Did you happen to watch the last two balls of play on day three? Ajit Agarkar to Satish — on perfect length, just that fraction short of ‘good length’, lifting nicely off the deck, then deviating off the seam at the very last instant to leave a well set, defensive minded batsman squared up and lucky to survive.
Deliveries like that, on day one of a game, would have the purists in ecstatic anticipation of a real clash between bat and ball; when it comes at the fag end of day three, when on almost any pitch around the world the conditions are at their best for batting, it’s a real delight.
Thanks to having a container full of stuff — my Bombay home, reduced to boxes of various shapes and sizes — land up at my Bangalore doorstep, I missed large chunks of the game, but did manage to catch bits here and there [thanks to a very friendly neighbor who recognized my name, and left his front door open so I could peek at his TV screen from across the corridor! :-)] and the post tea play in its entirety.
The eye-catcher, aside from the bowling [while on that, I’ll confess to perverse delight at the sight of Ramesh Powar, that beer keg on legs — he is perhaps the only throwback to a different era, when pot bellies were the norm, and when you look past the avoirdupois you find an off spinner cast in the classical mould], was easily young Manish Pandey.
The lad clearly has talent to burn, attitude ditto; the pull he played off Agarkar to get to his 50 — off the front foot to a short of length ball on this kind of deck, hitting to the left of mid wicket — was a sight for the gods, as was a cover drive and a clip off his legs that would have done top flight internationals proud.
He clearly merits a go at the highest level — trick is, how on earth are selectors going to slot the lad into a team that seems to have a half dozen decent contenders vying for two or three places? The answer to that one is going to be interesting to watch.
Oh, and on a day when India and Sri Lanka set a record, they were at it again. Actually, at the time of writing this, they still are, and there is a commentator yelling something about it being a cup final — but seriously, as Sidharth Monga said in that piece linked to above, it’s time the rest of us went on strike.
Again, I only managed to catch glimpses of the India innings [and I notice that Virat Kohli, with a less than optimal sense of timing, managed a failure on the day Peter Roebuck picked him in his list of young bucks to watch for] — including a slightly extended look at Raina playing spin, which always ranks among the more pleasing sights in the game. Lanka is now chasing, and I find I just don’t care. Seriously — there is something wrong when you actually begin looking forward to a Test match against Bangladesh.
Consider this today’s hi-hello post; tomorrow is about unpacking stuff, re-assembling dismantled furniture, et al. Strenuous, stress-filled day ahead — blogging, if time and energy permit, will happen sometime late evening. Be well, all. Meanwhile, here’s some leisure reading: Mike Marquesee on the Firozeshah Kotla in particular and Indian grounds in general.