Indian batting's Achilles Heel.
Mohammad Kaif showed again that he is the man to be depended upon under pressure. He scored his third fifty in test cricket and was unlucky to get out to an unplayable delivery in the dying moments of the game. All three of his 50s have come under intense pressure. He may not be exceptionally talented, but he has exceptional temperament.
Yet again, our top order succumbed to probing pace bowling on a responsive wicket (to be fair, it must be remarked that Dravid got a bad decision).
What happened yesterday is symptomatic of a clearly discernible trend in the last couple of years. Our much feared and talented batting lineup, time and again, fails under pressure.
Perhaps not surprisingly for a line-up where the main men are all on the wrong side of 30, with slowing reflexes, the troughs have been reached in conditions that abet either swing or seam. At Bangalore and Nagpur against Australia, reverse swing and lateral movement combined to affect 217 and 342-run routs. In a rain-aborted Test at Chennai in December, the canny Chaminda Vaas winkled out four for next to nothing while also bowling 11 maidens on the trot. And at Karachi, there were no answers to lateral movement against the impressive Mohammad Asif and a rejuvenated Abdul Razzaq.
That pace and bounce alone do India in is as gross a distortion of the truth as Nixon's Watergate testimony. The ordinary figures of Brett Lee (21 wickets at 31.42) and Shoaib Akhtar (19 wickets at 35.15) reveal as much. The stunning returns of those who could elicit movement off the pitch, subtle or otherwise - Allan Donald (57 wickets at 17.31) and Glenn McGrath (51 wickets at 18.64) tells you all you need to know about the Indian batting's real Achilles Heel. [Link]