Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Boxing Day Test Match - what an occassion

Year 2004..Melbourne..The memory of the day is still as fresh as the morning daffodils. After gulping my christmas cake and singing my not soo sonorous christmas carrols i slept early in anticipation of what everyone expected to be a walk over series for Austrlia. Indian was touring Australia and according to all pandits would do well if they came back losing 2-0 which would be better than the white wash the last time they toured under the captaincy of the master baster saching tendulkar.

I specifically remember Ravi Shastri who had the record (which eventually dravid broke) of scoring a double century against Australia in Australia in Sdyney. Ironically after scoring his double century he became the first victim of the King of spin..Shane Warne. People at that time remarked that shane warne wont last much , he is ordinary..but he sooo proved all wrong, similarly Ravi was the opinion that Indians are going to the butchered by the dominant Aussie and predicted the score of 2-0 in favour of the Kangarooos...but later as we all would come to know..he was sooo wrong..

Well my alarm clock ticked exactly at 5.30 and i was awake and eager to see the Indian`s perform and repeat the hereics of the Brisbane and Adelaide , where dada had come to rescue with an superb 144 and Dravid had given an opportunity for the first time for India to lead the 4 match series 1-0

Well i some how managed to get myself a cup of tea(ie had asked my dad to make me one..he is too as fanatic as i am) and in the warmth of my quilt anxiously awaited the toss. Well India had won and had elected to bat first.

I still dnt know why boxing day test matches world over are soo interesting. Might be because of the crowds or because of fun filled atmosphere all around. Well if the concept was to work in india..we would be having more than one boxing day test match..going by the number of festivals we have...anywaz whatever the occassion the atmosphere was indeed spectacular and i was totally engrossed in the match ..cheering for the men in blue..albiet they had donned their whites..

6 hrs later..the day belonged to just one man....the prince of najafgarg..Verender Sehwag..he spanked, buchered and hit the aussie bowlers to every corner of MCG. So attacking was his style of batting that he amassed a total of 195 runs in just over two sessions..which if i recollect has just been achived once or twice. Infact he had almost scored his century by the time it was lunch.

He cut, drive, pulled and played immaculatley and was a shining star in what turned out to be a match which India eventually lost ..(dnt knw how). The best part about the game of test cricket is that...it is not only imporant that how many runs do you score but also at what pace you scored. It was because sehwag scored his runs at such a pace that when the Indian team although amased a reasonable score but gave the aussie ample time to take a small lead and then to bowl them out cheaply in the second innings to take a lead.

The biggest irony was that sehwag got out to a long hop , a full toss which he hit straight into the hands of the filder at long off. It was a huge disappointment not only for himself but for the millions of fans back home who were praying for him to go on and on and on..and i am pretty sure that if he would have stayed their still the end of the day things would have been different.

At the post match session...i still remember that Harsha Boghle asked Veru that why did he play the ball in the air...when he was nearing his double ton..he tersely replied that ...if he gets full toss he would alwayz try to hit it out of the ground whether he is on 1,195,299...that shows the aggression of the man..

Four years later...here we r...once again..India takes on Australia on a boxing day test match...This time around under the leadership of Anil Kumble(every time india has toured australia with a new captian). It would arguably the last time the veterans would be touring down under..(sachin, dravid,ganguly, laxman and kumble) and would be giving their best.

Unfortunately although virender sehwag is in the 16 ,but want be playing tomorrow..hence history is not going to repeat..but then he have the T20 heroes ..yuvraj and Dhoni...so the aussie you better watch out...

I wish team India all the best...Chak de India...

I have set my alarm..have you...