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Thursday, January 26, 2006


International cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen ranks India-Pakistan tests ahead of the Ashes rivalry for their sheer intensity. "Nothing gets bigger than this," he said when asked to rate the competitiveness of the two famed rivalries.

But what pray is the point of this intense rivalry when match after match is turning out to be countless drone of runs on increasingly lifeless pitches.

Sure records are being re-written, to what purpose though?

By the end of the second high-scoring draw in Faisalabad here's what the record table looked like:

- A new record for sixes in a match.
- Pakistan chalked up a match aggregate of 1078 runs which was the highest by a single team in a five-day test.
- The combined match aggregate of 1702 was the fourth-highest in five-day tests.
- Younis Khan completed his 11th test match hundred with a record-breaking fourth century in four consecutive tests against India.

Way to go guys, but would you really call this entertaining cricket?

For once, the Ashes like rivalry lulled me to sleep, even while the match was on. I woke up a good two hours later to see Younis Khan still at it. More hours later, the game looked as dead as the pitch itself.

Things picked up only when Shahid Afridi swaggered out in true Afridi fashion hoping to hit another knocker. It was a hysterical welcome, one which for once was destined to be brief. Barely had he settled into the field that disaster struck. He chased a wide one from Zaheer Khan and got an edge off the bottom of his bat that went straight into Dhoni's gloves.

What happened after that was even more hilarious. More than half the crowd deserted the Faisalabad stadium as their hero walked back dejected. Were all those seats free? I would have waited to watch more drama had I paid for my seat.

And then the domino like crumble began.

Man-of-the-match R P Singh finally trapped the record-breaking Younis Khan l.b.w. for 190.

Soon 490 for six became 490 all out as Zaheer Khan bowled Mohammad Asif first ball for a golden duck before also bowling Danish Kaneria without scoring.

The third and deciding test starts in Karachi is on Friday. One can only hope that the team that cleaned up England 2-nil will have the guts to take us back to some of that glory!

Time alone will tell, till then enjoy some of the bouncers and beamers currently doing the rounds off the field:

Shoaib to Dhoni, when the latter walks in to bat: "Yeh Pakistan hai, India nahi!"

After Dhoni hits his first boundary: "Pakistan ko khelna itni jaldi seekh gaye?"

Tuesday morning, the Dhoni-Irfan partnership showed no signs of being broken.
Akhtar bowled a beamer at Dhoni (at 140 kmph). "It might have slipped from his hand", Dhoni later said, but we so far there has been no apology from the Rawalpindi Express, looks there never will be!

When Kaneria began sledging Dhoni on Monday, the batsman hit him for two straight sixes.

What can I say?
Keep those comments flowing guys, they are more than just fuel for Dhoni's bat.