India obliterated: day four at Trent Bridge


Was this how it felt being an Australian, ten years ago? These are remarkable times. Put bluntly, our team are now thrashing everyone in sight, and we have two crucial hallmarks of a champion team. We can recover from almost any situation – we were 124-8 and then won by 319 runs – and we have turned into bullies. Our players harass and torment the opposition, without mercy.

Some have argued that the scale of our victories – both in this series and during the Ashes – are devalued by the weakness of the opponents. India have been without several key players, arrived underprepared, and have lacked the stomach for a fight.

But that is what makes you the best team – by not being the side which is under-strength or demoralised. Remember how many Ashes series, in the 1990s and early 2000s, were distorted by the absence, say, of Gough or Thorpe. No-one argued then that it took the gloss off Australia’s triumphs.

It comes back to the notion of bullying. India have been made to look much weaker than they really are because England’s aggression and professionalism have won the big moments. Then India’s heads drop, the margins between the sides increase, and as morale disintegrates, the visitors have become so demoralised that, in this match, they virtually gave up.  We didn’t win because India were weak. We won because our superior play brought out their weaknesses.

How much did Bell-gate discredit this victory? In the eighteen hours which followed the incident, the mood swung from outrage at India’s antics to the slow realisation that England pushed their luck. Why did Strauss and Flower need to approach Dhoni? Why couldn’t Bell have simply accepted his fate, and not returned to the field?

But if the incident snuffed out India’s resolve and spirit, and consigned them to defeat, they only have themselves to blame. Bell only made another 22 runs, and by that stage – even though the lead wasn’t definitive – they were already well behind the game. India took two wickets with the new ball shortly afterwards, and with it the chance to restrict the target to realistic proportions. Their failure to do so had nothing to do with what had gone before.

We’re only half-way through the series, and although India can no longer win it, a victory for them at Edgbaston – with Zaheer and Sehwag back – would effectively make the Oval a decider, in terms of the ‘world title’. But their confidence is so low, and England’s so high, that India supporters must now fear a whitewash.

We can now expect a week of debate about England’s selection for Birmingham. How can you drop Bresnan after taking seven wickets and making 101 runs? Or leave Tremlett out? If Trott isn’t fit, is it really worth bringing in Ravi Bopara or James Taylor when our tail is batting so well? On the other hand, given that India have yet to make 300 this series, why would we need five bowlers?

I suspect this one will run and run. Your thoughts?

Maxie Allen


  • Stick with 4 bowlers, we are doing well bowling India out so why weaken the batting? I have been very disappointed with India; they must be physically and mentally worn out to put in the performances they have so far. Their preparation was not good enough and they are struggling as a consequence. Sir Lanka looked a more rounded team and performed better than India.

  • I imagine Bopara will replace Trott, who surely won’t be fit in time for the next test. The selectors won’t want to bring somebody (Taylor, Patel, Hales) in for their debut in such a big series, plus Bopara more than fills Trott’s role as a backup bowler.

    PS great blog, keep up the good work!

  • It’s interesting that Bopara failed again when when the pressure was on yesterday (in the Lions game), whereas his primary rival, James Taylor, scored a crucial 70 odd. It would be a shame if Ravi gets the nod because of his bowling, but I can see it happening. I used to be a Bopara fan, but now I’m beginning to think that Shane Warne had a point all those years ago … he does seem mentally fragile.

  • We’ve got 2 all-rounders generating comparisons to Botham and we’re talking about weakening the batting? If Trott’s out, let’s weaken the Indian batting by bringing in Tremlett and going for the jugular. If it’s not feasible now, then when? It’s a crime to leave him out. Bopara is the chartered accountancy option. The world’s best have got to be lion-tamers!

  • Have to agree. If we don’t pick 5 bowlers now, we never will! Unfortunately, the ‘never will’ bit is probably true.

  • And what’s wrong with the Chartered Accountancy option?

    From a Chartered Accountant.

    As there seems to be at least 2 people posting as James, as well as James M., I think I will post as JamesR in future. Might save a confusing debate or two.

    Can’t leave Tremlett out. Very difficult selection. But nice difficult

  • There’s absolutely zero chance of England suddenly adopting a five-bowler strategy. I thought Flower himself was very dismissive of the idea when interviewed after the Trent Bridge test. And he’s got a good point – why change a winning formula? Plus it’s amost an admission that we don’t have any decent batting reserves, which isn’t exactly the right message to send out if we’re serious about being #1.


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