The 4th Test Humiliation & Sour Grapes Thread

Welcome to Mumbai Test thread. I’ll be updating this post with daily reports as the game progresses. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below. Cheers. 

Day 4

I’m a little too embarrassed to be angry. When you reduce at team to 306-6 and they end up making 631 it’s humiliating. It’s hide behind the sofa and try not to blush too much territory. I imagine everyone in world cricket is laughing at us today.

No doubt Kohli will steal all the headlines again. Fair play to him I guess. He’s a very talented man. However, as I said in the comments yesterday, I refuse to get involved in all the hyperbole. I’ll save the gushing for the next time he destroys a good attack away from home. This innings was a bit like taking candy from a baby. Our spinners weren’t good enough to test him.

I guess I could dissect England’s performance in the field but there seems little point. I’d just be repeating myself. Cook’s captaincy is extremely poor and our spin bowlers simply aren’t good enough.  Jimmy Anderson described the morning as England’s worst session of the whole tour. That just about sums it up. Not even the players tried to hide behind the so called positives this time.

When England finally batted again, after a whopping 182 overs in the field, it was all very predictable. Early wickets tumbled, then there was a little bit of resistance, and then the wickets tumbled again right before the close. It was an all too familiar script.

England’s planning for this tour – from the ridiculous schedule, to the inept squad selection, to the tactics on the field – have been absolutely disastrous. I guess most of us predicted that India would win, but the nature of this particular defeat really hurts. In a way, today felt a bit like the Ashes whitewashes: our team has been totally overwhelmed in front of a delirious crowd baying for blood.

I don’t particularly feel like talking about the small positives today, as they seem irrelevant in the broader scheme of things, but I must mention the performances of Root and Bairstow.

Jonny’s unbeaten 50, in extremely testing circumstances after keeping wicket for two days, was a phenomenal effort. He’s looking more and more like a complete player. He’s now played well at home, in South Africa and in India. If he can gets runs down under next winter he’ll firmly belong in the ‘world class’ bracket (as a pure batsman).

Root’s counter-attacking 77 was also a gem of an innings. In fact, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it was almost as good as Kohli’s knock. Why? Because he made his runs against Ashwin, Jadeja and Yadav in a hostile environment despite enormous scoreboard pressure. If Kohli’s runs were like taking candy from a baby, young Joe was basically trying to wrestle a slippery salmon from a grizzly bear. It was a top effort.

Before I sign off I’d quickly like to try and deflect some attention from England’s abysmal predicament. Ahem. That’s right folks, I’m going to talk poor umpiring and excessive vociferous appealing!

Some of the decisions Bruce Oxenford made were mind-boggling: he gave Jonny out caught twice when he’d missed the ball by half a foot. I can only assume he caved under the pressure. I thought India’s appealing – particularly the antics of Partiv Patel – were over the top.

Kohli hardly set a good example in this regard. I can’t blame India for being excited – they’ve played bloody well and deserve their win – but I don’t like to see captains staring aggressively at umpires, petulantly shaking their heads in disbelief, and then looking dumbfounded and hard-done-by every time an appeal doesn’t go their way. It was like Ricky Ponting at his worse sometimes.

Hey Virat. You’re a superb cricketer, you played a great innings, and you’re doing wonderful things for Indian cricket. Don’t go spoiling it all by showing dissent.

Day 3

I’m currently in bed feeling nauseous. I’m not sure whether it was last night’s pizza, England’s catching or Cook’s captaincy.

Today looked to be heading our way when we reduced India to 307-6. But some dodgy catching, highly questionable use of DRS, plus some head scratching bowling changes allowed India to recover to 451-7 by the close. One senses our best chance to win this game has passed.

No doubt the media will focus on “King” Kohli – I prefer the name “Virat” Kohli myself but that’s just me – but England really didn’t help themselves. Rashid dropped him on 68 and that might prove to be the vital moment in this match. It was as straightforward a caught and bowled chance as you’ll see. It made me all nostalgic about Monty Panesar.

We shouldn’t forget that India’s other centurion, Murali Vijay, should have been dismissed yesterday before he’d reached fifty. Bairstow blew a pretty standard stumping opportunity. Throw in Joe Root’s failure to cling on to a regulation slip catch at the end of the day (that would have ended Kohli and Yadav’s match-turning partnership before it got out of hand) and there’s no doubt we contributed to our own downfall.

Alastair Cook also had a particularly miserable time in the field. He rotated his bowlers very poorly indeed – at one point Rashid bowled 28 overs unchanged despite looking completely knackered – and he wasted England’s reviews. Then naturally the inevitable happened: England had Yadav caught behind down the leg side but couldn’t challenge the umpire’s ‘not out’.

The only captaincy masterstroke of the day came when Cook was off the field. With Joe Root in temporary charge, the vice skipper said “sod this I’m going to turn my own arm over”. He immediately claimed two wickets. It just about summed up Cook’s day. It’s becoming harder and harder to make a case for Alastair remaining in charge of this team.

No doubt observers will also pick apart England’s team selection for this game. I’ve heard plenty accuse England of playing with ten men. While I agree that Chris Woakes has been a bit of a passenger, let’s not forget that the Warwickshire man would’ve played regardless once Broad was ruled out. The selection dilemma was actually choosing between Ball, Dawson, Ballance or Duckett.

Although people claim that England should have picked an extra batsman, Ball has actually justified his selection thus far. He’s bowled quite nicely and also scored 31 runs in a vital partnership with Buttler. Call me an old cynic, but I wager that’s more runs than either Ballance or Duckett would’ve made. What’s more, one could also argue that Woakes is a better batsman than any of the so called ‘specialists’ in reserve.

Personally I’m not sure Dawson or Batty would’ve made much difference either. The former’s first class record is poor and, we saw in Vizag and Rajkot, the Indians play average spinners extremely well. Ansari did nothing in these two games so I don’t see why his replacement (a guy who’s technically inferior to him) would’ve done much better. Batty has also looked totally ineffective this winter.

The real problem, of course, is the squad England’s management are having to pick from. The selectors ballsed this one up completely. Had Bayliss / Farbrace and Cook ignored Jack Leach, or another right handed specialist batsman, in favour of Jake Ball then I might have had more of an issue with the final XI. Unfortunately, as Bayliss likes to remind us from time to time, the management have to make the best of the players given to them. And quite often these players simply aren’t good enough.

With the lead already 51, India are well in the ascendancy. England simply have to take early wickets tomorrow. Normally I’d say that batting last is a huge disadvantage in Indian conditions – and therefore England are still in with a shout – but as we’ve seen thus far in the series, India’s spinners get a lot more turn than ours.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the pitch looks worse for batting in the 3rd innings than it does in the 4th. This would be an illusion of course. The simple truth is that India’s spinners are a class or two above ours, and their batsmen also play the turning ball much better. And that, in a nutshell, is why we’re getting stuffed.

Day Two

To borrow an old football cliche, today was a day of two halves. It all went fairly well when England batted – the pitch was turning but we still managed to register 400 – but things went a little pear shaped thereafter. India reached to 146-1 quite comfortably and it looked a totally different game.

Anyway let’s start with the good. And by the good I mean Jos. Last year in the UAE Buttler looked absolutely clueless against spin. He didn’t move his feet and his defence was as solid as jelly. What a difference a year makes. Today he looked quite assured, played a proper first class innings, and largely kept the daft shots in his locker.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer of course, and Jos was helped by the fact that (a) he’s playing on his home ground, and (b) he’s right handed (which helps a great deal against Ashwin in particular), but it was hugely encouraging to see. He seems like a top bloke and I’d like nothing more than to see him prove all his critics (of which I’m one) completely and utterly wrong. Let’s hope he can look so assured against the pacemen next summer.

Now on to the bad. And by the bad I mean England’s spinners. I’m afraid their performance today was very poor. Rashid in particular was woeful. He couldn’t find the right length and bowled several embarrassing full tosses and long hops. Moeen wasn’t much better. Although he bowled Rahul through the gate – a classic off spinners dismissal – he looked about as threatening as a baby wielding a pomegranate.

Unfortunately the poor showing by our spinners has put a rather different complexion on this match. After watching Ashwin and friends claim all ten England wickets, I think most observers (me included) expected the pitch to rag extravagantly. It was certainly turning when we were batting.

Unfortunately however, Rashid and Mo didn’t look dangerous at all. It was bizarre – as if they were playing on a different surface. Vijay and Pujara made batting look easy. Marcus Trescothick looked totally perplexed in the Sky studio. He wasn’t the only one!

I guess we just have to accept that India’s spinners are just far better than ours. Ashwin knows the conditions well in Mumbai and bowled the perfect pace. Mo and Adil are relative rookies compared to him … and boy didn’t it show.

It’s all a bit of a shame really. I thought England’s 400 was an excellent total but now it looks nothing special at all. If only Ashwin had been born in Chertsey rather than Chennai. We could sure use someone like him.

Day One

I really don’t know where to start. We haven’t had so many positives to talk about for ages. We won the toss and batted first (big tick), we made a decent fist of it (big tick), the pitch is already ragging significantly (huge tick), and our debutant looked as solid as a rock and made a hugely impressive ton (bloody enormous tick). I’m like a pig in swill for a change.

I guess the logical place to start is Keaton Jennings. He now averages 112 when Trevor Bayliss watches him bat < cough >. He must have made one hell of a first impression. He looked organised, strong in defence and crisp in attack. It was a bit like watching Marcus Trescothick but with slightly more footwork.

What impressed me most about Jennings – other than the fact he plays the ball late and drives fluently – was his composure. Other than an early let off, when he could’ve been caught in the gully, he looked incredibly assured. His interview at the end of play was also impressive: he was relaxed, confident and obviously taking everything in his stride.

Note to the ECB: don’t give this bloke any media training. He doesn’t need it. He’s intelligent enough and likeable enough to figure things out for himself. The last thing he needs is a cliche injection.

The other major talking point of the day was the pitch. Had we lost the toss, and India were now sitting pretty at 288-5, I’d be mightily cheesed off. By the close of play it was turning a great deal – noticeably more than it was earlier in the day – and the ball was already creating little clouds of dust when it pitched. It’s bouncing too. It looks tailor made for a good leg spinner. No pressure Adil.

If the pitch continues to deteriorate, we’ll be in a very good position if we can make 350+ tomorrow. Although some might argue that England have selected the wrong side, and should’ve picked Batty or Dawson instead of Ball, I personally believe that Moeen and Rashid (with a little Joe Root thrown in) should provide sufficient slow bowling options. How many average off-spinners do people want for heaven sake? Besides, if the pitch breaks up then our seamers could be useful.

Do you think England need to make 400 in the first innings? At one point it looked like we might score over 450. However, some good bowling and poor batting put paid to that. Cook uncharacteristically charged down the pitch and was stumped – what the hell is up with him these days? – and Bairstow also threw a promising start away when he top edge a sweep to fine leg.

At one point Moeen also looked set for a big score. He played really well until he tried one gung-ho swish to leg too many and was caught in somewhat embarrassing fashion. Mo’s batting is just like a difficult girlfriend: looks gorgeous but drives you insane.

The pressure was on at the end of the day but Stokes – who was as watchful as I’ve ever seen him – and Buttler saw us through to the close. It’s going to be difficult for either of these two to play their shots tomorrow so it was good to see them knuckle down and eek out as many runs as possible.

I’d be interesting to know what others make of the match situation. Personally I feel very comfortable with the state of play. Even if our remaining batsmen find life tricky in the morning, and we get bowled out without adding too many more runs, it’s important to remember the broader context: England are well and truly in this game. Had India won the toss I hate to think what might have happened.

James Morgan


  • England’s day, just, because Stokes and Buttler did a great job to hang in there when it had “7 down” written all over it when Bairstow was out. I think they got the selection right, too. The Indians would rather face Batty than anyone, I reckon.

    Funny how one innings can change the way you feel so much. Obviously Jennings benefits from the fact the opposition have never seen him bat and bowlers will soon spot weaknesses and start to probe them, but he looked really assured. Suddenly we can see the prospect of a decently balanced side – Cook, Hameed and Jennings in the top 3 (I’ve been suggesting Cook might drop to 3 for a while now because he looks so tired, but probably any one of them could do it), Root, Bairstow, Stokes, Moeen (could swap with Bairstow if following a long period in the field), Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Anderson.

    Taking shape nicely for those Aussies next winter…

  • 2012 Mumbai Test Deja Vu all over again. India scored 327 on a turner first innings and everyone knows how it ended

    • England had the better spinners then though (they took 9) so 327 wasn’t a bad effort.
      We then had two brilliant innings help us to 400…

  • I was pleasantly surprised by Jennings, although we should not anoint him as the chosen one bearing in mind the early test performances from the likes of Sam Robson and Gary Balance, who both made centuries in their second tests. The only black mark in his innings was the use of the reverse sweep (including one which was directly in front). Why play a low percentage shot which cannot be reliably played along the ground?

    The most entertaining phase of play was when Buttler emerged. I am not sure whether to be impressed or amazed that a batsman survived when clearly having no idea when, how much or in what direction the ball would spin. It will be interesting to see Rashid and Ali bowl. It is clear that the wicket rewards tossing the ball up but that anything flat or short can be punished as the pitch has decent pace and bounce (for the spinners). Can these two resist the temptation to bowl too flat?

    • But more importantly, Buttler used his feet, after a tough start.
      He might just be a test player… (fingers crossed for tomorrow).

      • Long way to go. Test batsmen do not….

        ……leave huge gaps between bat and pad playing the forward defensive
        ……play the reverse sweep except when chasing runs
        ……average 30 after 16 tests.

        But I will happily settle for him adding 30 or 40 to his score tomorrow.

        • Actually Jennings demonstrated rather well that the sweep – and indeed the reverse – can be percentage shots if you’re very selective about when you play them.
          Buttler’s problem seems to me not so much his technique, which looks quite adequate, as his lack of first class cricket. He’s been required for so long to play scoring shots to good balls, which in test cricket should be treated more circumspectly, that the restraint in shot selection required for the longer form isn’t natural and automatic.

          Whether he can make the transition is an interesting question, but that he survived to close of play, and that his footwork does not seem unduly inhibited by the mental readjustment is encouraging.

  • I would say it’s an even day, yes we did well to be only 5 down. But for the same token it looked so easy after tea when Mo started accelerating and then gifting his wicket.
    It’s the kind of wicket where you’re vulnerable for your first half hour but then can score.
    I still reckon we need 400+ and that will take some effort from here.

    However on a bright note, we are in this game and the bowling attack looks a lot more balanced and equipped to take 20 wickets.

    Top innings by Jennings. I haven’t seen the drop on 0. Was it a difficult chance? I guess sometimes you just need a bit of luck as well as skill.

    • England slightly ahead but only if they build on it – 400 will be tough to get but good, 350 surely a minimum.

      India’s lower order have ‘out-Englanded’ England so far this series, so they need some good contributions from Woakes, Rashid and Broad.

        • I think we’ve got a good total in our sights. It really started to turn in the final hour or so and I think batting last could prove very tricky. I will be disappointed if we don’t make 375 but anything close to that will put us in a great position … IF our spinners bowl well.

          • Agreed re 375, but I could easily see us shot out for 325 if we lose a couple of wickets early.

            Always think Rashid goes better on quicker pitches because his lack of pace is not exposed -on slower pitches they can just hang back and play him off the back foot.

  • Highest score by an England opener on debut remains 152 by…. W.G. Grace in 1880! The other three who’ve exceeded or matched Jennings are Billy Griffith, Plum Warner and Andrew Strauss who all went into administration – so his second career seems pre-ordained!

    I hadn’t realised until today that Jennings went to the same Johannesburg school as Graeme Smith and Stephen Cook who also made a debut century this year.

  • Agreed James! Some talk going around about how India pulled things back but England in the driver’s for me. Simply because this is the first pitch this series where the turn is not slow. I remember one ball from Jayant Yadav that just ripped off the turf to Kohli at slip. Anything beyond 400 should seal the match for England. 350 is still very good. Kohli or someone else might have to pull a Pietersen to bring this back. This is the kind of pitch where as the game wears on its better to play your shots than bide time.

    Despite of all of the above that I just typed, suppose its best to wait till India finish batting, eh?

    Happy about Keaton coming off. Think everyone should just bring debutants to India! Looks like England will have quite the imposing line up in an year or so.

    Also, Ashwin. Masterful.

    • Yes, Ashwin is rather good. He also think he has Root’s number:

      “I must say I worked that dismissal in my head because he has got out a lot of times in the slips,” Ashwin said of the outside edge he drew from Root. “In the last three Test matches we have played, he nicked one in Vizag… I thought he did, but that was overturned. But he has got a tendency to nick spinners to the slip cordon. I saw him nick Dane Piedt in South Africa. He has done it quite a few times, to Nathan Lyon as well. I was just imagining on the first day that this is one of those wickets out of the four Tests we had where edges actually carry to slips. So I was just mentally working it over and it happened.”

  • It was certainly turning when we were batting…

    … and when Ashwin was bowling, you forgot to add.

    Let’s see what happens tomorrow morning. I haven’t yet lost all hope.

  • India batted well but I am perplexed at our bowler management. Rashid and Ali are kept going when their only strategy seemed to be to test every part of the wicket normally left unused. If they were left bowling due to Cook’s deep belief in it being a spinners wicket why ignore Root when your lead spinners are so out of sorts? Anderson bowls well but proves the conditions do not help him much. Cook virtually ignores the two bowlers (Stokes and Woakes) capable of using the short ball (an even better weapon when teamed with spin at the other end). Maybe there was a bowling plan…..but I would be very interested to know what it was (or, perhaps, if there was a plan B when the main spinners went walkabout).

    • We did look short of ideas. One thing I forgot the mention is that India’s batsmen obviously play spin better than ours too. Perhaps the made it looks easier than it actually was?

  • “England must rely on the seamers” said someone…
    They might even have been bigging up Ball on Twitter before the team was announced.

    As for our spinners, this surface takes spin when you hit the deck hard. Not easy for a spinner to do as it requires a modification of technique – advantage India.

  • India did well to close 2nd day with 9 wickets in hand but they’re still a significant 250 odd behind parity. And even if they get 400, I would put England ahead because it’s India that has to bat 4th. Can England get the game into the 5th day? The run rate is not that important but I understand Bayliss’ strategy in knocking the oppo spinners off their line and length, it seems that’s exactly the Indian batsmen’s strategy against Rashid & Mo.

    So, having said that, I feel India need an actual lead, a minimum of 50, probably more to win this Test. You’ll get good odds on a draw; history shows the pitch will seriously break on 4th & 5th day. Chasing 150 batting last will prove tricky.

  • Well, India’s day today, especially Kohli. He can do nothing wrong this series (though I’m still critical of some of his field placings). That was a masterclass in batting, he had one chance that England (inevitably) put down, and thereafter he nearly has shut England out of the match. Vijay was great too, he did get out to a loose shot, he could learn a few things from Kohli on how to convert a big hundred. As an Indian fan, I’m mighty pleased with our performance. Jayant at 9 is an impostor, he’s batted well every time he’s come to the crease.

    Coming to England, I’m afraid I have to question Cook’s captaincy again. Bowling Rashid for 28 overs on the trot, is this some plan to ruin Rashid’s fitness and confidence? Woakes has been a spectator for the duration of this match, Anderson has been average, Ball & stokes have been decent. That review against Jayant was atrocious, there was atleast 2 cm between the bat and the ball, it was a waste and they paid for it later when they had no more reviews. Anderson should be added to the ‘no review’ list along with Broad. Overall, poor day for England, and another day where it was clear that the English management and team selection haven’t been good all throught the series.

    • We certainly haven’t helped ourselves. Rashid looked totally exhausted yet he kept bowling – even though he didn’t look particularly threatening. I could understand this a bit more of England only had 4 bowlers or something but there were 5 other guys (plus Root) to choose from. I wonder if Cook was trying to make some kind of point?

      • If the point is that Cook doesn’t know how to captain, then I agree. Plus they picked 3 seamers and took the new ball in the 129th over. I don not understand England’s tactics at all , they have been wrong all throughout the series. The only time England looked proactive was when cook left the field and root brought himself on and got 2 wickets. All the more reason to change the captain?

  • I’ve seen a lot of people question the team selection today. But why?
    You couldn’t select Batty and I’ve no idea why Dawson was called up.
    With Broad injured it was a no brainer picking Ball.
    The captain hasn’t helped the seamers by not bowling them.
    We have 4, they could have all bowled short, sharp spells.
    Its virtually pointless bowling all this spin at Kohli, he can play it with eyes closed.

    Another comment wheeled out by the apologists today is the difference between the spinners. Of course its true. But the spinners didn’t have to bowl well to get Cook, Ali & Bairstow out. They gave it away. Its a miserable match and its going to be painful viewing from here.

    • I agree Neil. It’s absolutely incredible that Stokes, our golden arm who makes things happen, didn’t bowl a single over in either the afternoon or evening session. And I think Anderson only bowled 7 overs all day … yet he’s the one guy with a decent track record of getting Kohli out.

      A word on Kohli. It was an excellent innings and he’s a very good player indeed, but I think some of the hyperbole was been well over the top in this game. Today’s innings was like taking candy from a baby. Moeen and Rashid aren’t good spinners by international standards, and for a player of Kohli’s class, getting a hundred against them isn’t a particularly big deal. I’d rather save the hyperbole for his truly great innings.

  • Sectors need to be fired for the mess they have made of selection for this tour and previous 12 months. It’s been nothing less than shambolic. And the use of the available squad by Bayliss and Cook has been bemusing. How was Ducket or Ballance in touring party or selected ahead of Hameed and where is Leach? Balance of side lurches from one poor selection to another.

    • Hameed and Buttler have looked much better than Duckett and Ballance. You make a good point.

  • Dunno what you all mean.. the majority have been saying how great his team is.. how it’s on it’s way to number one etc

    Simple truth people.. India aren’t that good, they have two/three batters at most and England just scored 400 which shows their bowling isn’t that hot if you apply yourself. England just aren’t as good as the media, the ecb and ‘fans’ think, too many white ball mentality players who are inconsistent.

    A few green top wins vs a crap aus.. an under powered and poor SA.. woeful SL and suddenly players are world beaters. I’m sure when they next play on a road one will score some runs and suddenly they’ll be great again though.

    Get real people. Some have finally realised players like hameed are what’s needed in test cricket.. not nothing men like ali, duckett and co.. ali is poor, consign him to county cricket to pick up a pay check

  • James, regarding Kohli, he’s played some blinders already. His performance in Adelaide last Oz tour was to use an American expression: awesome. After being clanged on the helmet 1st ball from Johnson (1st game after Hughes’ tragic accident), he proceeded to reel off twin hundreds in that game with the 2nd inns dig a superb innings that came oh-so close to taking India to an improbable win. But – and I know most people see white ball cricket as fluff – an innings in a ODI at Hobart against SL was truly great. He took it to a whole new level that day.

    But back to questioning some of England’s tactics in the ongoing tour. I feel sorry for Batty, how was he supposed to make a difference when he’s been used so sparingly even when picked in the starting XI ? In the last Test, he came on after 40-something overs. Now, if you can’t bring on a spinner – who’s taken a career 600+ FC wickets – earlier on an Indian track then it’s obvious someone’s taking the mickey. I’d be pretty upset if I was in his shoes. And if I was Cook, I’d be taking advantage of his experience.

    Way back when, Flintoff – who was clearly a poor captain and too much of a lad – used Udal far better to win a Test in Mumbai. Mind you, I think he brought on Udal as a last resort in that game too but you get my drift. I don’t think old man Batty has been give a proper deal, even Ansari who is inexperienced and less effective was given more opportunities. Alas, Batty isn’t playing in this game and it’s all moot but it appears already decided that he won’t play the next game either, it will be Dawson instead!

    That is, if the rumoured cyclone descending on Chennai doesn’t ruin the 5th and Final Test.

    • Hey. If it rains in Chennai we might get a draw! :-)

      I saw the highlights of that Kohli innings down under. It was a great knock. I know he’s done it in testing circumstances before. And that’s when the praise is most warranted.

      I know what you’re saying re: Batty. He should be England’s go to off spinner and not Moeen. But the problem is he’s not really much better. His problem, in my opinion, is that he’s a bit too short. Udal was taller and gave it a bit more of a rip on that tour he played as a veteran.

  • Hi James.
    A point nothing about cricket…
    Love the idea of having the blog updated everyday, with the latest day on top. Can you do it for the comments too (latest first)
    I’m a lazy sod..

    • I thought about that but concluded it might ruin the flow of the conversation. Open to trying it though. What do others think? I’ll see what other options there are mate.

      • I think most recent at the top for the Test threads is worth a go, because users keep going back to the page over several days whereas with articles, they tend not to. Guessing you only have a “one size fits all” option though…?

        • Yes I think so. But I can switch things around during tests, then switch it back afterwards. Cheers for the feedback.

  • Come on James, I understand not many people in England like Kohli because of his aggressiveness and ‘in your face’ attitude, but pretending like that 235 of his wasn’t that good is disingenuous. You can only play the team that is in front of you, and it’s not our fault that the english spinners are that good as the indians and having a captain who doesn’t know how to use them. This just makes you look childish and on par with Jimmy Anderson, who we all know is an allround git.

    Kohli’s innings also took place when India had got a batsman out to the second delivery of the morning, so not only did he have to take charge of the situation, but also bat well enough to put England out of the match. Root’s innings was a carefree one, it was the innings of a man with nothing to lose. I do agree with your comments on the appealing though, Parthiv patel should shut up about the english spinners and concentrate on his keeping, which is still shit and hasn’t improved since the last time I saw him around 10 years ago.

    • Kohli is a superb batsman. Don’t get me wrong. But people can’t have it both ways i.e say how bloody awful England spinners are (neither of whom even average close to 30 in county cricket let alone test cricket) but at the same time say how amazing Kohli’s innings was.

      What made Tendulkar great? His centuries against McGrath and Warne or all those runs against Bangladesh? England’s spinners are worse than Bangladesh’s by the way … as we saw last month.

      I’ll save my Kohli is a true great stuff for when he’s done something truly remarkable (as he’s done in the past and surely will again) not cashing in against what are essentially second tier spinners. At the end of his career I doubt Kohli will rate this as one of his best innings.

      • I don’t think Kohli himself rates this as one of his best innings (he rates his 145 in Adelaide higher) but I see what you mean. So, root for captain then? I personally would have Bairstow as captain.

        • It depends on dressing room dynamics I guess. Something we don’t really know too much about. Root is vice captain though so doubt he’d be impressed if another candidate leap frogged him.

  • Random thoughts:

    Cook’s captaincy has gone beyond embarrassing. Just resign. As a batsman, he’s no better than a good Test player, he just looks better than he is because so many of his partners have been so awful. He’s scored 5 hundreds in nearly 4 years. His average is 46. If you remove his purple patch from end 2010 thru 2011, that he’s traded off ever since, then he averages 43. Decent figures, no better.

    I agree that Kohli needs to sustain his form and perform better outside India, but he did score a stack of runs in Australia last time. I reckon he’ll score well in England next time, too, because he’s really knuckled down, got himself super-fit and cut everything else out of his life. I think he has the chance and talent to join the true greats. Time will tell. His is the model Joe Root should follow. Root is as talented as Kohli and is underachieving at present. Since Aug 2015 he’s scoring a century about every 12 innings. He’s scored three but reached 50 fifteen times. He needs to cut out the lapses and convert more often. I think making him captain will instil more responsibility and help him to do this.

    Chris Woakes has been a passenger on this tour and should be rested for the last match. I suspect he’s not quite fit.

    In spite of the margins of victory, these sides are not too far apart when England bat first. We should have won in Rajkot (pathetic, pathetic, pathetic Cook!) and have been about 100 ahead with India 6 down in their first innings in both of the last two Tests. Chasing 200 4th innings in either Test would have been challenging. A change of captaincy rather than Cook’s feeble meanderings might help to ram home these advantages. Ben Stokes – 10 overs in 182? For fuck’s sake.

    • I know what you mean re: Root. His conversation rate is the one thing he really needs to work on. He’s got all the shots in the locker and sometimes it looks like he wants to play them all the time.

      I know that Bayliss briefs him to go out, raise the tempo, and play very positively (as he likes his No.3s to do) but I’d like to see him vary the pace of his innings a little more. Pretty 60s and 70s are obviously very useful but they don’t win too many test matches. Big hundreds do.

    • Cook’s comments post match really make the case for replacing him as captain right now:
      “Our seamers have given us great control in this series in general. You watch how India’s spinners bowl sometimes, they bowl defensively and keep the score down. Our seamers can do that.

      “We wanted to try four seamers and two spinners to see how it played to our strengths. This looked a pretty similar wicket to the one we played in Mumbai last time, but I think it spun more…”

  • I’ve said this before and you’ve nearly all cried that I’m wrong. England simply aren’t thst good.

    Ali is over rated to massive proportions.. too six test batsmen .. yeah right
    Root is our best batsmen currently but he’s playing too much white ball mentality. Rather than trying to be busy.. be positive all the time.. just bloody bat and bat long. Where the really good batters make the difference is big tons and regularly .. root is failing to often and usually to awful shots.
    Duckett.. clueless selection for a test batsmen
    Bairstow has done well at seven, he’s moved up and nearly been mugged off and survived due to ooor Indian keeping. Keep him where he scores as he’s not as good as some on here are spouting
    Stokes.. I see this world class batsmen has scored bugger all again……

  • Said it before.. this side has too many white ball techniques and mentalities to actually be a good batting unit.

    Bowling wise.. well.. we have no spinners so whoever you pick is awful.

    Batting wise, at least we have found two players who can bat 2/3 and hopefully someone will give gubbins a go at 5.. then finally the top 5 looks like it can be consistent

  • did not expect english team will loost the series this way . specially when they played really well in first test and forced INDIA to a stressful draw. anyway as far as i think INDIAN team going to win out very easily against aussies as well (INDIA are the toughest team beat in their home ground specially) . also about kohli i dont agree because he is having more than 7 test centuries out of INDIA . One day he will surpass sachin’s record defintely . eagerly waiting for next ind tour of england now


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