England 298-4 (50 overs), India 300-5 (49.2 overs). India win by 5 wickets – & the series 3-0
It was always likely to happen. In their own backyard, and having had time to regroup after their disastrous tour of England, the World ODI champions proved too strong for our inexperienced side.
Our successes in the 50 over game against India in September just raised false hopes. The opposition were tired, low on confidence after the test matches, and England were hungry. This time India were ready for England and wanted revenge. They’ve got it. And they’ll have even more if, or when, they complete a series whitewash.
At least we played a bit better in the third match. In fact, we really should have won. The reality, however, is that our batsmen started too cautiously and our young bowlers lost their nerve at the death. Then again, losing to MS Dhoni is nothing to be ashamed of. When it comes to ODIs, the charismatic Indian captain is arguably the best finisher in the world right now.
This wouldn’t be a very interesting blog though if we simply held our hands up and said ‘well played MS, we lost to the better side’. There have to be some recriminations …
The main culprit, I’m afraid, was Craig Kieswetter, who had a torrid time. It was arguably the worst performance by an England keeper since Geraint Jones finally shelled his last chance; or maybe that match when Bob Willis dubbed Matt Prior, Matt Dire.
Kieswetter dropped two relatively simply catches at crucial times, then trod on the stumps when trying to run out Jadeja at the death. The batsman was miles short of his ground. It was an embarrassing moment.
Meanwhile his batting continues to disappoint. If I had a quid for every time he made a twenty or thirty, but failed to go on, I’d be able to buy my cricket club a new pair of pads. I fear he simply isn’t good enough. Better players have had fewer chances.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Trott continues to polarise opinion. Although he batted well, and he’s reassuring figure at the crease, he gave his critics plenty of ammunition. If you bat for 47 overs in a ODI, you really need to make a hundred.
Had Trott raised the tempo at the appropriate time, rather than getting bogged down when Pietersen was out, England would have scored 320 and won the game. 298 was a handy total, but only a par score on what was an excellent batting pitch.
Now the series is lost, England can afford to experiment a little. The first thing they must do is recall Bell at the expense of Kieswetter. Bell is a far better batsman, and as we’ve seen, Kieswetter is not a quality keeper. Bairstow could do just as good a job.
We should also tell Dernbach to stick to the basics rather than trying outrageous slower balls every other delivery. The leg-spinner is only a surprise when used sparingly; otherwise it’s not really a surprise, Jade.
I would also give Meaker a game ahead of Finn. Pace is always a useful weapon to have, but the pitches haven’t given Finn the bounce he thrives on. Meaker is skiddy and bowls with better control (in theory). We should give him a go.
I’d think twice before blooding Borthwick though. Patel has played well, and the Indians tend to eat young spinners for breakfast.