Indians hoped that India will do well in Trent Bridge Test. India will win and it will be 1-1.
On Day 1 England were all out 221. At one time they were 124/8. India were 24/1. On Day 2 India were all out 288, a lead of 67 runs. At one time they were 267/4. England were 24/1. On Day 3 India’s bowling was not successful. England dominated. The day began with Vaseline controversy. Till tea break India had the chance of winning or drawing the Test. After Ian Bell run-out controversy it was downhill for India. England finished the day 441/6, a lead of 374 runs. On that day England scored 417 runs on a single day, highest since 1954. After tea break India did not have the will to fight. Something was seriously wrong. It seems there was a split in the team and many players were demoralised. On day 4 England were all out 544. India were all out 158 in 47.4 overs and lost the Test by 319 runs. Sachin Tendulkar was the top scorer with 56. Harbhajan Singh scored 46, Rahul Dravid 6, V. V. S. Laxman 4, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 0. The match was over within four days.
Ian Bell had a reprieve during World Cup some months back. That time he and everyone else knew he was out but he continued as umpire had not given him out. That time it was question of rules and there was no question of spirit of the game. After that incident UDRS rule changed for World Cup.
What went wrong? Batting was supposed to become more difficult every day. How is that even English tail enders batted well and Indians failed? India went into the series as No. 1 team. After two consecutive Test defeats that ranking is in doubt. Dhoni said our bowlers were tired and our batsmen were unable to live up to the challenge. His own form is a concern. Kapil Dev said out bowlers don’t play Ranji or three day matches. They play one day or T20 matches. Hence they are unable to bowl long spells.
India have to win the remaining two Tests to draw the series and retain No. 1 ranking. No team can remain No. 1 for ever but India lost the Lord’s Test and performed badly in Trent Bridge Test. Excuses will not do. Players get injured and their absence should not be the reason as others take their place. Some say missing the West Indies tour was the reason for poor performance of some players. Sunil Gavaskar had said that those who want rest and do not want to go to West Indies should be given permanent rest. Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan had missed the tour. Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan got injured at Lord’s and were out of Trent Bridge Test. Yuvraj Singh who replaced Gautam Gambhir could have been sent to open batting. Some blame BCCI’s refusal to have UDRS for LBW decisions as reason for India’s defeat as Harbhajan Singh was wrongly given out and some English batsmen were not given out LBW.
After the Test when asked about Ian Bell’s return Dhoni said it was not about rule or spirit of the game but about feeling good. They did not feel good about the way he was out. Really? In that case the players who did not feel good should not be in the team. If all players did not feel good the whole team should be back in India and another team should be sent. In 2004 BJP campaigned on feel good factor and it lost the election.
The series had a sideshow of one ad featuring Dhoni making fun of an ad featuring Harbhajan Singh. Then another ad featuring Gautam Gambhir endorsing the product Harbhajan Singh endorsed.
Before the Test there was also a controversy about Indian cricketers not attending the reception by Indian High Commissioner and attending Dhoni’s charity auction. BCCI said there was communication gap. When Mohinder Singh Gill was sports minister he had derecognised BCCI as a national sports organisation. It was not proper for Indian High Commissioner to invite a team that is not sent by a recognised national sports organisation. Once the players did not attend the reception there was no need to go public about it and the matter should have been closed. There is supposed to be another reception once the players return to London. Now that the players have done badly there may not be much enthusiasm to meet them.
It is possible for India to win the remaining two Tests and level the series. I hope they will.