Digitising thoughts

and getting immortal on the fly

Archive for March, 2006

The Apple

Posted by Sathyamurthy www.sathyamurthy.com on March 29, 2006

Apple is a great fruit. I personally feel excited when I see an apple. It evokes richness and healthy feeling all at the same time.

There are so many sayings made around apple. “An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away” (My friend joked, “if the doctor is beautiful, keep the apple away!”). You take care of children like the “apple of your eye”.

In the real world, we know how neat and exotic products from the company called Apple are!

I came across this wonderful article on Apple and could not stop from sharing it with my blog readers.


The warm scent and flavor of baking apples is a sure sign that fall is just around the corner. In the Northern Hemisphere apples are in season from late summer to early winter. However, many varieties are available year round because they have been either kept in cold storage or imported from the Southern Hemisphere.

Apples are crisp, white-fleshed fruits with red, yellow or green skin. They range in taste from moderately sweet and refreshing to pleasantly tart depending on the variety. The apple is a member of the rose family, with a compartmentalized core which classifies it as a pome fruit or apple in Latin.

Health Benefits

According to the latest research, the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is fact, not just folklore. The nutritional stars in apples—fiber, flavonoids, and fructose—translate into apples’ ability to keep us healthy.

Fiber: Apples contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. One medium (5 ounces) unpeeled apple provides over 3 grams of fiber, more than 10% of the daily fiber intake recommended by experts. Even without its peel, a medium apple provides 2.7 grams of fiber.

Apple’s two types of fiber pack a double punch that can knock down cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of hardening of the arteries, heart attack, and stroke. Apple’s insoluble fiber works like bran, latching on to LDL cholesterol in the digestive tract and removing it from the body, while apple’s soluble fiber pectin reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol produced in the liver. Adding just one large apple (about 2/3 of a pound) to the daily diet has been shown to decrease serum cholesterol 8-11%. Eating 2 large apples a day has lowered cholesterol levels by up to 16%!

A study published in the September 8, 2003 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as apples, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years, during which time 1,843 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD) and 3,762 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were diagnosed. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less CHD and 11% less CVD compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.(December 3, 2003)

LDL cholesterol isn’t the only harmful compound on apple’s removal list. Pectin grabs toxins like the heavy metals lead and mercury, and ushers them out of the body. Both the soluble and insoluble fibers in apples have cancer-protective activity since they relieve constipation and send potentially toxic substances out with the stools.

When it comes to bowel regularity, apple’s two types of fiber tackle the job—no matter what it is. Both the insoluble fiber in apples and their soluble fiber pectin help relieve constipation (thus helping to prevent diverticulosis and colon cancer). The insoluble fiber works like roughage, while the pectin, which is found primarily in the skin, acts as a stool softener by drawing water into the stool and increasing stool bulk. On the other hand, because pectin firms up an excessively loose stool, it’s also used to treat diarrhea. One well-known over-the-counter diarrhea remedy, Kaopectate ™, actually contains an oxidized form of pectin.

Flavonoids : A type of pigment in apples that helps provide their color, flavonoids have been extensively researched and found to help prevent heart disease. Researchers in Finland followed over 5,000 Finish men and women for over 20 years. Those who ate the most apples and other flavonoid rich foods (such as onions and tea), were found to have a 20% lower risk of heart disease than those who ate the least of these foods.

Apples have been singled out as one of the small number of fruits and vegetables that contributed to the significant reduction in heart disease risk seen in a recent meta-analysis of seven prospective studies. Of the more than 100,000 individuals who participated in these studies, those who diets most frequently included apples, tea, onions, and broccoli—the richest sources of flavonoids—gained a 20% reduction in their risk of heart disease. (October 24, 2003)

Apple skin and onions are the two major food sources of a potent flavonoid called quercitin. If, in addition to eating an apple a day, you add 2 tablespoons of onion and 4 cups of green tea (also rich in flavonoids) to your menu, you, like the men who consumed these foods in another study, may have a 32% lower risk of heart attack than people who consume less of these foods.

Quercitin’s benefits derive from its antioxidant activity, especially when it teams up with another antioxidant, vitamin C, also found in apples, to bolster the body’s immune defenses. This dynamic antioxidant duo provides another way (in addition to fiber) through which apples protect against cancer and also helps prevent the free radical damage to LDL cholesterol that promotes heart disease.

Fructose: Apples derive almost all of their natural sweetness from fructose, a simple sugar, but one which is broken down slowly, especially when combined with apples’ hefty dose of fiber, thus helping to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Prevent Kidney Stones

Want to reduce your risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones? Drink apple juice. A study published in the August 2003 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition found that when women drank � to 1 litre of apple, grapefruit or orange juice daily, their urinary pH value and citric acid excretion increased, significantly dropping their risk of forming calcium oxalate stones. (October 4, 2003)

Protection against Breast and Colon Cancer

Whole apple extracts—in amounts comparable to human consumption of one, three or six apples a day—were shown to prevent breast cancer in test animals in a study published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

And apples worked in a dose-dependent manner; the more apples eaten, the more protection.

In a second study, published in the March 2005 issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research , a polyphenol-rich extract of an apple juice blend powerfully inhibited the growth of human colon cancer cells in the laboratory.

However, when researchers put together a mixture containing only the bioactive compounds identified in apple juice so far (which included its proanthocyanidins and quercetin), the mixture was ineffective in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells.

They concluded that as yet unknown constituents contribute to apples’ potent protective qualities. The conclusion we draw at the World’s Healthiest Foods is that it is not single nutrients, but their synergy in whole, natural foods that is the source of their effectiveness in promoting health. We definitely agree with the researchers in the first (breast cancer) study, who suggest that because apples are so richly endowed with phytonutrients capable of strong antioxidant and anticancer activities and are so universally enjoyed, eating an apple (or two) a day may be effective (and we’d add easy and inexpensive) way to lessen the incidence of breast (and colon) cancer.

Natural Sun Protection

It’s long been known that apple peel contains high concentrations of special antioxidant compounds called phenols that may assist in the prevention of a number of chronic diseases. Now it appears that the phenols in the skin of certain cultivars of apples may provide a hefty dose of UV-B protection, according to a study published in the August 2003 issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany. Researchers evaluated both Granny Smith and Braeburn apples, with Braeburns being the clear winner in terms of their ability to accumulate UV-B protective quercitin glycosides in their sun-exposed skin. Sun-kissed Braeburns were resistant to high doses of UV-B radiation (up to 97kJ m-2). Next time you plan to spend time in the sun yourself, start your day with a Braeburn apple or bring one or two along for lunch and snacks.(October 4, 2003)

New Review Study Provides Even More Reasons to Enjoy Apples

A major review study published in the May 2004 issue of the Nutrition Journal provides dozens of reasons to enjoy an apple every day.

A review study is one that looks at the results of many other studies. This one included an analysis of 85 studies. Apples were found to be most consistently associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes when compared to other fruits and vegetables. In addition, eating apples was also associated with increased lung function and increased weight loss.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Apples are a rich and very important source of phytochemicals, including flavonoids and phenols, in the American diet and in Europe. In the United States, 22% of the phenolic compounds consumed from fruits come from apples, making them the largest source of phenols in the American diet.

When compared to other fruits, apples ranked second in total concentration of phenolic compounds, and perhaps more importantly, had the highest portion of free phenols. Since free phenols are not bound to other compounds in the fruit, they may be more available for absorption into the bloodstream.

Apples are also an excellent source of antioxidants, and when compared to many other commonly consumed fruits in the United States, were found to have the second highest level of antioxidant activity. Many of the phytochemicals found in apples, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, are strong antioxidants. .

The total antioxidant activity of 100 grams of whole apple (with the peel) was found to be equivalent to the antioxidant effect of about 1500 mg of vitamin C. (However, the amount of vitamin C in 100 g of apples is only about 5.7 mg. Nearly all of the antioxidant activity from apples comes from a variety of other compounds.)

Whole apples, especially their peels, have been found to have a number of powerful antioxidant effects, one of which is to protect VLDL and LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation. Yet when quercitin, one of the most important antioxidant flavonoids in apples, was tested by itself in rats, it had no protective effect. And when apple flesh and apple juice were tested, they provided less than a tenth the benefit of whole apple.

Apples’ protective effects against free radical damage to cholesterol reach their peak at three hours following apple consumption and drop off after 24 hours, providing yet another good reason to eat a whole fresh apple a day.

In animal studies, apples have also been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising beneficial HDL cholesterol. Not only did the rats in these studies produce less cholesterol, but they also excreted more in their feces when fed apples, pears and peaches—but apples had the greatest cholesterol-lowering effect.

In the most recent studies, investigators found that the combination of apple pectin and apple phenols lowered cholesterol and triglycerides to a much greater extent than either apple pectin or phenols alone. This again suggests a beneficial synergy between the many healthful compounds found in apples and supports eating the whole fruit instead of simply drinking apple juice, eating peel-free applesauce or taking fiber supplements. Apples have also been shown to greatly inhibit the growth of liver and colon cancer cells in several studies. In one study, at a dose of 50 mg/mL, liver cancer cell proliferation was inhibited by 39% by extracts of whole Fuji apple and 57% by whole Red Delicious extracts. In another study in which colon cancer cells were treated with apple extracts, cell proliferation was inhibited 43% at a dose of 50 mg/mL.

Eating an apple a day may also offer significant protection against breast cancer, suggests an animal study published in the March 2005 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry . When mice with breast cancer were fed the human equivalent of 1, 3 or 6 apples a day for 6 months, their tumors shrank by 25%, 25%, and 61%, respectively. Researchers credit apples’ strong protective action to the synergistic interactions among the wide variety of potent antioxidant and antiproliferative pytochemicals, including phenolics and flavonoids, they contain.

In several large epidemiological (population) studies conducted in the United Kingdom, Finland and the Netherlands, apple consumption (a minimum of 2 apples per week) was found to be inversely linked with asthma and type 2 diabetes, and positively associated with general lung health. Researchers attribute apples’ protective effects in these conditions to apples’ high concentration of anti-inflammatory flavonoids, such as quercitin and catechin.

In addition to their beneficial effects against chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes, apples may also help combat cholera. Recently, crude extracts from immature apples were found to inhibit cholera toxin in a dose dependent manner by up to 98%.

Researchers have found distinct differences in total phenolic and flavonoid content among different apple varieties:

Of the four common varieties used for applesauce (Rome Beauty, Idared, Cortland, and Golden Delicious), Rome Beauty had the highest phenolic content.

Out of 10 varieties commonly consumed in the U.S., Fuji apples had the highest total phenolic and total flavonoid compounds, but Red Delicious apples were also quite high. These apple varieties also tended to have higher antioxidant activity.

Apple phytochemical content is not greatly affected by storage. After 100 days, the amount of phenolic compounds in the skin begins to decrease slightly, but even after 200 hundred days in cold storage, the total amount of these compounds remains close to the level at the time of harvest.

However, processing apples into juice greatly lowers their phytochemical content. Apple juice obtained from Jonagold apples by pulping and straight pressing had only 10% of the antioxidant activity of fresh apples, while juice obtained after pulp enzyming had only 3% of fresh apples’ antioxidant activity. The take home message: store apples in the refrigerator and enjoy a sweet, crunchy, whole apple at least 2-3 times each week. (June 30, 2004)

Lower Your Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the June 2004 issue of the Archives of Opthamology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

In this study, which involved 77,562 women and 40,866 men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants’ consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARM, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. Food intake information was collected periodically for up to 18 years for women and 12 years for men.

While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARM, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but apples make it easy to increase your fruit intake. Add diced apple to your morning cereal, or top off a cup of yogurt or green salad with apple slices. Nothing’s quicker or easier for an afternoon snack than a cold crisp apple. Paired with some flavorful cheese, apple slices make a great dessert or late night snack.(July 10, 2004)


Apples are a crisp, white-fleshed fruit with a red, yellow or green skin. The apple is actually a member of the rose family, which may seem strange until we remember that roses make rose hips, which are fruits similar to the apple.

Apples have a moderately sweet, refreshing flavor and a tartness that is present to greater or lesser degree depending on the variety. For example, Golden and Red Delicious apples are mild and sweet, while Pippins and Granny Smith apples are notably brisk and tart. Tart apples, which best retain their texture during cooking, are often preferred for cooked desserts like apple pie, while Delicious apples and other sweeter varieties like Braeburn and Fuji apples are usually eaten raw.


The apple tree, which originally came from Eastern Europe and southwestern Asia, has spread to most temperate regions of the world. Over the centuries, many hybrids and cultivars have been developed, giving us the 7,000 varieties in the market today.

Apples have long been famous—or infamous, given the pivotal role played by an apple in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. In Norse mythology, apples were given a more positive persona: a magic apple was said to keep people young forever. Apples’ most recent appearance in history occurred in the 1800s in the U.S., when Johnny Appleseed—a real person named John Chapman, despite the mythological quality of his tale—walked barefoot across an area of 100,000 square miles, planting apple trees that provided food and a livelihood for generations of settlers.

How to Select and Store

Look for firm fruits with rich coloring. Yellow and green apples with a slight blush are best. Your preference for a sweeter or more tart fruit and whether you plan to enjoy your apples raw or cooked will guide your choice of variety. Just remember that Red and Golden Delicious are among the sweetest apples. Braeburn and Fuji apples are slightly tart, and Gravenstein, Pippin and Granny Smith apples are the most tart, but retain their texture best during cooking.

In the northern hemisphere, apple season begins at the end of summer and lasts until early winter. Apples available at other times have been in cold storage or are imported from the southern hemisphere.

Whole apples are a much better nutritional choice than apple juice. Not only are whole apples richer in dietary fiber, but the current processes of juicing seem to drastically reduce the polyphenolic phytonutrient concentrations originally found in the whole fruit.

How to Enjoy

In addition to being eaten raw, apples are a wonderful addition to a variety of recipes from salads to baked goods. For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.

Tips for preparing apples:

Rinse apples under clear running water like you would any fruit. If organic, don’t peel unless the recipe you have chosen requires peeled apples.

To prevent browning when slicing apples for a recipe, simply put the slices in a bowl of cold water to which a spoonful of lemon juice has been added.

For use in future recipes, sliced apples freeze well in plastic bags or containers.

A few quick serving ideas:

Add diced apples to fruit or green salads.

Braise a chopped apple with red cabbage.

Looking for an alternative to sweet desserts? Sliced apples (either alone or with other fruits) and cheese are a European favorite.

Try our wonderful Apple Tart in the recipe file.


Apples and Pesticide Residues

Virtually all municipal drinking water in the United States contains pesticide residues, and with the exception of organic foods, so do the majority of foods in the U.S. food supply. Even though pesticides are present in food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well documented. The liver’s ability to process other toxins, the cells’ ability to produce energy, and the nerves’ ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the Envirionmental Working Group’s 2003 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”, apples are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of apples unless they are grown organically.

If you do purchase non-organic apples, you may want to ask your grocer about the kind of wax used to protect the apple’s surface during storage or shipping. Carnauba wax (from the carnauba palm tree), beeswax, and shellac (from the lac beetle) are preferable to petroleum-based waxes, which contain solvent residues or wood resins.

Nutritional Profile

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good or good source. Next to the nutrient name you will find the following information: the amount of the nutrient that is included in the noted serving of this food; the %Daily Value (DV) that that amount represents (similar to other information presented in the website, this DV is calculated for 25-50 year old healthy woman); the nutrient density rating; and, the food’s World’s Healthiest Foods Rating. Underneath the chart is a table that summarizes how the ratings were devised. Read detailed information on our Food and Recipe Rating System.

1.00 each
81.42 calories





World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating

dietary fiber

3.73 g




vitamin C

7.87 mg




vitamin K

6.90 mcg




World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating








very good












In Depth Nutritional Profile for Apple


  • Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, Loria CM, Whelton PK. Dietary fiber intake and reduced risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Sep 8;163(16):1897-904.
  • Boyer J, Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004 May 12;3(1):5.
  • Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92.
  • Consumers Union of United States, Inc. Do you know what you’re eating? An analysis of US government data on pesticide residues in foods. Consumers Union of United States, Inc. Edward Groth III, PhD, Project Director, Charles M. Benbrook, PhD, Consultant, Public Service Projects Department, Technical Division. Feb 1999.
  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986.
  • Fernandez ML. Soluble fiber and nondigestible carbohydrate effects on plasma lipids and cardiovascular risk. Curr Opin Lipidol 2001 Feb;12(1):35-40.
  • Heinerman J. Heinerman’s New encyclopedia of Fruits and Vegetables. Prentice Hall 1995.
  • Honow R, Laube N, Schneider A, Kessler T, Hesse. Influence of grapefruit-, orange- and apple-juice consumption on urinary variables and risk of crystallization. Br J Nutr. Aug;90(2):295-300.
  • Huxley RR, Neil HAW. The relation between dietary flavonol intake and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies,. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, 904-908.
  • Kern M, Tjaden Z, Ngiewih Y, Puppel N, Will F, Dietrich H, Pahlke G, Marko D. Inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor in apple juice extract. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Mar 9;49(4):317-328 [Epub ahead of print].
  • Knekt P, Jarvinen R, Reunanen A, Maatela J. Flavonoid intake and coronary mortality in Finland: a cohort study. BMJ 1996 Feb 24;312 (7029): 478-81.
  • Liu RH, Liu J, Chen B. Apples prevent mammary tumors in rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 23;53(6):2341-3.
  • Mahan K, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy. WB Saunders Company; Philadelphia, 1996.
  • Pearson DA, Tan CH, German JB, et al. Apple juice inhibits low density lipoprotein oxidation. Life Sci 1999;64(21):1913-20.
  • Sable-Amplis R, Sicart R, Agid R. Further studies on the cholesterol-lowering effect of apple in humans. Biochemical mechanisms involved. Nutr Res 1983;3:325-8.
  • Solovchenko A, Schmitz-Eiberger M. Significance of skin flavonoids for UV-B-protection in apple fruits. J Exp Bot. Aug;54(389):1977-84. Epub 2003 Jun 18.
  • Van Der Sluis AA, Dekker M, Skrede G. Activity and concentration of polyphenolic antioxidants in apple juice. 1. Effect of existing production methods. J Agric Food Chem 2002 Dec 4;50(25):7211-9.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988.

Have you seen my other blog?


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Cost of a lie

Posted by Sathyamurthy www.sathyamurthy.com on March 26, 2006

There was an exhibition in a town.

The entry ticket prices were fixed as Rs.10 for adults, Rs.5 for children above 10 years and Rs.3 for smaller children.

A man went to the exhibition with his young looking son. The son was 11 years old but looked much younger than that age.

He asked for an adult ticket and a ticket for a 11 year old child.

The counter clerk asked the man if his child was 11 years old as he looked younger. He even suggested to that man that he could have easily got away by declaring the age of the son less than 11 and thereby saved Rs.2.

The man replied. “Yes, I would have saved Rs.2 today, but my son would have easily known that I told a lie for a gain of Rs.2. And what do you think he will do if he grows up?”


Random Thought:

What is the cost of inefficiency?

Efficient man’s time.


Have you seen my other blog?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

It has entered the Indian Hall of SHAME

Posted by Sathyamurthy www.sathyamurthy.com on March 22, 2006

The Indian cricketers led by an uninspiring and unimaginative Captain Rahul Dravid meekly surrendered to an English attack devoid of its frontline batsmen and bowlers. The key differentiator in the just concluded 3rd cricket test at Mumbai was, more than anything else, the captaincy.

While Andrew Flintoff led the team with passion, aggression and imagination to get the best out of a team comprising largely of inexperienced cricketers, the Indian Captain having a wealth of talent at his disposal failed miserably in motivating his team and marshalling his resources.

Indian team showed its negative approach from the very beginning of this test match. The negative attitude reached the zenith when we found Irfan Pathan walking out to open the innings on the 4th day evening. As if an icing in the cake, Indian think tank sent in Anil Kumble as one drop in the guise of night watchman.

May be they thought highly of the tail waging and expected that the top order guys will score better if they waged in the tail. What a thought… from the dream team captain and dream outspoken and working for free (he has no financial reasons you see) coach. One must clarify here that Greg Chappel has taken up the Indian coach assignment purely for achivement and nothing else. The money that he will earn from this assignment seems “not at all important” to his life and finances.

We must send million flowers to Mr. Kiran “hole mouth” More for his public utterances that the current selection committee will never look back on selecting Ganguly, even the later shows good performance in the domestic cricket. What a shame? What if Ganguly scored a back to back double hundred in domestic cricket? No, he cannot be selected for the Indian team. Because, More cannot look back. He has stiff neck you see!

Read the additional piece from http://www.cricinfo.com

India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day

A diabolical capitulation

Dileep Premachandran in Mumbai

March 22, 2006

One meek collapse too many for India © Getty Images

Capitulations are rarely honourable affairs, but even by Indian standards this was particularly lily-livered and shameful. Even in an Indian batting hall of infamy, which houses such gems as the 66 all out at Durban (1996-97) and the 81 at Barbados a few months later, this has to take pride of place. Faced with an English side magnificently led and inspired by Andrew Flintoff, India could offer nothing but diabolical shot selection and lack of fight that would have shamed a peacenik.

Having played Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire in the dressing room at lunch, England then came out and incinerated a line-up that has been living on former glories for two seasons now. To lose nine wickets in a session and a half is slipshod, but to lose seven wickets in a mere 15.2 overs after lunch borders on the ridiculous. Rahul Dravid, who made a rare error of judgement to start the slide, was being extremely charitable later when he said that some of his boys had chosen “the wrong options”. As at Bangalore against Pakistan last year, India offered all the resistance of a Coke can under a steamroller when a little pressure was applied.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s scatterbrained effort encapsulated the surrender. Not content with having given the hapless Monty Panesar catching practice once, he went for it again, forgetting minor details like the state of the game. He can count himself fortunate that he was born in Ranchi, and not Darwin. At Sydney in 1993, Damien Martyn played a shot that was infinitely less atrocious, and then spent the best part of his 20s wandering the wilderness.

But the culpability started at the very top. It’s a damning indictment of India’s batting resources that the third-highest run-maker for them in the series was Anil Kumble with 128 runs. Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni managed 284 runs between them – 11 more than the modestly talented Paul Collingwood – with Sehwag’s fitness or lack of it now of paramount concern.

Inzamam-ul-Haq’s back problems give Pakistan supporters sleepless nights, but in his case, he can point to the rigours of a legendary 15-year-career. Sehwag has been playing Test cricket a little over four seasons and his puffed-up figure and lethargic reactions in the field are more in keeping with someone Shaun Udal’s age. Flintoff himself was once derided as a fat boy, and his transformation into the world’s best allrounder has had everything to do with getting himself in good shape for the task.

Apportioning blame after such debacles is easy, but if anyone emerges with credit from this nightmare, it’s the bowlers, who were just magnificent and kept India in the game after an indifferent opening day. Anil Kumble led by example, as he always has, and S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel have nothing to be ashamed of after a series in which their immense potential was revealed.

But where India’s pace bowlers were good, England’s were exceptional. Both Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard – as impressive on this tour as Jason Gillespie had been in Australia’s 2004 triumph – bowled with unstinting effort and tremendous skill on a pitch that offered little more than decent bounce. They moved the ball around just a touch at lively pace, and the dismissal of Wasim Jaffer, trapped in front after being set up by a succession of bouncers, was indicative of how adroitly they implemented the game-plan.

There was a touch of romance too at the end. Even if Udal never plays for England again, he’ll never forget the afternoon when he did for Tendulkar to set in motion the Indian pack-of-cards trick. He’s certainly no mystery spinner in the Jack Iverson mould, but his attitude and perseverance epitomised the real strength of this England side. They came into the Test series in disarray, and left it with a draw that felt almost as good as a victory.

Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo

Have you seen my other blog?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »