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Monday, January 28, 2008

No unexpected turns (or turn) as match peters out: Fourth Test Day 5

India 526 and 7/269 dec (V Sehwag 151) drew with Australia 563.

As expected, if not as hoped, the fourth Test fizzled out in a draw today, after Virender Sehwag, having been dropped by Michael Clarke yesterday evening, played an innings of 151 which took India to safety and allowed them to declare at 7/269 late in the day. At this point both captains agreed that the match should end. .

Sehwag's innings followed an extraordinary course: his first 50 took 78b, the second 45b and the third, just when he seemed about to go into orbit, a tortoise like 105b. It goes without saying that without his contribution (the next highest scorers were Extras 26 and M S Dhoni 20) his team would have been in dire straits.

The Australian bowling was patchy: Brett Lee once again was very good (and showed great stamina), Mitchell Johnson had his moments, but the others varied from bland (Stuart Clark: match figures 0/129) to expensive (Brad Hogg: match figures 2/172). I thought that Michael Clarke deserved more than one over, especially if, as looks increasingly likely in the absence of a quality front line spinner, he and Andrew Symonds are going to have do more bowling in future.

So Australia retain the Border - Gavaskar Trophy 2 - 1, yet the results of the last two Tests (some India supporters might claim the last three) show that the gap between the teams has narrowed, perhaps even closed.
I'll post more thoughts about this soon.


Cricinfo Bulletin

PS A fresh hearing of the Harbhajan Singh matter will begin in Adelaide tomorrow.
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