England v India, 4th npower Test, The Oval, 2nd day August 19, 2011

Impressive Ishant stuck without support

Ishant Sharma must have felt caught in a sci-fi horror movie: there he was, valiantly defending one side of his spaceship. On the other side, some cowboys were letting all the aliens in
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On Friday, Ishant Sharma must have felt caught in a sci-fi horror movie: there he was, valiantly defending one side of his spaceship. Without much success or progress, but ever-valiant. And there, on the other side, some cowboys were letting all the aliens in.

This unevenness of mission has been India's lot for the last one month in England. When the Oval Test actually kicked off with a full day's play on Friday, India were found short again. Not of an army of space cadets, but just one more bowler who could give their best man on the day something to celebrate other than a slightly reduced fat content. Of all the Indians out on the field, it is the stringy Ishant who can do without that kind of depletion. He certainly would have been helped by more meat at the other end during his five spells on day two of the Oval Test.

In the past, India's problems on tour were said to centre around the lack of a penetrative third seamer; on this tour, India have been actually been minus a second bowler itself. Not because Zaheer Khan and some body parts have gone missing again, but because each time one man has broken into a genuine sweat in the middle, he has been hindered by his cranky companions at the other end. If it was Ishant who opened up the England second innings at Lord's, it was Praveen Kumar who sought company in Edgbaston. The one time India's bowlers have worked in tandem in Nottingham, England were 124 for 8.

Whenever India have pressed, England's response has always demanded more of their opposition. At that point, India have been found wanting. Everytime when under any genuine pressure, rather than retreating into bunkers, England's batsmen have attacked and thrown India off their game. The England tail did so in Nottingham, the last time there was even contest between the two teams in this series. At The Oval on Friday, after a much-improved Indian performance from the shambles on a curtailed day one, England waited for the moment, before pouncing on the less feisty amongst the bowlers. Barring Ishant, they feasted on the rest.

It is at times like these, the size of bowlers' hearts are gauged and today, Ishant's belonged to the lone lion in his pack. Figures of 19-5-64-1 from the second day disguise the one element of his bowling that while difficult to quantify, is impossible to miss: effort. If supported at the other end, it usually translates into better numbers than the 457 for 3 the Indians must deal with.

On the field, Ishant cuts a distinctive, gawky figure: his sweater hangs on his angled frame, he is a man made up of more lines rather than the curves that lurk beneath some Indian shirts on the field. Scraggly face, usually pained expression at the top of a newly-sprouting goatee, he has endured the slings and arrows of Indian cricketing celebrity in his four years in the international game. It can only be hoped he is now on the other side. He is still considerably far from the finished goods, but is now capable of absorbing pain and stringing good spells together repeatedly.

In the last 13 months he has taken 57 of his 123 wickets and could be at the cusp of upping his game and sense of responsibility of who he needs to be in this Indian attack. He will need work on his endurance both, physical and mental, as well as variety and skill levels to be recognised as a genuine strike bowler; but if some good has to come of this tour, Indian cricket must hope it turns out to be Ishant's learning.

On Friday, he certainly gave every hint of what he is capable of. The fella who had knocked a chip off Andrew Strauss' helmet on Thursday, looked hungry for a wicket all day even though his sole reward came in his first over, and it took 22 balls before the first runs were scored off him. All day, he bowled at a reasonable pace, averaging around 136kph if the TV speed gun is to be believed. There were even sightings of a few in the 140s - rare on this tour amongst the Indians, commonplace from England - when well into his tenth over of the day. Ishant has now bowled 169 overs in this series and while his average is pretty miserable so far, he has been the only Indian who has looked capable of taking wickets. Particularly today when, after lunch, wicket-taking went out the window at one end.

In this series he has 11 wickets, with the injured Praveen on top of the table with 15. Towards the end of the day, Ishant bowled at the Vauxhall End, and at the change over the overs, would walk over to mid-on on the far side to take up his fielding. Never once did Ishant look like he would rather be sitting in a deck-chair than putting one foot in front of the other at The Oval.

All through the day, Ishant was, in one sense, everywhere. For each occasion he found himself unrewarded, having missed an edge, hurried a shot or having had chances, he could easily have thought of himself as being nowhere and slipped into the ennui that began to grip his mates once Bell and Pietersen returned after lunch and decided to go into launch mode.

He came across at mid-on to gee-up Sreesanth after Ian Bell had struck him for two creamy cover drives to get to his fifty. A few balls later Sreesanth wandered over to leg, and was shipped off the pads for four; Ishant walked away, snatching his own cap off his head in frustration. Maybe he knew he was going to be alone for the rest of the afternoon.

It was not to be Ishant's day even though the only chances that India made after the first two wickets fell quickly, came off his bowling. Pietersen, first on 18 at the stroke of lunch, walked across his stumps to offer a catch to the perfectly positioned leg-slip in Suresh Raina, who was unsure about having caught it clean. Just after Pietersen had crossed his 100, he looped a mis-hit up off Ishant into the sky which was dropped by a backpedalling Gautum Gambhir. Of all the bowlers, he sent down the fewest four-balls, stuck to his line and hit a length that asked questions.

Towards the end of the day, he was still trying: in an over when, amidst all his flurry, Kevin Pietersen inside-edged him a second time, Ishant's striving ended in Bell luciously straight-driving him for four off the last ball. His hang-dog expression fell just an inch lower, the shoulder slumped into a slope, as he collected his cap from the umpire. As the slip fielders, crossed over, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid patted Ishant on the back. On a day of meagre comfort, those were more than small gestures.

As both Ishant and Praveen have reached into their inner troopers on this tour, it is Sreesanth's flat-lining that is the most painful to watch. Rather than evolve from an eccentric quick bowler of rare gifts into a strike bowler of consistent influence, Sreesanth has lost more than he has gained in his five years with the Indian team: both his exaggerated mannerisms and his pace as well as the direct impact he has on games. What Sreesanth should be doing at the end-of-day media briefing was as inexplicable as the decision to ship an unfit RP Singh over to England in place of Zaheer Khan at the very last minute.

With limited powers and Zaheer's fitful appearances due to injury, the "management" of India's bowling stock has been vital to the team's success over the last two years. Those stocks are now down to a one-man team that must be managed. Naturally the results are hardly going to be the same.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dsig3 on August 20, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Why is Dhoni bowling Singh so much? He is the worst bowler in the squad yet he is bowling all the overs.

  • Stone-Aamir on August 20, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    "In the last 13 months he has taken 57 of his 123 wickets and could be at the cusp of upping his game and sense of responsibility of who he needs to be in this Indian attack." Well if we exclude the West Indies series Ishant has taken 35 wicket in 12 matches @ averge of 44.5 and the strike rate of 69.7. Do you think these are standard figures for a world class bowler. Sharda face the facts and stop the hype about the mediocre bowlers like Ishant Sharma.

  • awalia on August 20, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    You know History is a very intersting subject and other part of History is "IT ALWAYS SPEAK OUT TRUTH" so friends let me confess that it is the only Spin department who produce match winning performances for india , very rarely any fast bowler, so wait untill HARBHAJAN get his form back , otherwise 4-0 is waiting for us in Australia

  • ChuckyDoll on August 20, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Just wait for this test series to be over; heads will roll! Sree and RP Singh will never again play for India. BCCI will do something dramatic with Zaheer and Harbhajan..... just don't know how much have these 2 caused K. Srikanth sleepless nights. I have a gut feeling that Raina might be the most unlucky one to lose his Test spot. Can't wait for the next selection process.

  • its.rachit on August 20, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    59.66 in australia ...56.72 in england ...41.75 in new zealand ...48.14 in south africa ...49.61 in sri lanka ... No These are not Sachin Tendulkar's batting averages in these countries .. These are Ishant Sharma's bowling averages in these countries ... God yeah he has been so unlucky ... He has tried his best :P .. These figures show just that .. Effectively we go in with 10 players if Ishant is playing in these countries ....

  • Ganchu on August 20, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Our selectors are really a bunch of jokers because on what basis they have selected RP Singh only because he has done good when he last toured here but not on present form.He didn't even crossed 125 in speed, he is a ordinary bowler Instead of him they could have played some young fast............ bowler so that he could have gain some experiance.And even dohni on what basis selected mishra when he failed utterely in third test.What happened to Mithun and Umesh yadav ?

  • on August 20, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    People are stupid to claim it is india's batting failure that has cost India games recently. You have to understand that even the best teams collapse when they see a mammoth deficit. Yes, Indians have struggled with the bat, but it is their utter and total failure in the bowling department that cost them the test series. The English batsmen can't wait to get their turn to bat and score 100s. That's how bad Indians have been with the ball in this series.

  • Cricket_Junky on August 20, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    What special ishant did himself in the entire serious? I start getting bore now, There is no contest at all. Please finish the serious and go back to India bcz that is the only place where you can WIN. Rubbish bowling attack.

  • Zack101 on August 20, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    If Ishant needs the support of fellow bowlers then he is not a matching winning bowler and unfortunately India has no match winning bowlers. Indian bowlers clearly lack skill, variety and strategy to bowl the opposition out.

  • deeps_np on August 20, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    This match is heading towards the same story which happened in the first test match of the series. India need to bat at least 3 or more if possible.If India can do that then this match can be saved otherwise 4-0 is on the card. The issues with Indian bowlers are they can't take wickets at regular interval and even they can't stop the flow of runs. I am wondering what is coaching staff is doing for team. If this situation will remain same then we have to get ready for defeat in Australia also later this year.

  • dsig3 on August 20, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Why is Dhoni bowling Singh so much? He is the worst bowler in the squad yet he is bowling all the overs.

  • Stone-Aamir on August 20, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    "In the last 13 months he has taken 57 of his 123 wickets and could be at the cusp of upping his game and sense of responsibility of who he needs to be in this Indian attack." Well if we exclude the West Indies series Ishant has taken 35 wicket in 12 matches @ averge of 44.5 and the strike rate of 69.7. Do you think these are standard figures for a world class bowler. Sharda face the facts and stop the hype about the mediocre bowlers like Ishant Sharma.

  • awalia on August 20, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    You know History is a very intersting subject and other part of History is "IT ALWAYS SPEAK OUT TRUTH" so friends let me confess that it is the only Spin department who produce match winning performances for india , very rarely any fast bowler, so wait untill HARBHAJAN get his form back , otherwise 4-0 is waiting for us in Australia

  • ChuckyDoll on August 20, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Just wait for this test series to be over; heads will roll! Sree and RP Singh will never again play for India. BCCI will do something dramatic with Zaheer and Harbhajan..... just don't know how much have these 2 caused K. Srikanth sleepless nights. I have a gut feeling that Raina might be the most unlucky one to lose his Test spot. Can't wait for the next selection process.

  • its.rachit on August 20, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    59.66 in australia ...56.72 in england ...41.75 in new zealand ...48.14 in south africa ...49.61 in sri lanka ... No These are not Sachin Tendulkar's batting averages in these countries .. These are Ishant Sharma's bowling averages in these countries ... God yeah he has been so unlucky ... He has tried his best :P .. These figures show just that .. Effectively we go in with 10 players if Ishant is playing in these countries ....

  • Ganchu on August 20, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Our selectors are really a bunch of jokers because on what basis they have selected RP Singh only because he has done good when he last toured here but not on present form.He didn't even crossed 125 in speed, he is a ordinary bowler Instead of him they could have played some young fast............ bowler so that he could have gain some experiance.And even dohni on what basis selected mishra when he failed utterely in third test.What happened to Mithun and Umesh yadav ?

  • on August 20, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    People are stupid to claim it is india's batting failure that has cost India games recently. You have to understand that even the best teams collapse when they see a mammoth deficit. Yes, Indians have struggled with the bat, but it is their utter and total failure in the bowling department that cost them the test series. The English batsmen can't wait to get their turn to bat and score 100s. That's how bad Indians have been with the ball in this series.

  • Cricket_Junky on August 20, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    What special ishant did himself in the entire serious? I start getting bore now, There is no contest at all. Please finish the serious and go back to India bcz that is the only place where you can WIN. Rubbish bowling attack.

  • Zack101 on August 20, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    If Ishant needs the support of fellow bowlers then he is not a matching winning bowler and unfortunately India has no match winning bowlers. Indian bowlers clearly lack skill, variety and strategy to bowl the opposition out.

  • deeps_np on August 20, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    This match is heading towards the same story which happened in the first test match of the series. India need to bat at least 3 or more if possible.If India can do that then this match can be saved otherwise 4-0 is on the card. The issues with Indian bowlers are they can't take wickets at regular interval and even they can't stop the flow of runs. I am wondering what is coaching staff is doing for team. If this situation will remain same then we have to get ready for defeat in Australia also later this year.

  • on August 20, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Ishant has not support from other end it is true ...but it is also true when P.Kumar is also with their his performce only normal not good...so why blamed other take e.g. of Rahul Dravid from 2 test matches..he performe well when no other batsman give support to him.

  • on August 20, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    It's strange story. When Zaheer was playing, people say he didn't have support. Why didn't Ishant lend support then? Now, they say Ishant didn't recieve support. If Ishant misses out then they say Srishanth didn't get support. The story goes on. You select the players who are not match fit and then blame them for not performing.

  • RK.Chandru on August 20, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    is the author a brother or a relative of Ishant? Ishant is a total failure in the series. If he can not get wickets in these conditions, he can not take wickets anywhere else. In contrast though Sreesanth is leaking runs, he seems to be the only bowler capable of making any impact. RP is another very, very bad selection. Even he himself in his wildest dreams would have never imagined, he would be part of the line up. What he did in recent past to deserve a place in the team? Why the team management persists with Raina? He's another bad selection. Mukund must have played in his place. I can see, India going downhill from here and find itself in the company of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and W.Indies. God save our team from vested interests and region based quota systems.

  • Balumekka on August 20, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    When the best batting line up in the world fail to post a single 300+ score in 6 innings, the blame of the defets goes to their average bowling unit! what a fantastic analysis.

  • on August 20, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Ishant hasn't bowled that badly.He has not got much support from other bowlers which allowed english batsmen to get away even when he was bowling well.Test cricket is all about sustaining pressure by fielding and also from one end. Praveen has bowled well inspite of his limitations.I think its the 3rd and 4th bowler who have been listless for India.England know this pretty well so they have been playing Ishant and Praveen out out quietly.Ishant bowled well in Australia and West Indies and also in Lords and Trent Bridge.

    He still is on learning curve and bowling coach Eric Simmons has a big role to play.I doubt his presence is helping the cause of Indian Bowling or not.We need a better coach when it comes to bowling like Allan Donald, Wasim Akram who can be role model and commands respect .i doubt Indian bowlers would listen much to Eric Simmons who hardly has any respect worthy credentials.... Mr Fletcher job to do .....or else have your flight ticket booked

  • BoonBoom on August 20, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    How can you say that? From what perspective he was impressive? He is an extremely over rated bowlers but some people keep writing such stuff as if he is Holding or Akram.... Yesterday Geoff Boycott described Indian bowling as "baby candies" and that really reflects true potential of Ishant. Please stop praising bowlers of the quality of Ishant. Shahid Afridi has more pace than any current Indian bowlers playing the 4th test.

  • johnathonjosephs on August 20, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    @sir sachin kinda sad but raina has been India's best spinner in the series so far

  • johnathonjosephs on August 20, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    Honestly Ishant has the raw talent, but no where near the mentors/tutors to develop his talents. There has been no good fast bowlers in the past (i mean good, not decent like Zak) for India to help him. He will probably have to find out his way on his own just like Zak did and Zaheer took quite a while (around 7-8 years) to finally find his rhythm and be feared. Ishant reminds me of Lakmal from Lanka, both have raw talent but they need to develop it.

  • Aussasinator on August 20, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    At this stage with two days already over, England must take a sparkling gamble and declare either immediately or immediately after Bell's double century. The total is good enough to bowl out India twice or at least with a hundred runs to give, which can be easily scored last. If England bats past lunch, it cannot add more than 100 runs in any case but it would leave only two and a half days in the match, which would enable India to sneak away with a draw. Good cricket always makes one forget loyalties and now, having seen this tremendous performance from England, I woukld like them to complete the whitewash which they so strongly deserve.

  • aarpee2 on August 20, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    Jayadev Unadkat,Mithun,Varun Aaron,Vinay Kumar,Murali Karthik-do these names ring a bell. Why Dhoni failed tp play Munaf and Ojha in the place of RP and Mishra-both are line and length bowlers and would have helped to keep the run rate manageable- a question that will haunt him and the team management as England pile on the runs. Raina for Kohli was worth a shot.These decisions or lack of a fresh approach demonstrate an unwillingness to take corrective measures. No sign of authority that the margins of defeat are unacceptable and those that failed to deliver and let the team down must pay a price.Dhoni believes the team deserves a whitewash-he has given up.One is tested not when one succeeds but when the chips are down.In this series the Skipper has failed on strategy,tactics and unfortunately plain common sense too.

  • S.N.Singh on August 20, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    THE WRITER IS VERY GOOD IN PRAISING SHARMA. I ALWAYS CONSIDER SHARMA TO BE A VERY GOOD AND PROMISING BOWLER. BUT WITH MY EXPERIENCE, I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT A BOWLER DO NOT DEPEND ON SUPPORT TO GET WICKETS, ONCE HE IS ALLOWED TO BE GIVEN THE BALL. WHEN I WAS PLAYING CRICKET MY TEAM AND CAPTAIN DEPENDED ON ME TO BOWL OT THE OPPOSING TEAM OF WHICH I ALWAYS DO. AND WIN GAMES. SO TO SAY THAT SHARMA DID NOT GET SUPPORT IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO GO. SHARMA WAS GIVEN ENOUGH OVERS TO BOWL AND GET WICKETS. IN CRICKET A BATSMEN NEED SUPPORT TO HOLD ON IF NECESSARY FOR HIS PARTNER IF HE NED SUPPORT OR SHOW HIS PARTNER THAT THEY WILL CARRY THE GAME. i COULD REMEMBER JIM LAKER GOT 19 TEST WICKET IN ONE MATCH. HE TOOK IT ON ALL BY HIMSELF. BUT IT IS VERY NICE OF YOU TO SPEAK SO WELL OF SHARMA. THE TRUTH IS INDIA BOWLERS FAILED". IN YOUR CONTEXT SHARMA DID SUPPORT PARVEEN IN THE OTHER MATCHES. S.N.SINGH. U.S.A.

  • citizenkc on August 20, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Boy, did you listen to Sreesanth's comments? I am assuming that he was coached about what to say, but it really is insulting to us cricket fans. Do they think we are imbeciles? "Playing for pride." You have got to be kidding, mate. "I was having a good time out there." Sorry, but you must be hallucinating and thinking of some other match when you were 12. "We learn from these experiences." So what exactly has been learned since Lords? We are getting worse! Why is this guy addressing the media? If these guys worked for a company they would all have been fired by now. Instead they are coming out and talking to us as if we are a bunch of idiots, who will say, "Good job. Sreesanth. Yeah. Just keep running in a giving your best." Please, Team India. Admit your failings. Don't insult your fans!

  • rahulcricket007 on August 20, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    @RAKIM . I AGREE WITH YOU THAT PAK 'S CLUB BOWLERS ARE BETTER THAN INDIAN BOWLERS . BUT YOU SAYING THAT INDIAN BATSMEN DON'T SCORE RUNS OUTSIDE NDIA . YOU SHOULD CHECK RECORDS . EVERY TIME SACHIN &DRAVID ARRIVES FOR BATTING THEY HAD GIVEN A STANDING OVATION BY THE CROWD . HAVE ANY PAK BATSMEN RECEIVE THAT RESPECT FROM THE CROWD?

  • Jawaidnazir on August 20, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Ishant Sharma's record tell other story, his bowling average is too high almost 34 in test, in ODI 32 and in T20 48. how can we say that he is a good bowler?. Average bowler is suitable for him.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 20, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    THOSE WHO ARE SAYING THAT VARUN AARON SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE TEAM SHOULD CHECK HIS FIRST CLASS RECORDS . HE HAS AN AVERAGE RECORD . SPEED DOESN'T MAKE A BOWLER GREAT . PANKAJ SINGH OF RAJASTHAN WHICH TAKES 41 WKTS FROM 8 RANJI MATCHES LAST YEAR TO WIN RANJI TROPHY FOR RAJASTHAN IS MUCH BETTER CHOICE THAN VARUN .HE ALSO BOWLS AT 135 - 140 KPH.

  • Tom_Bowler on August 20, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    This is over egging the pudding a bit. Ishant's tried hard in this game which is commendable and has marked him out from the rest of the attack but as he's demonstrated over the course of the series he's not actually all that good. In the exact same conditions that England's pace bowlers have used to good effect he's picked up maybe a dozen wickets at 50 odd. He bowled a really threatening spell in the second innings at Lords but aside from that he's been largely pedestrian. Slipping the gears for one spell in four matches doesn't mark a bowler out as great, that's why Steve Harmison is a footnote in the history of the game. The Indian bowler I've really taken to is Kumar, he's got bags of heart and a genuine skill, to trouble good batsman at the pace he bowls is testament to that.

  • on August 20, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Even as an Englishman, I would have loved to see India play this series with a full bowling attack - Zaheer, PK and Ishant. Having watched England for years try to function with a 1 or 2 man attack, it is clear that the current success of our bowling pack (like '05 ashes) is because it is relentless. If the Indian quicks can stay fit, and if they can find a decent spinner then there is hope yet for my 2nd favorite team!

  • on August 20, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Make younger bowlers bowl more. The problem is not the work load of the international teams but lack of work load in first class matches. Sreesaanth is almost 29 but has played on around 67 FC matches. The more you bowl before coming into the National side in match situation the more you are confident of your game. The more ways of getting batsman out that you know. Praveen K and Stuart Broad are around the same age while Broad has played 86 FC matches PK has only 44 under his belt.

  • on August 20, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    All these bowlers need is to beef up some muscles, be athletic on the field and instead of having a grand time when they get break should work on their fitness under a strict regime. Indian bowlers have been found wanting more in fitness more than skill. It takes effort both physically and mentally to land the ball consistently at the same place with same pace. Its because they are weak both physically and now mentally after losing badly in ths series that they are finding it difficult to maintain pressure!

  • on August 20, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Sreesanth should go back to Ranji...it is time a new spinner and couple more bowlers are added. Why is munaf on the bench??

  • Nerk on August 20, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    Ishant is one of the worlds best bowlers, full stop. But sometimes you get the feeling the same fate that befell J. Srinath awaits him, without the spinners to back him up. Zaheer, in the tradition of all swing bowlers breaks down a lot, if Sree was half as good as some people make him out to be he would be the greatest fast bowler of all time, but in actual fact he is a player who had plenty of natural talent but lacked the mental strenth to develop beyond a mediocre pace man. PK really impressed me. Many people have commented on his lack of speed, but speed does not make a good pace bowler. In last years ashes, Australia's bowlers kept their eye on the speedo, trying to bowl faster and faster, whilst Anderson and co. bowled a little slower, but bowled well. Always pick a slower bowler who can hit the all the right areas than a fast one who cant hit the same area twice.

  • BigDataIsAHoax on August 20, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    @ Rakim: Oh really Indians can't bat abroad? Have you seen Dravid's, Laxman's and Sachin's record overseas? Let's face it. England is statistically #1 now. As you said yourself, this indian attack is worse than club level bowling in pakistan and I will agree. So, what's the big achievement in scoring big hundreds (that too at home) against such a pathetic attack??! Ha! Let's see what the english do when they face 150+ inswingers, outswingers and late reverse swingers from Dale Steyn and 150+ ripsnorters from Morkel. That will be the real test and I'm more than a 100% sure they will struggle going by how they nearly got demolished at Edgbaston by this "club" level Indian bowling attack (124-8). #1 for now, yes. Only on paper and at home. Let's not talk about Ashes, the Aussie team was worse than pathetic.

  • ahweak on August 20, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    169 overs???? that is a lot of bowling....hope he keeps his body together. The selectors have clearly failed. The consequence of bringing in an unfit bowler is putting more burden on Ishant, which is not good for him.

  • sir_sachin on August 20, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    I agree with PunitSinha comments. When your 4 bowlers combined test experience is less than 50 test matches and batting has close to 550 test matches experience it is common sense to have 5 bowlers. Except in india, we need 5 bowlers on any country. The only way you could win a test match is by taking 20 wickets. Unless you have a great batsmen batting at number 6 who can win or save the match from 100/5 situations it makes no sense to have additional batmen like Raina batting at number 6, who is a walking wicket any way.

  • on August 20, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    @Rakim: These Indian batsmen have scored lots of run outside subcontinent. They are the main reason why India became #1 test side. Everyone knew that India is not going to hang on this #1 crown for long time because of this weak bowling. But collectively this might be the only failure from these batsmen. So you are completely wrong to suggest that Indian batsmen do not score outside subcontinent.

    And regarding better bowlers from Lahore-Karachi club, well I agree. Pakistan can produce world class bowler any time. But your problem is class and technique of batsmen you have.

  • on August 20, 2011, 2:31 GMT

    I think Ishant will be the future of indian bowling eversince his splendid show against the then no.1 side in the year 2007 downunder. The indian bowlers were never been an asset for their team infact they were liability always except one or two.It is a pathetic situation for india in this series as their bowlers giving above 400 runs in every inning.How could one question about the failure of indian batsmen when their bowlers giving easy runs for the opposition to pile up bigscores and hence putting them under extreme pressure which is disturbing their natural game.

  • here2rock on August 20, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    Ishant is going to be a great bowler in few years time. The problem with India is that they don't need quick bowlers in India, they can bowl 15 overs each in day in three spells and don't have to worry about the rest of the day in the outfield while spinners bowl the bulk of the overs. It is the work ethic, they are not used to bowling most of the day. It is so important for India to produce good quality tracks at home at all levels to stay competitive overseas against the likes of England, South Africa and Australia. Making dustbowls will not make the number 1 side. Look at the history all great sides. The all had great fast bowlers to go with generally one great spinner. India never in the history of game had battery of fast bowlers maybe one or two fine medium fast bowlers. India should not bring Zaheer Khan back in the side, he is always missing in action when needed. India can not rely on him in the future.

  • NSGD on August 20, 2011, 2:17 GMT

    Shut Down IPL Period. Less injuries and players like sehwag and zaheer adn other. pollard and gayle will want to play for their own country. Shut Down IPL.

  • KamUSA on August 20, 2011, 1:23 GMT

    As a neutral observer i really feel bad for the indian teal. It has gotta be pretty demoralising. But the problem is that there bowling resources are so thin that they rarely create opportunities on good tracks. One thing i must point out is that to be No 1 u have to have depth in your squad, otherwise u cannot really claim to be the topmost team. This is what all great teams of the past have had. Thats why India's status as the No 1 team always bothered me because of their meagre bowling resources and lack of depth. Infact if there is a bowling attack that has given the England team a run for their money in the last yr or so it is Pakistan. Eng never had it this easy. Unfortunately we wont see those bowlers in action for a long time ..what a waste of talent.

  • on August 20, 2011, 0:32 GMT

    Rakim doesn't realize the current lot of Indian batsmen have made big scores in South Africa, Australia, and also on the previous two tours of England. India's bowling is the bigger problem - Harbajan has declined, and Zaheer Khan often breaks down. The fielding is below test standard and rarely supports the bowlers.

  • Silloh on August 20, 2011, 0:31 GMT

    This is England's time and who is not seeing it should be getting the feeling. One bowler, Ishanth Sharma has stuck to the monumental task and he did the same during the recent tour against the Windies in the Caribbean. It is inconceivable and pretty difficult to appreciate that in a country with over one billon, and where cricket is the number one sport and even in the absence of Khan and Harbhajan , there are no bowlers with potential and the reserves seem to be just dry. When Tendulkar and Dravid move on, it seems like even their batting will become more fragile as well.Could it be the bowlers are getting so used to the shorter version of the IPL games and the Indian administrators have contributed to this self destruction when it comes to Test cricket, notwithstanding England's current outstanding supremacy.In the mean time, Sharma obviously cannot solely carry the Indian flag and a whitewash in this series is imminent. Tomorrow the "Bells " of London will be ringing.

  • spinkingKK on August 20, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    Ishant is, indeed, a very good fast bowler. However, Sreesanth is not a bowler he has been made to look like. If Dhoni didn't deny him an opportunity to excel in the second test, there was a possibility the whole series result would have been different. Cricket depends a lot on the psyche of the individuals - the very reason why these star Indian batsmen of India are finding it hard to perform. Same goes with Sreesanth. R.P.Singh was a good choice as a replacement for Zaheer. It is unfortunate that he is bowling in a flat pitch and his performance also has been a disappointment. Indian cricket is known for the skill and determination of its players than the powerful hitters, super fast bowlers. It is a BIG achievement that India reigned the world for 2 years. May the skills of Kumar, Sree and some power of Ishant takes us to the new era.

  • AvidCricFan on August 20, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    If selectors picked unfit RP Singh, its the height of ineptitude of selectors. This is absolute non sense and should not be tolerated. Looks like India needs Anna Hazare of Cricket to get BCCI's act together

  • Damo_s on August 19, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    Lets wait until England bowl before passing judgement. The pitch could be really flat, in which case the Indian batsmen should be able to bully like Bell and KP have.

  • on August 19, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    Bring up the pace dudes!

  • on August 19, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    I like ishant and raina for their hard work and i want both of Them to be droped from team and send them to play county raina have tecqnic issue and ishant have issue with using his own talant may be he dont know His complet potantial that was problem with zahir but after county he knows his bowling very well he knows when to attack and whom to attack how to plan wicket and how to take wicket according to pitch and condition. ishant will take more wickets than zak in wi and austrelia as those are places for his kind of bowling but if he plays county he will develop into bowler who will know how to get wickets where it dosent suite his bowling. way to go raina and ishant u both are dedicated, talented, hard working and fit sportmen and age is on ur side.

  • Rakim on August 19, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    Complete dominance by English. I'm a Pak fan but it was a bit painful to see such a merciless treatment by KP and Bell to Indian "bowlers". I'm 100% sure any local club in Pakistan (Karachi, Lahore....) have way better bowlers than Mishra/Sreesanth etc. Ishant tried but he needs someone who can contain score. Anyways, lets be honest, Eng are waaay better team and they are REAL #1. As far as batting, we all know Indian batsman can only bat in subcontinent where pitches favor batsmen. On the other hand English batsmen are showing true class.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 19, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    All of this is Misbah's fault. ALL OF IT. If only you had connected Misbah... if only you had connected, none of this would have been happening. You broke my heart Misbah.... YOU BROKE MY HEART!!!

  • LePom on August 19, 2011, 22:34 GMT

    Good news. Already one Indian team member has passed one hundred in this test, and three more are poised to do the same tomorrow. Bad news. They are all bowlers and not batsmen. 3 Nil down, and facing what looks likely to be a mammoth first innings total by England, with the only hope now of batting for a draw, this is going to be a real character test for India's ageing batting greats. They have the skill, but I, personally doubt that they currently have the mental fortitude. My pick is that, when England declare, the pitch will suddenly become lively and almost unplayable, causing India to surrender tamely again. Hopefully India's administrators will learn from the mistakes made on this tour and put structures in place so that the team can have a chance of recovering form rather than facing a disintigration and slump like England did after 2005.

  • MeraBharatMahaan on August 19, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    Please read about our great Sachin: http://blog.yahoo.com/_YC2PEQ34OS7WNX4ARD2QMHSFCQ/articles/117004/index?bb=0

  • silversam1 on August 19, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    Ishant had no support today, he also had just one wicket. If a bowler is that good he creates chances and gets wickets, Ishant was the better of a sub-par bowling attack today but nothing really stood out in his bowling either. Whatever you say about Asif, at least KP was his favorite bunny.

  • CricketChat on August 19, 2011, 21:54 GMT

    Whoever thought that RP would be a better bet than Munaf must be let go whether it is captain, coach or selector. Same with Mishra. Haven't they seen enough of Sreesanth and Mishra in the last test drubbing. I can only think they had no heart to fight it out and just somehow wanted the test series to be over with. Can't find any logical explanation for their actions.

  • pom_don on August 19, 2011, 21:46 GMT

    Shame India has only a one man bowling attack at least Sharma is a worthy test bowler, the giggle of the day was little Sreesanth trying to square up to KP he standa about as much chance of upsetting him as he does trying to plait fog!

  • on August 19, 2011, 21:46 GMT

    pretty well said....disappointin 2 see india losing so badly...it seems england is a far superior outfit in these conditions...wat v want is our guys 2 just give their 100%....which ishant is doing...but even he seems 2 b short of plans while the english bowlers seem 2 hav all d plans in place...our fast bowlers need 2 change their bowling style to suit to english conditions...may b dats wat zaheer did on 2007 tour...v need zaheer n in his absence v need some1 2 lead....may b its just a bad time...it will phase out...alll d best to the indian team...just want them to give their best!!!!!

  • bhaloniaz on August 19, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    Ishant's record in NZ, Eng, Aus, SA is not so good, he never played in PAK. His record in WI is good, but it is a weaker side. He did well in india. I doubt Ishant is the answer. He can at lmost fill the slot of the 3rd seamer. India's problem is they have no backup; they pick new bowlers based on hype not domestic success (PK would not be picked for test cricket unless many others were injured). SA, Eng and AUS can field a decent pace attack even if their top 3 or 4 bowlers cannot play for some reason. WI and PAK usually have decent quicks in the second eleven. India's dominance with spin is almost gone. Harbhajan has a great record though.IPL's effect would be prominent in the long run. Like CSK made a spinner friendly wicket and all the attention they got, youngsters would not want to be fast bowlers.

  • on August 19, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    Lets all agree that India has three bowlers of test quality -- Zaheer, Ishanth, and Praveen. Ishanth and Praveen have barely made the grade but they are much better than the Srees and RPs. They need to find and nurture additional pacers (faster is better) for depth and they need to reconstruct their spin department completely. Sadly, there are no incumbent spinners for test match play. Kumble was the last true test match spinner.

  • PunitSinha on August 19, 2011, 21:11 GMT

    I can't understand what is wrong with the indian coach / captain, after the 1st 2 tests it was clear that our bowlers don't have the quality (atleast on english pitches) or stamina for a test match (in england), why didn't they go for a 4 man pace attack? The spinner (whosoever he be) has been useless/worthless in this series (apart from Swan's contributions with Bat), then why not have 5 bowlers in the team. As such the no.6 hasn't contributed anything with the bat, better to have a bowler in his place. If you are not able to score runs with the bat ATLEAST take wickets (or stop the flow of runs).. And why didn't Munaf get a chance? if they needed a left arm bowler then irfan could have been picked (he is a yard or two quicker than RP2011 and can bat too)...

  • m_ilind on August 19, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    MS Dhoni has misplaced faith in the bowlers. Instead of playing RP, he might have well played Pragyan Ojha, if Munaf was not an option. RP came out of nowhere and got to bowl the first over! And Sree hasn't done anything of note yet in this series. India would have been better served with 2 pacers and 2 spinners, atleast it would have helped with the overrates! India have been thoroughly exposed!

  • hassaanster on August 19, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    And once again the Indian journalists come out in support for Mr.Ishant Sharma...he has already represented India in 37 tests and to be honest he hasnt been anything but ordinary..yes he produces a spell here and there but thats not good enough...If Ishant is looking for support from other end then I'm sorry to say he'll end up being ordinary...No champion fast bowler likes to share wickets with others...and when we see two bowlers hunting in pairs that is because one bowler is trying to outperform his partner at the other end...Ishant now being so experienced needs to realise that he has to make things happen on his own and make the situation easier for the other bowlers...cos this is what genuine and successful fast bowlers do

  • East_West on August 19, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    bowing is NO good, fielding is no good, and batting with Fab 3 is a huge failure! so what happend to our POETRY in MOTION, Silk of Sachin, and the Wall of Dravid, not to mention Gautum and the Sehwag the snail savior are nothing but failures!! THis team showed us that we are all rookies infront of them- Ms Ugra, I am sure you don't care to publish my comments but this is the fact - we indians are the laziest folks around and sit on the past laurels - no wonder india is a paper tiger in Cricket!

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    The Indians should stick to T20 and odi's - they are either too old or the younger ones don't have the heart for test cricket. What an embarrassment watching as an Indian - I don't think you can simply blame the bowling either. I mean at least the bowlers have had their moments such as the first innings at Trent Bridge. But the batting has never even passed 300 and that is where the experience is. So it is unfair to the bowlers - we knew they would struggle without Zaheer but the hope was that the batsmen would give them decent totals to bowl at with attacking fields. Fat chance. The batsmen are all either past it or simply haven't got the technique or temperament - they have got used to earning easy money as paid circus entertainers. I see no chance for India in test cricket again - the talent simply won't have the commitment to play the longer version of the game when it is so much easier to make a more lucrative living elsewhere. Neither is there the first class structure for tests.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    The Indians should stick to T20 and odi's - they are either too old or the younger ones don't have the heart for test cricket. What an embarrassment watching as an Indian - I don't think you can simply blame the bowling either. I mean at least the bowlers have had their moments such as the first innings at Trent Bridge. But the batting has never even passed 300 and that is where the experience is. So it is unfair to the bowlers - we knew they would struggle without Zaheer but the hope was that the batsmen would give them decent totals to bowl at with attacking fields. Fat chance. The batsmen are all either past it or simply haven't got the technique or temperament - they have got used to earning easy money as paid circus entertainers. I see no chance for India in test cricket again - the talent simply won't have the commitment to play the longer version of the game when it is so much easier to make a more lucrative living elsewhere. Neither is there the first class structure for tests.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    The Indians should stick to T20 and odi's - they are either too old or the younger ones don't have the heart for test cricket. What an embarrassment watching as an Indian - I don't think you can simply blame the bowling either. I mean at least the bowlers have had their moments such as the first innings at Trent Bridge. But the batting has never even passed 300 and that is where the experience is. So it is unfair to the bowlers - we knew they would struggle without Zaheer but the hope was that the batsmen would give them decent totals to bowl at with attacking fields. Fat chance. The batsmen are all either past it or simply haven't got the technique or temperament - they have got used to earning easy money as paid circus entertainers. I see no chance for India in test cricket again - the talent simply won't have the commitment to play the longer version of the game when it is so much easier to make a more lucrative living elsewhere. Neither is there the first class structure for tests.

  • John_Raj_Mohammad_Singh on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    Wait wait, let's hear from those who were blowing their horns about dropping Bhajji. What happened? See how amazing Mishra's doing? lol

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • John_Raj_Mohammad_Singh on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    Wait wait, let's hear from those who were blowing their horns about dropping Bhajji. What happened? See how amazing Mishra's doing? lol

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    The Indians should stick to T20 and odi's - they are either too old or the younger ones don't have the heart for test cricket. What an embarrassment watching as an Indian - I don't think you can simply blame the bowling either. I mean at least the bowlers have had their moments such as the first innings at Trent Bridge. But the batting has never even passed 300 and that is where the experience is. So it is unfair to the bowlers - we knew they would struggle without Zaheer but the hope was that the batsmen would give them decent totals to bowl at with attacking fields. Fat chance. The batsmen are all either past it or simply haven't got the technique or temperament - they have got used to earning easy money as paid circus entertainers. I see no chance for India in test cricket again - the talent simply won't have the commitment to play the longer version of the game when it is so much easier to make a more lucrative living elsewhere. Neither is there the first class structure for tests.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    The Indians should stick to T20 and odi's - they are either too old or the younger ones don't have the heart for test cricket. What an embarrassment watching as an Indian - I don't think you can simply blame the bowling either. I mean at least the bowlers have had their moments such as the first innings at Trent Bridge. But the batting has never even passed 300 and that is where the experience is. So it is unfair to the bowlers - we knew they would struggle without Zaheer but the hope was that the batsmen would give them decent totals to bowl at with attacking fields. Fat chance. The batsmen are all either past it or simply haven't got the technique or temperament - they have got used to earning easy money as paid circus entertainers. I see no chance for India in test cricket again - the talent simply won't have the commitment to play the longer version of the game when it is so much easier to make a more lucrative living elsewhere. Neither is there the first class structure for tests.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on August 19, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    The Indians should stick to T20 and odi's - they are either too old or the younger ones don't have the heart for test cricket. What an embarrassment watching as an Indian - I don't think you can simply blame the bowling either. I mean at least the bowlers have had their moments such as the first innings at Trent Bridge. But the batting has never even passed 300 and that is where the experience is. So it is unfair to the bowlers - we knew they would struggle without Zaheer but the hope was that the batsmen would give them decent totals to bowl at with attacking fields. Fat chance. The batsmen are all either past it or simply haven't got the technique or temperament - they have got used to earning easy money as paid circus entertainers. I see no chance for India in test cricket again - the talent simply won't have the commitment to play the longer version of the game when it is so much easier to make a more lucrative living elsewhere. Neither is there the first class structure for tests.

  • East_West on August 19, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    bowing is NO good, fielding is no good, and batting with Fab 3 is a huge failure! so what happend to our POETRY in MOTION, Silk of Sachin, and the Wall of Dravid, not to mention Gautum and the Sehwag the snail savior are nothing but failures!! THis team showed us that we are all rookies infront of them- Ms Ugra, I am sure you don't care to publish my comments but this is the fact - we indians are the laziest folks around and sit on the past laurels - no wonder india is a paper tiger in Cricket!

  • hassaanster on August 19, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    And once again the Indian journalists come out in support for Mr.Ishant Sharma...he has already represented India in 37 tests and to be honest he hasnt been anything but ordinary..yes he produces a spell here and there but thats not good enough...If Ishant is looking for support from other end then I'm sorry to say he'll end up being ordinary...No champion fast bowler likes to share wickets with others...and when we see two bowlers hunting in pairs that is because one bowler is trying to outperform his partner at the other end...Ishant now being so experienced needs to realise that he has to make things happen on his own and make the situation easier for the other bowlers...cos this is what genuine and successful fast bowlers do

  • m_ilind on August 19, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    MS Dhoni has misplaced faith in the bowlers. Instead of playing RP, he might have well played Pragyan Ojha, if Munaf was not an option. RP came out of nowhere and got to bowl the first over! And Sree hasn't done anything of note yet in this series. India would have been better served with 2 pacers and 2 spinners, atleast it would have helped with the overrates! India have been thoroughly exposed!

  • PunitSinha on August 19, 2011, 21:11 GMT

    I can't understand what is wrong with the indian coach / captain, after the 1st 2 tests it was clear that our bowlers don't have the quality (atleast on english pitches) or stamina for a test match (in england), why didn't they go for a 4 man pace attack? The spinner (whosoever he be) has been useless/worthless in this series (apart from Swan's contributions with Bat), then why not have 5 bowlers in the team. As such the no.6 hasn't contributed anything with the bat, better to have a bowler in his place. If you are not able to score runs with the bat ATLEAST take wickets (or stop the flow of runs).. And why didn't Munaf get a chance? if they needed a left arm bowler then irfan could have been picked (he is a yard or two quicker than RP2011 and can bat too)...

  • on August 19, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    Lets all agree that India has three bowlers of test quality -- Zaheer, Ishanth, and Praveen. Ishanth and Praveen have barely made the grade but they are much better than the Srees and RPs. They need to find and nurture additional pacers (faster is better) for depth and they need to reconstruct their spin department completely. Sadly, there are no incumbent spinners for test match play. Kumble was the last true test match spinner.

  • bhaloniaz on August 19, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    Ishant's record in NZ, Eng, Aus, SA is not so good, he never played in PAK. His record in WI is good, but it is a weaker side. He did well in india. I doubt Ishant is the answer. He can at lmost fill the slot of the 3rd seamer. India's problem is they have no backup; they pick new bowlers based on hype not domestic success (PK would not be picked for test cricket unless many others were injured). SA, Eng and AUS can field a decent pace attack even if their top 3 or 4 bowlers cannot play for some reason. WI and PAK usually have decent quicks in the second eleven. India's dominance with spin is almost gone. Harbhajan has a great record though.IPL's effect would be prominent in the long run. Like CSK made a spinner friendly wicket and all the attention they got, youngsters would not want to be fast bowlers.