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Martin Crowe - Pitch for bare truth

The batting maestro showed a bit of glimpse of his youth, writes Crowe

Saturday, March 21, 2022
Sachin evokes his prime

Sachin, Sachin, Sachin.

He came out in a lovely positive mood, and then he saw Yuvraj play some good early strokes. Then Sachin got into the mood, and all of a sudden Yuvraj got bogged down for an over or two. Then Yuvraj had a mental block. That was disappointing because to watch Yuvraj in full flow would have been nice.

But Sachin picked it up and this morning was his masterclass. Every shot was beautifully executed, perfectly constructed, technically perfect and he went through. He went through very predictably to his 42nd Test hundred.

I asked Ravi Shastri, who was commentating with us and he felt that today it was but more like Sachin in his youth, where he is little bit more aggressive and playing shots all around the wicket. Yesterday we saw him a little bit more circumspect. But you know, he was getting out of one-day mode into the Test match mode yesterday, today he enjoyed the beautiful conditions to bat in. There was a lot more driving, the pitch was settled. It was good to see a vast array of strokes. 

Sachin showed a bit of glimpse of his youth and there was potentially a 200 there for him. The shot he played to get out was the only disappointing aspect of his knock. He would have been better off trying to ramp it over the slips rather than knock it down for one, but he was clearly trying to take the strike just to keep dominating the partnership. It was his only mistake really.

You just saw the New Zealand team just back off and try and admire and watch rather than compete and get him out. Therefore it was just a case of how many India would extend their lead by.

It was disappointing to see New Zealand not clean up the tail and instead give away 50-60 runs as they did with some poor bowling. James Franklin and Kyle Mills have not looked upto Test standards in this match. There has got to be some serious question marks about the selection for this Test and changes that have to be made for the second Test.

In the meantime New Zealand has a fight to try and stay in the game and they had done well till Martin Guptill got out, which possibly opens the door for them to lose tomorrow.

Yet Day 4 of this Test is going to be real case of some big partnerships being applied by the New Zealand team, otherwise they are going to lose quite easily. They could lose possibly by late in the evening tomorrow but certainly on Day 5.

The pitch is great and there is no reason why they can’t get in and play like they can with good solid straight play and good footwork and head behind the ball. There is nothing in the pitch for seamers and there is some slow turn. So it is just the case of applying the mind.