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The Ashes vs The Tri-series


19 years. A child this age is the cause of his parents nervousness. What might become of this man-child of mine? Will he survive out in the world? Or as an Indian parent worries, will he become an engineer/doctor or become the devil's child and join the media industry? But John and Sonia, whom by now everyone knows, were worried only about one thing. Will my boy get 2 measly runs as compared to the 98 he has already made? Alas! Ashton Agar dashed his parents' hopes along with a million persons' as he pulled Stuart Broad straight to the lurking Graeme Swann; as any normal young kid would attest, preparing them for a life time of disappointments.

What a day's play! From 117/9 to 280/10, Agar and the most unlikely Phil Hughes put on an exciting 163 run partnership. While Hughes struggled early on in his innings and some more as he made his way to 81, Agar dazzled. Sure, there were a few plays and misses in the start but as his innings progressed, the number 11 batsman had become a slightly less talented Yuvraj. England had no answer to his one-legged flicks through the on-side.

England could argue Marais Erasmus gave Agar a life and stole Trott's later in the day, but Agar's 98  eclipsed the shortcomings of technology. He was number 11. But he was also a batsman. For most of his innings, England tried so hard to get him out, they forgot to bowl to their plan against Phil Hughes. The away going delivery was hardly attempted at him. A lot of balls were bowled into his body. Swann's threat was muted by some lusty hitting by Agar.

Not only did Agar score his 98, he also contributed to Phil Hughes 81. Like bowlers in tandem, Agar and Hughes assisted each other. Agar was the lead singer, while Hughes provided the backup vocals. Perhaps a couple more good hits and the attention might turn to Hughes. For now, he still lacks the technique to score big.

Ravi Ashwin dropped Lahiru Thirimanne off the bowling of Ishant Sharma. 

One thing working against Agar is that he is primarily a spinner. In Australia. Irrespective of his batting prowess, unless he delivers Shane Warne-esque performances with the ball, he might fall by the wayside. His actual test comes now. Bowl, get wickets and the MoM award to stay in the team, for Australia seem dissatisfied by average performances in one game by their spinners.

If revometer is to be believed (which it isn't), he wasn't putting much behind the ball yet was getting a bit of spin and bounce bowling over the wicket to Alistair Cook. It promises to be an interesting battle.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 201. 

Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen have a lot of batting to do. They seemed dogged and on their way to a huge partnership. All natural instincts curbed, AC and KP were stoic and in no hurry. Day 3 demands more of the same. Poking outside the off stump should be left with whom it belongs. Gautam Gambhir.

Rohit Sharma scored 58.

The Ashes has already provided quite a few moments of Oos, Ahs and Bloody Hells. Even as India played against Sri Lanka in the tri-series final, would it be safe to assume that more eyes were glued to the Test match? It would be interesting to look at the official TRPs of the day; more so, to decide the battle of Quality Test cricket vs Quantity ODI Cricket.    

MS Dhoni took the chase till the last over and finished it off with a six (shocking).

The intersepersed India vs Sri Lanka notifications are just to highlight, of course I saw a bit of the game. But most of my attention was focused on the Test series. For me, quality Test cricket trumps ODI overload. Of course I want my team to win, but they will do that even if I don't watch. It's not snobbery. It's just about watching the highest level of a sport. The Ashes provided that. The tri-series...not so much.

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