Comets Hold Their Own

India gave a workman-like performance in their tour match against the Canberra Comets at Manuka Oval. On a beautiful batting pitch they managed no more than a par score of 9 declared for 325. In reply the Comets finished at 10-0.

I arrived during the last over before lunch, just in time to see Wasim Jaffer reach his 50. India going to lunch at Nelson- 111-1. Virender Shewag had earlier been dismissed for 24, caught from the bowling of Luke Swards. Dinesh Karthik was the other not out batsman going to lunch on 22*.

After the interval the Indian batsman found scoring a very difficult prospect against the Comets tight bowling and defensive field settings, with Karthik (25) finally becoming frustrated and falling to the first real aggressive stroke he played- skying an attempted hook shot from the bowling of Swards and being caught at mid-on (117-2).

Enter Rahul Dravid, who seemed to be stuck in the malaise that had affected him during the recent Test Matches against Australia- seemingly blocking everything and looking anything but secure. Meantime Jaffer was cashing in against a fast but wayward Kiwi Richard Sherlock, punishing anything short or directed down the leg-side.

Dravid suddenly found form once the leg spin of Ryan Bulger was brought into the attack, stroking him to all parts. From this moment on Dravid looked in complete control driving exquisitely and pulling with authority.

Jaffer on reaching the 90s, seemed to tense up, almost as if he realised that only a hundred would save his Test spot, and it was of no surprise when he spooned a simple catch to long-on, from the bowling of Comets Captain Mark Higgs for 92 (210-3).

The only bowler who really looked dangerous was the tall Ash Perera who moved the ball away from the batsman and also extracted good bounce from the pitch, he was finally rewarded with the prized wicket of Dravid for 62 and the out of form Yuvraj Singh for just two.

Unfortunately at this time I had to leave for my own cricket training.

The Comets should be commended for some excellent tight bowling and great ground fielding. The match is nicely set up for day two of this three day match.

India 9 dec. 325
Wasim Jaffer 92, Rahul Dravid 62
Luke Swards 3-45, Ash Perera 2-40

Canberra Comets 10-0

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