At the end of 1st day at Newlands, Capetown, SA - there was a talk stating that Rahul Dravid had given his team a New Year Gift by winning the toss. Also there was a talk of similarties between matches played in past and especially the one played in Sydney
But looking at the comparision, one can definetely feel that the similarities failed to exist since day 1
Day 1: In sydney India scored 284 for 3 In SA scored 254 for 3 (a loss of 30-40 runs)
Day 2: India ended the day @ 650 for 5 In SA were bowled out for 414 (a loss of 200 runs)
Day 3: India decl @ 705 for 7;Australia 342/6 In SA, the home team is bowled out for 373 (a lead of 200 )
Day 4: Australia 474, India 211/2d, Australia 10/0 In SA India bowled out for 169, SA score 55 for 2
Day 5: Australia survive @357 for 6 SA canter to Victory @ 211 for 5
Hence feel India lost the script since day 1 and squandered the 'golden' chance to win a series in SA.
Personally feel India missed the bus in SA due to
1. Slow Scoring Rate - ended the day 1 short by 30-40 runs
2. Middle Order Failure - there was no defining partnership in the middle order
3. Bowling - Bowlers not bowling well on the pitch considered to be in India's favor.
4. Selection process - playing Munaf instead of Harbhajan. Would India have played 3 fast bowlers on a Indian Pitch? Answer known to 'Indian Think Tank'. Why was Virendra Sehwagh persisted?
Rain has alway played a 'defining' factor in deciding the results of a game or fortunes of a political parties in elections.
Every team travels with all the help of technology and support staff whose duty would be to keep track of things happening outside the cricket field. Indian cricket team is no different and was surprised to hear no one was watching or hearing the weather channel after India's batting started crumbling on day 4. If weather report was predicting rain for day 5, a message should have gone out the Indian Tail-enders to stay put as long as they can and give Kartik ample support. History repeats itself again, India had to playout few minutes (not even sessions) in the last test match against WI in WI before a downpour could have drawn the match and given them a chance to go home smiling.
There was another incident that would have caused India a wicket and a embrassing defeat that would have definetely raised another 'furor' in the minds of the politicians of the country. Sachin was away for 18 mins on the 3 rd day during the SA innings and could not come out to play till 18 mins were gone in India's 2nd innings. This point should have been definetely noted by the support staff and pointed out to the Indian Captain.
It would be interesting to note if BCCI would take action against the support staff for such 'performance' lapses.
All said and done, it was not a NEW YEAR GIFT the INDIAN CAPTAIN would have liked giving to his team...
INDIA needs to gear up and come up with some tricks for the WC2007.