England in India 2008-09 December 16, 2008

Don't castigate KP or England

Reactions from the British press and experts on England's surprise defeat in Chennai

Reactions from the British press and experts on England's surprise defeat in Chennai

England critics should acknowledge the extraordinary context in which the Chennai Test was played and should also hold their ire before calling for heads to roll, writes Vic Marks in the Guardian.

It very nearly did not take place. If such contrasting figures as Lord MacLaurin, Geoffrey Boycott and Dominic Cork had had their way, it would not have done. Then for four days England exceeded expectations. Australia, with more ­suitable preparation, hardly had a whisker of a chance of victory in four Tests against India. England had their chance in Chennai but could not take it. But do not question their resolve throughout this week.

In the Times, Michael Atherton feels England didn't do themselves any favours by approaching the fifth day with a fearful attitude. Pietersen made the error of protecting the boundaries a bit too much and that allowed the batsmen to milk the bowling.

In the Times, Simon Wilde writes that Pietersen is just too inexperienced a captain to know just how big a cock- up he made of things, and this defeat will hurt his pride badly.

In making his declaration, Pietersen underestimated India's talent and audacity every bit as much as Andrew Flintoff did Australia's in Adelaide two winters ago, when he similarly thought he had enough runs to be safe. He also underestimated the mental flakiness of many of his bowlers

In the same paper, Patrick Kidd looks ahead to Mohali and wants to see Anderson or Harmison replaced by the reverse-swinging Amjad Khan and Adil Rashid getting in ahead of Panesar.

In the Telegraph, Geoff Boycott salutes England for sticking together as a unit and deciding to play in difficult circumstances. He also praises Andrew Strauss for reading a difficult pitch perfectly.

He came in, occupied the crease and made the bowlers work hard and wore them down. He was very careful in shot selection. He stayed on the back foot and only came forward when he had to. The old English adage of 'if in doubt, play forward' is rubbish. Strauss scored in two areas behind square on the leg-side and square on the off-side. Simply one word. Brilliant.

In the Daily Mail, Paul Newman says England were badly hit by Monty Panesar's ineffectiveness, apart from Pietersen's flawed field placings.

Panesar was unable to produce the goods when it most mattered and he ended up here looking dazed and confused in the outfield, still clapping encouragement to his team-mates but appearing devoid of all confidence and know-how.

Continuing with Panesar, Jonathan Agnew in BBC Sport feels the left-arm spinner has gotten too predictable - virtually every ball is delivered at the same speed and the same trajectory despite the fact that he was barely beating the bat.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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