Posts Tagged ‘Swann’


Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan
12 September, 2011

It is hard to decide whether to laugh or frown after witnessing the scenes at The Lord’s on Sunday. While the result was clearly unexpected, the belligerence within was revealing through the body language of players from both camps, during different instances.

Dhoni’s frustration is understandable – the battle has gone bonkers with every route to success having brick walls with loaded artillery. Once again, the D/L method proved as hard to comprehend as The Grand Unified Theory, and as ruthless as terrorists as both camps underwent nervy moments when the rain gods intervened towards the end. A neutral, whole heartedly would state that a tie was a fair result. Not before both camps showed their reluctance to enter the field when the numbers were inclined to their side.

Quantitatively, India got off to a good start by weathering the new ball in order to prevent a repeat of what happened at The Oval. Qualitatively though, Rahane’s rather slow start to his innings witnessed moments of lunatic madness as he tried to whack the leather out of the white ball as frustration seeped in. Rahane would have completed an entire team’s innings had he been playing baseball instead of cricket.

Parthiv, at the other end, dismissed anything that was short of length by quickly shifting his weight on to the back foot and pulling the ball with confidence. Both the openers had luck on their side and trudged along at close to five-an-over. While the numbers seemed convincing, the approach, especially from Rahane, wasn’t. He’d have done well to learn from this innings on how to approach the game when shots keep finding the fielders.

Raina and Dhoni unleashed the pyrotechnics to get India up to 280

Another miniature collapse, following the dismissal of Dravid and Kohli almost immediately after one and other, saw the Indian skipper work on rebuilding the innings once again. With Raina, heart in sleeve, hoping to become a part of the reconstruction, a solid partnership was built to suitably daunt the English attack.

The run rate during the last ten overs headed towards the stratosphere, as over a hundred runs were gathered in a passage of play that helped India reach a more-than-respectable total of 280. It seemed as though the world had absorbed a lesson on Indian resolve, a characteristic that had made them world champions a few months ago.

The English reply was an unpredictable scatter of method and madness. Only Ian Bell’s fifty stood out amongst the top four batsmen, after the openers had departed in search of quick runs. Ravi Bopara, one of the heroes from The Oval, played an innings of undoubted steadfastness by building valuable partnerships with Bell, Bresnan and Swann. Signs of sloppiness on the field from the Indians were vivid once again with RP Singh being the culprit for a chance that he left begging at long on. Another instance of a frustrated Jadeja’s overthrow, way off radar, would surely have brought a smile on to the face of Steve Harmison, who definitely needed chaffing after publicly expressing his disgust over Durham CC when they had released his brother Ben.

At 173-5, bearing in mind Broad’s injury, the game seemed India’s to lose, with less than fifteen overs remaining. However, Bopara played intelligent cricket – strokes that demonstrated the work put in by a man who is clearly trying to cement a place in the current English setup. He targeted gaps, and slow fielders, to convert ones into twos and keep the rate ticking. The consequences of the Indian bowlers’ inability to walk through the lower order batsmen may become more apparent once the series is over, but England, no doubt, have enjoyed their role in the melodrama of lower order batting.

Ravi Bopara played a crucial innings for the second time in two games this series.

When rain intervened, the story had two parts to it: one, when the Indians were on the driving seat, and another, after another over, when the Englishmen took charge. With the score at 242, when the second spell of heavier rain hit the city, it seemed as though that England had clinched the game with the demanded D/L score at that juncture reading 240. Earlier, the Indians had a brief advantage but the spell of rain vanished by the time the teams could leave the ground.

But play resumed, much to the delight of the sport, to witness a spell of wickets falling in quick succession. Bopara departed by holing out to deep mid-wicket for a well constructed 96, but rain played spoil-sport again and used the D/L tenets do declare that the game was tied with England, at that time, further requiring 11 runs from 7 balls with a couple of wickets in hand. D/L doesn’t take into account the case of injured players who can’t bat.

Just like how an organization’s balance sheet doesn’t capture the true costs and risks of business activities, The Lord’s scorecard did likewise. The verdict would simply pose that England clinched the series with India yet to record a victory this summer. As the focus shifts to Cardiff, there is still no ballast to raise any hopes within the Indian camp.


 Goutham Chakravarthi

 3 September 2011


It is a slightly bizarre moment in the tour for both India and England. England have looked utterly dominant thus far and there is little that Indian have done to get the spirits up of any of their fans for the ODIs. But a lot is at stake – that England finally want to showcase that they give One Day cricket its due and India are serious enough to impose themselves in a format they really thrive in. India even went to the extent of trying out their ODI combination in the Old Trafford T20 game.

It will be interesting to see how India approach their batting poweplay

Both sides have issues to address. England’s batting order is always a concern with Cook and Trott in the top 3 and Bell at 5. While Trott has been the backbone of this side with consistent performances in the ODIs in Australia, world cup and earlier in the summer in England, Bell’s position is suspect at 5. In an ideal world, Bell would bat in the top 3 in the ODIs. At 5, he bats too low down the order to have the same impact that he can have at the top of the order. It also puts immense pressure on Morgan to anchor the middle order and also act as the finisher. Bopara at 6 is trying to become the finisher for England. While he has the power game to be more effective than Bell, England is still trying to fit 5 batsmen in the top 6 who all are best fit to bat in the top 3! A long batting order might help, but better management of personnel will help them evolve into a better batting unit that they can become.

India’s issues have been with bating collapses. They are clearly terrified of the batting powerplay and have no convincing method of countering it of late. They messed it up many a time in the world cup and in the recently concluded series in West Indies. While they largely won the world cup on the back of Zaheer Khan and their top 7, their batting collapses left a lot to be desired. The wickets might suit the Englishmen, and like Sri Lanka found out earlier in the summer, it might be hard work for their batsmen too outside of Lord’s and The Oval.

The series might hinge on the bowling form of the English seamers. Dernbach’s match winning performance at Old Trafford on Wednesday might mean one of Samit Patel or Graeme Swann will miss out. Patel’s batting might weigh in his favour, in which case Raina and Jadeja will be relieved.

Cook, Bell and Trott batting at numbers 1, 5 and 3 respectively might not work for England

On the other hand, Indiawill in all likelihood open with Tendulkar and Dravid and approach it the traditional way – keep the wickets in tact during the first 15 overs and capitalize in the last 15. The form of Dravid and Tendulkar will be crucial for India as their young batsmen have not shown the needed technique to survive the new ball. They will be at their dangerous best when the start is solid and there are not many catching men around when the stroke makers come in to bat. Knowing the limitations of this batting side, it will be a surprise if England opt to go with anything less than 4 seamers.

Indian bowling will be tested in the death overs. Both Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel rely on change of pace and cutters in the end overs. Wickets early will be the key for the Indian bowlers as well as the depth in bowling is negligent. Jadeja is largely a restrictive bowler and Ashwinor Mishra are not consistent yet at the top level. It will be interesting to see if they throw in Varun Aaron and give him the new ball. England can’t have seen much of him, and if it comes off, it will be gamble worth it.

There is enough to look forward to. Hopefully, it will be well contested.