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A bowler’s nightmare

Match aggregates in the region of 700 told the story of batsmen-friendly rules,conditions.

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Bangalore | Published: November 4, 2013 1:17:26 am

As a query it might have had little relevance to the just concluded ODI series that India had edged 3-2. Even George Bailey,to whom the question was addressed to,couldn’t restrain a raised eyebrow when he was asked about his availability for his state team Tasmania in their next Sheffield Shield match in two days’ time.

“I can tell you that a number of batsmen from here will be playing for their state sides. As for the bowlers,I’m sure they’re looking forward to a break,” said the Australian ODI captain,not suppressing a a wry grin.

At the start of the series,it was built up as a contest between the top two teams in the 50-over format. And to their credit the two teams did run each other close till the very end. But one look at the number of batting records that were accumulated by the two teams during the series should be good enough to reveal the incorrigible domination that bat enjoyed over ball.

In all,the two teams scored 3597 runs in the five completed matches and the two innings in Ranchi and lost 65 wickets. Each scalp cost 55.33 runs. Double-centurion Rohit Sharma’s tally of 491 runs was the highest ever in a bilateral series followed by Bailey’s 478,also coming here. Out of the six occasions when more than 700 runs were scored in a match,three happened in this series. There were nine scores of over 300 in the series and some of the individual records notched up included the fastest centuries for an Indian and Australian batsmen and the swiftest half-century by a batsman from Down Under. The bowlers too entered the record books,but not in the way they would have liked. While Vinay Kumar’s 102 runs was the most conceded by an Indian in an ODI,Clint McKay bowled the second-most profligate over for Australia in the same match,where he went for 89 runs overall.

Everyone from Sharma to Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan to Bailey,Aaron Finch and James Faulkner cashed in. By chasing down the second and third highest totals in ODI history within 10 days in the same series,the Indian team is now unlikely to shudder when faced with even the unlikeliest of challenges. No target must seem out of reach from here on,at least at home.

“You won’t get wickets like that in Australia or South Africa. It does depend a little bit on conditions. Maybe in Australia,the two new balls play a part and the team might be 3-30 and you’ve got to find a way to get to 250. The problem is how do you talk to your bowlers? How do you work out who has bowled well? How do you work out who has done their job?” said Bailey. He might well have a point. Pakistan and South Africa have after all been involved in a nerve-wracking yet low-scoring tussle in the Middle East simultaneously.

Johnson the exception

The only bowler to have had an impact on the series,if only slightly,was Mitchell Johnson. In a bizarre move,he was sent back home on the eve of the series decider in Bangalore,to prepare for the Ashes. And while Bailey did admit to having missed his premier pacer during the Chinnaswamy onslaught he was soon faced with another peculiar question,about the lessons that the Aussies could take from this series to the Ashes. Like always,Bailey was ready,and his reply summed up the overall one-sidedness of what has just transpired over the last 20-odd days. “I’m not sure there’ll be any lessons from this game heading into the Ashes. It will be a hell of an Ashes Test match though if this is the sort of cricket that’s played over there too.”

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