Posts Tagged ‘harbhajan singh’

Australia ended the fourth day of the First Test with a 263 run lead and five second-innings wickets still standing.

With Stuart Clark picking up an elbow injury and unable to bowl this morning, potentially complicating the Australian attack plan for the fourth innings, the tactical imperative for the tourists was quick runs.

India, though, had other ideas, and Sharma and Harbhajan took a couple of wickets each to put Australia in trouble at 128-5. Zaheer Khan had earlier continued his key contribution to the match by making 57 not out (the top score in India’s 360 all out), and taking his sixth wicket of the match, dismissing Matthew Hayden cheaply for the second time in four days.

The picture started to improve for Ponting’s side as Brad Haddin and Shane Watson dug in, and Australia still have a good chance of victory, but a draw (despite a rapidly deteriorating pitch) seems by far the most likely outcome now.

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Yesterday, I wrote that Australia might find it hard to dismiss India cheaply. It turns out I wasn’t too far wrong on that front, but “the experience of their top order” didn’t have as much to do with it as I predicted. Dravid made 51 (youtube here), and there were notable contributions from Sehwag and Ganguly, but it was – of all people – Harbhajan Singh who steadied the ship, making 54 thrilling runs (youtube here) after Mitchell Johnson had taken a number of key wickets.

Australia will have been frustrated by the lower order’s resistance, and need to mop up the tail early tomorrow. Zaheer Khan is still there on 35 not out, and Anil Kumble has five test 50s and an unbeaten century to his name, so this won’t necessarily be a simple task.

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After India’s great start to the series with the wicket of Matthew Hayden in the third ball of the First Test, the first day belonged to Ricky Ponting, who made his 36th hundred (and his first in India – youtube here) before falling to Harbhajan (youtube here).

Australia have the upper hand. but only just.

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Harbhajan Singh has predicted that Australia’s new spin attack won’t cause many problems for India in next month’s series: “There are no spinners in Australia of the quality of Warne and MacGill now, and I’m sure our batsmen, who are the best players of spin in the world, are going to have fun with this challenge”.

I’m sure that people were saying similar things about Mendis not so long ago…

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India have won the Second Test against Sri Lanka, levelling the series at 1-1 and ending their horrible record at Galle, mainly thanks to wickets from Harbhajan Singh and the hitherto disappointing Ishant Sharma, who restricted the Sri Lankans to 136 all out in their pursuit of 307.

Ajantha Mendis, despite losing some of his psychological advantage over India’s batsmen continued to take wickets, however, and picked up his first 10-wicket haul in only his second Test match.

All eyes (except perhaps those of English fans) will be on the deciding Test of the series, which starts on Friday.

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… since Friday (that youtube post was pre-set), and I come back to this.

Holy Cow. I guess that Harbhajan has always had something like this in him, but you’re never really ready to see a grown man cry.

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Both Lawrence Booth and Steven Smart have written this weekend about the challenge the Indian Premier League faces in creating passionate support for its franchises.

The lack of history, or even of geographical cohesion (Harbhajan Singh, for example, is representing Mumbai rather than his native Punjab), will be difficult to overcome. Fan identities can’t be entirely manufactured, and (as Booth points out) not many Indian cricket fans will suddenly feel inclined to boo Sachin Tendulkar or cheer Matthew Hayden merely because of the particular shade of fluorescence they are wearing.

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South Africa have been skittled out for a measly 265 runs, after having been 152 for 1. Most of the damage was done by young guns Piyush Chawla and Ishant Sharma, but Harbhajan Singh got three as well to prove that it’s not all young whippersnappers in India. The Leading Cricketer in the World got one run.

This outdated test cricket can be quite good, you know.

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India have won the second ‘final’ (which will, ahem, make it the final ‘final’), beating Australia by a mere 9 runs.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Andrew Symonds got physical with a streaker, before being dismissed by his best mate in the world, Harbhajan Singh. The same Singh over also saw the departure of Matthew Hayden, which some Indian fans will no doubt be calling poetic justice.

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Matthew Hayden has gone and done something very silly, (and not very Christian) which has obviously made things worse between Australia and India ahead of their three One-Day ‘Finals’ in the Commonwealth Bank series.

This will do nothing to improve Hayden’s reputation amongst the international cricket-loving fraternity, and may indeed worsen it (if that’s even possible).

The whole thing is probably going to rumble on for some time to come.

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This week’s videos are on the subject of that Holy Grail for Bowlers – the hat-trick.

Irfan Pathan’s in the first three balls of a Test match against Pakistan is a classic of the genre, as is one of my personal favourites, Dominic Cork’s ‘Champagne’ hat-trick against a formidable West Indies side.

Spinners’ hat-tricks tend to be a bit heavier on the psychological warfare, and Warne and Harbhajan have both ripped through batting orders using this tactic.

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Well, I couldn’t avoid writing about it forever. The Australia – India Test series was actually quite good, but now everyone involved has come out of it badly.

Symonds, it was revealed, was needlessly aggressive towards Singh when the latter patted Brett Lee on the back (which used to be A Good Thing, didn’t it?), and never managed to earn much sympathy from neutral observers.

Singh has confirmed suspicions that he is a bit of a wally. He can’t even be defended on cricketing grounds, as his figures in the Test series were pretty poor.

The guys in charge came out perhaps the worst. Cricket Australia is facing accusations of selling out its players for the sake of political and financial expendiency. As for the BCCI, they basically threw a temper tantrum until things were resolved to their satisfaction.

Of course, the ICC hardly helped. Their stock has fallen further and faster in recent years than Northern Rock’s, and they show no sign of getting their act together anytime soon.

If all that is a touch depressing, here’s a more positive ‘monkey’ story.

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