Posts Tagged ‘Anderson’


Goutham Chakravarthi

For a brief while, India were on top on Saturday evening. Two spinners bowling in tandem, ball stopping on the batsman occasionally, ball turning occasionally, it looked as though the moment for a win over England had arrived. Ashwin had the ball on a leash, dropping it on a full length, luring the batsman to have a drive at it. Every ball dipped and turned.

Jadeja made an impressive comeback to the side with both bat and ball

Trott played for spin when it went the other way and Bell kept getting hit on the pad. India liked the conditions and sensed a win. The heavens opened up and overs and time were lost. When they came back, it was a greasy outfield and the ball became wet. England batted deep enough and sensibly enough to ensure India wouldn’t go back home with any series victory.

A green wicket and another lost toss ensured that India had to bat first for the third game in succession. Bresnan and Anderson found holes in the Indian top-order by moving the ball both ways. Though the pair would have liked to pitch it up a bit more given the conditions, they sliced through the top in their opening bursts to have India four down within an hour.

Raina fought hard, but threw it away with an ugly swipe to leave India 5 down for 58. As much as Raina is comfortable in the shorter format, he needed to show the restraint the situation demanded. His shot was reckless and disrespected the situation India found itself in.

Dhoni played the rearguard action well. With the ball moving less and less as the afternoon wore on, he opened up to play some bold stokes. Jadeja, after having finally landed inEngland, played a splendid innings. He was fluent through the off side and England obliged by bowling to his strengths. His fluency on the off-side backward of point off either foot stood out. In the company of an equally impressive Ashwin, he took India to a total that looked beyond their reach two hours earlier.

Ashwin and Jadeja were the biggest gains for Indian from this game. Both have been around on the fringes for quite sometime now. They first gave India a chance by putting on a rapid partnership of 59, and then put the brakes on England with their spin. Jadeja is a restrictive bowler who looks to choke the scoring of runs. With the wicket offering occasional turn, he became doubly effective.

Ashwin looked menacing. Often, he is criticized for trying out too many of his variations – offies, offies with round-arm action, top spinners, arm balls and carom balls. Today, his offies drifted, gripped and bounced. He looked threatening and left Trott clueless when he set him up for his carom ball. Stokes looked ill at ease against spin and seemed relieved when Ashwin finally bowled him.

Bopara held the innings together with an impressive innings

On the other hand, it was an important knock for someone like Bopara. He didn’t resort to panic sweeps when the ball started to spin. He kept waiting for loose deliveries and the Indian seamers, who were a big let down for Dhoni in this game, kept giving him a full toss or a short ball every over to relieve the pressure built by the spinners. He finally fell done in by the impressive Ashwin right at the finish line. But, he looked the part though he might be a better option at 5 than at 6.

How England will find the right slots for their first choice players might indeed prove to be a jig-saw puzzle over the course of the remaining two ODIs in England and the 5 ODIs in India. Kieswetter looks a powerful option at the top, but his defensive game is suspect. It might not be a bad idea to bat Bell and Cook at the top and have the option of Kieswetter at the back-end of the innings to take advantage of the bowling powerplay. He has proved to have the game to take advantage of fielding restrictions. They are unlikely to do that especially with him getting good runs at the top and might like batting at the top of the order in India as well.

On the positive side for India, many of their youngsters have shown promise. It will be a surprise if Varun Aaron doesn’t get a game on Sunday given the poor show of the seamers that practically cost them the game on Friday. England will look to seal the series with a win on Sunday.


Chandrasekhar Jayarama Krishnan

Head of Cricket, The CouchExpert

17 August 2011

 

Let us be honest with ourselves here: any attempt to get the competitive mood a little testier than it was prior to the Edgbaston-induced euphoria might be challenging. The margin of dominance might seem to have alleviated the competitive juices that would have existed before statistics played devil’s advocate – but far from all that, England will target a whitewash. With their openers back in form, the solitary glitch of the series up and until Birmingham was resolved in style.

As painful as Cook’s drab innings was, it is hard to argue that he might have ended up playing the role that was expected of him. For the spectator though, the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility seemed to govern his innings that day when, at one point of time, the value of every additional run scored decreased, at least virtually, as his individual score piled on.

Nevertheless, England’s neoclassical revival couldn’t have hoped for anything more concrete. The nation’s persistent expectations were finally in congruence with their team’s performances in the middle. And the icing on the cake was to add to the former World Number One’s bundle of misery by ostensibly portraying the visitors’ woes as voluminous and grave as unpaid taxes in India.

Tremlett will definitely miss out due to injury, while Anderson's situation isn't entirely clear yet

The combination of a prospective whitewash and a battered Indian morale could well tempt Flower & co. from fielding their best XI at the Oval. Graham Onions is likely to return if the suspected injury of Anderson stops him from taking any part on Thursday. Tremlett isn’t fit yet, therefore Bresnan, riding on that wonderful form of his, will look to stay in phase with the momentum.

Bopara’s return placed him in the footnote of a scorecard with monumental numbers, an image that would only appear more blurred when he reads newspapers that highlight James Taylor’s great run of late. The Leicestershire wonder kid scored yet another hundred against the visiting Sri Lankan – A team, and is piling runs at the rate at which Cook was doing over the winter.

Bopara, in all likelihood, will be given another run at the Oval to cash in on runs against an attack that seems far from convincing. Some might argue that it would appear a bit premature for Taylor to be given a go now, but keeping a young in-form batsman waiting in the wings for too long has its own set of unpleasant consequences – one which even Ravi Bopara experienced at an earlier stage of his career.

And to imagine the prospect of throwing young Taylor in to a steaming cauldron somewhere within the subcontinent in conditions unfamiliar to him may not be the ideal start to envision. Flower is probably already thinking of this – the thought being hidden somewhere in his mind amidst a collage of numbers that read 4 and 0.

While it is easy to overstate this need, substantive as it might appear, the bigger picture of the Oval being a battlefield that will house the war between a bruised ego and new-found arrogance must not be forgotten. England cannot, and will not, look to hand India the advantage with a lackluster approach knowing that a 4-0 drubbing would lead the Indian media to frantically dig the graves of culprits before the start of the ODI series. This would, consequently, hand England another advantage going ahead.

Having climbed to the top with promising signs of a new era and a mentally tougher unit, the ghosts of England’s past have vanished for good. Hyperbolic as this statement might allegedly sound, only a strong performance – redolent of the visitors’ era under Gary Kirsten – might tilt the scales otherwise.


Chandrasekhar Jayarama Krishnan

Head of Cricket, The CouchExpert

13 August 2011

The Englishmen are the new World Number One.

Their ruthless, convincing and highly competing display of cricket has taken them to the top of the tables with their path seemingly more convincing than the ones taken by the Indians not too long ago. James Anderson’s devastating spell to take four top order wickets was good enough to hand England the momentum, and Dhoni his first series loss as captain.

England has evolved into a unit which is greater than the sum of its parts. And most importantly, every member of the playing XI seems to have had a clear role defined for him. How well they’ve executed it! The margins of victory over these three tests, if browsed through a decade from now, will contain no evidence to showcase that the visitors came into the tour as World Number One.

Anderson's four-for put an end to any hope of a recovery from the visitors

As the Indians found themselves a beset under a swarm of criticism, during and after the course of events on the third day of the Edgbaston Test, it seemed as though it was only going to be a matter of time before England ascended the throne of Test Cricket.

Signs of optimism were scarce and scattered across minds that hoped for a repeat of Napier in 2009, where India battled through seven sessions to save the Test. Considering the visitors’ current run of form, this feat seemed more unlikely than possible.

The theory’s correctness was soon proved as Napier’s hero Gambhir departed to the first ball he faced, during the second over of the day, as he, quite literally, guided an Anderson delivery in to the hands of Swann at second slip. The optimist’s ride stumbled across a roadblock, while the red cherry in Anderson’s hand possessed movement that would have easily pierced through every point in the trajectory of a simple pendulum with relatively large amplitudes.

It makes no sense to conduct a post-mortem over the dismissals that followed, barring two – one strange, and another unfortunate. If the current economic downturn forces global corporations to attempt running their business with shoestring budgets, Dravid’s shoestring was the cause for his misery as he, for reasons unknown, walked after thinking that he nicked a James Anderson delivery to Matt Prior when in reality, it was the contact between his bat and his shoe laces. It is perplexing to try and understand what might have gone through Dravid’s mind at that time. Some things are best left unsaid.

Tendulkar, on the other hand, was caught off-guard at the non striker’s end when MS Dhoni played a shot that reflected off Swann’s hands and crashed into the stumps at the other end. His dismissal, followed by the eventual plummet to defeat pretty much summarized the Indian summer.

The Indians failed to cross Cook's individual score in either innings. Cook was awarded the Man of the Match

Having not managed to cross Man-of-the-Match Cook’s individual score as a team in either innings, Dhoni’s performance with the bat this test, inconsequential as it may seem remains the solitary positive.

This victory presents an excellent opportunity for England to throw debuts to their much awaited young prospects – something that the “English Cricket relies on Foreign Imports” community might keen to witness. At the same time, England might look to go for the kill and target a 4-0 whitewash at The Oval.

From the perspective of an Indian fan, there could still a breathtaking cynicism to this prospect, but this isn’t a case which is as unreasonable as it might have sounded a month ago. Three tests into this dreadful series, the question, surely for the Indians will revolve around how much worse it can get. Their display, thus far, has bordered disreputable incompetence. Excuses can, and surely will, fluctuate between injuries and overload, but what will remain imprinted are the results, never the reasons.

For the British fan, this is the start of a new era. Let him cherish it for as long as it lasts, and if England continue to play the way they did this series, this is bound to be a long spanning tenure at the top.