Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

England win Test series

On 17/12/2012 at 3.20 p.m. Nagpur Test ended in draw. With that England versus India Test series came to an end. England won the series 2-1. James Anderson was man of the match. Alastair Cook was man of the series. Last time England won in India was in 1984-85 when David Gower was the captain.
It is said well begun is half done. For India that happened to be quarter done. India won Ahmedabad Test. England won Bombay and Calcutta Tests. With Nagpur Test as draw they won the series.
After Ahmedabad Test, Umesh Yadav was out of the team due to back injury. Zaheer Khan was not effective in next two Tests. In Calcutta, he would have got Alastair Cook’s wicket if Cheteshwar Pujara had held on to the catch. Cook was on 17. In Bombay Test, Harbhajan Singh missed a wicket due to a dropped catch. Lost catches cost matches. Harbhajan Singh played only one Test. He, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan were dropped after Calcutta Test. Sunil Gavaskar said Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh were made scapegoats.
Ravindra Jadeja made his debut at Nagpur. Piyush Chawla made a comeback after four years. Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bat. The pitch was difficult to score runs. India had the upper hand when England were 139/5. They were all out for 330. England had the upper hand when India were 71/4. Then Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni put on a partnership of 198 runs. Virat Kohli was out on 103. The match was in India’s favour. Then India lost Jadeja who made 12. Then came Dhoni’s run out on 99 by a superb throw by Alastair Cook. Soon Piyush Chawla was out and India were 297/8. The match was evenly balanced. On the fourth day Indians were unable to score quick runs. Dhoni declared on 326/9, four runs short of England total. India wanted to win the Test and level the series. For England draw was enough. England’s third wicket fell at 94. No further loss on Day 4.
The fifth day of Nagpur Test began with hope for India. England were 161/3. Taking seven wickets and restricting England to 225 in the morning session was a possibility. That did not happen. The day ended with England on 352/4. The remaining part of the play was called off with the consent of both captains. Otherwise play should have ended at 4.30 p.m.
Umpiring in Nagpur Test came under criticism. Kumar Dharmasena ruling out Alastair Cook in both Innings, Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal, Jonathan Trott ruled not out, were some of the controversial decisions.
Rahul Dravid’s absence as slip fielder is felt. At Nagpur there was a placard asking him to leave the commentary box and come to the field. India does not have specialist slip fielders. Virender Sehwag has not been good at first slip. He does not crouch. Sometimes the ball strikes him, mostly on his legs. Once it hit his hands.
There are calls for change of captain and sacking of Sachin Tendulkar. Bishen Singh Bedi on Headlines Today to Rahul Kanwal said Dhoni is 100% luck, 0% ability. Some have called for sacking of coach Duncan Fletcher. Virender Sehwag once said when the team does well captain gets the credit and when it does badly coach gets the blame. There is talk that Fletcher’s contact will not be renewed. The new coach should not be someone who has played cricket with present players in the team. Some say Gary Kirsten was a great coach. One opinion is that Gary Kirsten left at the right time. The team had won the ODI World Cup. He left on a high. Some have suggested three captains for three formats.
Some feel the attitude of the players changed after they won the World Cup. They felt they did a favour to the country. Some blame IPL. There is more money in IPL than in Tests.
India were unprepared for the series. They took victory for granted. England had lost against Pakistan. They had not done well in Sri Lanka. England had come prepared. After the first Test loss they practised hard. They won Bombay Test on a rank turner. People who spoke spin and batting as our strength suddenly found our spinners were inexperienced, and our batsmen had to do more.
Fitness of fast bowlers has been a problem. Many come, play a few Tests or ODIs, and then are injured and gone. Ishant Sharma was out for some time. S. Sreesanth and Praveen Kumar are not seen.
There are T20 and ODI matches ahead. Australia will play a four Test series in India. Lessons are to be learnt.

Updated: December 18, 2012 — 7:42 am

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