The last week has seen the one-day series swing back in the direction of India, and today's epic game saw to it that they'll go into Saturday's concluding game at Lord's at 3-3.

I was working all day and so only got to see the last few overs live, but that was enough to make it clear that it had been an exceptional day in the September sunshine on a typically run-filled Oval track.

Notwithstanding Tendulkar's blistering 94, which rolled back the years like nothing else we've seen from him this summer, it was a day for the youngsters - or at least those still trying to make their way in the international game - Luke Wright, Owais Shah and Dimitri Mascarenhas for England, Robin Uthappa for India. The first three, with power and placement, took England to the type of total that would once have appeared unassailable, while the last, regaining his place in the side with Dravid's assistance, applied the coup de grace just as the odds seemed to be running inexorably in England's favour.

Like many people I had my doubts about the duration of the series before it started, but with six games down and Lord's to come (and how many times will the 2002 NatWest Series final be mentioned over the next few days?) seven matches suddenly seems about right.

Bring on Saturday.


Homer said...

7 matches is still two matches too long Brian, notwithstanding the cricket being dished out. I would have loved to see one more test between two evenly matched teams rather than this slug fest where neither team has it in them to deliver the knockout punch.

We cant field and cant bowl, you cant bowl and cant bat.. Where is the contest?

Anonymous said...

Hiya Brian

5 tests + 7 odis gets my vote. But no day/night games considering the Singapore time zone please !

How come Mascarenhas doesn't make the twenty/20 squad ? We'd have burnt effigies !

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks for posting, guys. I think I got slightly carried away in the aftermath of yesterday and temporarily forgot that I prefer Test cricket. Ideally it would have been at least a four Test series, which would have probably meant a reduction of a couple of ODIs. But, that said, I think it's been a good series, precisely because both sides are equally flawed and are therefore evenly matched. India's fielding has often been comical but you're going a bit far in suggesting they can't bowl - Zaheer's continued to impress and Powar, Chawla and Agarkar have had their moments. England at least look like they've got a vague idea of what they're doing, which has rarely been the case in ODIs over recent years. As for their bowling, well, with Sachin and Sourav and Yuvraj and Uthappa going well it ain't easy. With the bat Bell's been doing okay and I enjoyed Shah's ton yesterday, although I he should have been given out much earlier.

Mascarenhas is interesting - he's been a good performer for Hampshire for years and it's perceived that he's in the side because Shane Warne's talked him up regularly over the past few seasons. I don't think many people (including the England selectors) realised that he could do what he did yesterday - if they had he'd be going to South Africa.

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