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Tuesday, November 29, 2005 

Highlights package

With so much happening in the world of cricket, I have put together a highlights package.

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India won the final ODI in Mumbai to level the series 2-2against South Africa. It was perhaps a fitting result, with SA showing lot more spirit and gumption than the Sri Lankans last month. India did well in Mumbai after a dismal show in Kolkata - with the bowlers squeezing SA to just 221. Pathan and Harbhajan were fantastic, and India's fielding was too good to be true.
Sachin and Sehwag did the initial damage with the bat, and Dravid batted according to the situation and saw India through. That knock must have been particularly satisfying for Rahul - to be there at the end, to level the series and to cap a fine run in the ODIs (8 wins out of 11 matches) as captain. Yuvraj has progressed in leaps and bounds in this series, and played well for his 49. All in all, it was a good ODI series (something we haven't seen for a long time - 6-1 V SL was great for India, but the quality of cricket was not the best), with a fighting SA team and a spirited India dishing out some absorbing stuff.

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Lara got yet another record in his name, overtaking Border to be Test cricket's highest run-getter. It looked unlikely coming into the third Test, but Lara did what he does best - score a big 'un. I missed the double century, but it must have been something to watch. One of life's biggest regrets will be that I may never get to see Lara play a big knock in a Test match live. He has played just 3 Tests in India - and his record against India is surprisingly poor (averages below 40!). Mzybe I should plan a trip to the Carribean just to watch him bat next summer. It may be worth my while.
There have been endless debates about Lara's position in the Batting Hall of Fame - suffice to say, in full flow, and I mean FULL FLOW, I think there is no better sight than him batting.

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Inspite of Lara's sheer brilliance, Aus won the series 3-0. Ho hum!

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England's woes in Pakistan continue. Needing a win in Lahore to level the series, they don't seem to have done enough at the end of Day 1 to achieve that result. 248/6 is not a winning first day score on such a pitch. England's batting continues to disappoint, with no consistency overall. They have a terrific pace bowling unit, and an explosive middle order - but not much else. Unless they get a quality spin option and some consistent batting in the top order, they will struggle in the sub-continent.

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In what could be a seminal moment for Indian cricket, Sharad Pawar has been elected the President of the BCCI. Dalmiya's reign (directly or by proxy) is finally over, and a fresh committee takes charge. Time will tell if this set is better than the ones that preceded it, but atleast the BCCI and Indian cricket can expect something new. Everyone will now wait and see if new=better.

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