In the 2001 Ashes, Australian coach John Buchanan showed how and why he is a famous coach, by virtue of his 'Art of War' reference and displaying everyone that Aus is the dominating force by ticking against the columns indicating each session.. Time and again, one hears about 'taking one step at a time', 'playing ball-by-ball', etc. The idea is, small things taken care over an extended period of time automatically puts you in the driver's seat.
The Ind-Aus 2001 series is touted by most as 'one of the best series ever' bcos the fortunes of each team swung so wildly that it was impossible to guess what is coming, and when the inevitable came, the frontier remained unconquered and lots of us were just catching up our breath thinking what went by. Here is a look at the last year's Ind-Pak series, analyzed session-by-session..
A few points to help you out with this rather long table, which has covered all the 3 tests:
* Blue is for India and green for Pak..
* 'Result' is the outcome of that particular session, whereas the 'score' is at the end of that session.
*'Winner' is judged by taking into account the runs scored, wickets lost, match situation, etc.
*'Overall' is the tally of session-winners at the end of each day..
*M.O.D. is 'Man of the day' - the player whose performance was the best/most significant on that day.
A few interesting observations from the table:
> India dominated most of the test series (24 to 21 sessions) but it looked as if Pakistan scored the brownie points probably becos a) Pak won the last match so 'fresh memory'; b) Pak won the one-day series that followed.
> I have circled certain sessions in the 'result' column (in diff. colors), which, IMHO, were the sessions in which the winner was decided. It is interesting to note that winning sessions towards the last two days of the match is much more important. (sounds obvious, huh?)
> India all but won the first test at Mohali but for the first 2 sessions on the 5th day, which helped Pak secure a draw.
> India was all set to draw the last test at Bangalore before the last two sessions resulted in loss of 9 wickets.
In the context of the current match (2nd test at Faisalabad), had Pak got the wickets of Dhoni and Irfan, it would have certainly put them in a winning position.. And, the fortune of the match lies in the hands of these two guys and the rest of the tail to follow (both with bat and ball). If India can bat till tea today, scoring 250 runs, it can put pressure on the Pak lineup, which has 2 batsmen out of the game. Just 8 wickets to be picked up and few runs to win.. Day-dreaming, am I not?
P.S.: After watching these two dull draws, I feel we are back to the old time when both teams were so afraid of losing that they took the 'caution first' approach and produced draws after draws.. Infact, when I think about it, a 'draw' is actually 'no-result'. (this is with reference to my earlier post on Indo-Pak tests). So, two consecutive draws dont mean that the results of the two games were the same, since they actually produced no results.. confused, huh? I mean, I wouldnt call 'draw' a result. Thus, in Indo-Pak tests, one has to go back 23 years ago, when two consecutive matches produced the same result.
Thus, including draws, the number swells to a whopping 28 tests in a row!!! Most of our cricketers would have been wetting their beds or not even born when two consecutive Indo-Pak matches produced the same result.. (yeah.. that is a good 7 out of the 11 who played the Faisalabad test). Pak is so afraid of losing to India.. Let us hope atleast Karachi test produces a 'result'..