Strauss back in tune
In his latest blog, Ryan Sidebottom hails the performance of opener Andrew Strauss in Chennai.
By Ryan Sidebottom
Last Updated: 17/12/08 3:27pm
Well, just when the cricketing world needed a spectacle after the atrocities in Mumbai, India and England provided it in Chennai. A really hard-fought Test match which was fantastically supported - it was just a shame that we came out on the losing side.
The game illustrated that it can take just one bad session in Test cricket with the bat or ball to swing the momentum in the game from one team to the other.
The breathtaking innings of Virender Sehwag on the fourth day went a long way towards India winning the Test match but he still wouldn't have been my man of the match. I would have given it to Andrew Strauss for his two hundreds or Sachin Tendulkar for that superb hundred which saw his side home.
Tendulkar is a genius and we have to remember that while it is easy to criticise the bowlers, batsmen are allowed to play well! He is obviously in great form and is the best in the world - on Monday he showed exactly why.
Strauss had a monumental Test match in Chennai. Scoring a hundred in each innings is a fantastic achievement anyway, but when you factor in that this was on the subcontinent with very little preparation, it makes it all the more amazing.
He has been in good form of recent times and it shows what a break from the game can do. Straussy had told me that he had looked at his dismissals when he was out of form and they were mainly down to poor shot selection.
He's convinced it was just a case of being mentally tired. International cricket is incredibly tough, but he has come back refreshed and is showing what a quality player he is.
I was really chuffed for my mate Graeme Swann. If he's anything like me, there would have been a few butterflies floating around when he came on to bowl on debut, but he overcame them to finish the over with two wickets - only the second bowler in Test cricket to achieve this feat - brilliant!
Looking forward to the final Test match, the wicket in Mohali is supposed to assist the quicker bowlers a bit more with pace and bounce. Our guys will have had a couple of days regrouping and will have mulled over the last Test.
I reckon there are times where you have to take the positives out of the negatives - for example, 'yes we did lose the match, but it did take India five gruelling days, and they had to play out of their skins to win'. This is the last few days of the tour and the guys will be busting a gut to level the series.
As for me, I've been continuing my rehab at the National Cricket Centre, Loughborough - working on bowling, batting, fitness - you name it. No rest for the wicked! I did take time out at lunchtime yesterday to watch some of the Olympic pole-vaulters training. It really was something else and an inspiring experience I can tell you.
More training ahead for me now, so I'll bid a farewell and wish England the best for the final Test. Come on lads - you can do it.
Until next time, take care. Ryan.