Anatomy of a victory - The Power of Mind Over Matter
I had promised Zunaid bhai a write up at the end of the series but oh what the heck.
I watched bits of the last Test and these two ODIs. Here are my thoughts:
1) Ever since Ashraful's innings - our batsmen (at the moment at least) are playing fearlessly. Rafique goes lbw to a marginal call, and Bashar and hits three class fours. Ashraful hits two sixe that are almost contemtuous. We still need to learn to mix agression and defense better, but it seems our batsmen are not letting the bowlers get in their head. Tomorrow with Pathan and Bhajji should prove to be the ultimate test.
On the same vein, Ashraful is _this_ close to becoming a bonafide star.
2) The Indian bowlers, Kartik excepted, were ordinary on the day. Zaheer sprayed it all over the place. Sharma for some inexplicable reason thought he was an express bowler (what with the bouncers). Srirarm - well let's just say our Rana bowls more threatening SLA then he does. Agarkar had his moments - but really he's the Talha of India, maddeningly inconsistent. Kartik I thought bowled with great guile. His dismissal of Ashraful was oh so clever. If Ash had stuck around, we'd have hit 250 - no doubt.
3) Bashar's captaincy was outstanding. Agressive field placing well in the the 21st or 22nd overs. Ringing in the bowling changes with applomb (his use of the strike bowlers, his persistence with Rafiq), he also took a phenomenal catch at the very position the commentators had been harping he shouldn't be in. You could see the line of thinking - with the low bounce from the pacers, especially Nazmul and chacha, edges would prolly not carry whereas the willinngess of the Indian batsmen to pull the occasional shortish ball meant that offsides was the place to be.
4) Our bowlers' accuracy was phenomenal. I double-checked with the cricinfo commentary, and the number of rank bad balls we bowled was no more than 20. Some good balls were hit for boundaries but to maintain a 93.3% accuracy over 300 odd balls... dayamn!!!
5) Dhaka League form does help - Chacha had been in outstanding form in the league and has carried it on here. He is our Chris Harris. Naggingly accurate dibbly dobblers and vital runs these days. Right now takes over the bit player role from Mushfique.
6) Rajin Saleh - what class. A horrible series with the bat, stripped of the vice-captaincy just recently - he could have easily moped. But no, he was our own powder keg on the field and just the look of frustration on Sriram and Ganguly's face when they could not penetrate the inner circle - priceless. He epitomised our fighting spirit.
7) A shout out to observer/Richard Mccinnis. Aftab, Nafees, Nazmul all come from the u-19 pipeline. Actually, age group cricket is the one thing we have got going in this country. Ash came that route too.
8) That pilot sure knows the rulebook. How many of you knew if bails are off - you pick the stumps up?
9) Let's see... Scotland, Pak, Zim, Ind. All cases of defending a decentish total. Are we now ready to win while chasing?
To Be Continued