Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2013 Contents A55
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DUBAI---Pakistan opening batsman
Ahmed Shehzad has been fined 50 per
cent of his match fee for pushing
Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dil-
shan during the third one-day inter-
national at Sharjah in United
The International Cricket Council
said Monday that Shehzad pleaded
guilty to Level 2 breach of the code of
conduct which relates to "inappropri-
ate and deliberate physical contact
between players in the course of play
during an international match."
Shehzad was involved in a debate
with Dilshan during the 19th over of
Sri Lanka s run-chase on Sunday
when he pushed the Sri Lanka open-
ing batsman s shoulder.
Shehzad scored 81 runs and fea-
tured in a match-winning 160-run
partnership with Mohammad Hafeez
as Pakistan won by 113 runs and took a
2-1 lead in the five-match series. (AP)
Pakistan's Shehzad fined for pushing Dilshan
Playing his first Test in a year,
Zaheer Khan bowled 60.3 high-
intensity overs at the Wanderers,
eight of them in one spell after
tea on the final day. That s nine more than
he has ever bowled in a Test match. He is 35
Ishant Sharma---say what you will about
his bowling and his consistency---bowled 54
overs for his five wickets, his strikes in both
innings bringing India back from the brink.
He will always run in for his captain, he will
always throw himself at the ball, he will always
try to get behind the line when batting. That---
and not just the lack of options---is why he
has played 50 Tests for India.
Mohammed Shami bowled 46 overs. He
was the most threatening of the lot, but possibly
didn t get as many overs because he was in
only his third Test and also needed to stay
fresh to stay at his most threatening.
In three days time, it is quite possible that
the same three will be asked to bowl again.
If Kingsmead rolls out a greentop, MS Dhoni
will have to think twice before putting South
Africa in because of this workload. The cost
of competing against the best side in the world,
and the most resilient one too, in a gruelling
Test, has been high.
This Test was longer than India s last Test
series. India have put in less effort to win
series. They must be wondering what else they
need to do to beat South Africa in South Africa.
Somehow, though, if India can maintain this
kind of fitness, intensity and skill while bowling,
this cost, or rather their willingness to pay it,
might be India s biggest gain from this series.
They needed a spark, which came through
Virat Kohli s hundred on the first day, but after
a collapse and a strong South African start
later, India were staring at a familiar scenario
playing itself out: that of not keeping at it long
enough in an away Test. The bowlers, though,
kept at it. The results came. A lead was secured.
In the second dig, the batsmen all but batted
South Africa out. They gave the bowlers 135
overs to bowl South Africa out. India hadn t
even required the second new ball in the first.
You look at the scorecard and see seven
wickets falling in all those overs---two of them
run-outs, one an ordinary lbw decision---and
you might say it all did return to type. That,
though, would be as unjust to India s efforts,
and indeed to their skill with the ball, as it
would be to South Africa s great will to fight.
There wasn t much that India did wrong in
that attempt to win. It might be said that had
more time been available South Africa would
have won this one, but it was India who con-
sciously killed that time off by batting long
in their second innings.
If we were to pick nits, that period of batting
on the fourth morning when India just batted
without direction in order to kill off three
hours was when India didn t think straight.
Not giving South Africa enough time was all
good, but had they gone a little quicker they
wouldn t have had to worry about saving the
Test in the end. This isn t criticism in hindsight:
India drew the match anyway.
The bowling itself will be worse on many
days and will still bowl teams out. Faf du Plessis
and AB de Villiers played gems, but questions
were asked of them throughout. India have
been guilty, in the past, of spreading the fields
far and wide in the face of a slight counter-
attack, but it didn t happen here. Dhoni tried
to make sure there was a fielder in place should
his bowlers produce the edge.
The edges all evaded fielders, though. When
India usually concede 312 for 5 in a day s play,
their bowlers and fielders are all over the place.
Here they were at the batsmen. Du Plessis will
tell you this was not easy.
R Ashwin s role will come into question,
but he didn t bowl too badly either. Perhaps
he should have stuck to his role of holding
one end up---his economy rate of 2.3 over 36
overs suggests he did - but when wickets are
not falling, you sometimes get desperate. He
didn t come too close to getting a wicket,
though, and that will concern him. This was
the first time he had runs to play with in an
away Test. He will be disappointed in that
regard, but he wasn t way off the mark with
It was only in that final session that signs
of tired Indian fingers and shoulders began to
appear. Zaheer began bowling short and wide,
going for three boundaries in the first three
overs of that spell, but bowled an eight-over
spell to try to set things right. During this spell
he could have had de Villiers lbw, but he himself
didn t go up properly.
Herein might lie Dhoni s only questionable
move of the day. Bowling Zaheer for so long
kept Shami away. He was on the field, he was
fit, but Dhoni went 34 overs and a tea break
without bowling. Possibly Dhoni didn t trust
this inexperienced bowler. Possibly he was
waiting for one wicket to fall so he could
unleash a fresh bowler who---if he didn t get
a couple of wickets---would at least shut the
The fielding, though, remained top-notch.
Even Zaheer kept diving to save singles. When
the run-out opportunity came, India took it.
Kohli spoke of that desperation after the draw.
"Every single person in this team is hungry
to go out there and win a game for their country
and their team," he said.
"That is the biggest factor that has changed
the way we played in the last one year. It is
because everyone is hungry and desperate to
go out there and perform and win from any
situation. That s what this team believes in,
that we can win from any situation."
Towards the end, Dhoni had to ask South
Africa if they wanted to go for it. Those three
overs was the only time India really spread
the field---they even bowled one more over
than they were required to. Dhoni asked Vernon
Philander and Dale Steyn if they wanted to
be heroes and risk losing it all. They didn t.
Neither side can be blamed considering what
was at stake.
There will be obvious disappointment that
they couldn t win from this situation, but India
made South Africa reach into their deepest
reserves in their home conditions after a season
during which they hadn t let a single Test
reach the fifth day.
Both teams will have to pick themselves up
pretty fast, India more so than South Africa
because there aren t many instances of their
bowlers doing well in back-to-back Tests out-
side Asia. (ESPNcricinfo)
Can India maintain
India's Ishant Sharma is elated after picking up a wicket against South Africa on the second
day of the first Test in Johannesburg in South Africa, Thursday. Sharma and the rest of India's
attack gave it their all on the final day. PHOTO: ESPNCRICINFO
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