Monday, Oct 20, 2014

India tour of England: The Fold Trafford

India’s top order fell yet again to part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali, who finished with figures of 4/39 in the second innings and took his series tally to 19 wickets (Source: AP) India’s top order fell yet again to part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali, who finished with figures of 4/39 in the second innings and took his series tally to 19 wickets (Source: AP)
Written by Sandeep Dwivedi | Manchester | Posted: August 9, 2014 3:23 pm | Updated: August 10, 2014 1:24 am

Those who thought that Hurricane Bertha, expected to hit Britain on Sunday, would wash out the fourth day’s play and, thereby, save India in this Test, were assuming way too much. Weather in the United Kingdom and India’s cricketers in England are equally untrustworthy. Rain forecasts are always dodgy but the speculators had overestimated India’s Test match temperament this time.

Forget rainy Sunday and an overcast Monday, India couldn’t survive a sunny Saturday. Under clear blue skies, the Indians were washed away by a near perfect England unit. Now, were it to rain on Sunday, the Indians will gaze out of their hotel’s drenched window panes to look painfully within. After the third day’s play, India need a massive rethink. At Lord’s last month, one thought that India had seen off the tough transition period. The 1-0 lead at the end of the thrilling Test made you believe that India’s Test team had found its worthy replacements. That was just an illusion.

Old Trafford proved that this was indeed India of old — a side that faltered abroad, filled with batsmen who couldn’t survive pace, spin or pressure. India’s batters neither adapted nor adjusted. And their bowlers were unidimensional and far from having a Plan B. To add to that, India’s slip fielders continued to drop vital catches and the wicketkeeper missed crucial run-outs. MS Dhoni may be a World Cup-winning captain and the boldest batsman in this Test match, but he desperately needs a crash course in the ‘Art of Test match captaincy’. England were better in every department, thus they won by an innings and 54 runs with two days to spare. The margin of the victory only mirrored the gulf between the two sides in this Test.

Second best in every session

For the second Test in succession, India were second best in every session of play. They couldn’t keep the upper hand over England for more than an hour. Before lunch today, England scored runs at a quick enough pace to begin thinking of a possible declaration.

Bizarre team tactics resulted in India’s pacers bowling with men guarding the square when the conditions were supporting swing. R Ashwin didn’t get to bowl on a pitch where a rival offie, Moeen Ali, would finish with 4/39.

Observing the ineffective tactics from the commentary box, Aussie legend Shane Warne said that Dhoni almost seemed to be bored. He went on to add how the Indian skipper’s gimmicky bowling changes and funky field placements were better suited for the shorter version of the game. Yes, it makes sense to try something new once continued…

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