Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A rare Test match at Mohali

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Winning a Test match after conceding 400+ runs in the first innings is rare. Its happened only 39 times out of over 2000 odd Test matches. Interestingly post 2000, its becoming somewhat of a trend. with 23 of the 39 instances all happening in the last 13 years.

400 is not what it used to be, perhaps because of the rate at which runs are scored these days. It still leaves a lot of time for the conceding team to come back, if they respond with a higher scoring rate.

Of the 23 times it has happened, in the last 13 years, India feature 8 times, 4 against Australia alone. In fact prior to 2000 India never won a Test after conceding 400 runs to the opposition in the first innings. England and Australia have won 6 times each, and Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa once each, since 2000.

But the just concluded Mohali Test was, perhaps, the one and only instance where a side won after conceding 400 runs in the first innings in what was effectively a 4 day Test (4 1/4 if you go by the number of overs bowled).

This was made possible, quite clearly by one person...

Shikhar Dhawan. 

187 runs in 174 balls. 

The rate at which he scored, in a way created time for India to go for a win aided by Australia's fight back. 

At the start of Day 4, India were 283 for no loss still in their first innings. M. Vijay in his interview to the press suggested India would bat on and on and try and dismiss Australia in the second innings while still in deficit. 

Given India's traditional reluctance, underscored in Dominica, to force wins when the series can be won with a draw, whether India would have declared in time for a win is worth pondering. But Australia's fight back played right into India's reluctant hands. 

To add to the time Shikhar Dhawan created, Australia's bowlers created even more time for India's bowlers to go for the kill by dismissing India in their first innings with 115 possible overs still remaining in the match and India only 91 runs ahead. 

Ultimately, India took almost a day to dismiss Australia (90 overs) in the second innings, with 3 crucial wickets coming in the last 20 overs of Day 4. Had Australia not fought back, I wonder when India would have declared. Of course had wickets not fallen, India would have scored more runs in the same time but even so the onus to force a win would be on India. India has rarely grabbed such opportunities, or even thought it necessary to.

In sum Shikhar Dhawan and Austraia's bowlers teamed up to deliver a rare Test. A team won after conceding 400 runs in the first innings in a 4 day Test.


Homer said...

Hypothetically, had wickets not fallen,India could have declared with a lead of 200 with 100 overs left in the game. Given there were 98 overs (minimum) to be bowled on Day 5, and given India's over rate, it is as likely that an Australian team defending for the draw on a fifth day wicket would have perished.

Also, Indiascored 210/10 in 72 overs on a Day 4 wicket- as much as we want to talk about a collapse, the rate of scoring hardly reeks of a "reluctant" team.


Golandaaz said...

can't argue with any of that really..

a few points though...
with the first day washed out Day 4 was a Day 3 wicket really so from 280 odd for no loss to 499 all out is closer to a collapse than batting that dictates the course of the game

The reluctance I talk about is accumulative. Oval, Dominica. Yes there is a case to defend India's approach but past evidence suggests little that India would have forced a win, with the series decided. They've rarely if ever done it. against Gooch's England 1993 perhaps

Homer said...


Nothing moves a game forward as a batting collapse does. I was in conversation with a friend of mind at the end of Day 3, and we bothwere of the opinion that India finishing 50 behind would actually be good for the test match since it would prove

a) That there is something for the bowlers to prise out wickets quickly and

b) The would be enough time left in the game to force a result.

Also the push to force a result is a confidence thing. We can dissect Dominica till the cows come home, and there is merit to both arguments, for and against. With the Oval, I was perfectly okay with us not enforcing the follow on. What killed me was that we would not make any attempt to put together a total that would challenge the Poms on Days 4 and 5.
Also, how many times in our cricket history have we been in any position of complete ascendancy - for the most part, we have been at level or chasing the game. Its hard to break the mould when you are conditioned to think and act in a particular manner, especially in a situation unfamiliar to you.


Golandaaz said...

Dominica was different. Sorry for bringing it up :-)

Every other test match I can see the for/against arguments

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it!!!! Golandaaz delivers a post without berating at Sachin. Whatever happened Gol? Did Sachin return you back your secret lover? All fine between you now? We can expect Jai Sachin posts now?