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Impressive India !

"What a win !", that was my first reaction after India pulled off a deserving victory at Perth. Events at Sydney might have just spurred them, but it was a thorough cricketing performance that won them the game, and not emotions of outrage or revenge.

Firstly, winning the toss and batting first was a bold, bold decision at Perth - going by some of the devilish pitch-games played by the ever-so-hostile Australian media. Now, having won the toss - they had a job to do that is to bat well and they did put up a reasonable performance. Runs on the board was always the key and 330 was not a bad score to be honest, especially with two inexperienced Australian openers. And then, keeping the Aussies to around 220 was an admirable effort.

Secondly, the hosts played like saints and not their usual sinners image. There was less noise behind the wicket, except for the odd "C'mon Symmo" chant from wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist. Shows the amount of difference a week can make to a team whose image was tattered to pieces among their own populace. And this makeover, I hope came at the right time. The sledging went out of the book, and all one could see were smiles exchanged. I have not seen a more naive Australian side in the past 10 years. That won't please John McEnroe one bit.

Thirdly, we saw the young Indian bowling attack come of age. Irfan Pathan might have just swung the game for India and as much as Ricky Ponting seems touchy on this subject - Australians have a problem against quality swing bowling. They lost the Ashes in 2005 to Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff rather than Ashley Giles' mundane left-arm-over-the-wicket line. RP Singh's stint with Leicester early in the English summer seems to have helped him mature into a dependable bowler and not to forget the most improved bowler on view - Ishant Sharma. The vicious spell he bowled against Ponting was critical and it was a refreshing sight to see an Indian bowler make a the world's best batsman look like a first-class debutant. Ponting hopped, skipped and jumped and at his own admittance, claimed that "I was not good enough to see through his last over". Way to go, Ishant !

Lastly, before I forget - one of my close friends remarked the other day that India have picked up this recent trend of performing on responsive wickets. I could'nt agree with him more. Johannesburg 2006, Delhi 2007 and now Perth 2008. Now, the key is to pick 20 wickets on really barren - rather "unresponsive" tracks and prove that they weren't a flash in the pan at Perth. Adelaide will probably bring some back nostalgia of the previous tour, but emotions should be kept at check as India must remind themselves that there is a Test match to be won.

This post first appeared on The Cricket Journal, please read the originial post: here

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Impressive India !


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