Posts Tagged ‘India in England 2011’


 Goutham Chakravarthi

 11 August 2011


This is getting farcical. It has got to count among the most lop-sided “big” series ever. The chasm between the sides widened further with England sitting pretty already at the end of the first day. You would get to understand the difference in the performance of both sides should you pick a combined best XI based on individual performances this series. Barring Rahul Dravid, none of the Indians will warrant a place in it. Such has been England’s dominance.

Broad sent Sehwag back off his very first ball en route to a 4 wicket haul

India’s best cricket over the last decade has been built as much on their ability to bat big in tough conditions. Always the team has found players who got in getting big runs with support from the others. Over the last two months, big runs have eluded all but Dravid. Partnerships and collective performances have eluded this batting order. Batsmen who have got their eye-in have thrown it away and their approach to good tight bowling has been pedestrian.

It was not much different on Wednesday in cold Birmingham on a green surface. It looked greener than both Lord’s and Trent Bridge, but offered much less to the quicks. Skillful Broad sent Sehwag back with his first ball, but only to see Gambhir and Dravid play out the first hour with little difficulty. Runs flowed and England’s bowlers were kept at bay till Gambhir perished to a loose drive. He knew he had done the difficult bit and would be cursing himself for throwing away a good start.

Rahul Dravid has looked in a different league to all Indian batsmen this series. His application was top notch yet again and looked set for his third straight hundred in consecutive Tests when he got going with pleasing drives. On the other end, a very unsure Sachin Tendulkar made a very scratchy 1 and got out playing a poor shot. Lack of runs off his blade has hurt India badly in this series. Even he, when he has got starts this series has not been able to convert them to big scores, a bane of Laxman too this series. Once again, he got out when he looked good for plenty more.

Raina has been worked over by a very skillful bowling side that specializes in exposing technical and mental shortcomings. His inadequacies with short-pitched bowling has wrecked his footwork and dented his confidence. Anderson set him-up with the predictability of a David Dhavan movie story line. With India facing embarrassment, it was left to a skipper who finds his best when he is aggressive and an unlikely partner in Praveen Kumar to thwart the English for 14 overs to bump India’s overall tally above 200.

Credit has to be given to England’s relentless precision in executing their plans. They have rarely made it easy for the visiting batsmen. Their plans have been backed by ruthless execution. They have been remarkable as a bowling unit with each bowler making a mark sometime or the other. Not only have they not let India score 300 yet in any of the innings, they have seldom let them have it easy even for an hour. They have broken the confidence of the batting order and the scars may run deeper with long term implications for some of the Indian youngsters.

England is perhaps just another good day away from getting into an unbeatable position in this Test. Given the withdrawn body language of the Indians in the last session, expect England to come hard and break the spirit early on day 2 and dominate the rest of the day. It will take something extraordinary for India to come back into this test and England will do well not to take the foot off the pedal just yet.

Preview Edgbaston: Perspective India

Posted: August 10, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011
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 Goutham Chakravarthi

 10 August 2011


The week leading to this Test would have given the time the team needed for introspection irrespective of an average outing against Northants. Zaheer Khan’s absence will sting India more than the cold weather of Birmingham.

The riots in England will have disrupted the preparations further. Not that it has been less chaotic on the cricketing front – with the latest expose by Outlook leaving Shastri and Gavaskar to fend off more spiteful media bumpers. Injuries and fitness issues have gotten worse and their returning champion has had less than ideal preparation – worse, still, he doesn’t know if can withstand a Test match without a fully functional shoulder. And given that not much grass will come off the strip, it has got many media pundits predicting a white wash just half-way into the series.

India will hope for big runs from Tendulkar and Laxman

India likes chaos. It even thrives in chaos. Much like our traffic discipline and road habits and the enormous social pressures of day-to-day life, when survival seems impossible, there is calm in approach and over achievement in results in such situations. A mentally fragile team with bite less than a toothless man and bowling dependent on a maverick swinger from days of yore is seemingly stepping-up into a heavy weight boxing bout with both hands tied behind its back. But there is hope that it will survive the round.

Rahul Dravid, Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma have been admirable throughout the series and will long for better support from their team mates. The team will look to its proven champions again to step-up and show the way. It might not be a surprise if they opt to bat on a pitch many would argue best suited for cows.

Their batting has been a huge let down. Their opening pair has been a Russian roulette and their batsmen have changed batting positions more than an Indian politician would change parties. Rahul Dravid has been selfless, but poor preparation and inability of their other batsmen in countering the English bowling and conditions has left their honest bowling with the challenge of passing 12th standard Mathematics examination with 10th standard preparation.

Laxman and Tendulkar will be cursing not to have converted their starts. If anything, they would hope that the return of Sehwag and Gambhir at the top buys them some shield against the new ball and ensure that when the second new ball is taken, one of them is around to tackle it. India’s lower-middle order has looked as clueless against English pace and nip like the young Australian batsmen did against Ajantha Mendis on Monday on a typical sub-continental wicket. Test match cricket can be cruel on the best and greatest of men. And India will benefit if England turn-up expecting India to roll over just because it is a green top. Much of their players spent the week in Europe on a holiday. Perhaps fishing. Indian bowlers will hope they fish outside-off stump when they bat against them.

India’s batting order finally looks in order with still the no.6 spot up for grabs. Captain Dhoni has tried his best to keep his car in the race only to see the wheels come off when he has needed to accelerate. He will hope for his car’s spare parts to be fully functional and operable so that he can plot a canny strategy to pip England to the chequered flag. He will be hoping that Sehwag can give him the extra gears he so desperately needs. It is all stacked against India. If they end-up surprising all by winning, just know that they thrive in chaos!


 Muthukumar Ramamoorthy

 7 August 2011


AT BIRMINGHAM

INDIA

Vs

ENGLAND

5

Head to head

5

0

Won

4

1

Draw

1

390
all out

Highest total in an innings

633 / 5 declared

92 all out

Lowest total in an innings

203
all out

122
by Sachin Tendulkar

Highest individual runs in an innings

214* by David Lloyd

6/58 by Chetan Sharma

Highest individual wickets in an innings

5/70 by Ian Botham

Some statistical highlights between India and England at Edgbaston over the years:

The great Vinoo Mankad was out hit-wicket at Edgbaston

  1. The last time these two teams played a test was at 1996 which England won
  2. Nasser Hussain scored his maiden test match century in this ground and won the man of the match award. (Rahul Dravid who was substituting before his debut that he played at Lords in the next test match held the catch offered by Hussain off the bowling of Javagal Srinath)
  3. Javagal Srinath scored his only half century (52 off 65 including 9 hits to the fence) of his career at England and top scored for the Indian batting line up. He batted at no.9. He also bowled his record spell at England in Tests picking up 4 wickets for 103 runs at this ground.
  4. Sachin Tendulkar scored his 9th century in Tests and his first at this ground. Incidentally that’s the only test he has played here thus far. Also interestingly, none apart from sSchin from the current Indian team touring this time has played before at this ground. Not even Rahul Dravid!
  5. In a bizarre dismissal, Vinoo Mankad’s was out hit-wicket when his hat fells on his wicket, England v India, 3rd Test, Edgbaston, July 6, 1974