One-Day Mataram

Deconstructing the gentleman's game

Ganguly: Last man standing!

The morning session of the second day of the first Test match was marked by Sourav Ganguly's grit and VRV Singh's audacity. And later when the Indians came out to bowl, the impeccable seam position that the Indian pace bowlers presented meant that the South Africans went in for lunch rattled and thoroughly on the back foot.

I think full marks ought to be given to Sourav Ganguly for the application and determination he displayed. He has his faults, lots of them, but one thing he has always done is to empower his teammates, encouraging the young guys to take up responsibility... making them feel important and giving them the opportunity to shine. And that is exactly what he did with young VRV Singh today. Taking a run off the first ball of the over when your team is 9 men down is not something that coaching manuals will approve of. But the confidence that VRV Singh got from this support from Ganguly meant that he unleashed his outrageous array of slaps and hoicks with gay abandon. This added those extra runs at the end and made the Indians feel good about themselves as they came on to ball just before lunch. 249 is by no means a good score, even on a difficult surface. But the confidence of the morning's batting exploits rubbed off on the bowlers who put the ball in the right areas and managed to leave South Africa tottering at 21 for 3 at lunch.

Of course, South Africa might come back into the game in the next session. But the morning session did show us glimpses of what determination and team-spirit could achieve for the Indians. And for that... I think we must thank Sourav Ganguly today!

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