England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's July 15, 2014

Bigger concerns for England than Lord's pitch

While the pitch took most of the blame at Trent Bridge, at Lord's England will need to get more controlling overs from their spinners. The reality is there is no quick fix
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Tuesday morning at Lord's and the 22 yards to be used for the second Investec Test against India was very green. But no one is getting too excited just yet. It was a similar colour the same distance out from the start of the match against Sri Lanka a few weeks ago and although that contest produced a thrilling finish - with the visitors hanging on nine wickets down - it was another slog for the bowlers to extract much life.

"Looked like that 2 days out before Sri Lanka test. The key is Thursday morning," tweeted Stuart Broad, one of the footsore England bowlers who were given the day off after hammering away on the unforgiving surface at Trent Bridge and had just 72 hours before potentially doing it all again. Regardless of how green the pitch remains when the coin goes up, you would think every England quick will be calling it a 'bat first' day - and, more importantly, bat long.

It is one of the quirks - or, perhaps, more fairly fascinations - of cricket that a strip of grass and soil can evoke so much debate and even rage. Few sports depended so heavily on the surface they are played on. Alan Titchmarsh, the TV gardening personality, may not be far off a role as an analyst for the rest of the series.

England should not expect any favours from Mick Hunt, the Lord's groundsman, who is fiercely protective of his ground. He produces what he wants and how he wants to using his wealth of experience. No chuntering fast bowlers or pleading spinners are going to change his mind. MCC, too, see it as a key part of the independence that they do not talk of home advantage even for the home team.

All anyone really wants is some carry. Nobody wants a minefield - although the odd, low-scoring three-day scrap can be thoroughly entertaining and surely does less damage than a five-day bore draw - but as Broad said before the series, edges from bowlers at 85mph should carry to the keeper and slips without them having to stand so close as to fear for their facial features (or wear a helmet as Ian Bell did at Trent Bridge).

"It was quite slow against Sri Lanka," Gary Ballance said. "I'm sure ... well, I hope there will be a bit more pace and carry in it for our seamers, and give our bowlers a chance when they do get those nicks. I hope they won't have to bowl as many overs."

Chris Wood, the ECB's pitch liaison officer, who has suddenly become as noteworthy a figure as some of the players in the series, was at Lord's and taking some samples from the ends of the pitch but this is nothing other than standard practice before a Test match.

However, while Trent Bridge clearly was not a good Test wicket, there were still phases in each innings where batsmen fell in clusters. India lost 5 for 42 on the second day, England 6 for 68 on the third and India 5 for 44 in their second innings to briefly open the door for the home side. Batting laziness was to blame for most of those, but it was a reminder of how games can shift even on the most docile of pitches.

Trying to flog life out with bouncers was futile; Moeen Ali was the one batsman to fall to a rare short ball from Mohammad Shami and it was the lack of bounce which caught out Moeen. Apart from that, and MS Dhoni's run out, it was the full delivery that took the wickets. Michael Holding, working for TV during the series, was often incensed by the overuse of the short delivery.

The problem for England, though, stems beyond just the pitch. Whether the presence of Graeme Swann would have meant victory at Trent Bridge is a moot point - the pitch did not threaten to break up, either - but it would certainly have meant longer breathers for the fast bowlers with the control he could offer which Moeen cannot provide yet. The overs are stacking up at an alarming rate.

James Whitaker, the national selector, has previously made a strong hint about rotation. Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes are in the squad for Lord's, although it could just be that England will go with an unchanged side if everyone, barring being stiff and sore, pulls up fit over the next 24 hours.

It is hard to see, at the moment, how the left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan is the answer. Every way you look at his recall it seems odd, even if England are keen to reintegrate him (if we are allowed to use that term) into the squad sooner rather than later. It is difficult to see how he fits into the team and surely he is better off continuing to bowl for Lancashire? Even training with the national side comes with a spotlight. Yes, if he wants to succeed at international level but rushing him now could do permanent damage.

And neither does Lord's have a great record for spinners, unless your name is Swann. He took 40 wickets at 24.07 in 10 Tests there, but Monty Panesar's 18 scalps came at 39.16 and Ashley Giles' 16 at 41.50.

Another of England's young spinners, Kent's Adam Riley, was present at Lord's today. He is the highest wicket-taking spinner in domestic cricket (among the England spinners) and in the first part of this season he has been talked up more than Kerrigan, although partly because of the lack of other options.

Behind him in the wicket-taking standings is 36-year-old Dean Cosker. Panesar has been recalled by Essex but remains a delicate case and James Tredwell, continually solid in one-day colours, is hardly pulling up trees on loan with Sussex in four-day cricket. It is not difficult to see why Gareth Batty, with 28 wickets at 21.75 for Surrey, has been mentioned both in these pages and by Michael Vaughan.

However you look at it there is no quick fix. The fact Ballance was asked a number of questions about his one over of passable legspin at the death of the Trent Bridge Test sums things up. If Kerrigan is, surprisingly, thrown back into the fray no one will wish him anything but the best. However, it will come in hope rather than expectation. Everything suggests it is the quicks or bust for England, which could easily become bust quicks very soon.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sayantann on July 16, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    Looks like that Lord's groundsman Mick Hunt is going to play a critical role in the context of this game.Irrespective of the fact whether live grass is left on the turf or not, I think England must play Simon Kerrigan replacing Moeen Ali. This will not only help Ben Stokes to contribute more into batting but also prevent English bowlers to drain out if India bats first and long. A bit more greenish top might help the ball to carry more that Nottingham, but Lord's, traditionally have never made batsmen smell the leather. So, there will be lateral movement with the new ball, but it will gradually settle down and if someone applies himself, no wonder he's going to score three figures. Swann's been successful here, which shows that there's been something in the track for tweakers. India have mostly right handers in the top, so a SLA might be what they are looking for. India might be tempted to have a go with veteran Gambhir as Dhawan has never looked assured. Rest looks all set to go.

  • brusselslion on July 16, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    @Barry Glynn: There is a lot of uninformed opinion posted here about how a pitch should be prepared and managed. It would be good to get a professional's view of what we can expect from the wickets throughout the rest of the series, and what the longer term implications are for English wickets. For example, just how much influence can the groundsman have over the wickets during the remainder of this series?

    Also there was a piece a couple of days ago, stating that the demand for Tests to run for 5 days had lead to new pitches being laid, new drainage systems. I assume that this was not cheap, so counties are not going to re-invest unless absolutely necessary. Should we therefore look forward to these slow, dead pitches for the foreseeable future? Is there much that the groundsmen can do to mitigate the negative effects? Thanks. (NB. I'm assuming that you guys don't control the weather!).

  • AISMAIL on July 16, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    Spinners for England ???? Why no one mentions Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq of Yorkshire - the county has been doing very well with their skills?

  • on July 16, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    The thought of Kerrigan playing fills me with dread One spell, the Indians will be well aware of how he buckled last year. They WILL target him and they are substantially better players of spin than the Aussies. That will reduce England to only daring to bowl 3 seamers as Kerrigan goes for 7 an over... again. That's one seamer less than they had at Trent Bridge. Far from ease the pressure on 4 seamers. "long-hop, half volley, full-toss, 3 foot down leg side" Kerrigan will destroy the three that play along side him as Cooke might never risk giving him a second spell.

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 16, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    My 5 c worth....ideal pitch: first 1.5 days bounce, carry, seam, swing and the keeper catches them shoulder high, slips are deep. next 2.25 days, lesser bounce but similar carry, last 1.75 days - takes spin-not a square raging turner but if you are good enough and impart enough revs on the ball a la murli, warne, saqlain....u can turn it. The one consistent thing in this would be bounce and carry, batsmen are tested, bowlers who bend their back are rewarded. Perhaps the time has come to prepare custom pitches....who knows.......i only hope the groundsman is left to hisown means and devices in every country (including mine)as influencing the groundsman should never happen anywhere

  • on July 16, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I think India can go with Gambhir instead of Dhawan in Lords test because Dhawan looks little bit restless early in his innings . We all know if he gets set what he can do but as everybody expecting Lords wicket to do something , Gambhir can be tested.

  • on July 16, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    I am sure Shami & Kumar can bowl much faster that they bowled in the first test and of course Ishant Sharma. I wonder because they were bowling around 145 kph consistently during IPL and Bhuwneshwar Kumar touched 148kph in IPL pitches and in England he is bowling below 130 kph is it because of the pitch . But still he managed to take 5 wickets. So i expect more speed from Indian bowlers in the coming tests without losing accuracy.

  • Harlequin. on July 16, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    @neil99 - nice to see you held restraint in not mentioning that the last time these two teams met on those standard Indian flat tracks, India lost, showing that victory isn't even guaranteed for them in their tailor-made conditions!

  • Nayan_Bhuyan on July 16, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    Gautam Gambhir should replace Sikhar Dhawan in the Lords, no matter how the pitch will be. Dhawan should need some rest & practice a bit harder to find his form. Its been long time for him out of form.. Therefore he should be rested now..

  • on July 16, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Hilarious how the talking point is the pitch and not some woeful batting by England and their total lack of a proper spinner. None of the Sky pitch experts would even know how to start a mower let alone produce a pitch. As a groundsman I know the demands of producing a pitch that can last a day let alone five days. It's not just the weather during the match that can affect the way it plays but the weeks previous

  • Sayantann on July 16, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    Looks like that Lord's groundsman Mick Hunt is going to play a critical role in the context of this game.Irrespective of the fact whether live grass is left on the turf or not, I think England must play Simon Kerrigan replacing Moeen Ali. This will not only help Ben Stokes to contribute more into batting but also prevent English bowlers to drain out if India bats first and long. A bit more greenish top might help the ball to carry more that Nottingham, but Lord's, traditionally have never made batsmen smell the leather. So, there will be lateral movement with the new ball, but it will gradually settle down and if someone applies himself, no wonder he's going to score three figures. Swann's been successful here, which shows that there's been something in the track for tweakers. India have mostly right handers in the top, so a SLA might be what they are looking for. India might be tempted to have a go with veteran Gambhir as Dhawan has never looked assured. Rest looks all set to go.

  • brusselslion on July 16, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    @Barry Glynn: There is a lot of uninformed opinion posted here about how a pitch should be prepared and managed. It would be good to get a professional's view of what we can expect from the wickets throughout the rest of the series, and what the longer term implications are for English wickets. For example, just how much influence can the groundsman have over the wickets during the remainder of this series?

    Also there was a piece a couple of days ago, stating that the demand for Tests to run for 5 days had lead to new pitches being laid, new drainage systems. I assume that this was not cheap, so counties are not going to re-invest unless absolutely necessary. Should we therefore look forward to these slow, dead pitches for the foreseeable future? Is there much that the groundsmen can do to mitigate the negative effects? Thanks. (NB. I'm assuming that you guys don't control the weather!).

  • AISMAIL on July 16, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    Spinners for England ???? Why no one mentions Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq of Yorkshire - the county has been doing very well with their skills?

  • on July 16, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    The thought of Kerrigan playing fills me with dread One spell, the Indians will be well aware of how he buckled last year. They WILL target him and they are substantially better players of spin than the Aussies. That will reduce England to only daring to bowl 3 seamers as Kerrigan goes for 7 an over... again. That's one seamer less than they had at Trent Bridge. Far from ease the pressure on 4 seamers. "long-hop, half volley, full-toss, 3 foot down leg side" Kerrigan will destroy the three that play along side him as Cooke might never risk giving him a second spell.

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 16, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    My 5 c worth....ideal pitch: first 1.5 days bounce, carry, seam, swing and the keeper catches them shoulder high, slips are deep. next 2.25 days, lesser bounce but similar carry, last 1.75 days - takes spin-not a square raging turner but if you are good enough and impart enough revs on the ball a la murli, warne, saqlain....u can turn it. The one consistent thing in this would be bounce and carry, batsmen are tested, bowlers who bend their back are rewarded. Perhaps the time has come to prepare custom pitches....who knows.......i only hope the groundsman is left to hisown means and devices in every country (including mine)as influencing the groundsman should never happen anywhere

  • on July 16, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I think India can go with Gambhir instead of Dhawan in Lords test because Dhawan looks little bit restless early in his innings . We all know if he gets set what he can do but as everybody expecting Lords wicket to do something , Gambhir can be tested.

  • on July 16, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    I am sure Shami & Kumar can bowl much faster that they bowled in the first test and of course Ishant Sharma. I wonder because they were bowling around 145 kph consistently during IPL and Bhuwneshwar Kumar touched 148kph in IPL pitches and in England he is bowling below 130 kph is it because of the pitch . But still he managed to take 5 wickets. So i expect more speed from Indian bowlers in the coming tests without losing accuracy.

  • Harlequin. on July 16, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    @neil99 - nice to see you held restraint in not mentioning that the last time these two teams met on those standard Indian flat tracks, India lost, showing that victory isn't even guaranteed for them in their tailor-made conditions!

  • Nayan_Bhuyan on July 16, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    Gautam Gambhir should replace Sikhar Dhawan in the Lords, no matter how the pitch will be. Dhawan should need some rest & practice a bit harder to find his form. Its been long time for him out of form.. Therefore he should be rested now..

  • on July 16, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Hilarious how the talking point is the pitch and not some woeful batting by England and their total lack of a proper spinner. None of the Sky pitch experts would even know how to start a mower let alone produce a pitch. As a groundsman I know the demands of producing a pitch that can last a day let alone five days. It's not just the weather during the match that can affect the way it plays but the weeks previous

  • neil99 on July 16, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    @ Arun Bose

    "I am amazed to see all these "pitch talk"..How could an international team depends so heavily on pitch and conditions? If you can only play on a particular kind of wicket and in particular kind of conditions then how could you call urself an international test cricket team?"

    What an amazingly short, possibly minute memory. Funny that India can't win regularly away from home, and at home, have to rely heavily upon the standard Indian flat track which turns on days 4 and 5. Then again, how can India call itself a proper test team if they can only win on a particular kind of wicket? We'd all be very pleased to see your thoughts...

  • PeerieTrow on July 16, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    Re para 4 in this article: I couldn't agree more re Mick Hunt, but in preparing the Lord's square he does have one arm tied behind his back, and there's only so much pace he can squeeze out of it. Presumably Sir Ian will be calling for the heavy plough again at some stage during the test.

  • geoffboyc on July 16, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    Most Lancs spectators who watch Kerrigan regularly know he's short of his best just now and I feel it's a mistake if he actually plays in this game. Also, on a peripheral point, to pull him out of a vital Lancs game at Aigburth, (which Lancs lost by 1 wicket to Notts) causing him to be substituted, was particularly unhelpful all round.

  • indian1986 on July 16, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    Coming back to the tests, I am missing the typical English wicket and the weather, was expecting the wickets to be like tht of 96 or 2007 but disappointed. In my view England should play to there strengths and if they don't have a decent enough spinner then play another seamer, it s better to have 4.5 bowlers in the team than bowling with 4 (with all due respect I am considering Plunkett as half a bowler).

  • brusselslion on July 16, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    Medium/long term, England do need a specialist spinner but do they need one in this series? It's highly unlikely that the spinner - whoever it is - will run through the Indian batting, so they will be there to hold an end up. Rotating the quicks throughout the series is probably the best strategy.

    However, if a spinner is deemed necessary then as @Nick Larter suggests, why not Borthwick. He's not pulling up trees this season, but he's been steadyish, and his batting is a bonus. Going really left field, he could play as part of a 5 man attack and bat at 6, with one of the batsman (Bell?) left out (we can't play Prior at 6). (Ok, it's not the greatest idea!!).

    @Arun Bose: Lovely to see you back. Same tune playing I see. However, I guess that, after careful consideration, you are now predicting a 4-0, rather than 5-0, Indian series win?

  • on July 16, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    If India play well it is because of flat pitch. Why can't England play better than India on flat pitches. See both are evenly balanced teams and both tried well but ended in a draw. Australia came to India and they lost series by 4-0 and West indies by 2-0. Luck is also a great factor in any sport. If India could have got Anderson early it would have been different ball game and same England were not able to remover tail enders early. But mind you for England they got perfect tail enders as per record but Bhuvneshwar kumar can bat for sure and Anderson got a good company of Root who is one of the best batsmen in England team. So according to me India were the best side of Ist test

  • on July 16, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    Am I the only person wondering if wrist spin might have been less ineffective on that Trent Bridge wicket than most of the alternatives. The one late over from part-timer Ballance was interesting to say the least. If similar wickets turn up for the rest of the Summer, India might regret not bringing Piyush Chawla - he just might have won the match for them. As for England's spin woes - the same logic suggests Borthwick.

  • ram91106 on July 16, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    @NutCutlet...Coming to cricket playing Kerrigan may prove to be a masterstroke for England...The Indians would have watched his unveiling against Australia during the Ashes and would take particular glee if he comes on to bowl against them during the test...Considering the disdain shown by Indians for all tweakers who don't go by the name of Swann it may induce a few injudicious strokes which could result in a handful of wickets considering the long-term exposure to and corrupted mindset playing a steady diet of shorter forms of the game...as seen in the first Test Dhawan,Vijay got out to innocuous balls from a non-threatening slow ball bowler like Moeen Ali...Dhawan,Kohli,Vijay,Rahane and Jadeja may be prone to dispatching Kerrigan to kingdome come and in the end may end up giving confidence-boosting wickets... a good gamble for the England set-up against the Indians....Cricinfo pls publish...

  • Harlequin. on July 16, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    @Nutcutlet - I follow you....I think! Personally, I reckon playing Kerrigan would be a terrible idea - like you, I can't see him bowling economically, which means Cook isn't going to want to bowl him! What I would love to see, is Batty being played for the next 12 months, whilst Moeen works on his consistency, because if Mo can cut out the 4-ball then I think he could be a useful spinner and a very valuable player. They all have 1 or 2 areas they need to improve on, but in 12 months time England could have Ali, Jos, Stokes, Jordan at 6,7,8,9 - which would be nice!

  • crzcric on July 16, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    No doubt this series will be run fest.Bowler will get nothing.Only quality bowlers will take wickets.Looks like England going to loose thier best bowler in some matches. India found a way to win.

  • anilmaheshwari on July 16, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    my elevan for lords test- murli,dhawan,gambhir,kohli,rahane,dhoni,binny,jadeja,bhuvneshwar,shami,ashwar pandey

  • on July 16, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Cricket is such a sensitive game. Weather and playing conditions plays a major spoil sport many times. ICC needs to make a proper decision on pitches. Every country should be able to prepare pitches as per their standard but then that standard should be consistent. Also technical methods and factors affecting pitch should be studied in detail.

  • on July 16, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    If the pitch is green eng should bring finn 2 d squad

  • crzcric on July 16, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    All the pitches will be flat wickets for this series.Great chance for Indian batsman to increase their averages. Even They played in flat pitch and worm conditions still count as runs in england.How come they always play in late summer? The Big test would have been if the play it on early summer.

  • Nutcutlet on July 16, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    If England plays Simon Kerrigan, then the gamble is huge: yet of all England-qualified slow/spin bowlers in the country, he is the best. (Or so the selectors think, because you'd only select the best available, wouldn't you?) The need for a spinner to keep the quicks fresh is overwhelming. He must be able to bowl 30 overs per day, economically. So Kerrigan must play: the gamble must be taken. Not in my wildest dreams can I see SK going for less than 3.5 rpo against these talented Indian bats. By the same ticket, I don't think that the overwhelming-ness of the case to select & play SK will be taken come Thursday, 11am.. And that questions his original selection, doesn't it? I hope people who have cared to read this post have followed this convoluted reasoning. I make no apology; the reasoning is not mine -- it is the selectors'! Gareth Batty would have done the job - and a good many judges know that too. But GB hasn't been selected. Shall I start again?

  • rafe01 on July 16, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    I don't recall anyone talking about the independence of grounds keepers during last winter's Ashes. I recall them talking of producing spinning decks to bring Graeme Swann's influence to the fore. What's changed?

  • Clyde on July 16, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    Now we are getting a bit of writing about curatorship, but it is not enough. Chappell and Crowe are in the nets with a bat, and they need also to be out in the middle with a roller, building on what Tony Greig showed us.

  • on July 16, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    Well..you cant compare those bowlers to the current ones..the bats have considerably improved and have given the batsmen of today a bit of an advantage over the bowlers. For the bowlers..nothin has really changed..the pitches are the only real hope for bowlers nowadays..also in one day or t20 cricket..the rules have also been modified to the batsmen's advantage along with their meaty and light bats..and the bowlers are left to their mercy..

    so the least that can happen now is they build bowler friendly pitches for fair game. Else its jus gonna be boring 5 day draws like the one we jus saw where even tail enders batted with considerable ease

  • on July 16, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    As an Indian fan I would India to bat first. Primary reason, with little rest between the tests it would be good for India to make England seamers toil again in Lords on the first day. All that the batsmen need to do is bat for about 120+ overs. That would literally break the back of English seamers. They could not find any spin on dry Trent Bridge pitch, so even less will be expected out of them on Lords on the first day. So the seamers will do all of the bowling. Also If India bats for 120 +overs they should score close to 400 which is a winnable total at lords. On the flip side, if Indian batting fails they are going to lose the test either ways, regardless of when they bat.

  • on July 16, 2014, 3:47 GMT

    Eng have bigger concern? Let me see our concerns 1) Dhawan either looks out of league or throw it away 2) Very rarely I see Pujara throwing away 2 innings in succession. 3) We rely on spin but it did not fetch us even a single wicket in first match 4) Then there is small matter of bowling teams out, taking 20 wickets. We have taken 10 cheaply once in a while (though Eng 10th one was not cheap precisely, did alright in SA/NZ) but problems starts when we get into 2nd inning. Bowlers are out of steam, ideas. 5) Ishant Sharma, the man Indian selectors loves too much. When it looks he is on his way out, he will will do jut enough. 5 wickets haul in NZ, 3 wckts here in Eng. Result: both teams have it own worries, both r almost equal in skills (Eng bit better in bowling, Ind bit better in batting even with main bat Kohli & Pujara haven't contributed much), Better if pitch is result oriented. If the pitch helps swing bowling, we may still lose 0-4, but it is our only chance to register a win.

  • on July 16, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    Bowlers have to learn to bowl on all kinds of surfaces . bowlers in the past bowled and didn't whine .Play cricket and let the chips fall where they may .Bowlers on the whole would like to see a game finish in a day.In the past teams chose five bowlers , two fast an all rounder and two spinners !! Now captain s want four quicks and more often than not apart time spinner . So we end up today where the Eng,Sa, and Australia have no clue how to play spin properly . From what I have seen in the first test English batsmen were uncomfortable against pace .Where did this idea come from that cricket is only cricket when you give the quicks the advantage ? A greAt bowler does well under any circumstances.

  • on July 16, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    I am amazed to see all these "pitch talk"..How could an international team depends so heavily on pitch and conditions? If you can only play on a particular kind of wicket and in particular kind of conditions then how could you call urself an international test cricket team? Nomatter which spinner you guys select, Your fast bowlers will have to grind it out again bcz spinners would get a whacking from Indian batsmen.. Moeen Ali didn't earned those wickets, Indian batters threw them away(bcz of overconfidence).. Moeen Ali will be flogged again by Indian batters and England pacers have to bowl long spells again.. Ballance was bowling to tail-enders, c'mon ppl.. Our top order will blow him away..

  • OneEyedAussie on July 16, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    There is only one spin bowler that I would consider to be a threat in all conditions at the moment and that is Ajmal. Ashwin and Herath are good but they are not the same as Ajmal. So, England are not really alone in this 'spin' problem. I think the way forward for England with the talent they have available is to look for someone who can bowl long overs and keep the economy rate below 3 per over. Sure, Ali might make twenty more runs per innings than say Tredwell, but if his bowling is milked for more than it is a false economy.

  • Sexysteven on July 16, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    Big mistake if they play Kerrigan if there's no decent spinner in England which there isn't I think so why play one for the sake of it they are just setting Kerrigan up to fail against great players of spin just play to your strengths plus bowl root and Ali in short and sharp spells to give the pace bowlers some rest those two could do a job with the ball at least as good as Kerrigan could if not abetter job and they are part time bowlers plus I believe robson and balance can bowl a little just rotate those four in short spells so there's at least some variation in the attack just don't ask them to do to much keeping it tight will be good enough any wickets they get would be abonus so there's enough part time spinners that England can work with that should do until adecent spinner comes along in afew years I think

  • Robster1 on July 16, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    It'll be yet another Lord's batathon - and rotating fast bowlers is just short changing the already ripped off fan attending the game. Batty would have been a better choice for the next 12 months test cricket.

  • AlSmug on July 15, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    The English team are half the side without swann , personalities have lead to a premature break up of the best players playing for the country. To not be able to beat India on your home soil well i think its fantastic , gr8 to see Englands class players quitting and being axed and great to see negative tactics from arguably the worst captain to of played in the modern era, it all looks good for the ashes to stay with its rightful owners for many yrs to come , keep up the good work :)

  • ns1000 on July 15, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    England have a bigger worry - the new found all-rounder Binny in the Indian squad. The Pommys don't stand a chance against his swing bowling or his supposed batting prowess.....bits and pieces they say - so what? Most of Indian players a bits and pieces....bit of batting or fielding here and there or bit of bowling and fielding here and there...!!! Sorry Roger, but the young lad does not deserve to be in the India Test team for crying out loud.

  • on July 15, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    Kerrigan and Tredwell are of a similar ilk...both do not use their front arm enough. They will not trouble Test match class batsmen.

  • AKS286 on July 15, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    The last paragraph of this column is fact and explains the story. Ballance, Root & Moen are enough if pitch helps pacers. But if not then Poms need specialist spinner. Kerrigan is County hero but don't forget you are plating against Indians. Kerrigan no doosra, carrom ball, no googly & no flight So, what we can expect from him ? ENG need bowlers like Tredwell who can bowl in discipline and stick with line and length. Tall Tredwell can extract something from the foot marks from the quicks. Ind A vs Oz A Mishra picked up wickets in Oz pitch and Lyon even failed to bowls 5 maidens. Believe in your strength

  • JustIPL on July 15, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    I dont think poms will need to go for kerrigan as Ali did okay and got 4 wkts on a dead pitch. He has 100 plus first class wickets in english conditions alongwith healthy batting average. He nearly saved the test against SL a short while ago. So, a man in form but failed to capitalize with the bat like Cook and Kohli. Poms should keep on with Ali at least for the next two tests by the time cook also comes to form.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on July 15, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    It is very pleasing to read about a groundsman who upholds the integrity of his trade and the integrity of cricket.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on July 15, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    It is very pleasing to read about a groundsman who upholds the integrity of his trade and the integrity of cricket.

  • JustIPL on July 15, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    I dont think poms will need to go for kerrigan as Ali did okay and got 4 wkts on a dead pitch. He has 100 plus first class wickets in english conditions alongwith healthy batting average. He nearly saved the test against SL a short while ago. So, a man in form but failed to capitalize with the bat like Cook and Kohli. Poms should keep on with Ali at least for the next two tests by the time cook also comes to form.

  • AKS286 on July 15, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    The last paragraph of this column is fact and explains the story. Ballance, Root & Moen are enough if pitch helps pacers. But if not then Poms need specialist spinner. Kerrigan is County hero but don't forget you are plating against Indians. Kerrigan no doosra, carrom ball, no googly & no flight So, what we can expect from him ? ENG need bowlers like Tredwell who can bowl in discipline and stick with line and length. Tall Tredwell can extract something from the foot marks from the quicks. Ind A vs Oz A Mishra picked up wickets in Oz pitch and Lyon even failed to bowls 5 maidens. Believe in your strength

  • on July 15, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    Kerrigan and Tredwell are of a similar ilk...both do not use their front arm enough. They will not trouble Test match class batsmen.

  • ns1000 on July 15, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    England have a bigger worry - the new found all-rounder Binny in the Indian squad. The Pommys don't stand a chance against his swing bowling or his supposed batting prowess.....bits and pieces they say - so what? Most of Indian players a bits and pieces....bit of batting or fielding here and there or bit of bowling and fielding here and there...!!! Sorry Roger, but the young lad does not deserve to be in the India Test team for crying out loud.

  • AlSmug on July 15, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    The English team are half the side without swann , personalities have lead to a premature break up of the best players playing for the country. To not be able to beat India on your home soil well i think its fantastic , gr8 to see Englands class players quitting and being axed and great to see negative tactics from arguably the worst captain to of played in the modern era, it all looks good for the ashes to stay with its rightful owners for many yrs to come , keep up the good work :)

  • Robster1 on July 16, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    It'll be yet another Lord's batathon - and rotating fast bowlers is just short changing the already ripped off fan attending the game. Batty would have been a better choice for the next 12 months test cricket.

  • Sexysteven on July 16, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    Big mistake if they play Kerrigan if there's no decent spinner in England which there isn't I think so why play one for the sake of it they are just setting Kerrigan up to fail against great players of spin just play to your strengths plus bowl root and Ali in short and sharp spells to give the pace bowlers some rest those two could do a job with the ball at least as good as Kerrigan could if not abetter job and they are part time bowlers plus I believe robson and balance can bowl a little just rotate those four in short spells so there's at least some variation in the attack just don't ask them to do to much keeping it tight will be good enough any wickets they get would be abonus so there's enough part time spinners that England can work with that should do until adecent spinner comes along in afew years I think

  • OneEyedAussie on July 16, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    There is only one spin bowler that I would consider to be a threat in all conditions at the moment and that is Ajmal. Ashwin and Herath are good but they are not the same as Ajmal. So, England are not really alone in this 'spin' problem. I think the way forward for England with the talent they have available is to look for someone who can bowl long overs and keep the economy rate below 3 per over. Sure, Ali might make twenty more runs per innings than say Tredwell, but if his bowling is milked for more than it is a false economy.

  • on July 16, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    I am amazed to see all these "pitch talk"..How could an international team depends so heavily on pitch and conditions? If you can only play on a particular kind of wicket and in particular kind of conditions then how could you call urself an international test cricket team? Nomatter which spinner you guys select, Your fast bowlers will have to grind it out again bcz spinners would get a whacking from Indian batsmen.. Moeen Ali didn't earned those wickets, Indian batters threw them away(bcz of overconfidence).. Moeen Ali will be flogged again by Indian batters and England pacers have to bowl long spells again.. Ballance was bowling to tail-enders, c'mon ppl.. Our top order will blow him away..