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Friday, March 25, 2011

World Cup: Sachin Tendulkar bowls the delivery of India-Australia match

Zaheer Khan was India’s standout bowler, but the ball of the game was bowled by Sachin Tendulkar. The Little Master proved that he is a genius with the ball too. If it were to be bowled by an Englishman, the English media would have declared it the ball of the century.

Tendulkar, bowling the 30th over of Australian innings, was asked to swing his arm around. In the absence of a leg-spinner, Tendulkar bowled some leg-breaks and came out with deliveries that would have made a certain Shane Warne proud. He turned the third ball of his first over square, the ball pitching outside the leg stump and missing the off-stump by a distance.

Michael Clarke, facing the delivery, was reduced to a mute spectator. He just saw the ball spin and beat him. He missed the edge but a better batsman would perhaps have got out to the delivery. Clarke, looking awfully off-colour, was not good enough to negotiate the delivery.

Tendulkar, incidentally, was bowling in an international after over 15 months. He went on to bowl another over and conceded just nine runs in his two overs at an average of 4.5. One would have wished Dhoni to give Tendulkar a few more overs and Munaf Patel a few less. But then, Dhoni’s bowling changes and decisions on the field left a lot to be wished.

The skipper is still to master the reading of the ball and his calls for decision review proved to be India’s undoing. He appealed for an lbw in a Munaf over and the ball was miles away from the target. Next, he asked for a review for a caught behind that was not to be.

The letdown of the Indian bowling was Harbhajan Singh. On a turning track, he went wicketless in 10 overs. India would have done well with a couple of wickets from their premier spinner. If he cannot take a wicket on a turning track, where else he would? The other two spinners, R Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh, bowled with a lot control and guile. Both claimed two wickets each. A little more penetration from Harbhajan, India’s task would have been much easier, target would have been smaller.

The star of India’s bowling, of course, was Zaheer, who refreshingly enough, bowled a few toe-crushers he was known for. The spearhead came in short burst and exploited the old ball to perfection. The ball that got the wicket of Mike Hussey was a peach and Zaheer would have ended up with at least one more than two wickets if Dhoni had an opportunity to seek a review of the umpire’s decision.

He would have had Ricky Ponting before the Australia skipper reached his century. The yorker was well directed but the umpire would not uphold the appeal for lbw.

The other pacer in the squad was a spectator on the field. Munaf ended up with figures of none for 44 in seven overs. The Australians had singled him out and if Munaf was needed to complete his 10 overs, Australia’s score would have been much more than 260. Dhoni and India selectors would have to revisit the bowling combination.

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