Mohali (Chandigarh): Noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck has described the recently concluded Mohali Test between India and Australia as a triumph of the longer version of the game.
"Ultimately, the battle between scrapper and stylist, gritty and graceful, artisan and artist ended in favour of a vastly relieved home side. Regardless, it was a triumph for Test cricket. The thrill-a-minute versions of the game were put in their place by this slow-burning contest," he writes in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
He says that the thrilling manner in which the Indians secured a victory after five-days of fierce contest "was as uplifting as defeat was heartbreaking."
"Grown men could not bear to watch and spectators and reporters alike were in a tizzy as the final pair attempted to squeeze the last few runs from a grudging opponent. It was an unforgettable finish to a terrific match. Emotions were pitched high," he adds.
Commenting on man of the moment - VVS Laxman, Roebuck said he "was the key figure on the final day. All things seem possible whilst he remains at the crease. Australians and tension bring out the best in him. Romps in the park make him appear humdrum. Here he produced an astonishing array of strokes, pulls played without footwork, caresses through cover, flicks off his hip and all the while he kept his head."
"Laxman belongs against the giants. But the Australians already knew that. Ishant Sharma offered him sound support in a nerveless collaboration. And so the two wounded players with fine temperaments determined the outcome of a fascinating match," he added.
On the Australians, he said, they had every reason to be proud of their performance.
"Ponting`s side is not the most formidable to wear the famed green cap but it does not lack determination. It took a wonderful innings from a superb batsman (Laxman) to deny them," he says.
"Most of all the Australians worked hard as a team. However, the performance was not without its flaws. The middle-order batting remains a headache. Hauritz offered a surfeit of soft deliveries wide of the sticks. Moreover, a few things did go the visitors` way," Roebuck adds.
He described Ponting`s leadership as admirable, but some of his tactics as surprising.
"In every other respect Ponting had a fine match. Australia upheld the spirit of the game. By and large India did the same. It`s a hard game or it is nothing. Let`s not dwell on every trifle.”
“It was a great match and that`s the end of it," he concludes.