che Pujara - the man India trusts
The story at Hyderabad was similar to the one at Chennai as the Australian batsmen once again capitulated against the Indian spinners, not just once but in both innings making it possible that the game was all over with still five sessions left [SCORECARD]. India won the match by a whopping innings and 135 runs (which is more than what Australia managed to score in its second innings) and things look bleak for the visitors as they now trail the series 2-0. For India it was putting on yet another grand show, and its bowling and batting both managed to do that. The three Indian spinners in Ashwin, Harbhajan and Jadeja worked well in tandem and Bhuveneshwar Kumar on day one bowled beautifully swinging the ball. The batting crashed in and managed to put on a huge 503 runs in the first innings thanks largely to the contributions of Vijay and Pujara who together were involved in a 270 partnership for the second wicket. Here's the analysis of the Indian performance.

Indian Player Performance Analysis - read as name: TWP performance score (1st innings; 2nd innings) (DND = did not bat, * = not out, pass = 4/10) 

Murali Vijay: 10/10 - (167 runs; DNB)
In the previous analysis of India at Chennai, I had written - "...Vijay had a brilliant domestic season and much was expected from his playing at home, but I was skeptical (of his selection). He failed in both innings and though he is technically sound, I'm not entirely convinced that he's test material just yet." And wasn't I given a right treatment by Vijay for that skepticism! Vijay showed tremendous commitment and dedication in that knock where he batted for 473 minutes. He took his time to settle down and played the game at his own pace, and boy did he play! Vijay is one of those classy batsmen whose flicks and drives look so very elegant and also thanks to the IPL has another dimension where he can at will send the ball roaring over the fences and his 167 saw a mixture of that which was truly an astonishing sight for both the fans and viewers and also the Australian players who must have been a little confused. Vijay still has long way to go and this is just the first big step in the right direction. 

Virender Sehwag: 1/10 - (6 runs;  DNB)
Sehwag the destructive batsman was missing at Chennai. And he was also missing at Hyderabad and now there are talks of his axing for the next two tests. Sehwag has been going through a slump in form and it is a worrying sight when one of the world's most destructive batsmen and one of your experienced campaigners doesn't perform. The Indian selectors have a big problem in the hand and it will be interesting to see if they do the same justice to Sehwag as they did to Gautuam Gambhir.

Cheteshwar Pujara: 10/10 - (204 runs; DNB)
Wish there was someway I can break the scale and give Pujara a score of more than just 10. He was breathtakingly stunning at Hyderabad and played one of his greatest knocks in his short career so far. Perhaps his best. He was in an attacking mode all through the innings and put the sword to the Australian bowlers. What was even more amazing about the knock is that after tea on Day 2, Pujara was cramping and could hardly run, and braving the pain and often holding onto his thighs, he batted on putting up a magnificent platform with Vijay for India. At the presentation ceremony, Pujara after winning the Man of the Match award said, ‎"There was a bit of pressure on me. I just got married, and my wife was worried how I would perform." Well if he is as good at other things as he is with the bat, then his wife need not worry.

Sachin Tendulkar: 1/10 - (7 runs; DNB)
Sachin Tendulkar did not trouble the scorers much at Hyderabad, but he certainly grabbed the headlines by being dismissed in a bizarre way as the ball clipped or rather brushed the face of his bat and got caught down the leg-side. It was a strange way to get out and goes to show that even the great Sachin Tendulkar is a mortal after all.

Virat Kohli: 5/10 - (34 runs; DNB)
Kohli did get a start and he stood tall as India had a late innings collapse in the first innings, and must feel extremely unlucky as he got out to a sensational piece of fielding, but such is cricket and such is life. 

MS Dhoni: 5/10 - (44 runs; DNB)
Dhoni was in a murderous mood from the moment he walked in and starting sending the Australian bowlers to all over the park. He eventually was out for 44 which came better than a run a ball and he set the mood on the third day as India were looking to build on the platform Pujara - Vijay had laid.

Ravindra Jadeja: 7/10 - (10 runs & 3 wickets; DNB & 3 wickets)
Ravindra Jadeja has come a very long way and now is very much a front-line spinner on Indian tracks. His left-arm gives Dhoni plenty of options and the variation means that the Australian batsmen have yet another problem to deal with on their hand. His bowling was very good once again and his three early strikes on day 4, helped India wrap up the match early. Jadeja is a lovely talent and the only place where he is wanting is his batting and it'd be good to see him perform there. It feels as if India is playing 5 bowlers, and he should rectify that soon. Other than that, he's one smart cookie.

Ravichandran Ashwin: 7/10 - (1 run & 1 wicket; DNB & 5 wickets)
Ashwin once again proved just why he is India's lead spinner and picked up yet another five wicket haul. The Australian batsmen don't seem to have an answer to the tall off-spinner and he does his job of picking up their wickets. They better learn to play him else he's just going to end up with a truck load of wickets to add to his tally from the next two tests.

It was all India at Hyderabad
Harbhajan Singh: 4/10 - (0 runs & 2 wickets; DNB)
Harbhajan Singh's return hasn't set the world on fire but he has been quietly going on about his job as a secondary spinner and backs up Ashwin well. He didn't pick up any wickets in the second innings, but he has done well enough to hold onto his place I feel.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: 5.5/10 - (10 runs & 3 wickets; DNB)
On day one, Bhuvneshwar Kumar set the match up for India with a beautiful spell of swing bowling. His medium pace nipped about and cut through the Australian batsmen and he cleaned up both the openers before coming back to clean up Shane Watson. Kumar is someone with limited abilities in terms of pace and bounce, but he bowls well within himself and makes the most of his strengths. This is just the second match for him, but he does show promise. 

Ishant Sharma: 3.5/10 - (2* runs; DNB & 1 wicket)
Though Ishant Sharma just picked up one wicket in the match, he did his job and supported the other bowlers. Fast bowling is difficult in Indian pitches and Sharma has done the job decently well.

Overall team India's average - 5.4/10

India's overall team average at 5.4 might be lower than the one at Chennai (5.6), but that's largely due to the two special performances of Vijay and Pujara and the two individually scored more than Australia's 10 wickets in the second innings and that tells a story by itself. India look more than a formidable side at home all the sudden and will be keen on wrapping up the series in the next match.  

Check out the mini-session analysis of the match here