So, the much talked about India-SA test series has finally come to an end and as most would agree, to a fair end. India were thrashed by South Africa in the first test and India came back strongly in the second match to show what they can do, even on green tops.
However, differenciating the 2 sides in the 3rd test is next to impossible.While kallis anD Steyn were out of the ordinary throughout the match, India had the services of SRT,Sreesanth,Harbhajan & Gambhir to thank at different points in the test match. I have been reading a lot in the last few hours about how some people felt that India didn't play as a true champion and how India should have gone for the win etc etc. I, on the contrary, have a new found respect for the Indian side after today's display. I am not a strong believer in the No.1 or No.2 debate. So, I don't feel as a "No. 1" team, India had to try and win the game at all costs. Wouldn't we all have loved to see India winning? Ofcourse we would have, atleast here in India! But being realistic, When was the last time a team scored 340 on the last day to win a test match? When was the last time India did something like that? Infact, India have a very poor reputation when it comes to batting on the final day or the last innings. So, going for the victory is great as it sounds but it invariably means taking the risk of losing. If that had been the case, the same people who feel India should have gone for the "win" would have been writing about how India can't play to save a match.
I feel the entire Indian batting showed a lot of class and composure in the way they batted today. At tea on the 4th day, everyone in the Indian dressing room would be looking forward to a series win but the way Kallis and co batted in the last 2 hours on the 4th day, they just took the match away from India. India knew they had let the opportunity slip away but rather than doing something extravagant and going on a blitzkrieg, they did what was sound and logical-They tried to play for a draw on a pitch where scoring freely was not really an option. But, the way they played to save the match was what caught my imagination. Similar attempts have been made in the past by our national team but invariably they have had to bite the dust as we have never been good at being extra defensive. But the way each and every batsmen applied himself on the field today was admirable. Gambhir did a Kalllis for India when he carried on with an injury to take India to safety, Sehwag did what we thought he just cant-control himself, Dravid was a rock solid wall, Sachin showed that his class is not just in the runs and centuries he has scored but in his capability to adjust according to situations and VVS showed he is what he is.
So, I dont see this as having let go of a possible win because we did that on the 4th day. I see this as a beautiful display of craft by what is often defined as the best batting line up on paper.