There was probably no need to actually watch the cricket today. (And actually I didn’t watch the entire day, I wanted to see some of the tennis too.) India played the same way they did in England and the same way they did for most of the first three Tests in Australia though. Once again they looked like they cared for about a session and after they had bowled for longer than they would in a limited overs match they seemed to give up and wait for the declaration. It was a flat deck, but after they had got the top three out in the morning they had a chance if they had applied some more pressure. It was not on an atypical Adelaide wicket that England reduced Australia to 2-3 and eventually 245 all out. Australia were only 82 runs better off when they lost their third wicket this time, but India never looked like they were going to press home that advantage. Clarke and Ponting deserve credit though; they batted imperiously for two and a bit sessions in an unbroken stand of over 250.
Part of India’s malaise is almost certainly down to the fact that Virender Sehwag was the captain. It rather surprised me when it was announced that he was to captain the side for this Test as it did not require precognitive powers (not that I have them, or that such powers even exist) to guess what was going to happen. They say that a captain sets the example and I shudder to think what sort of example Sehwag sets. He must be one of the laziest Test cricketers in the world, perhaps even one of the laziest cricketers full stop. The Chuck-Fleetwood Smiths once described his fielding as ‘with a deck chair drinking a piña colada‘ and as far as I can tell that’s his default setting. He absolutely failed to inspire the team in any way when they had been in the field all day and I very much doubt anyone is surprised by that.
India have been so poor in this series that I have almost run out of ways to describe them without getting repetitive. Their only hope in this match is that the pitch is so flat their batsmen can get a few runs and they can draw the game. True Indian fans may hope that doesn’t happen though. Despite the multitude of excuses for their poor form, there are starting to be a few high profile voices calling for major change to the side. India must heed those calls if they are to improve and there is no more effective way to make sure they are ignored than for their batsmen to make enough runs to save the game. If that happens then the media and many fans will say that everything is good again in India and they will continue to say so right up until (and possibly after) they are hammered by England in November.