England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 2nd day August 11, 2011

India's rudderless attack exposed

What India's bowlers have lacked is the man to drive them onwards, to give their pack direction
106

The instant that captured India's day at Edgbaston came right at the end. On the first ball of the last over in the technicolour glow of an English summer evening. Having dropped Eoin Morgan off a simple chance at first slip, Rahul Dravid, immovable batsman, unflappable man, tore the blue India cap off his head and flung it to the ground. Flung it like he wanted it to drill a hole in the ground. Flung it like he wanted to dive into that hole after it.

It wasn't a muted gesture of controlled despair or an invisible pang of disappointment. It was pure fury; rage boiling over. It was the second catch Dravid had dropped in the day, it was the third by India and the second time Morgan had been given a life. It was the culmination of what had been a day of pure melee for the Indians: they conceded 372 runs, dropped three simple chances and the first of only three wickets to fall had come off a no-ball that was missed by the umpires, from a spinner who had infuriatingly sent down eight no-balls.

Thursday drove India's men over the edge, made them act out of character. While Dravid's finale was tempestuous, Sreesanth theatrics dissipated. Savagely pulled by Alastair Cook for a boundary for being short and wide for his first over with a new ball, Sreesanth adopted the game's pose of baffled enquiry. In Indian dance terminology, you can call it the teapot mudra. Hands on hips, complete annoyance on face. It was untidy, confused and comic, much like India were in the field.

England scored at more than four an over on a wicket that was easing and began to show the first signs of turn towards the end of the day; they are 232 runs ahead, have enough wickets in the bag, and for the first time in the series, had their innings set up more than handsomely by their openers. The Indians know it needn't have been this way but the reason that it is, lies within as much as it does in England's bowling. There have been two points in this series where India's bowling has been completely unlike Thursday. In those two phases, they have stood up to full height and looked on the other side of ragged, despite carrying old legs in the field and not many runs to go with.

The first was at Lord's when Ishant Sharma ripped out the heart of England's middle order on the fourth morning, leaving them at 5 for 67 at lunch. The second came at Trent Bridge, with England at 8 for 124. It is the time when escape hatches need to be slammed shut, air needs to be knocked out of lungs and it is where turnarounds begin. It is what competitive teams do and what No. 1 teams have in their DNA. It is as Harsha Bhogle described it on his Time Out show, cricket's version of the break-point that champion capitalise on almost instinctively.

In being unable to do so not once but twice, India have displayed a fallibility that, regardless of the result of the series or the No.1 ranking, is now their bauble of burden. What the bowlers have lacked at times like these is the man to drive them onwards, to give their pack direction. Not the senior pros or even the captain, but one of their own.

There would no doubt have been moments in the day when the bowlers' minds would have strayed to the man who was not on the field. The talismanic Zaheer Khan was not merely wicket-taker but pack-leader, fire-starter, advisor, and aide. Against West Indies, Zaheer's second-in-commands, the capable and skilled Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar did more than adequately. Against a team one notch higher though, the demands have been doubly severe and the outcomes half as fruitful.

Ishant and Praveen's labours in England have been wince-inducing: Ishant has bowled 130 overs, Praveen 150 while Sreesanth has played only one Test so far, and bowled 68. Already the India's main frontline bowlers have bowled more overs than the two leading Indians did in the 2007 series in England. Then Zaheer bowled 136.2 to mark his career-breakthrough 18 wickets and Anil Kumble, second highest wicket-taker along with Anderson at 14, sent down 143.4. RP Singh who just strolled over to Edgbaston with a smile on his face was partner to Zaheer in 2007, bowling 92 overs and taking 12. It is not as if the team of 2007 was bubbling with optimism; they had come off a poor World Cup, were without Virender Sehwag, full stop, and no successor to Greg Chappell as coach. They weren't expected to win, none of their frontline batsmen scored a century in the three Tests, but at the end, India won the series 1-0. Their seam bowling attack however was a few notches higher in one critical element than the current group: pace.

Kumble, who is following the series from his home in Bangalore, can see how tired his former team-mates are by the sheer load but, for all his sympathy, says it is the top-class Test bowler's lot. "As a bowler, you'll have to get to a level where bowling 30 overs in a day is routine. You have to get into that mindset. You have to be prepared to have days like India had today, where nothing will go your way, where you won't get a wicket." What happens away from the field of play must then kick in and Kumble says the best solution is self-analysis. "Analyse what you did, what could you have done different, see if setting different fields helps. Think about changing something. If you don't do then you're just going through the motions."

It is the time, Kumble says when the young player, the new bowler of ambition and desire must push himself further, stretch his ambitions. "At this level, the talent is more or less the same. It is the desire that makes a difference. You have to tell yourself that out of the four bowlers, you want to become the No.1 that the captain turns to. How you want to go up the ranks is up to you." Don't look for one person to be your leader and yourself as the support cast, he often told his younger mates. Go and become that leader.

It is what Zaheer was able to do in 2007, after a lousy first day at Lord's. Since that series, he has taken 131 of his 273 wickets. Since the team's No.1 ranking, Zaheer has played in 11 out of India's 18 Tests before this England series and taken 53 wickets. He is missed now because in 2007, he pushed himself forward to become the No.1 man. What India's bowling is without today is a leader. Not the if-only man, the man who could have been, but someone in its ranks who, at the bottom of his heart, with all due respect, actually really wants to push Zaheer Khan off his perch.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kimg on August 12, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    I think the bowlers are a tired lot.sreesanth and Ishant no sting in their bowling.I think our schoolboys would have done much better. No sense of responsibility by the team including the captain Dhoni in batting and bowling.Surprisingly I see more matches with counties after the tests. Why did they not have these matches with the counties before the start of the test. That would have given the team enough time to get used to the climate and pitches.BCCI take note.

  • krishna_cricketfan on August 12, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    @@RRG_Pal: Please for Indian crickets sake do not try to foist Greg Chappell's name. He destroyed the team. Since 2007, India has always improved and WC win is just a proof. Is it easy to win a WC? Indian team is overloaded and the aging of the players is not helping either. Add to it, the atrocity of Zaheer playing in Lords. When things starts badly, it ends badly as well. But the same Zaheer has fought his way from Injury previously. Let us not trash India just like that.

  • Alexk400 on August 12, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Need leaders in batting and bowling.

  • CricketChat on August 12, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    It's just unbelievable that Ind bowlers can't buy a wkt in Eng!. Completely listless performance by them. Mishra is total disappointment. He got his chances and didn't take them. I think Ind needs to go with a new set of bowlers as the current lot looks stale. The rebuilding phase for Ind team has to start after the current Eng tour. Ind must thank Eng for exposing the flaws in team composition. It's going to be a hard and learning time for Ind team over the next 3-4 yrs with many senior player's careers winding down.

  • zico123 on August 12, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    after this test, anyway the series and no. 1 ranking will be gone as it wil be 3-0, so lets play RP singh and Munaf in next test rather than tired and wayward Ishant and Sreeshanth, also they should drop Raina and play abhinav mukund who hit a ton in the practice match

  • FaceTime on August 12, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    Sachin, Dravid, and Laxman were great batsmen in their prime. Nobody can fight age. With all due respect. If they dont want to take a bow gracefully and let India win its time we give them a send off. Sorry idol worshippers!!! Country comes first.

  • on August 12, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    India hold the record for highest number of extras in an test innings : 76. ((http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284131.html)) Right now they are on the verge of breaking that record for this innings, 55 more 22 to go... :(

  • blondblackberry on August 12, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    even england becomes no.1 they don't hav the spirit and glamour of aussies.also they claim to b no.1 by winning many series in home isn't.i don't remember them winning any series in india,srilanka.mayb one good policy india can follow is it should allow southafrican,australian fast bowlers with indian citizenship just like england did.in this england squad there r ab't 6 southafricans.may b southafrica should b given no.1 spot if england wins.

  • Siyal on August 12, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    England is making fun of Indian Bowlers and Indian fielders are helping them -:)

  • Siyal on August 12, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Amazingly India did not try RP Singh ahead of Sresanth, India must rescheduled their time table of playaing cricket. its hurting big time India cricket team.

  • kimg on August 12, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    I think the bowlers are a tired lot.sreesanth and Ishant no sting in their bowling.I think our schoolboys would have done much better. No sense of responsibility by the team including the captain Dhoni in batting and bowling.Surprisingly I see more matches with counties after the tests. Why did they not have these matches with the counties before the start of the test. That would have given the team enough time to get used to the climate and pitches.BCCI take note.

  • krishna_cricketfan on August 12, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    @@RRG_Pal: Please for Indian crickets sake do not try to foist Greg Chappell's name. He destroyed the team. Since 2007, India has always improved and WC win is just a proof. Is it easy to win a WC? Indian team is overloaded and the aging of the players is not helping either. Add to it, the atrocity of Zaheer playing in Lords. When things starts badly, it ends badly as well. But the same Zaheer has fought his way from Injury previously. Let us not trash India just like that.

  • Alexk400 on August 12, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Need leaders in batting and bowling.

  • CricketChat on August 12, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    It's just unbelievable that Ind bowlers can't buy a wkt in Eng!. Completely listless performance by them. Mishra is total disappointment. He got his chances and didn't take them. I think Ind needs to go with a new set of bowlers as the current lot looks stale. The rebuilding phase for Ind team has to start after the current Eng tour. Ind must thank Eng for exposing the flaws in team composition. It's going to be a hard and learning time for Ind team over the next 3-4 yrs with many senior player's careers winding down.

  • zico123 on August 12, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    after this test, anyway the series and no. 1 ranking will be gone as it wil be 3-0, so lets play RP singh and Munaf in next test rather than tired and wayward Ishant and Sreeshanth, also they should drop Raina and play abhinav mukund who hit a ton in the practice match

  • FaceTime on August 12, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    Sachin, Dravid, and Laxman were great batsmen in their prime. Nobody can fight age. With all due respect. If they dont want to take a bow gracefully and let India win its time we give them a send off. Sorry idol worshippers!!! Country comes first.

  • on August 12, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    India hold the record for highest number of extras in an test innings : 76. ((http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284131.html)) Right now they are on the verge of breaking that record for this innings, 55 more 22 to go... :(

  • blondblackberry on August 12, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    even england becomes no.1 they don't hav the spirit and glamour of aussies.also they claim to b no.1 by winning many series in home isn't.i don't remember them winning any series in india,srilanka.mayb one good policy india can follow is it should allow southafrican,australian fast bowlers with indian citizenship just like england did.in this england squad there r ab't 6 southafricans.may b southafrica should b given no.1 spot if england wins.

  • Siyal on August 12, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    England is making fun of Indian Bowlers and Indian fielders are helping them -:)

  • Siyal on August 12, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Amazingly India did not try RP Singh ahead of Sresanth, India must rescheduled their time table of playaing cricket. its hurting big time India cricket team.

  • Siyal on August 12, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    Please put some new faces in Indian cricket team both in bowling and batting, these people are enough old now, they have no will to fight back in difficult situations.

  • on August 12, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    I dont think a boeling leader will solve indian problem.. Once we are out of the aura of luck , we need to plan , work hard, and execute as a team. never loss ur hope that u are gona get a wicket. Also, You should bowl to attack not to stop the run flow.

  • on August 12, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    It is futile to talk about what the bowlers, Zaheer and RP Singh, did in 2007. The batsmen of this England team are in a far better form and have some new blood lines, who are keen to see that their team does well. Also in respect to fielding India have done pathetically...frustrating the bowlers who toil hard to get wickets and see chances fall by way side. Its always the WK who has the best idea how a bowler is doing and he is the one who can guide and push the bowler to do better. Wake up Mahinder Singh Dhoni.....

  • on August 12, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    Im a Pakistan supporter, but I am disappointed with the thrashing India is getting. Cricket loses out everytime there is a whitewash. In my opinion a side cannot be a true number 1 unless it can fight in all conditions. Its not enough to be able to score well on flat pitches. India must get over its discomfort in playing on seaming wickets. At the same time England must be congratulated on their great form. They have really turned their fortunes around from the hapless days of the 90s and early 2000s and become a great side to watch.

  • AsherCA on August 12, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    I do not need to read the details, the subject line itself shows Sharda's lack of cricketing knowledge. Cricket folklore goes along the lines of catches win matches. The GREAT INDIAN BATSMEN have not only not been batting sensibly during this tour, they are also helping the Englishmen with multiple battings courtesy dropped catches. Sharda is still trying to protect the big 3 - Dravid, Sachin & Lakshman who have done nothing to deserve their place in a Ranji Trophy side during this tour so far, leave alone the right to represent India ! In fact, Dravid has done enough through dropped catches to be England's secret weapon against India. The Indian bowlers are in trouble because they have lost their mentor, Zaheer & do not have any fake gods like Sachin ! The big 3 have done close to nothing this series with either their bats OR their hands - what right do they have to escape criticism ?

  • on August 12, 2011, 11:21 GMT

    Let us Face the Truth India Batting has always been great on dead batting surfaces in their home conditions. They have always struggled against quality attacks abroad.

  • ilovecricket1234 on August 12, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    India never showed true appreciation and acknowledgment to Zaheer when he bowled those amazing maidens at the start of recent World Cup Fina which they wonl. Only the non-Indian coach was the one who even brought it up. Zaheer might still be upset of that snub!

  • AllwinJ on August 12, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    I thought India dropped four catches yesterday. Not three.

  • krici_lover on August 12, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Pakistanis are better than India..Jole of the day:) I don't understand the logic. The only way to decide which team is better is the result of match/series played between those two countries. India defeated pakistan in last series played between two. And if last series played between Pakistan and England and India and England are concerned then India have won last two series home and away both while Pakistan lost all. And why only England, compare the statistics of last few series played with Australia and South Africa, you will get the answer. India was No 1 for last two years and did not reach to No 1 overnight, that was a regular progression. In those years India did not play only in India. I don't deny India does well on Indian dead pitches where runs scoring in easy, If it is so easy then why other teams loose there. Why can't they score more run than India does and defeat India in India also.

  • PTtheAxis on August 12, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    agree with kingcobra85 - sharda, what about fielding/catching ? dhoni's field settings have always been horrible. they are just getting worse. its not a field set to take wickets. so why blame the bowlers ? with the same bowlers ( + one more spinner) and aggressive field settings this english team can be folded thrice not just twice.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 12, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    Before anyone accuses me of being anti-Indian for the sake of it, I actually PREDICTED A 1-1 TEST SERIES before the series got underway.. And a 3-2 India win in the ODI's. Oh how wrong I was.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 12, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding. The England team is the EXACT same as last year. They've been at their peak for a whole year now. Don't make excuses. The Pakistanis just played better cricket against England. Better bowling, better desire. The fielding from both sides was atrocious. You're also comparing probably the most inexperienced and least skilled Pakistani batting line up in their entire history to India's greatest ever. You know you've been bad when such comparisons have to be made.

  • on August 12, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    @xain--if you are a trye supporter of good cricket why arent you looking forward to England talking on SL in SL or Pak in UAE.and its not that Swan is not in form.He is ineffective against Indians(unlike Aussies)...and YES Pak played much better and unearthed a possible all time great in Amir last time they toured...

  • sportsfanatic1972 on August 12, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Suddenly all have started pointing fingers on Indian bowlers. Please remember these are the same bowlers who have made India No1 in the world. What about the batsmen. They haven't been able to cross 300 runs in 5 innings in England. On top of that the fielders drop catches. It seems people are ready with their swords to chop down Sreesanth. How can somebody work under these extreme pressure.

  • Deuce03 on August 12, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    I remember one pundit commenting after the 2005 Ashes that Australia seemed to have turned up with no series plan other than "turn up, stuff the Poms, go home". India appear to have taken the same approach here. The difference was that the 05 Australians were one of the great all-time teams at pretty much the peak of their powers (misfiring Dizzy aside) who took their cricket seriously - it was one of the best series of the modern era. India look undercooked, unfit and under-interested, as well as increasingly over the hill - it's been a massacre. Their limitations in bowling depth and against swing are laid bare at every turn. English commentators said repeatedly before the series that without Zaheer the Indian bowling lacked teeth and it's been borne out utterly. I feel sorry for those Indian players who still seem like they care - Dravid, Dhoni, SRT, (bizarrely) Sreesanth, and Sharma in patches - because this must be humiliating. Even as an England supporter it's painful to watch.

  • Libranstar on August 12, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    This series is beyond repair. Best we can do is to try and save Indian pride by an improved showing in the final test by playing to our true potential and let the rest take its course. Losing matches are common, but the way we lost last two tests, margins of loss and the way we are likely to lose the third test is what is hurting. We must admit that this England team is a real good one with great balance in batting, fielding and bowling department. With greats like Sachin, Rahul, Laxman all on their way out and Sehwag not in his prime, its time we focus on building for future. 1) We should develop genuine bowling all rounders, which we lacked after the Kapil era. 2) Crafty and skillfull pace bowling is what we mostly depend on, but we can't overlook sheer pace and so its time we nurture pace bowlers who can bowl 145-150 k/h. 3) We also need to nurture new generation batsman who are adept to play on pacy & bouncy wickets. So, time BCCI and local associations encourage grassy picthes..

  • Analytical_Sathya on August 12, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    As long as People think that Sreeshanth and Ishanth are better bowlers than Munaf Patel this is what happens. I feel sorry for Munaf who has more class and ability than most for being sidelined in test matches for the past few years.The main reason I believe is Dhoni. This guy is not intelligent, doesn't have the cricketing acumen to differentiate between skillful/classy/elegant players and not so skillful players (who may have just the psuedo body langauage).Added to that he is mean minded and biased.To terminate this continuous mockery I believe the best thing is to replace the captain.

  • Tatsache on August 12, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    Sreesanth is a not an even avg bowler ..I dont kknow how BCCI will think...its not a good bowler when he take 5 wikets when apposite team cross 500 runs.....

  • Naresh28 on August 12, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    I am a firm supporter of team India, however I just have given up trying to follow this series. All three departments have failed to click - bowling, batting and fielding. On dead tracks our pace bolwers are slow and useless. When there is some jiuce they do better but not exceptional. The batsman are all tentative. I think Dhoni found that "if you going to give a catch" then belt it and this will surely be dropped. Dont give catching practice. We dont proffessionally ready rested and injury comeback players. I still believe that Rohit Sharma did well in West Indies and should have been in this test team. Naresh28

  • jithoosin on August 12, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    I second Gestapo. SRT doesn't do well in important matches like world cup knockouts.

  • on August 12, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    This is like saying that Australia is doing badly because McGrath and Warne have retired . Get real Sharda, we have beaten inferior opponents at home and have just not come to terms with England and its conditions. Yes bowling, but a number 1 team that is still to make 300 in an innings and we had 5 already ! The team is tired, listless and injured to boot. I just hope that the team does not lose 4-0. Everyday Boycott and Vaughn keep comparing us unfavorably to Bangladesh and it irks me no end that they are probably right. This is a reality check for India and we have been found wanting . Dravid dropping a catch at the end of the day is not so much of a problem , Morgan will get out anyway. What is more worrying is a complete lack of energy and an almost total lack of self belief. Come on India, at least the batsmen should come to the party . I think the time has come to demonstrate that some of the top test batsmen in the world are equal to the task sridhar

  • kingcobra85 on August 12, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    everyone is so kind to Indian batters these days if sehwag is returning tot he side after injury we give them some games to get back in but if a bowler in this case sreesanth who i think didn't bowl that badly as this figures reflect then we go hell for leather... we should stop this mentally no reason why we dont have a decent pace attack when we force selectors into changing the bowling lineup every series

  • gestapo on August 12, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    @sean fox,,,i totally agree with you,,at the most zaheer would have bowled a couple of probing spells,,sat out the next session,walked off the ground in the final session.

  • the_arm_ball on August 12, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    @ YorkshirePudding Funny people

  • beejaytee on August 12, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    Wow. Many silly, hyperbolic comments here. England are a very good side playing with a lot of momentum and confidence at home (every team has an advantage at home). India were under-prepared for this tour, yes. But to say Urga is wrong, or looking for excuses is only to expose your own ignorance of the game of cricket. Of course every attack needs a spearhead! Had Praveen (who is bowling very well) been sharing the new ball with Zaheer, things may well have been very different. As it is, England just wait until he is bowled out, then attack the rest.

    And as for those saying Zaheer is not world class because he gets injured? Ridiculous. Fast bowling is very stressful on the body - England's strength at the moment is due in no small part to the depth of their fast bowling talent (same for Australia in the glory days).

    The game of cricket is one of momentum and confidence. Without Zaheer (or a firing Sehwag or Tendulkar), India have neither.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 12, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    The question about Pakistan being better, in the fast bowling department it was especially with Asif, Amir and Gul. In the batting department, No. Fielding both sides are about equal Pakistan spilled a lot more catches, but they did try and stop the ball on its way to the boundary. Also a little bit of perspective in that England have also improved a lot from last year.

  • on August 12, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    Indian team need a bowler how can 140+ speed..

  • on August 12, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    This team was never the number 1 test team in the world.. It was just that there was no other team doing good.. If you see South Africa or Australia in there prime, these teams were up to the mark in all departments.. No team can be or stay number one just because of batting.. In batting too they depend largely on Sehwag to win matches and Laxman and Dravid for drawing them.. In India there are no fast bowlers.. Zak stays off the field more than he stays on.. The others are bowlers who lack intelligence not skills.. The Dhoni leadership too seems tired now.. I don't think this team can be number one again in near future (10-15 years or so)..

  • gestapo on August 12, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    @butterbum,,u must be a sachin loyalist i guess,,sachin is a great player,no doubt about it,and his records are mountainous and no player can match his longevity and consistency,,,But bring in some pressure,he just wilts,he is totally a different customer,he is only a good player in crunch situations,his greatness has vanished many times in pressure. I bet Yuvraj has played more meaningful and match winning knocks under pressure in ODIs than Sachin and Laxman,Dravid have clearly outsmarted Sachin in pressure situations in Tests. He is a run machine,but has not taken the team to the destination more often than not.

  • UK-Indian on August 12, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    to save INDIA................... 1) BAN IPL 2) find a pool 145-150 mile pace bowlers (at least 4, groom them) 3) let sachin gracefully retire after this series 4) new fitness trainer & fitness standards for team selection.

  • anver777 on August 12, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    Shewag's comeback after the injury with a shocking 1st ball duck, really put Ind back foot........Munaf in place of Sreesanth for 4th Test is better option !!!!!

  • on August 12, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Catches win the matches if a bowler makes a top class batsmen edge one nick into slips and that catch is dropped and after this drop the batsmen hit big score than what can a bowler do. The Edgbaston pitch is not a bowler friendly one and it is poor batting by India which had taken India into this bad situation in the 3rd test. As long as India depend on players like Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Zaheer Khan, team will never prosper. It is time for India team management to look for new faces and build a new team. The oldies have played enough cricket for India and made a lot of records for India but what if they are injured and hurry them without having any form. Zaheer Khan was hurried, Sehwag is now hurried without looking into his batting form. It is time for change and see what happened when Harabhajan Singh is not playing, the new spin attack is doing well and picked up 1 crucial wicket. India clearly needed a left arm spinner as well as pacer as well.Hope India save test.

  • Libranstar on August 12, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    We Indians go overboard and tend to shower praises when a team does well and takes a 360 degree turn when a failure happens.One day Sachin is a demi God and the next day he is a spent force to some people. Its time we maintain a balance in anything we say and don't take contrasting views and change like Chameleons. Lets accept, we have struggled throughout this series. More often, we have won matches on our batting strengths coupled with our steady bowling attack. We rarely ever had a tear away fast bowler who ripped through an opposition batting line up. Probably some of our spinners did it in the past. Sehwag's aggression & brilliance, Gambhir's flamboyance, Dravid's grit & patience, Sachin's class and Laxman's elegance & Dhoni's composure have more often contributed to our recent test status of no.1. So, this time around, they have all failed together with Dravid's exception and that is the primary cause of our defeat against England. So, no point in blaming our bowlers for this

  • Libranstar on August 12, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    The fact is, rarely our pace bowling have been menacing or threatening by any means but just steady, even when we achieved No.1 status in tests. The real difference is in our batting. We have always managed to put opposition under pressure by making huge scores and that makes even the best team to wilt under pressure and our steady pace and spin have delivered. But with not enough runs on board, even the best of bowlers would struggle to put the opposition under pressure and take 40 wickets to won matches. That is the truth. Lets accept that we haven't managed to score 300 runs yet in recent times. So, its time our batsmen stand up and deliver if we even have a remote chance to give a fight to England in the ensuing Test match.

  • Xain.Yousfani on August 12, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    it was expected...! India no 1 team for sure but at its on grounds where pitches are dead and they can score plenty of runs.....! In English conditions where they have to face seamers like Jimmy Anderson , Bresnan and Broad they are way out ( Lucky indians , tremlet is out )...... India i guess still lucky that they haven't been tested by swan. He is having a bad run...! if swan clicks i bet india wont be able to score even 250 :-)

    Pakistan did better than indians last summer :-)

    Only challenge that is left for england to beat south africa in south africa.......... will love to see this happening soon :-)

    Proud Pakistani and true supporter of the ones who play well...

  • Humdingers on August 12, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    If the batsmen had stood up and not folded then the bowlers would have had more "rest". The batting has been woeful. As has the leadership from the captain. Overall the Indians look like rank amateurs and befitting of about 4th on the ICC rankings (behind Sth Africa, England and even Sri Lanka). Yes I rate Sth Africa higher as they have done much better in the sub continent than England and have also won in Australia.

  • mensan on August 12, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    When you can get cake with little effort, why would you strive hard for bread? I assure you come IPL and all the injured will be fit. IPL has ruined indian test cricket.

  • mensan on August 12, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    If ever India is able to found a fast bowler, IPL will make him medium fast within an year.

  • ab_cricket on August 12, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    I seriously feel that 25 Test Matches for a bowler like Sreesanth is more than his caliber. He should not be given any more chances at least at Test Level. Its been a long time since I've seen India play that badly. I think last time they were that bad was in 1998 Australia Tour. Even on that tour there were a few personal highs for players. Would rather watch Zim vs Bangladesh, which looks more competitive at this point.

  • on August 12, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Bring back Irfan Pathan. He gave us victory in Australia and he is now ignored. He can do more than what Stuart Broad is now doing in this series. Broad looks to be the big difference and then now Bresnan

  • Jawaidnazir on August 12, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    Nothing can happen to say India, India, India, India, do something in the ground and find ability to remove England two time in the match, after all you are world champion.

  • la_bazza on August 12, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    STOP IT! this is simply the lamest excuse. "India are without their leader in their bowling attack" It's such rubbish. Zaheer Khan is over hyped. At best he is going to give you two good spells in an innings (first and second) and thats it. So please stop pinning this on Zaheers fitness, what a joke.

  • on August 12, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    Hammered and battered into submission. We have failed collectively as a team with everyone waiting for some divine intervention. At the start of the series I had imagined a 1-1 result with all matches being fought closely. With the way things are going, 4-0 is a real possibility. Need a thorough re-think on the workload of the players from BCCI. Why don't the players themselves say they dont want to play so much cricket? Even if we manage to remain no 1 after this series, which itself would be a miracle, I would never ever say to my friends that we are worthy of the No 1 ranking.

  • Rangarajan_Rajamani_Chennai on August 12, 2011, 5:10 GMT

    India is NOT missing Zaheer but Greg Chappel . . . Though we criticized him, his approach is what India needs . . . Indians LIKE to be spoilt . . . If you dont perform why should you be in the team?? He pulled everyone, including Ganguly and Sachin out of their comfort zones . . . They performed AFTER he left but that was just to prove a point . . . It was his tenure that told India "YOu need to get in FAST Bowlers" . . . at that time we hated him . . .

    Now look at what Gary got? A team that stops performing after he goes???

    How can you say Gary is good? If someone's good, he has to ensure that things run even without him . . . He was EFFECTIVE . . . I mean we got RESULTS . . but the seeds were sown by Greg CHappel . . . I would say India got better with him although they did not show in results (but for the world cup, it was actually a decent team)

  • bMike on August 12, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    In recent Sri Lanka series (in England) they played much exiting cricket here . Sri Lanka also didn't have any of their experienced bowlers (Murali, Malinga, Vass etc) and most of their young bowlers had played less then 15 tests (some of them had played even less then 5 tests) & they never said excuses but still managed to finish the 3 match test series 1-0. All asian team who recently played in England have played much better cricket than India.

  • on August 12, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    It is futile to talk about what the bowlers, Zaheer and RP Singh, did in 2007. The batsmen of this England team are in a far better form and have some new blood lines, who are keen to see that their team does well. Also in respect to fielding India have done pathetically...frustrating the bowlers who toil hard to get wickets and see chances fall by way side. Its always the WK who has the best idea how a bowler is doing and he is the one who can guide and push the bowler to do better. Wake up Mahinder Singh Dhoni.....

  • AnotherCricketFan on August 12, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    Though it sounds a lame excuse, I think too much cricket is hurting the Indians. One does not see the spring in their legs as they did in WC - even when they lost in the opening rounds. Here I believe they are tired and mentally fatigued. After Aug they go back and play one more ODI series and domestic season and off to Australia. In between as soon as they land back in India - Champions League! They may make mega bucks & super strong athletes but BCCI and the players are abusing their body! This is insane scheduling.

  • ghtvnath on August 12, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Number1 team in test cant go on finding an excuse in ZK's absence...unacceptable...

  • kingcobra85 on August 12, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    why are you blaming the bowlers alone ? The fielding was horrible...they dropped three catches..drvaid.tendulkar and sreesanth. Then the field placings ..who would place sreesanth in square cover? he has bowled so many overs in the day so obviously he is going to be stif ? And for mishra to be bowling without a short leg is also another mistake.... The coaching staff is absolutely useless..

  • RandyOZ on August 12, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    Albeit playing really well, I don't think we will truly see how good England is until they face SA

  • butterBum on August 12, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    England got lucky ...with sachin to bat once more in this test i can see the butterflies in english tummmies already ....

  • on August 12, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    The reason we are seeing the kind of one-sided series we are is the insatiable appetite of the BCCI, we achieved the #1 ranking not because of them, but in spite of them. Scheduling of series they will do back-to-back, and of course the IPL has to be fitted in, right? There is a simple principle that works without fail in every scenario whatsoever: if you are failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. I see no hope for Indian cricket till either our Board is renovated / revamped or it undergoes a sudden change of heart and / or philosophy.

  • hgopi34 on August 12, 2011, 3:05 GMT

    Please drop IPL for heavens sake...enough of that nonsense. Or be true to test cricket and encourage youngsters between 20-25 to take up the challenge to form the core of the future test team.

  • on August 12, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    Dhoni did a great mistake by not letting r p singh play in place of ishant sharma

  • garawi on August 12, 2011, 2:15 GMT

    Gee! I thought Sri Lanka was bad to get beaten in England! But compared to this they did pretty well. What's going on is India is keeping the old guard without looking towards the future and grooming a new team. With more than a billion population I would think that India has a vast pool to select from. But is it so?

  • spintl on August 12, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    England have planned very very well in this series to nutralize the Big 3!!! Bowl wide of the off stump to Dravid and he will keep on searching to play the drive and edge behind, with SRT, give the ball to Anderson and he will do the rest or if SRT survives that over, he will give his wkt to the other bowler with all the pressure that Anderson created. With VVS, give him juicy half volleys on his legs which he will hit for 4s, then bowl a bouncer and signal the long leg fielder to wake up & catch the ball!!!!

  • rlefti on August 12, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    For me india is missing a proper captain at test level, some one who has grit, passion and most of knowledge and technique of test cricket and dhoni fails all of those...he doesn't go to the bowlers and talk atleast some pep talk to pump them nor does he ask them to bowl according to his plan, he just leaves them to do what they want to do and that's insane probably dhoni has no idea of what to do... Look in 2002 we had people like sanjay bhangar open the bowling but india still managed to draw the series and in 2003 in Australia you saw a rookie like irfan come up the ranks... It's because you had such kind of a captain and the same in 2007 though dravid is not great captain he is the best test batsmen india have and hence he has the knowledge or the things I talk about...clearly india have to thing of test captain someone like a gambhir or a sehwag....

  • on August 12, 2011, 1:50 GMT

    I am very sorry to say but india is lacking three things: Zaheer ; Gary ; thurst to win because hey have won worldcup. Moreover i will put a question here was pakistan better last year than india now in england?

  • bMike on August 12, 2011, 1:24 GMT

    Shame on Indian fans. Silly arguments. We all know Laxman or Raina didn't perform well in this series. If one of them missed this series (because of an injury) these silly fans would say they lost because they don't have Laxman/Raina. Giving excuses shows they don't deserve number 1 at all. If you can remember recent Sri Lanka series in England there Sri Lanka didn't have any of their experience bowlers (Murali, Malinga or Vaas). Almost all Sri Lankan bowlers in England series had payed less than 15 test matches and some of them even hadn't played at least 5 tests. But they still managed to finish 3 matches series 1-0 but these Indians they call themselves as world class players are now going to lose the series 4-0 lol

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on August 12, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    Well I am surprised Ind are being beaten so comprehensibly but I can't say I am sorry for them. They kept making excuses after every big loss and that was part of their hinderance for recovery. Admitting you are being outplayed is the first step to improvement but they kept on banking on injured players and more "match practice". As the series has goes on I get the impression that it is Eng who wanted match practice for they have grown better with each game, especially Cook. I honestly feel Eng are the most clinical team Ind has met for a while. SA I think is just as good but far from clinical.

  • on August 12, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    The reason of this outcome is excessive glamorous T20 series and greedy BCCI

  • rsurya on August 12, 2011, 0:29 GMT

    With sreesanth in the bowling lineup no team can perform. But where is Mr.Batting is our strength?. Please manufacture a fast bowler just don't select one for stats ...

  • on August 12, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    This isnt a new problem to be honest. India has been struggling to find 'The Great Indian Fast Bowler' ever since Ganguly retired.

  • AnandRaman on August 12, 2011, 0:00 GMT

    Missing a leader ?? That sounds like a school boy comment. Professional cricket is all about being a leader yourself and to perform irrespective of the conditions. I hope you don't go on and add that they miss their home food next.

  • on August 11, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    India are a spent force, an end of an era, Tendulkar playing for his hundred hundred and a last Australian series then he is gone, Laxman, Harbajan, Zaheer are over the hill, Shewag has always flattered to decieve, Raina and Yuvraj a decent Odi players who cannot cut it in test cricket, not one decent fast bowler, not one decent spin bowler the future is bleak. How long is Fletcher going to last?

  • ahweak on August 11, 2011, 23:34 GMT

    England is one the best places for bowlers. With all due credit to England's batsmen, if Indian bowlers cannot perform there, then India should just have four spinners in the team and it wouldn't be any worse than what it is now. BCCI wants pitches with runs (that's what sells on TV) and so India will NEVER have multiple quality bowlers at the same time. You can have a Kapil Dev or a Zaheer Khan once in a while, but Indian fast bowling has always been and will always be weak. The one permanent question with the Indian cricket team is "where will the 20 wickets come from?"

  • Usmanaftab24 on August 11, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    You do not deserve to be number one side without a decent bench strength. Besides you cannot squarely blame the fitness for the horrendous performance of India. They are still a star-studded side, look at the names there: Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Raina but yet they are exposed miserable yet again in the overseas conditions.

  • subbass on August 11, 2011, 23:22 GMT

    India is missing Gary Kirsten a lot i think. Having said that I do not think the series result would have being any different, but the one thing he seemed to do for India was toughen them up, now they give in far too easily !

  • mensan on August 11, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    Sreesanth - 25 tests (debut: 2006)... Ishant Sharma - 36 tests (debut: 2007)... Praveen Kumar - 5 tests (debut: 2011) ... Amit Mishra - 11 tests (debut: 2008) ... Harbhajan - 98 tests (debut 1998)................ I wonder how we can say India missing a leader!! The bowlers are well experienced apart from P Kumar (and he is doing the best by the way). Does india deped only on one bowler... Zaheer Khan for all their inspiration and performance???? If the answer is YES, then it's totally pathetic. Probably the LAMEST excuse ever heard!!

  • BoonBoom on August 11, 2011, 22:54 GMT

    Before the start of this Test every Indian fan had the impression Sehwag will come, play and score 300 all alone....but the reality was a golden duck....Now the same Indian fans believe if Zaheer had not been sidelined due to injury, Indian would have got England twice out for below 100.... it seems the fans always live in fool's paradise!!!

  • on August 11, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    England is jsut outplaying india in every department..... this is probably Englands best test team (with/without) trott and tremlett..... i see a 4-0 white wash........

  • ADB1 on August 11, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    In the first two tests, India by far had the better of the bowling conditions. This test, England has had equal - maybe marginally better - conditions to bat in, and the disparity between the two teams has been laid bare.

  • demon_bowler on August 11, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    Dravid's fury after dropping Morgan gave rise to a mix of emotions. Sadness at seeing a great champion humiliated; embarrassment for India reaching the nadir of an overall shoddy fielding performance; but actually some delight to see that SOMEONE on this Indian side actually cared.

  • pragmatist on August 11, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    How can a bowler whose only competitive practice has been 4 over IPL spells ever be ready for Test cricket? Top marks to Praveen and Ishant for their stamina but I'm sorry, these guys just aren't up for this series. It's sad that they became the number 1 Test side, says a lot for the period we're going through - very few standout players who can make a real difference. England, by being consistent and fit, are benefiting from this period of flux. Someone like Bresnan can stand up and reap the rewards.

  • RodStark on August 11, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    I think the argument about missing Zaheer will become clearer if he eventually gets back to fitness and resumes a successful career. If he does, then, yes, India were very unlucky to be missing him for this series. Otherwise it's just a matter of him getting older and and his career basically being over. It would like England complaining that they don't have Flintoff or Trescothick

  • ut4me87 on August 11, 2011, 22:24 GMT

    After Dravid & Ganguly played at Lords in 1996 for the first time, India never lost a series to England after that. They lost 1996 series because they lost the first test when neither of them played. We are missing a captain like Ganguly who could lift the team, identify new promising players and uncompromising attitude. Team selection was also bad - why tour England without an experience opening batsman for the first two test matches. What happened to Jaffer?

  • CricketFirstLove on August 11, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    Why is Munaf sitting on the benches. Why has he been ignored for the third time in Tests in England. Is he not any day faster than Ishant and Srisanth? Why are we doing this to our players. Seems like commentators are selecting teams namely, Shastri who hates him, Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar who has his favorites. I urge the selectors and Dhoni not to go by what these commentators have to say if you love Indian Cricket.

  • VinayGangala on August 11, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    Nice article. Got to blame all the batsman for not getting runs and not showing any character at all, except Rahul. Losing a series is fine but the manner of how these guys are losing is the irony. Except Preveen kumar none of the bowlers I think can go to the captain and ask that i will take the ball and get you a wicket. I dont think that kinda attitude is there in any of the other 10 guys including the great Sachin Tendulkar.And what is the use of throwing a cap to the ground when already one has dropped 2 easy catches.Atleast from the point of view of fielding, we should be starting to give opportunities to youngers, so that they can be grommed and tried out at international level to aviod these king of series at this level.

  • Rakim on August 11, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    What they need is fitness, I mean look at Indian players, they are all fat, and kinda out of shape

  • Buggsy on August 11, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    This article to me is spot on - India's bowling is in complete disarray and will be for some time; let's face it, Zaheer is finished, too old, too injury prone. Give Ishant a few more years and he could become one of the great Indian bowlers.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    india have got a future team like bangladesh. Sharma, Kholi, Pujara, Rahane, Mukhund, Tiwary have all got massive potential. The bcci need to spend money on creating bouncy, fast pitches. The fielding of younger players, Raina and Kholi is very good but the performance today shows how India will never be a no1 team without 4 solid bowlers

  • IndianCrazyFan on August 11, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    Apparently they are missing a pile of runs from Sachin/Laxman/Raina. Unless one of these score India will make 4-0 easily.

    Its one of the worst series team played in a decade. Last time I remember slaughtered was in Aus 1999-2000 under Sachin captaincy. Since Ganguly/Kumble/Dhoni have made sure atleast we have a drawn or well fought series.

    Very heartening to see WC champions surrender like this. Cannot give excuses Zaheer is missing. He is just 1 bowler Cannot rely on him all tme.

    Indias main strength in their Batting its clearly exposed if its fails hard to get saved.The way team is playing i doubt if they can escape 4-0.

  • nicudoc on August 11, 2011, 21:50 GMT

    First it was said that with the arrival ofsehwag, the team would be rejuvenated. Now, with his failure, the excuse beingmade is the lack of a bowler. Zaheer is in NO WAY a world class bowler. Being fit is part of the game. look at all the excess weight he carries around his waist. what a shame, that India has not been able to produce not a single genuine pace bowler. PRIDE GOES BEFORE A FALL

  • wnwn on August 11, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    I think it's scandalous that a country with a 1 billion population cannot find any genuine fast bowlers whereas Pakistan can keep churning them out one after another. Even when India do find fast bowlers they suddenly become medium pacers within a year or two.

  • TamilIndian on August 11, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    Can't bat, can't bowl, can't catch, can't run, can't slide, can't see... Can earn big bucks

  • kantipur on August 11, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Indian batting is also missing a leader that is harbhajan singh.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    How badly we miss the lion hearted Anil Kumble! I still remember the match where he was bowling with unrelenting vigor and intensity when the srilankans recorded the ridiculous 952/6 in Colombo. Kumble bowled whopping 72 overs with almost same intensity through three continuous hot and humid summer days on a match where the result is known to be a draw from the third day itself. I don't think the current crop of indian bowlers will stand a chance to do even 50% of it.

  • Hurricane08 on August 11, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    In all fairness, the one man who pushed the Zaheers, Sehwags and Laxmans off the perch was Greg Chappell - he sent them home when they were not performing. Looks like Duncan may need to do the same.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:32 GMT

    We need leaders not the one who looks for leaders. fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers

  • NewYorkCricket on August 11, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    How good is Deepak Chahar? Don't see too many on the horizon. The problem is not just this series.

  • MeraBharatMahaan on August 11, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    Also read an article on great Sachin:

    http://blog.yahoo.com/_YC2PEQ34OS7WNX4ARD2QMHSFCQ/articles/117004/index?bb=0

  • MeraBharatMahaan on August 11, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    Good excuse. I have a great solution for Indian team to escape this humiliation. They should use London riots as a excuse to abandon this series and come back to India so that scoreboard at least reads 2-0 instead of 4-0. Otherwise, I'm afraid team (including our great 0/1 scoring Sachin) will land in hospital for treatment of severe depression and mental trauma.

  • Rahulbose on August 11, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    I know this tour is difficult for the Indian Journos. But you analysis is getting stranger by the day. Dhoni scores 70 odd matching up to Tim Bresnan's run tally and you write captain Kirk has arrived. Now you seem to be implying having Zaheer would magically transform this bowling unit. Time to face facts, the greats of this team are spent forces and the younger generation has the quality of Bangladesh.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    Beeing number will not ne a tag after this test match for india..infacet it seems like that this no 1 tag was more like a burdeb to them.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    What they really need is a change of diet.

  • xjunda on August 11, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    India is not just missing a bowling (leader) they are also missing fielders & batsmen.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • xjunda on August 11, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    India is not just missing a bowling (leader) they are also missing fielders & batsmen.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    What they really need is a change of diet.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    Beeing number will not ne a tag after this test match for india..infacet it seems like that this no 1 tag was more like a burdeb to them.

  • Rahulbose on August 11, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    I know this tour is difficult for the Indian Journos. But you analysis is getting stranger by the day. Dhoni scores 70 odd matching up to Tim Bresnan's run tally and you write captain Kirk has arrived. Now you seem to be implying having Zaheer would magically transform this bowling unit. Time to face facts, the greats of this team are spent forces and the younger generation has the quality of Bangladesh.

  • MeraBharatMahaan on August 11, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    Good excuse. I have a great solution for Indian team to escape this humiliation. They should use London riots as a excuse to abandon this series and come back to India so that scoreboard at least reads 2-0 instead of 4-0. Otherwise, I'm afraid team (including our great 0/1 scoring Sachin) will land in hospital for treatment of severe depression and mental trauma.

  • MeraBharatMahaan on August 11, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    Also read an article on great Sachin:

    http://blog.yahoo.com/_YC2PEQ34OS7WNX4ARD2QMHSFCQ/articles/117004/index?bb=0

  • NewYorkCricket on August 11, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    How good is Deepak Chahar? Don't see too many on the horizon. The problem is not just this series.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:32 GMT

    We need leaders not the one who looks for leaders. fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers fast bowlers

  • Hurricane08 on August 11, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    In all fairness, the one man who pushed the Zaheers, Sehwags and Laxmans off the perch was Greg Chappell - he sent them home when they were not performing. Looks like Duncan may need to do the same.

  • on August 11, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    How badly we miss the lion hearted Anil Kumble! I still remember the match where he was bowling with unrelenting vigor and intensity when the srilankans recorded the ridiculous 952/6 in Colombo. Kumble bowled whopping 72 overs with almost same intensity through three continuous hot and humid summer days on a match where the result is known to be a draw from the third day itself. I don't think the current crop of indian bowlers will stand a chance to do even 50% of it.