Mike Holmans July 26, 2011

A thank you letter

Dear Mr Strauss and Mr Dhoni,
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Dear Mr Strauss and Mr Dhoni,

Thank you for my birthday present of an excellent Test match at Lord's. It was very kind of you to give me such a lavish gift, which I was able to share with my good friend Bharat, a gentleman originally from Hyderabad who now runs a research lab in Pennsylvania and has said that he will be in the Warner Stand for England-India Tests at Lord's until either one of us is too decrepit to manage it. Even though he didn't care for the result as much as I did, he too says that it was a very enjoyable match.

I particularly appreciated your arranging that two of my favourite batsmen should score centuries.

The one by Kevin Pietersen was very unexpected. Not so much that he got one – I've seen him get several before – but the way he got it was most unusual. I hadn't known that he had it in him to play so carefully for so long. He often goes slowly for the first three-quarters of an hour or so, during which time he usually gets the chance to have a look at most of the main bowlers before deciding how he is going to approach the serious business of destroying them, but I've never before seen him play himself in until he reaches 130.

Of course the main reason I like watching him is his power to devastate bowling attacks, and I don't really want to see him block, leave, prod and nudge for hours on end; however, it is very gratifying to know that he can do it when that is what the situation and the quality of the bowling demand. We all know he wants to be the world's No. 1 batsman, and with this innings he has taken a giant step towards realising his ambition one day.

And then there was Rahul Dravid's hundred. He has always been my favourite among the phalanx of marvellous batsmen India have had these last 15 years or so, and this was a classic example of why. His batting is wonderfully serene and effortlessly economical. Without any fuss, he calmly treats every ball with appropriate respect, good ones defended or left, bad ones gently dismissed towards the boundary. You hardly ever see him hurried into a shot, even by the fastest bowlers, and he plays late enough to incur library fines. How reassuring it must be for his teammates when they are under pressure to see him contentedly grazing runs out there in the middle.

You also gave me a new hero to watch out for in the future.

Praveen Kumar looks like the kind of cricketer Nasser Hussain once described as being prepared to run through brick walls for his captain, and thus a captain's dream. When one of your main bowlers breaks down mid-match, the others have to shoulder more of the burden to make up for it. In England's first innings, Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma with their combined 130 Tests conspicuously failed to take up any of the slack whereas Praveen the Lionheart, a young man in only his fourth match, performed titanically.

Pietersen was the only one of England's strong middle order who succeeded in preventing him from getting them out, and even KP did not find him easy to cope with. He may not be quick and he may be pretty much cannon fodder if the ball won't swing for him, but when it does move around, his lack of pace is irrelevant.The England backroom staff are going to have to do some very minute examination of the videos to see if there is any reasonable way of detecting which way a given delivery is likely to swing, but I doubt they will come up with anything helpful. Ian Bell seems in particular need of assistance: even though he managed to get 45 runs, he was completely at sea when Praveen was bowling to him.

And Praveen also batted appropriately in both innings. He is obviously not very good, so chancing his arm with a few lusty blows to try and boot the total over the crossbar of the follow-on target was a perfectly reasonable approach in the first innings. Second time around, he did his best to hang around for Suresh Raina by dead-batting deliveries. It didn't work for very long, but at least he was doing what the team wanted him to do, unlike Harbhajan's ridiculous skyer. (Remembering the little contretemps Matt Prior's bat had with a dressing room window earlier this season, I was rather expecting to hear that Mr Dhoni had had to go down and apologise to the MCC members who were hurt when they had a spin bowler dropped on them from the balcony after he returned to the dressing room.)

Gentlemen, I could go on for a lot longer about the various delightful nuggets I found in my present but you no doubt have practice to supervise and fitness reports to digest before you pick your teams for Trent Bridge so I'll just leave it at those three highlights.

Thanks again,

Michael

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • E S Holmans on August 2, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    I appreciate it too because it let me get him something cheap and late for his birthday.

    And my! Isn't that Alestair Cook pretty?

  • Manish on July 31, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Hey it was not that great a match, &even if India had done better and won this one..i would not see this as that great a match, but your sincere appreciation and passion for cricket and ability to discern quality cricketers is very evident..!

    England was the better team by a mile and deserved to win..!

  • goodcricket on July 30, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    India lead by 67 on day 2 of 2nd test.

  • waterbuffalo on July 29, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Well, no Zaheer again. let's see how well the indians do this time, I am sure batting wise India will be strong even without Gambhir, it is bowling that I am more interested in. After all, a number one team should have one great bowler and three good ones, right?

  • cricketlover on July 29, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    guys, this fazlanka does not represent all of lanka. He is just a waste of space, spare him and let's discuss CRICKET. I really don't understand why we bash ourselves up everytime the team does not do well. Give them some time, I am sure they will do well. Also pertinent to note is that this English side is not a better side than India only the local media hypes them up like this. We just need to play some attacking cricket and then you will see their true colours.

  • Amit on July 28, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    @Fazlanka - dont forget that its the BCCI which has organized a number of meaningless matches and series with SL because of which the SL board is solvent. Your players - Murali, Sanga, Mahela - all are admired in India. So I wonder why all the hatred towards India?! You say that the Indian players are arrogant, well we are the world champs, so we can be proud. If pride is mistaken as arrogance, its not our problem. Arjuna Ranatunga was quite similarly arrogant then! As far as performances are concerned, I hate to rub it in but your team has not won even one test match in India, whereas we have done better in SL than what you guys have done in India. Perhaps that is the reason why you feel bitter towards India? If I were a Sri Lankan, I'd be more upset with what happened in Pakistan (where almost all your team got wiped out) than what India is doing and how their team is performing. A lot has been said to you on this forum and most of it has merit. Get your house in order mate. Cheers!

  • Rishabh on July 28, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    @fazlanka everyone knows who is arrogant mate.first you watch your side having players like malinga who retired from test cricket just to play in ipl and player like randiv who dont have sportsmanship then dare to talk about india.................india will surely bounce back in this series....and the result will be in front of you all........just wait nd watch...........

  • psychicsaint on July 28, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    @fazlanka, the rest of the world hates team india because we are the reigning world champions and all of you lost miserably to us.. wonder what your lankan pussycats achieved in england for you to talk so much about india.. i can only laugh when i read some of the comments here.. we have seen such comments during the world cup and most of the guys who bashed india vanished after the final.. i predict the same to happen at the end of this series... we will have the last laugh dudes.,

  • Sarat Menon on July 28, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    A very interesting article and even more interesting array of comments.Many readers seem to forget that this is a sport and one is meant to enjoy it.It is alright to support a team but one does not have to go to extreme ends while celeberating a victory or mourn in defeat.England were the better team over the 5 days and that is a bare fact.

    Having said that,I feel that the BCCI has to take the rap for the under par performance of the Indian team.It's obsession with money is taking Indian cricket to the doldrums.I would advise every Indian who has the intersts of Indian cricket at heart and boycott watching IPL matches totally as this circus is athe root of most of the troubles.Sehwag's injurySachin,Zaheer,Dhoni and Gambhir skipping the W.I.series and coming to the series seriously under prepared can all be attributed to the IPL virus.Many columnists will not harp on this issue as they too make a good living out of IPL.I say,shun IPL and Indian cricket will find its feet again.

  • Mandeep on July 28, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    Totally agree @Shaji Wahab's comment in reply to fazlanka.I am an Indian and not a big fan of the BCCI either,I think too much money has gone into their heads.But to say the Indian Players are arrogant is a bit too harsh.The talk about Indian players playing only for money isn't true either,those living in India know very well,no matter how passionate/honest/loyal one is to the game,if you want to make it big, you gotta be the part of the system. BCCI is the system,they have money,they have money makers;As a player you do what the system wants you to do,or your only ambition to play cricket for India will also go down the drain. So,the Indian players are living their dream,being a part of the system and not to mention living it big being one of the top teams in the world. About the SL team,well just take the example of Malinga declaring retirement to play in the IPL, Randiv bowling a leg side wide to deny Sehwag a hundred, on the advise of Dilshan. Every on knows where arrogance is !!

  • E S Holmans on August 2, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    I appreciate it too because it let me get him something cheap and late for his birthday.

    And my! Isn't that Alestair Cook pretty?

  • Manish on July 31, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Hey it was not that great a match, &even if India had done better and won this one..i would not see this as that great a match, but your sincere appreciation and passion for cricket and ability to discern quality cricketers is very evident..!

    England was the better team by a mile and deserved to win..!

  • goodcricket on July 30, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    India lead by 67 on day 2 of 2nd test.

  • waterbuffalo on July 29, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Well, no Zaheer again. let's see how well the indians do this time, I am sure batting wise India will be strong even without Gambhir, it is bowling that I am more interested in. After all, a number one team should have one great bowler and three good ones, right?

  • cricketlover on July 29, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    guys, this fazlanka does not represent all of lanka. He is just a waste of space, spare him and let's discuss CRICKET. I really don't understand why we bash ourselves up everytime the team does not do well. Give them some time, I am sure they will do well. Also pertinent to note is that this English side is not a better side than India only the local media hypes them up like this. We just need to play some attacking cricket and then you will see their true colours.

  • Amit on July 28, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    @Fazlanka - dont forget that its the BCCI which has organized a number of meaningless matches and series with SL because of which the SL board is solvent. Your players - Murali, Sanga, Mahela - all are admired in India. So I wonder why all the hatred towards India?! You say that the Indian players are arrogant, well we are the world champs, so we can be proud. If pride is mistaken as arrogance, its not our problem. Arjuna Ranatunga was quite similarly arrogant then! As far as performances are concerned, I hate to rub it in but your team has not won even one test match in India, whereas we have done better in SL than what you guys have done in India. Perhaps that is the reason why you feel bitter towards India? If I were a Sri Lankan, I'd be more upset with what happened in Pakistan (where almost all your team got wiped out) than what India is doing and how their team is performing. A lot has been said to you on this forum and most of it has merit. Get your house in order mate. Cheers!

  • Rishabh on July 28, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    @fazlanka everyone knows who is arrogant mate.first you watch your side having players like malinga who retired from test cricket just to play in ipl and player like randiv who dont have sportsmanship then dare to talk about india.................india will surely bounce back in this series....and the result will be in front of you all........just wait nd watch...........

  • psychicsaint on July 28, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    @fazlanka, the rest of the world hates team india because we are the reigning world champions and all of you lost miserably to us.. wonder what your lankan pussycats achieved in england for you to talk so much about india.. i can only laugh when i read some of the comments here.. we have seen such comments during the world cup and most of the guys who bashed india vanished after the final.. i predict the same to happen at the end of this series... we will have the last laugh dudes.,

  • Sarat Menon on July 28, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    A very interesting article and even more interesting array of comments.Many readers seem to forget that this is a sport and one is meant to enjoy it.It is alright to support a team but one does not have to go to extreme ends while celeberating a victory or mourn in defeat.England were the better team over the 5 days and that is a bare fact.

    Having said that,I feel that the BCCI has to take the rap for the under par performance of the Indian team.It's obsession with money is taking Indian cricket to the doldrums.I would advise every Indian who has the intersts of Indian cricket at heart and boycott watching IPL matches totally as this circus is athe root of most of the troubles.Sehwag's injurySachin,Zaheer,Dhoni and Gambhir skipping the W.I.series and coming to the series seriously under prepared can all be attributed to the IPL virus.Many columnists will not harp on this issue as they too make a good living out of IPL.I say,shun IPL and Indian cricket will find its feet again.

  • Mandeep on July 28, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    Totally agree @Shaji Wahab's comment in reply to fazlanka.I am an Indian and not a big fan of the BCCI either,I think too much money has gone into their heads.But to say the Indian Players are arrogant is a bit too harsh.The talk about Indian players playing only for money isn't true either,those living in India know very well,no matter how passionate/honest/loyal one is to the game,if you want to make it big, you gotta be the part of the system. BCCI is the system,they have money,they have money makers;As a player you do what the system wants you to do,or your only ambition to play cricket for India will also go down the drain. So,the Indian players are living their dream,being a part of the system and not to mention living it big being one of the top teams in the world. About the SL team,well just take the example of Malinga declaring retirement to play in the IPL, Randiv bowling a leg side wide to deny Sehwag a hundred, on the advise of Dilshan. Every on knows where arrogance is !!

  • Buddhika on July 28, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Well done England.. India loss bcs of IPL and no doubt..they spoil all test cricket nations..England was not fallen in the trap.. they love test crciket..Thats why they won the match

    Fitness also part of the game ..If Indian players are not fit its thier problomes ...and its thier incapability of playing Test cricket

  • Arvind on July 28, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    India should give chance to players like Chetaswar Pujara (Future player to replace Dravid), Ambati Raydu (Place of Laxman), Virat Kohli (In shoes of Sachin), Ashwin (Harbajan should be replaced for sometime now, he is in bad form).

  • Pradeep on July 28, 2011, 6:26 GMT

    Well..!! Yes, agree Dravid is a great batsmen...!!! But economical and effotless and no fuss? Well, he makes all the fuss making ordinary balls look great and carrying all the tension with it....!!Yes, there is pressure, but he absolutely doubles it while playing (I am not referring to his so called slow batting but his body language)... Though it is also true that he guts it all out and produces some real valuable innings.....

  • Shaji Wahab on July 27, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    @ Faz Lanka

    Really mate...have u talked to Kumar Sangakkara lately??? cos he delivered a whole lecture about the mis-management of the cricket administration in SriLanka while on tour in England. I'd advise you atleast get a copy of the transcript he read out for the whole world to hear about the rot that happens in SRI LANKAN cricket!! You might also want to call Hashan Thilakaratne and ask him exactly who he was referring to when he said he will reveal names of ex-cricketers involved in match-fixing! And you talk about arrogance of the board and arrogance of the players?? How a Member of Parliament from Matara at age 40 plus still played in the SL team is beyond my imagination. Fitting farewell your Board gave him !! In India we have a saying..People living in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Get your own house in order mate.

  • Anonymous on July 27, 2011, 19:59 GMT

    really missing u sehwag...........

  • Jignesh on July 27, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    @ Sixnout, I am so furious about Indian team because like I already said in my previous comment as India is number one team in tests and number two in ODIs. They just won the ODI world cup too. However, they did not even try to make 180 runs in 47 overs against the team has one of the weakest bowling power. I am not talking about T20 or "biff bang boom" here. 180 runs in 47 overs means it could be the very low scoring One day International against the WI. If India would have done like this against ENG or SA, I wouldn't have been so furious about them. And Mr. Dhoni is so hopeless accepting the draw result when team needed only 87 runs in 15 overs against the weakest opponent and IND had 3 wickets in their hand. KP was so patient because he hadn't have to make certain runs in certain overs. But I am sure, if KP happen to be in Indian team, he would have surely tried it.

  • Richemare on July 27, 2011, 18:32 GMT

    India will bounce back. This Indian team is made up of sterner stuff. They've proved it many times over recently. Losing your best bowler in the 1st innings of a test match can be a blow to any team. Come on India - You can do it.

  • Parikshit on July 27, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    All said & done, the exact comment came from Nasser Hussain - "India don't value their No.1 status"..spot on.

    So sickening to find all forums filled with the jingoistic, extremist & immature comments from Indians.How on earth can a sane man just proclaim "we gonna thrash them" even b4 a bowl is bowled? These guys either don't understand test cricket or are total fanatics.Those who cannot evaluate the strengths of their opponents r doomd to be disappointd.And what do they do when they get the reality check?..they go ahead & trash-talk a bit more.

    Enjoy the game folks, even when best part of it comes from the opponents.This England team is truly formidable (was one even before the series began),more so in home conditions.Indians wer just plain lazy in preparations & took their No.1 status for granted,so much so that they now probably feel their opponents would fold up just at sight of a top team. All grounded now.

  • reds on July 27, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    @rob mate, dont worry the names u mentioned will come back. look u guys won just a match and three more tests to play and some ODI's to follow and dont over react for just one victory typical english yeahhh. Mate England never won a series in Srilanka, Pakistan(in last 6 or 7 years if I remember correct)India(god knows) when they actually won a test series last time , South Africa atleast in last 10 to 15 years. The only test series England won in away series in Australia recenlty. On top of this in ODI cricket ur standard competes with the likes of Bangladesh and Ireland wake up....

  • faz lanka on July 27, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    @ avery

    I think from the overwhelming response you can gather that its not just sri lankan fans - but in fact the rest of the world hates the indian cricket team.

    This is simply because of the arrogance the players have, the arrogance of your board, the petty immature nature of indian fans - who burn grounds and throw bottles when they lose.

    just to name a few reasons..mind u its a pretty long list.

  • Giri on July 27, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    5 days in sun, cold, rain, wind, tiring, facing 80 mph balls even with helmet and all if it hits body it hurts. Top it with lack of preparation. I think India did well especially the oldies considering the age and reflexes and all. Dhoni Raina Harbhajan may not have done great but did what they could. Leave Dravid Sachin Laxman alone. I feel each has their weakness in character and skill but in form such greats you cannot find, appreciate them. How would you like if your bosses and friends found fault even if they cant do what you do? Very few in world can emulate these greats why not just respect them. Todays world is so inconsiderate that is why there is no peace and always some bad thing or other. If we all start appreciating and enjoying simple god things the world would be a better place. I respect all of these players. What they do I cannot so I respect them. Simple apreciate a good thing while it is there who knows how long and then we may get lesser enjoyment.

  • Shankar S. on July 27, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    In any sphere of life one needs some sort of seiousness in performing, which was lacking in the performance of the Indian test cricket team at Lord's this time. The way the team played, it seemed they are in the game to enjoy strawberry & ice-cream in English summer. It was glaringly clear the team came completely underprepared, and the way Bhajji bowled it looked as if giving a demonstration of off spin bowling to school kids. Hope India does well in remaining test matches(3). Otherwise it will be total white wash.

  • cricketmaniac on July 27, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Gauti needs runs early in this series.sooner the better. he's such a good player. not much to say about Dravid now except he makes me so nervous when he bats its unbelievable. I don't think there is a player in the world who manages to look so vulnerable and yet so indestructable at the same time. One thing to notice is that his scoring rate quickened up immensely in the last test. Time for a run of good scores from him. Sachin is Sachin.Laxman scored a good 50 so I expect a few more good knocks from him and Raina finally seems to be making the no.6 position his own. Took us so long to find a replacement for Ganguly( don't know what will happen if Dravid and Sachin retire). As for Dhoni I wouldn't criticise him too much cause it was just one bad match for him and he is a good leader. Bhajji Paaji should be dropped. somehow that's the only thing that gets through to these punju fellows. Ishant needs to bowl to a plan because he generally doesn't seem to have one!

  • Sumeet on July 27, 2011, 12:34 GMT

    To all those who say Patel's a better keeper, that's the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard. He never was a good 'keeper, the Sydney test of 2003-04 tour a case in point. Why go so far? Remember the SL tour of 2007? Dhoni was rested and both Karthik and Patel were sent. Karthik was horrendous in first 2 tests while Patel fared no good in the 3rd. Even during the WI ODIs, his keeping was poor to say the least. Dhoni is the best 'keeper of the lot, though i agree that he still has ways to go before he can be called a brilliant 'keeper. he's at best a safe 'keeper. If i were a bowler, i would rather have Dhoni keep for me rather than the other two. Coming to the test match, it was commendable that India reached the final session of the test match, despite having just 3 front line bowlers.Yes they were undercooked, but at least they fought. The margin of loss may have been 196 runs but going into the 5th day, there was every possibility of a draw. That itself deserves praise for India.

  • manj on July 27, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    enough is enough folkss... now stop and wait for the next match to start.. HUSSAIN said "INDIA DOESNT DESERVE Nº1 RANKING AND THEY DONT RESPECT IT" SOMEONE SAID "UNDERCOOKED INDIA GOT CHEWED" .. all you said is on our minds. and only thing i can say is just wait n watch. India will show why they deserve to be nº1 team. and if u all stupids have guts thn put england into a match without COOK, injured ANDERSON, ill TROT, nd banged on arm STRAUSS and then think of even playing as much India played on last day. you all will kno who is the best. India was without SEHWAG, injured ZAHEER, ill TENDULKAR, struck on arm GAMBHIR. still we played well.. and i am proud to be an INDIAN and this INDIAN TEAM..

  • Jk on July 27, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    One person's comment about Sachin is too crirical and does not make sense. How can he past expiry date when he dint perform upto expectaton on one test? Did this person watch cricket in last 3 years? He is not usper human to perform every outing. obvouslty poeple have so much expectaions onhim being one of the all time greatest batsman, but he is not super human either. Dravid is centreof attraction now fater hitting 2 centuries in WI and Lords, but we all know how he survived last 3 years..His test battign average is below par in the last 3 years but still India Carried him by knowing his contributions, when sachin fails no one can tolerate that, this is what I cant really understand. A record is being born When he makes century is not his problem, but thi shas been a big problem for people now to blaim on him..We all remember how he has played in Aus Eng 2007,2008,Newzealnd 2009,SL 2010,SA 2011 and many home series against SL,England,Aus,SA during last 3 years..No one ha splayed with such consistancy inthese period, and not to mention his ODI heroics despite of less number of appearnace, the WC 2011 has seen his two centuries against 2 best bowling attacks,halfcenturies against Aus and PAK, When others can fail consistantly sachinalso has that previlage being a human being..leave himn alone until you fund some one 50% of what he is.

  • Swapnil Manish on July 27, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    Totally flabbergasted to read the negative press after India's loss. Agree that England were the superior team at Lord's but to say that England are already no. 1, India will lose the series 4-0 etc. is, at best, presumptuous. India is a notoriously slow starter (last SL tour, SA tour etc.), Zaheer's injury was a big blow and Gambhir's freakish injury as well as Sachin's viral infection didn't help matters at all. In fact, we might have even drawn the game had Dhoni, Gambhir or Sachin hung around for a little longer. I guess we need to fit in Yuvraj (dropping Mukund, although unfair on him) as much for his left-arm spin as for his explosive batting or drop Harbhajan for Mishra. Sehwag's absence is a big blow but remember he did precious little when India came very close to securing a 2-1 victory over SA in SA last time around. My prediction for this series: INDIA 2-1 OR series drawn at 1-1

  • Prince on July 27, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    @Atul: U seemed reasonable until the word 'Robin'. Nice try Robin, v know its u :-P

  • Ravi Kiran on July 27, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    I think Dhoni will make Sehwag out of the team for ever. He doesnt like Sehwag. He cannot control him, he cannot dominate him with the bat. IF Shewag gets going, Dhoni will not get batting. Why would he want Sehwag in the team?

  • Shaji Wahab on July 27, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    Being a proud Indian, as I am, it makes me sorry to say this..but India are not worth of being No. 1 the way they went under-prepared into this test match. Too much cricket (IPL for example) and sometimes the lack of it (some players not going on the WI tour for example) are the reasons why the management must have foresight when sending the best (and fittest) players on an important tour like this one. I hope players and the BCCI alike will start to prioritise things if they really want to be NO. 1 and stay at No. 1. England are a better side than India at the moment for their sheer methodical preparation. Hope India can turn the tide soon.

  • Imtiaz on July 27, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    I feel India still could have managed a draw instead if loss. Praveen bowled beautifully. The two individuals i am really disappointed in Team India are Bhajji n Dhoni. Bhajji looked to me as if he is bowling to stop runs and not to take wickets. Where as Dhoni's batting is getting worse.

    If these two dont get their act together soon, then No# 1 ranking will be a dream for India.

  • muneer on July 27, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    Dont Worry India Will Win The Series OK

  • SAMI RAWOOL on July 27, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    i think, absence of sehwag made indian team afraid of playing against powerful bowling attack. When there is sehwag in the squad, he starts attacking the opposite bowling attack & then all other batsmen play aggressively. That's the thing that absence of sehwag really damages indian team. now it's difficult for india to win this series. Indian batsmen need to play like tigers like they have played in last 2-3 years.

  • Kunal Talgeri on July 27, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    Belated birthday wishes, Mike! This is a fab account of the Test match, which I felt was more closely fought than the scoreline suggests. India could always have come back in every session, except when Prior and Broad took over; we missed Zaheer only in that period. It was a battle between wounded tigers and the English lions. I just hope India uses the rage to topple the opposition -- they have the resources. I miss Murali Karthik and RP Singh in the squad. It will be a solid contest. BTW, your description of Dravid is complete with an economy of words to rival Dravid's economy of effort (though he has been among the most hard-working and thoughtful of cricketers). Cheers!

  • Truemans Ghost on July 27, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    I throroughly agree on Praveen- a really gutsy cricketer who will continue to do well in England. I bet a few counties would fancy having him on their books. Also agree on Harbajan - the game was probably slipping away when he came to the crease, but there was still a chance if the tail toughed it out, but for some reason he come out and slogged- and didn't even slog well!

  • Shan on July 27, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Also thank you ICC for not banning dhoni for having a VERY slow over-rate for the 3rd time this calender year (atleast). Awesome attempt to cover it up by not even mentioning the issue.

  • Birendra Jha on July 27, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    The series is gonna be a tough one for India..well played England..but love to see Ind win..sad again ST disappointed fans no Lord's fairlytale

  • Ravi Shankar on July 27, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    Well here are my comments. I loved the article, well written. Just a view on Dhoni. My take - he is an extremely lucky captain.Lets see if he was just a wk would he get selected ? No, absolutely no. If a wk does go for a catch then he has no business being there, and Dhoni left atleast two chances. As a batsman ??Hmm..not in his current form for sure.As a bowler, no way.. As a captain ?? well i would have liked him to chat with some of the bowlers. He is in the best position and i never saw him share a thought. Maybe. during the change over but inbetween an over, i never saw him do that or for that matter any of the seniors. So as a captain he doesnt deserve to be there either. i am not sure what this capt cool is all about,not finishing off in the West Indies, not going for the kill in England, well all i can say is that he was lucky,very lucky, but that is now running out.

  • Ravi Shankar on July 27, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Nice to read these comments !!

  • Naveed on July 27, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Very appropriate title. One could sit at the ground and watch this game for 5 days. I also believe that umpiring was of good standard. Asad Rauf was brilliant and Billy Bowden was OK. I really do not think that Stuart Broad would ever bowl again from the end where Bowden is umpiring. I am even more convinced of the value of full DRS. It helps the umpires. They make better judgments. I sincerely hope that BCCI would reconsider their position and help in improving the technology. BCCI's position is untenable.

  • sweetspot on July 27, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    @Jez - Totally with you on that my friend! Even when Pakistan plays any other team except India, I support them. I tear my hair out in frustration with some Pakistani player gives his wicket away or drops a sitter. I too have serious arguments against making cricket a fitness game that is really is not. Inzamam was a prime example of great reflexes and power and amazing grace without much fitness. He could catch in the slips as well as anybody, and make really fit bowlers look rather silly when he whacked them all over the place. I actually think India have started better than they did in SA! So they should come back strongly with the results.

  • Sachin on July 27, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    Nice read. India is world number 1, glad you enjoyed our performance, we could have chased the total if Sachin's was given not out, Sachin's lbw decision was poor or else India would have won this test.

  • Chinny on July 27, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    @avery, it is not India that we're against. It is any team that plays the game of cricket with arrogance. First it was Australia. Now India. What's happening there???

  • john on July 27, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    it is clearly evident that the indian team needs youth and new feet. how long the indians will keep playing old trio? they have to replaced one at a time, just as ganguly was replaced. replacing all of them together at a time will create problems for the indian team! this time kohli should have been brought in place of VVS. someday soon it has to happen!

  • Sandy on July 27, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Its wonder to read some comment. It was no doubt that it was a worth to watch match. I agree that Team India is slow starter and trailed off gradually. SA tour was a trailer and example. India started there in blithe manner and seems like a sudden demise for the Indian fan. India lost that match unfortunately. Eventually, the remaining test matches dismantled the SA. India will bounce back with great enthusiasm.

  • Sixnout on July 27, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    @Jignesh at July 27, 2011 12:18 AM.

    Reading your comments I think you enjoy the T20 more than you enjoy a test. India did lose the test but I guess it was a good cricket match. Test cricket is not a biff bang boom, sometimes batting out the match to save it is also a skill. If you read this article you would have noticed the author praising KP for his patience as well

  • praxis on July 27, 2011, 2:25 GMT

    It was a fantastic match, followed full five days on TV. Maybe I enjoyed more because England won. All in all, great contest, hope the next matches be more interesting. @avery, not only Sri Lankan fans exhibit such behavior, many Bangladeshi & Pakistani fans too :)

  • SK on July 27, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    I think, Dravid is the best batsmen amount the current Indian players on the England tour, better than Sachin. Sad part is that is not getting that attention compared to Sachin and Dravid had saved India from losting tests and played his part in winning matches for India. Sehawag's place will remain in doubt because of his injury, no doubt he is a much needed batsman for India. Gambhir is a very talented player and he is the key for India's victory during recent tour along with Dravid, Laxman, and Raina.

  • waterbuffalo on July 27, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    It was a fun Test to watch, for a neutral, but Pieterson only got the double because Zaheer wasn't bowling, and Ishant is a good one down bowler. Two players were missing that would have won the Test Yuvraj and Sehwag. I hope England gets to face the best of India, then we'll see a real Test. As for Dravid, he has been India's best bat overseas and in tough conditions for a dozen years. No front foot plonking for Mr. Dravid. I support Pakistan, but I hope the Indians do the right thing and pick Yuvraj for his batting AND his bowling. A wicky bowling? Oh dear.

  • atul shiwakoti on July 27, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    It was awesome match...2000 test match.....great swing in between the matches...india pulling off significantly for couple of session...eng nearly lost the match at some point.....a great double century...5 wicket haul...this was as exciting as 05ur ashes series....finally congrats to Englishmen and Strauss for handling the pressure well....

  • Jignesh on July 27, 2011, 0:18 GMT

    I agree there are many greater and better wicket-keepers/batsmen in India but India will stick with Dhoni until he would retire by his own self. You guys don't know how Mr. Dhoni is popular in India. And we all already seen the strength of this Indian team and the their captain during the recent series against WI, especially, in 3rd test when ODIs specialist Indian team needed only 180 runs in 47 overs to win and they never tried. They even needed 87 runs in 15 overs against one of the weak bowling power as WI and they accepted the draw result scared to get lose the match and the series would be draw. Now what we could expect from this Indian team playing against one of the strongest bowling power? Rahul Dravid plays like bullock-cart is crawling on the highway. Sachin is not retiring saying he still enjoys playing the game. Does he still enjoy getting out cheaper when team really needed a century or half from him, and breaking millions of fans' hearts in India and all over the world?

  • Jez on July 27, 2011, 0:10 GMT

    I am a Pakistani (live in Aus) and admire both teams but Iam supporting India. Always have if they are playing any other team other than Pakistan. VVS is my fav batsman.

    Indians dont need to worry....by nature Indians and Pakistanis are slow starters...we cant be like Eng/Aus as they depend on thorough professionalism + talent....where as we depend on just talent....Dont get me wrong there are some individuals who work their backside off but in general we never train as hard as Eng/Aus/Sa players...thats just our nature and to some extent makeup of our bodies as well....

    India will bounce back...

  • Raman on July 26, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    Common everyone.......no need to panic........india will bounce back......

  • avery on July 26, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    @ faz lanka: What is it about Sri Lankan fans that they exhibit such a loathing towards India? This is something I've always wondered about. Indian fans, on the other hand, are largely indifferent towards Sri Lanka.

  • SB on July 26, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    @atul While I agree with your sentiments, Uthappa is not the replacement for Dhoni. And Sehwag shouldn't be captain. First, Dhoni. There are better keepers than him, and there are better batsmen then him. Even if you look at a combo, few would doubt that Parthiv is a better keeper-batsman than Dhoni. Moreover, Parthiv can be an opener, and Gambhir can play at #3 when Dravid retires. Second, Sehwag. He is a naturally talented player, like Maradona was on the football field. Sehwag hasn't shown any signs of being a good student of the game, because he doesn't need to; he can get by with his hand-eye co-ordination. Every match he goes out and plays the one and only way he knows how, and some days he pulls off remarkable stunts. He is not the "thinking type" and that makes him undesirable as captain. Field placing, bowling changes, I don't think all these make any sense to Sehwag. Someone like Raina or Kohli could make better captains. So, Dhoni's job is safe till Dravid retires.

  • Karim Dhuka on July 26, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    Indian team is not under cooked they are over paid. They didn't show any kinda professionalism on the field bar Dravid no one in Indian team is starting 11. Sachin is past his expiration date and selectors need new legs. I don't know what was he here for when he knew he was sick.. oh yes his 100th century for the cost of country. What a selfish player!

  • faz lanka on July 26, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    I am overjoyed that this arrogant indian team lost. I was happy the great man dravid scored a hundred. he is the geniunely great player in the indian team. the indian fans may complain about zaheer being unfit..about his tummy being too big ..about it being too cold.. at the end of the day - well played england and keep it going. I say 4-0 to the poms!

  • atul on July 26, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    For over 2 years I have been harping on the fact that Dhoni shouldnt be in India's test team at all let alone be the skipper

    And this is no knee jerk reaction after India's miserable show at Lord's . The Wicketkeeper batsman is agreat tactical position and needs to be occupied by someone who's exceptional at both . Matt Prior is a great example , great skill excellent temperament to boot !

    Mark Boucher in his prime used to be another and of course the legend of Gilchrist isn't hidden from ne one

    Dhoni is an average to good keeper and a very poor Test batsman . He has little or no understanding of how to BULID a test innings ( perfect limited overs wk/bat)

    Now the ques arises who if not Dhoni.. well the options rite now are very limited and ( and this might surprise many) I would seriously look at grooming Robin Uthappa for that role with an eye on the future..and Sehwag/ Gambhir for captaincy

    India's test batting is in great hands for the present as well as the future

  • Sanj on July 26, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    Very enjoyable match. Exciting 4th day. Share your views. Well written.

  • Anonymous on July 26, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    good one... wished if sehwag was there n scored a hundred

  • Uppaji on July 26, 2011, 19:12 GMT

    Just ait how India will bounce back in this series. India are very good at extracting most oout of a defeat and they have been proving this again and again. They had some bad luck during the first test but the game will be totally different from now on.....England be ware!!!

  • p aryan on July 26, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    let people say what everthey want to say about the indian team and their performance, but let the second test match start, all of england and the world will see how the world champs take apart the english team. KP,TROTT,PRIOR,COOK,STRAUSS, and BELL watch out because sharma is hungry now.

  • rob on July 26, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    the Most strange thning is All those so called cricket experts like harshas, shastris, ...etc just suddenly disappeared from cricinfo site.If india win the next days you nfind them justifying their job by writing----O YUVI discovered a new way to bat and new planet at same time, Bhaji bowls something which change direction after reading batter`s mind Where are they....I love to see them

  • Tuaha on July 26, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    Ha, it was also my birthday when this match started! :)

  • Bharath on July 26, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    Whatever was the result, I enjoyed every bit as a cricket fan. As an Indian Cricket fan, I wanted India to win but nevertheless, a good match with just 8.5 fit players (leaving out Zak, The Little Master and half of Gauti)! :P

  • Murali on July 26, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    Nice appreciation . Share you passion for cricket.

  • P Kamath on July 26, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    Thanks Dhoni and team for coming under-prepared to face World's current best team.

  • kashish on July 26, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    nice

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • kashish on July 26, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    nice

  • P Kamath on July 26, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    Thanks Dhoni and team for coming under-prepared to face World's current best team.

  • Murali on July 26, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    Nice appreciation . Share you passion for cricket.

  • Bharath on July 26, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    Whatever was the result, I enjoyed every bit as a cricket fan. As an Indian Cricket fan, I wanted India to win but nevertheless, a good match with just 8.5 fit players (leaving out Zak, The Little Master and half of Gauti)! :P

  • Tuaha on July 26, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    Ha, it was also my birthday when this match started! :)

  • rob on July 26, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    the Most strange thning is All those so called cricket experts like harshas, shastris, ...etc just suddenly disappeared from cricinfo site.If india win the next days you nfind them justifying their job by writing----O YUVI discovered a new way to bat and new planet at same time, Bhaji bowls something which change direction after reading batter`s mind Where are they....I love to see them

  • p aryan on July 26, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    let people say what everthey want to say about the indian team and their performance, but let the second test match start, all of england and the world will see how the world champs take apart the english team. KP,TROTT,PRIOR,COOK,STRAUSS, and BELL watch out because sharma is hungry now.

  • Uppaji on July 26, 2011, 19:12 GMT

    Just ait how India will bounce back in this series. India are very good at extracting most oout of a defeat and they have been proving this again and again. They had some bad luck during the first test but the game will be totally different from now on.....England be ware!!!

  • Anonymous on July 26, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    good one... wished if sehwag was there n scored a hundred

  • Sanj on July 26, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    Very enjoyable match. Exciting 4th day. Share your views. Well written.