Last night I was in bed asleep by 23:00 CST.
I didn’t see Tendulkar’s knock, didn’t see any of Jimmy Anderson’s three wickets, and I barely saw more than a ball or two after the first Drinks break.
However, I did see Finn, Panesar, and Anderson make what appeared to be a good batting track look tricky, and I did see England open with pace despite every Twittering pundit on the planet’s best advice, and I did see Virender Sehwag get out in easily the most depressing and stupid and hard to swallow way possible: run out after a miss-communication with his batting partner, Gautum Gambhir.
In baseball (again, with the baseball…sorry), you see bad baserunning all of the time, especially as a Twins fan. We call them mental errors. Sometimes guys forget how many outs there are, sometimes basecoaches send guys home when they should have held them, and sometimes guys blow right through stop signs only to be out by 40 feet.
I find such mental errors, especially on the basepaths, particularly aggravating. If an outfielder makes a similar error in the field, like, say, missing the cut off man or forgetting how many outs there are, I usually let them get away with it, but a baserunner? Nope: no forgiveness.
Which is why I feel for Indian fans after watching Sehwag walk off after getting run out.
Now whether it was his fault, or Gambhir’s fault, or both their fault’s, does not matter at this point; what does matter is India’s very promising start had been sliced to pieces due to a simple mental error.
You could see the shock on the faces of the Indian fans at the ground, and you could see the figurative steam pouring out of Sehwag’s ears.
There is just no cheaper way to get out. The game felt tainted. Like a red card in the 11th minute, like a base-running error leading to a double play. The wind was taken out of the sails of the game, and of India.
If India lose this match, they will have to at the very least give partial blame to Sehwag’s run out.
As near as I can tell, there have been 2,226 run outs in Test cricket. A couple notable ones:
The first was in 1877, the first Test match ever even, Australian captain Dave Gregory was run out for one in the first innings.
In 1993, the great Brian Lara was run out after scoring 277 against Australia in Sydney. The match ended in a draw, and his score stands as the highest ever to end on a run out.
Eight other batsmen had double centuries end in run outs, including Rahul Dravid who was run out for 217 against England at the Oval in 2002. Like Lara’s match above, it also ended in a draw; and also like Lara’s match, Dravid’s squad probably loses without his knock, run out or no run out.
Sehwag himself has been run out five times: for 38 against Pakistan in Bangalore in 2005; for 17 against England at Mohali in 2008; for 24 against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2009; for 1 also against New Zealand at Ahmedabad in 2010; and for 23 against England last night.
Working backwards: Ahmedabad was a draw, India won in Hamilton, Mohali was a draw, and India lost in Bangalore.
None of the above counts those run outs where Sehwag might have been at fault, but his partner was the one forced to walk off in disgrace.
My favorite dismissals, from most preferred to least preferred:
5. Hit wicket
6. Run out
7. The rest (tie).