Eng v Ind, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day

England 'frustrated' with pitch

George Dobell at Trent Bridge

July 9, 2014

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A
Anderson: We want a far contest between bat and ball

James Anderson celebrates removing Cheteshwar Pujara, England v India, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day, July 9, 2014
James Anderson's two wickets constituted 50% of England's success with the ball © PA Photos

James Anderson admitted the England team were "frustrated" by another low, slow surface that did nothing for the home attack on the first day of the Investec Test series against India.

Murali Vijay batted throughout the day to make an accomplished century as India lost only four wickets on a pitch that did little to assist the England seamers. The Trent Bridge groundsman admitted he was disappointed with the lack of pace in his pitch.

While Anderson suggested the England attack, who conceded less than three an over, could be proud of their day's work in challenging circumstances, he also hinted that the surface did not allow for an "even contest between bat and ball".

Just as Stuart Broad, in the run-up to the Test, requested enough carry to ensure that edges should carry to the close fielders, so Anderson bemoaned the lack of such carry as two edges dropped short of the slip cordon and another mishit fell short of silly-point.

"It was frustrating," Anderson said. "It's not great, but there is not a lot we can do about it unless some strict directives come in.

"I thought we did brilliantly today. Our attitude was fantastic. We could have moaned about the pitch quite easily and sulked about, but I thought all the bowlers stuck at their task brilliantly and we're pretty happy with our day's work.

"As bowlers we don't expect seam movement. We expect flat pitches at Test level. We just expect our nicks to carry and a more even contest between bat and ball."

Asked if the pitch was good and whether England had utilised home advantage, Anderson replied "probably not on both counts. We're amazing hosts.

"It was frustrating. But the pitch is what it is and there is not a lot we can do about it at this stage. We've got to rest well and stick at it tomorrow. Even two days out we could see the pitch wasn't going to be one with huge amounts of pace in it. But it is something you've got to try and put out of your mind. Our job is to take wickets and all day long we tried to do that. We tried different things: different fields; different balls. We tried everything."

England enjoyed some success with their experimentation. Cheteshwar Pujara was caught at a short mid-on after Anderson bowled a full cutter with an unusually straight field, while Liam Plunkett bowled with six men on the leg side for a while. England bowled nine maidens in 14 overs immediately after lunch, with Stuart Broad miserly and Anderson gaining just enough reverse swing to trouble the batsmen.

"On a pitch like that you have try and be creative and unsettle the batsmen as much as you can," Anderson said. "All the bowlers came up with ideas and Alastair Cook was brilliant with his plans. We worked really well together at unsettling them. The way we came out after lunch was brilliant. We got two quick wickets and could have had a third with a nick that dropped short of second slip."

But despite England enjoying arguably their best day in the field this summer, India have the upper hand in this game.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by GHemrajani on (July 11, 2014, 3:09 GMT)

Learn to bowl Yorkers and take the quality of the pitch out of equation. Just learn from Malinga. I don't see any English bowler try to even bowl like that.

Posted by android_user on (July 10, 2014, 22:21 GMT)

PatchMaster. This pitch has been compared to many Indian pitches in many articles, from Chennai to Ahmedabad. If what you say is true then Test Cricket would be long dead in India. Instead the ECB is expected to reap a windfall from this series.

Posted by android_user on (July 10, 2014, 22:14 GMT)

@DizzD. Why is it so important for India to prove they are better than SL in a series against England. SL is doing well and should focus on further improving their game. Its time they dealt with their insecurities and complexes. All it would have taken was Anderson to drop his wrists on one ball. Lets just wait for the next SL Vs India series. Meanwhile good luck with the SA series.

Posted by mtvnjoy on (July 10, 2014, 20:06 GMT)

The main theories behind such low-and-slow pitches have been: 1. Advanced drainage, 2. Selling tickets for five days. Fair points, both. During the recent Ashes in England the pitches were similar, and the English players were defending these pitches. The difference between then and now is Graeme Swann, and the ability of the opposition to play spin. Did ECB, et al, not foresee the likelihood of what's happening now?

Posted by RedRoseMan on (July 10, 2014, 11:13 GMT)

@John Dickens - in a word, yes! The work done to the major grounds to improve drainage and reduce the amount of weather related down time has dried the wickets, reducing the amount of live grass and deadening the pitches. If you combine that with the fact that there is now competitive tendering to host Test matches, with the successful counties desperate to maximise returns by ensuring Tests last five days, you can see why there is a tendency to produce pitches which last five days (or more!).

Both teams play on the same pitch, so the relative advantage usually goes to (a) the side batting first (because there is no longer much in the way of first session, it is a substantial advantage to bat first as the pitches do still deteriorate) and (b) the weaker bowling side (because however good your bowlers are, it is difficult to make much impression on a dead pitch where the ball doesn't carry to slip). It is far too early in this Series to say who will benefit more.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

why is it that pitches are getting slower in England?

Is it that they are too dry with the better irrigation systems and groundwater clearance?

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (July 10, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

I think England is struggling cope with the fact that indians batted so well yesterday.Also, they shouldn't forget that a flat pitch is what will help their struggling captain to find some form.

Posted by markatnotts on (July 10, 2014, 9:04 GMT)


Utter rubbish, the pitch was flat - and Oval pitches don't help spin massively these days. It was certainly not green or there would have been a 2 day Test rather than India getting within a hour or two of saving the game. And who took a lot of wickets for England - Swann!

Posted by handlingtheball on (July 10, 2014, 8:59 GMT)

I can't believe this England ordered slow and low pitches in last Ashes & complained that they were too quick and bouncy for Johnston in Oz can't have cake and eat it too! While i agree pitch is not great for viewing it underlines England's problem; they should be able to win on any pitch BUT they aren't good enough so they complain

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