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   I picked up the match in the tenth over... (October 12, 1991)

I picked up the match in the tenth over, India one down with only ten runs on board. Srikanth and Manjrekar were batting, having a difficult time keeping the ball out of their wickets. Shashtri had already been sent back, there was a ducking against his name on the scoreboard. The Australians know how to rub a no-score batsman's nose in the mud.

The TV screen had come to life in the dark room, deep blue skies and lush green outfield in one corner of the room. Hobart looked picturesque but quiet. Not a sound emerged from the screen, not even the whack of the bat against the ball from the microphones buried under the pitch. The volumewas off in order not to disturb the nob-cricketing members of the household.

They say that marriage is a series of compromises made by the less dominating member of the partnership for the benefit of the more dominating member, and one of the compromises is watching cricket on TV without the sound.

Still, with Australian TV's Wide World of Sports the sound does not matter. The pictures tell the tull story with a continuous barrage of scores, runs number of overs, balls, strike rates, run averages, past records.

On the screen, Srikkanth was walking back to the pavilion, large head nodding in the wind. You may expect six failures from him before he scores another 50. Manjrekar and Tendulkar had got together, looking indentical to the last detail, including their Maharastrian gestures as they conferred between overs.

Leaving the batting in their young and capable hands, I proceeded to shave and bathe (in that order) and get ready for another day. Ten more overs had been bowled by the time I returned to the muted TV, the two young men were still there, and the run average had not gone beyond two per over. There seemed to be no hurry to get on with the job.

But I was in a hurry. Beyond the Chowpatty bay and over the multi-storyed complex of Cuffe Parade, a new day was emerging. There were papers to be read, a column to write, the household to be awakened and got ready, plants to water.

After the papers, I returned to the TV for a brief view. Both the young men had departed, half centuries tucked away among their personal records. Then, before my eyes, Kapil Dev spooned one back into the bowler's hand. India had reached an average of three runs per over and Azharuddin was still sulking in the pavilion.

In between writing this column, I keep going back to the bedroom to have a look at the developments on TV. Azharuddin is striking the ball with his old feline grace. But the slog overs are almost half complete and the tempo is not picking up.

And, before typing this last paragraph. I go back to the TV. The Indians innings has apparently ended without me. Richie Benaud, looking older than ever, is summing up. For the first time I put on the volume to learn that India have finished their innings with 175 runs. Once again we will be depending on our bowlers. Over to Harsha Bhogle.

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