Sorry? Shikhar who?

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March 17, 2013 by dixwah

Mohali: Stumps, day three – India (0/283) trail Australia (408) by 125 runs

Well, well. A couple of steps forward with the bat, finally reaching a seemingly competitive 400-plus.

With tickets to the Heart v Wanderers match, I left home contented (despite the rain). I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

I came home and some bloke I’d never heard of had given Australia’s bowlers a helluva lot of curry.

Shikhar Dhawan. When I checked his stats I certainly didn’t see this coming. It wasn’t a case of Dhawan banging the door down, more Virender leaving it wide open.

To be honest, I saw Ed Cowan, not Vinod Kambli. A middle-aged left-hander with a solid, but hardly scary first-class record (Cowan 87 FC matches, 16 100s, average 40 – Dhawan 81 FC matches, 16 100s, average 45).

Two first-class hundreds this season. 69 runs from five ODIs a couple of years ago. Not exactly shaking in your boots stuff.

Sure, I’ve been wrong before. Step forward Johnson Charles.

Dhawan joins Charles as someone well better than I gave them credit for.

Dhawan joins Charles as someone well better than I gave them credit for.

Anyway, 185 runs and only 168 balls later, Australia is on the canvas again. Mitchell Starc was justifiably fatigued, Siddle was ineffective and James Pattinson was wearing the fluro singlet. Our spinners were chicken feed.

While Shikhar slapped away, the ghost of Navjot Sidhu arrived at the other end, as Murali Vijay started plonking our straight breakers into the stands for fun.

Where to now?

My interest in the result is actually enhanced with the rain on day one, with the likelihood of India building a big lead today and Australia fighting for a draw on day five.

A draw in Mohali would be a moral victory for Australia, more reliant on steel with the stick on day five than any heroics with the ball today (although it would help). Bring it, it’s been too long.

The punishment for the forgetful four seems oh so harsh now. Embarrassing individuals to make a point is kids stuff, it might even be warranted at club level. But the resulting drain in our playing talent, where James Pattinson was so obviously missed and Phil Hughes so horribly still out there, could mean that making point embarrasses a proud cricketing nation.

Rant over, and Mitchell Starc is going to be a big player in the 10 Ashes Tests. In more suitable conditions with the ball, and with his obvious batting ability down the order, he could make the difference in building leads and taking big wickets. He deserved a hundred, hopefully his time comes.




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