Wearing and changing gear …

Just about the start of day 3 of the first Test.

A nervous start to the game – not that its acceptable by virtue of the fact that its been the norm – with the bowlers being guilty of a poor first day. Then a great comeback. So 268/4 at the end of day 1 becomes 298 all out. Equally importantly, in that was 218/1 at one stage and from there England’s strong suit – its batting had its bluff called. Largely by India’s supposedly weak hand – its inexperienced seam attack.

As things stand this morning, we’re 145/4 in 57 overs. 153 behind. And the strong suit – the Indian batting lineup – needs to stand up and deliver. So far – at 2.5ish per over its been iffy. There was an opportunity to put the English under pressure and it has been dealt with timidly. We’re 27 overs away from the next new ball with a nightwatchman at the crease.

Things like Jaffer playing as slowly as he did after his 50 and slipping back into first gear with time to go for stumps is not the way to go. Its being picky – but they’re things first Tests are made of. So far, the strong hand has been shaky on the big stage.

Today’s sessions provide the batsmen the chance to undo yesterday’s nerves. Like the bowlers did on Day 2. Will they?

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15 thoughts on “Wearing and changing gear …

  1. well, look who you have at no 6? VVS.. He takes a single of the first ball, doesn’t /can’t accelerate when say we are 7-8 down.. Guess time to change the batting order.. we hvae seen this too many times when VVS prods around with tail enders for company, where the tail enders end up playing more balls than him and almost all times making more runs than him.. Problem is whom do we pick up for No 6? SG? Worse I would say..
    This entire “Dhoni being a proper bat” theory has to be revisited in test match cricket outside India.. Look at his record and also the consistent way he is targetted with the short pitched delivery at his body..
    Anderson/Sidebottom/ Tremlett getting you almost under 200.. Imagine our plight if Harmisson/ Hoggard and Flintoff were playing.. And a team scoring at 2.50 runs per over in modern day test cricket on a decent pitch can never win a test match.. when do we get that?
    What (if there is any) the thought process in sending RP Singh as a night watchman.. that lad comes and starts swinging his bat from the first ball..
    The negative attitude of the batters was an embarrasment and the more people call us – ‘supposedly the best batting line up in the world’ the more it hurts..
    I would be happier if the poms in their usual whiny ways said that RD/SG and ST are all past their prime or something to that effect.. It hurts when Gooch talks about how big ST’s wicket is for Jamie Anderson.. thats like rubbing salt in……

  2. The whole innings – 201 all out in 77 overs and change reeked a negative mindset. “Survive for now and then we’ll see.”

    There’s no Harmisson. No Flintoff . No Hoggard. And so no excuses for the batting lineup. Someone needed to step up and find a way of taking some initiative but it just was not there. There was just no sign of it.

    Without that mindset changing, I dont see how a player here or there or a shuffle in the batting lineup makes a difference.

    It was the first innings of a first test and it could set the tone.

    Now there’s just a far bigger hole to get out of. In this match and further out in the series.

  3. Won’t be surprised if he gets another chance … (thats assuming he fails a second time – which in turn is assuming we need him at all and don’t knock off the runs with the top 5 – which in turn is assuming that its not going to rain for the next 48 hours…)

  4. Rahul,

    Have we lost the test?

    All that has happened so far is that we lost two sessions on the first day. Else, this game has been on even keel.

    We bowled well, they bowled well.. They had the advantage of the headstart obtained because of the two sessions first up.

    If you want to quibble, a case can be made for the 9 overs we got to bowl today where we did not make them play enough.

    Other than that, I have no problems with our approach to the game and the state of the game.

    We are not out of it yet. The Poms know and we know that the Poms know that irrespective of past history, our batting can come to the party.

    Then there is the small matter of setting a target and giving themselves enough time to get 10 Indian wickets.

    And if conditions remain the way they are, we are going to lose time in the match.. Batting will be start stop. Bowling will be incisive and the scoring rate will be in the high 2s low 3s.

    Given all of this, I do not see this as a lost cause … yet.It will become one if England make 250 without losing a wicketby lunch tomorrow.

    And that is not going to happen.

    Cheers

  5. Homer,

    most of the points mentioned by me are not in connection to this test alone.. SFX being the eternal pessimist thinks that weather is going to rob us of a victory.. The point about VVS at no 6, MSD not performing outside the subcontinent (esp as a test batter), RP Singh throwing his bat around as a night watchman in the last 2 overs.. I remember you talking about processes etc and constant improvements / lessons from our earlier defeats.
    What changes/improvements have we made from that last historic loss in SA, where on a pitch as close to its Indian counterpart as one can get, bating first, we still mananged to lose because of some very positive cricket on our part.. The same problems are facing us today.. I feel like its a replay of my feelings for the last 20 tests that we have played.. We might have won a few out of them.. The result matters.. Yes but thats not the sole aim if you are developing a team of world beaters..
    And I have to come back to this oft repeated point about the opponents being nervous abt India chasing any thing less than 300.. When was the last time we have chased a 300 succesfully.. And that so called pressure on the opponents was created by one man single handedly (my belief, others may disagree).. that was one Mr. Sehwag.. and his absence takes out that element.. Your RDs and St’s of the world have never gone the distance when chasing 300+.. So England doesn’t need to put up some 400 runs target with only 100 overs.. And I have really started hating this – “with the batting line up that we have” etc kind of eternally hopeful statements.. The last time our batting has really clicked was in the Oz summers .. Again my view… Dont want stats bing thrown at me..
    Being an eternal optimist, hope SFX’s weather predictions hold and England are denied a chance of a test victory at Lords.. Amen

  6. I would swap VVS and Ganguly in the batting order. VVS at 5 and Ganguly at 6.

    VVS was left stranded with the tail 15 minutes into his innings. I don’t have a problem with his strategy – he’s not being selfish, he’s simply playing as well as he can.

    I dare say this England line up bowled better than anything England dished up against West Indies. Harmison would have been a relief because he would have atleast given India a spell or two of rubbish. With the ball swinging for all 80 overs, i don’t think it was ever going to be easy.

    England bowled magnificiently. I don’t understand this “excuses” business. Nobody’s trying to make excuses for any performance – this assumption that they are warranted needs to be reviewed.

    England have played better – they have bowled better and even God can’t survive against consistent late swing for 80 overs – thats the beauty and value of swing. England delivered that exceptionally well.

    If you consider the fact that India delivered rubbish one the first day which meant that they conceded about 75 runs too many in their first innings (look at how England fared when India got their act together on the second day) then but for that, it might have been even stevens right now.

  7. To blame the batting is to fall into the classic trap of blame what is right, while ignoring what is wrong – at least, if the point of assigning to blame is to find out why India are behind in this Test match.

    India are behind because India bowled absolute rubbish for about 60 overs on the first day (barring Kumble)

  8. Are we playing on an unplayable pitch with some prodigious swing/bounce? If the batters cant score 200 on this day 2 pitch in 80 overs – I guess blaming it on the batters isn’t being irrational.. If one was given a score of England winning the toss – all out for 298 – on this pitch? Would one not take it.. We DID ball rot in the first 60 but the final score wasnt all that atrocious..
    BTW we cant play late swing / bounce and spin (of late – Paul harris comes to mind) so where do our batters bat well then?
    Remember some old adage about a bowler bowling as well as he is allowed to..

  9. England don’t seem to be scoring under 3 per over as of now.. Do we still stand a chance or do we start praying for rain gods which we seem to do q often these days).. frankly we need to lose an entire day to save this one.. 43 more to go today, atleat 90 tomorrow.. dont think england have to think about the target and / or no of overs to bowl us out.. And KP seems to be scoring our 1st innings total.. Take that for the swinging ball.. and also about bowlers being allowed to bowl..

  10. Sorry for being scarce. A full Test match / A full race weekend / A British Open / The Tour de France is all a bit too much for a couch potato …

    Like most people, I’m looking at the weather reports this morning. I also notice a lot of the British press and commentators are pinching themselves. Best bowling performance since the Ashes of 2005… which, in my opinion, is overstating it. Or does not say much for their bowling otherwise.

    The concept of changing gears and being positive is what exemplified yesterday I think. Kevin Pietersen’s innings was awesome because an hour into play – and almost immediately after the Collingwood dismissal (what an awesome sight !) – was the realisation that there was always something in it for the bowlers and the key lay in “scoring”.

    To my mind, day 1 was somewhat similar to day 4, in that they were bright and sunny and to that extent, England have been the luckier team in terms of conditions. As and when the conditions have been murky and cloudy, the bowlers have made the most of it – on both sides…

    Dinesh Karthik’s efforts at being positive, how far that rubs off on his more illustrious teammates and how long we see sunny weather – if at all – will determine if we survive, I think.

    Stats paint a pretty sorry picture (That 406 in the Windies in the 70s apart – we’ve only chased 264-3 against SL in Kandy in 2001 as our best offort).

  11. I don’t think the day 2 pitch was the the. The conditions and the quality of the bowling was. Besides every batsman (possibly barring Tendulkar) was well and truly beaten. Tendulkar ironically was a victim of trying too hard to break loose (he played across a straight one)

    The question is – when the English bowling can deliver such a high quality performance with nary a bad spell, why can’t Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan?

  12. if youe bowlers can adjust to all conditions and boiwl well they will be the Ambroses’s of the world, which they aren’t.. belive me Ryan Sidebottom wont take a single wicket under Indian conditions.. And the selectors had an optiom i Agarkar/. Pathan/ Munaf.. our 3 best b owelrs axccording to me today.. If u dont take them.. weel repent.. theres a question of quality.. u cant expect this from zaheer or sreesanth

  13. Are you seriously saying that right now Agarkar, Pathan and Munaf are better than Zaheer and Sreesanth? The last two probably are in theory – but they haven’t proven any form or fitness.

    I would suggest that the point is not to “repent” but that completely ignoring the reality of bowling quality is a mistake.

    India nearly lost because they made fewer runs. The popular argument is that this is because the so called “big 4” didn’t make any runs. My point is that that is an overly simplistic and in a cricketing sense flawed assessment. The reality is that in conditions which favored the bowlers (lush outfield – 1.2 million dollars spent on it apparently, cloud cover, heavy atmosphere enabling the ball to swing for all 80 overs), anybody who bowled “well” was going to get results, regardless of who the batting line up was. Conversely, if you bowled rubbish a lot of the time, you would be easy meat to opposition batsmen (thats the textbook definition of a good cricket wicket).

    I don’t see where repentance comes in…. my point is – lets not get carried away and ignore inescapable realities – both about the Test match in question and about our team. By ignoring these we end up with pleasing (even righteous) and flawed conclusions.

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