England v India, 4th Investec Test, Old Trafford August 6, 2014

Unfavourable verdict can rejuvenate India

India may feel wronged by the Anderson-Jadeja verdict, but it is time to put the issue behind them and rally forward for the remaining two Tests
  shares 27

Play 01:15
Dhoni: I don't get hangovers

When the hearing in the Grand Harbour hotel in Southampton finished, you could sense that the spirit had left the Indian team.

Not all of them were present in Southampton- only MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir, Duncan Fletcher and physiotherapist Evan Speechly were there. They were all whisked away through the back of their hotel as soon as the verdict had been announced to them. We did not know yet what the verdict was, but there was a quiet around them.

India believed the England players had lied, and that James Anderson got away with it. India believed the incessant abuse had crossed all the limits when Jadeja was pushed. They brought it to the authority's notice, and yet they could not do anything about it because there was no evidence.

They felt wronged. Helpless. No matter how much you might try to move on from this, it will remain a factor when India play England in the fourth Test of the series, at Old Trafford.

Recent history suggests India channel this kind of righteous indignation well. After the fractious and infamous Sydney Test of 2007-08, they came back to win in Perth. One week they could not bat out 72 overs to save a Test, another week they put in a determined stellar performance to outplay Australia at the WACA Ground.

At a press conference last year, just before coming to England for Champions Trophy, all sorts of questions were being asked of India. It was frustrating for the public to not get any answers or reassurances from the team as Dhoni went away without taking even a single question about the spot-fixing case.

The players felt equally indignant - rightly or wrongly - that they were being interrogated as if they had done something wrong. There was similar quiet around the players when India left for England, but when they took the field, they were a galvanised unit.

Earlier this year, just before the World Twenty20, another controversy had broken out. The spot-fixing matter had reached the Supreme Court, one of the lawyers there had accused Dhoni of lying under oath during the investigation, and Dhoni's employer N Srinivasan was being asked to leave once again. Similar silence and steel followed.

Once again, India feel the whole world is against them. That might not be the case - that was not the case in the three aforementioned instances - but India have shown they are quick to feel so, and that it galvanises them.

Which is why it was surprising that they called Ian Bell back at Trent Bridge during their last tour to England. India had done nothing wrong then: they had legitimately run Bell out, and when they were booed by the crowd for having done that, that might have given India a last spark when their flame was dying. India did not take it, and proceeded to meekly lose the remaining matches.

This controversy is sure to bring the team closer, to make them more determined, but Test matches are not won on determination alone. You have to take 20 wickets. India will need all the motivation from indignation they can muster to come close to doing that.

In Ishant Sharma's absence and with Mohammed Shami's poor form, India went in to the Southampton Test with a toothless attack. It was not a green pitch where you just put the ball up and it seams; it required the bowlers to hit the deck hard, and India do not believe in those kind of bowlers. Ishant is the only exception to that rule, but he will not be available here, and this pitch is not green either.

Recent history suggests India channel this kind of righteous indignation well. After the fractious and infamous Sydney Test of 2007-08, they came back to win in Perth

India's best bet here will be to win the toss and bat first. Once the opposition gets off to a half-decent start, as England did in Southampton, India get deflated faster than any other major side in the world, and start thinking of the draw.

Dhoni plays a big part in this attitude; he did so by bowling Jadeja throughout the middle session of the first day, at times with a seven-two leg-side field. You can argue his lean bowling sources do not allow him to do much more, but if you make milking runs easy for the opposition so early in the match, your batsmen come under extreme pressure after having fielded for close to two days.

The batsmen have not really kicked on at any rate, which is a little strange because with the exception of Shikhar Dhawan, they have not been struggling overtly. A small mistake here, a bad habit there, and Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli do not have the numbers India expected of them.

Two Tests to go, and with India's bowlers looking exhausted in Southampton, Ishant not available for this match, and with that demoralising verdict handed to them, it would be easy to forget the series is still 1-1.

India theoretically have a good chance of doing something special. Given their resources now, though, they will need liberal doses of that invisible force that they somehow seem to summon when they feel the whole world is against them.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SunilRaj on August 7, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Well, in 2008 we had an inspiring captain and a bunch of quality players. I am not sure if we have them now. We have a captain who is struggling to score on seaming wickets and has always this fascination towards the "one day utility players".....

  • Nutcutlet on August 7, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    @CptMeanster: I'd be disappointed if you didn't (disagree with me)! First, it's quite obvious to me that there are a good many Indian supporters who are extremely knowledgeable and often make interesting contributions to threads such as this & who hold TC in the same high regard as I do. Indeed, some are here, in this very place! It is, I strongly suspect, a question of generational preference. The young in India, especially the under30s, newly educated, newly wealthy, highly susceptible to the unremitting (also unregulated, as far as I know) enticements of the advertising industry, are captured by the glitter & glare of the cool IPL. Now, there is no doubt that the IPL is a vehicle that carries an assortment of desirable/must-have ad. flauntings. Ad. men know what they're doing; they don't waste money. This, in turn, captures the young cricket fan and binds him to the IPL brand: symbiosis inside a fence. Maturity is all. Judgement comes with age - also a letting go of glitz. BW.

  • kmravi on August 7, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    looks S. Monga was in positive mood when he wrote this. Hope MSD gets some of it.

    For India Rohit is a wasted gold, Dhawan need to get his technique correct against moving ball. R.Jadeja does not know what needs to be done, attack or defense both with bat and ball. Ashwin, Gambir, & Eswar is the solution for this ... lets wait and see...

  • ramli on August 7, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    Test cricket is still loved by people who have played cricket (at any level) because they can understand the value of garnering runs ... T20 is definitely for people who like to "only watch" cricket where it is more entertainment ... for the former, T20 is a bonus and for the latter, test cricket does not exist

  • Paul2005 on August 7, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    England should play Finn instead of Jordan and get a spinner to replace Woakes and see India go down by an Innngs.

  • tjsimonsen on August 7, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: Here we go again! On with your favorite past time: bashing test cricket. Does 20/20 leave you with too much time on your hands? When living in Canada a few years back I knew a few Indian cricket fans - I played 20/20 with them. Although they loved playing 20/20, they stated clearly that to them test cricket was the undisputed king of the sport. Of course, they may on have been representative of the average Indian cricket fan, but I also see a lot of (positive) passionate comments on test cricket on these pages made by Indian supporters. Just accept that some of us appreciate the twists and turns of the longer version of the game, just like some of us appreciate longer (> 90min) movies with a plot that's not obvious and fixed from the second scene. Some of us even like long, complex books (such as Lord of the Rings, and War and Peace) and classical music symphonies. In fact, some of us have an attention span that's longer than that of the average kitten.

  • on August 7, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    @Cpt.meanst: Indians do love Test cricket. I'm an Indian, and this is the only format which I follow passionately. And so does many of my friends. The very young may not understand the nuances, but it is still the most respected format. By passing comments that Indians don't like Test cricket, you're creating a perception that Indians complain of 'sour grapes'!!!

  • DaisonGarvasis on August 7, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    If England will play Finn, India will target him. That will mean England will be one bowler short. They have kept Kohli silent for three games and this is the game they are gonna pay for it. Put all your money for a Kohli double hundred in this game folks. May be you see no boundaries from Kohli on the offside until he reach tripple figures.

  • Vilander on August 7, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    What was really unfavorable was the lack of DRS blame it on BCCI. Bell and Balance out at 0 and 15 odd went on the make big centuries, poor game for umpires. They helped and also India's poor slip helped England to 500 +, no chance of that happening again.

  • Vilander on August 7, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    alok21oct, Mohit Sharma plays for CSK, Rohit,Dhawan dont what has CSK got to do with this at all, blind dislike equals poor opinions.

  • SunilRaj on August 7, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Well, in 2008 we had an inspiring captain and a bunch of quality players. I am not sure if we have them now. We have a captain who is struggling to score on seaming wickets and has always this fascination towards the "one day utility players".....

  • Nutcutlet on August 7, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    @CptMeanster: I'd be disappointed if you didn't (disagree with me)! First, it's quite obvious to me that there are a good many Indian supporters who are extremely knowledgeable and often make interesting contributions to threads such as this & who hold TC in the same high regard as I do. Indeed, some are here, in this very place! It is, I strongly suspect, a question of generational preference. The young in India, especially the under30s, newly educated, newly wealthy, highly susceptible to the unremitting (also unregulated, as far as I know) enticements of the advertising industry, are captured by the glitter & glare of the cool IPL. Now, there is no doubt that the IPL is a vehicle that carries an assortment of desirable/must-have ad. flauntings. Ad. men know what they're doing; they don't waste money. This, in turn, captures the young cricket fan and binds him to the IPL brand: symbiosis inside a fence. Maturity is all. Judgement comes with age - also a letting go of glitz. BW.

  • kmravi on August 7, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    looks S. Monga was in positive mood when he wrote this. Hope MSD gets some of it.

    For India Rohit is a wasted gold, Dhawan need to get his technique correct against moving ball. R.Jadeja does not know what needs to be done, attack or defense both with bat and ball. Ashwin, Gambir, & Eswar is the solution for this ... lets wait and see...

  • ramli on August 7, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    Test cricket is still loved by people who have played cricket (at any level) because they can understand the value of garnering runs ... T20 is definitely for people who like to "only watch" cricket where it is more entertainment ... for the former, T20 is a bonus and for the latter, test cricket does not exist

  • Paul2005 on August 7, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    England should play Finn instead of Jordan and get a spinner to replace Woakes and see India go down by an Innngs.

  • tjsimonsen on August 7, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: Here we go again! On with your favorite past time: bashing test cricket. Does 20/20 leave you with too much time on your hands? When living in Canada a few years back I knew a few Indian cricket fans - I played 20/20 with them. Although they loved playing 20/20, they stated clearly that to them test cricket was the undisputed king of the sport. Of course, they may on have been representative of the average Indian cricket fan, but I also see a lot of (positive) passionate comments on test cricket on these pages made by Indian supporters. Just accept that some of us appreciate the twists and turns of the longer version of the game, just like some of us appreciate longer (> 90min) movies with a plot that's not obvious and fixed from the second scene. Some of us even like long, complex books (such as Lord of the Rings, and War and Peace) and classical music symphonies. In fact, some of us have an attention span that's longer than that of the average kitten.

  • on August 7, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    @Cpt.meanst: Indians do love Test cricket. I'm an Indian, and this is the only format which I follow passionately. And so does many of my friends. The very young may not understand the nuances, but it is still the most respected format. By passing comments that Indians don't like Test cricket, you're creating a perception that Indians complain of 'sour grapes'!!!

  • DaisonGarvasis on August 7, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    If England will play Finn, India will target him. That will mean England will be one bowler short. They have kept Kohli silent for three games and this is the game they are gonna pay for it. Put all your money for a Kohli double hundred in this game folks. May be you see no boundaries from Kohli on the offside until he reach tripple figures.

  • Vilander on August 7, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    What was really unfavorable was the lack of DRS blame it on BCCI. Bell and Balance out at 0 and 15 odd went on the make big centuries, poor game for umpires. They helped and also India's poor slip helped England to 500 +, no chance of that happening again.

  • Vilander on August 7, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    alok21oct, Mohit Sharma plays for CSK, Rohit,Dhawan dont what has CSK got to do with this at all, blind dislike equals poor opinions.

  • disco_bob on August 7, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    @ Cpt.Meanster, I see nothing but a deep passion and a sense of history when India are doing well in Test cricket, but currently since the retirement of their truly great players, India is just not very good at Test cricket and that's all there is to it. You can be certain that if India manage to pull off a series win against England in the final two tests that Test cricket will feel the Indian love once again.

  • Maliktabrez on August 7, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    If bhuvi injured india should give a chance to aaron...his pace can really work for india.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 6, 2014, 23:56 GMT

    @Nutcutlet: I beg to disagree with you. A significant percentage of Indians and other nationals don't prefer test cricket. From an Indian perspective, if you look at India's record, we have won world cups, a World T20 title, Champions Trophies etc. There is a simple reason for all that - we simply prefer the shorter formats of the game. Indians love the thrills, drama and excitement of life. Such themes are often associated with Indian movies, it's mainstream culture and way of life. I admire that young man for writing out his honest opinion on FB. Test cricket indeed belongs to the 1970s and before. The modern day has no time for a 5 day sport. I think it's more of an English thing. I would appreciate your comment in this regard. Thanks.

  • Nampally on August 6, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    During the 1946 Indian Tour of England, the Indian Batman Vijay Merchant in his after Dinner Banquet speech described one of the objective of India Team's visit as : "People of 2 countries are brought together in a spirit of true understanding, give & Take & Brotherhood of a much higher plane ".This was when India was still a British colony & talks were going on for its independence. Unfortunately the modern day Cricketers do not seem to understand the bonds of friendship built via Cricket. "Anderson-Jadeja spat" is a true example of the standard of behaviour on & off the Cricket field now than what it was 68 years ago. Both the teams can play hard to WIN but not with some of the foul & Blue abusive Language. Vijay Merchant was one of the world class batsmen in the class of Hutton, Bradman & Compton & totalled 2384 runs on that tour of UK. Let the game be played in the true spirit of Great Vijay Merchant.

  • Jits_SRTian on August 6, 2014, 21:16 GMT

    @smithie.. while I agree with you on the DRS issue, it is pointless to say that Anderson would've had Jadeja out.. If that was the case Bell would be out for zero in the second test and India could've been 2 up because without the 160 odd what were england up with. Just for convenience you just remember ones which went against you. How awesome!

  • on August 6, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    it is the appalling performance early in the third test that led to India's current state. If you play bad cricket it is obviously deflating. Doesn't matter if you are on the field or out, watching in front of a television or a computer. Dhoni is the captain and we have to accept whatever he has to offer. But if each player fails to deliver then it adds up to demoralize everyone. couple of good performances and you win a match.

  • thozar on August 6, 2014, 20:20 GMT

    Justice will be served in the next 2 tests. The Old Trafford test looks like a draw due to the notorious English weather. However, I am sure India will win at the Oval. I predict Ashwin to take a 10 wicket haul. Remember Oval is friendly to spinners usually. That doesn't mean India should wait for the Oval test. Even with unpredictable weather, this English batting lineup can collapse like a pack of cards. Get Aaron and Ashwin in there and get them out cheaply. Their bowling is bound to struggle there. Anderson and Broad have very poor averages here and Jordan and Woakes are not wicket takers anyway. India won't fail against Moeen Ali again. So I predict India batsmen to make merry. Dhawan (if selected), Kohli, and Pujara to score centuries. Let's go for 3-1 boys.

  • Nutcutlet on August 6, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    A facebook user writes: Stop playing mindless test matches please! Sheer wastage of time and intellect! It is not 1970 anymore! Ayoung man's utterance, if ever I read one. Clearly, Test cricket is currently out of your intellectual depth. Your comment speaks for itself. I suggest that you continue to paddle in the intellectually shallow end for the time being. Develop confidence before venturing into the deeper water. I wonder what you are doing commenting on a Test match thread. It is not something that engages you. Or does it? In your innermost being, perhaps you wish you could understand more... Hang around. Look. Listen. Read. Learn. You'll get there, in your maturity. I wish you much excitement and a great deal of enjoyment in your long journey.

  • alok21oct on August 6, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    Don't be surprised, if you all know MSD, Ishwar Pandey can be on debut tomorrow along with Varun Aaron and Shami. Nothing alarming in Ishwar's short career rather than playing and bowling a few good spells for MSD's CSK. Complete favoritism is being showcased here....who so ever is in good books of Dhoni is in the team like Shikhar, Rohit. They could have opted for Dhawal Kulkarni (Good experienced bowler, could have done well in seaming conditions of England), aggressive Bumra, Mohit sharma. Can't make out the selection of Stuart Binny apart from fact that he is son of selector Roger Binny.

  • freeboy26 on August 6, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    England are gloating over the fact that Anderson got away with it.. I am waiting for the next series when England tour India.. hope anderson sticks around till then.. the Indian spectators will be waiting to give him a nice welcome

  • glen1 on August 6, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    Sid has aptly described the Indian Team and the Country at the same time; Indian Cricket is a microcosm for the bigger picture. ' Hoping', 'functioning under adversity', 'standing up for what's right', are recurring themes, and that is why win or lose, people like to follow cricket. For many the Lord's win itself may have been good enough!

  • jj1001 on August 6, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    To the person posting as "f" without a name Amit Mishra did not take a wicket and conceded 200 runs latetest he played in England. He is a habitual no ball bowler and concedes about 4 runs an over. AkSar Patel is 20 yR old and has played one season and you want him bowling in England when selectors used him against Australia A. I like Patel but give him some time. Please make sense in posting.

  • Smithie on August 6, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    There is certainly one thing that the whole world is against India on and that is DRS. If is had been operating it is probable Anderson would have had Jadeja out in the second last over before lunch and this whole sequence of events would not have occurred. Dhoni's intransigence (and failure to logically explain or countenance any questioning from journalists on the topic) is degrading the game.

  • on August 6, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Stop playing mindless test matches please! Sheer wastage of time and intellect! It is not 1970 anymore!

  • Annihalator on August 6, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    clutching at straws anyone? just because it happened before does not necessarily mean it will happen again

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 6, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    Ashwin in for Rohit (Ash can easily score as many runs as Rohit did in the last test), Varun in for Bhuvi, as they should not take a chance with half-fit bowler. Unfortunately, Shami is the only bowler standing, though poor so far, leaves hime with one last chance to prove himself.

  • on August 6, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    Dhoni has to select the best team and not his personal favorites if India has to win. Why let players like Amit Mishra sit out when he could bat also as he did in 2011. If Shikhar has to go and so it should be with Kohli as he has not fared any better than Shikhar. Infuse fresh talent and let those left out improve their batting. We had a similar case with Rohit Sharma in the past and then he was left out for some time.Talent is available aplenty in India, Akshar Patel is a good batsman and a good bowler and so are other players as seen from Australia tour recently. If they want to play Jadeja then he should play like a batsman who has scored 3 triple centuries and not like a ODI player, needs to bat more time. One thing for the Indian Team players to remember is that not to talk about how they score runs or take wickets as you are giving the oppostiion an idea as to what they should do to counter that !Talk less should be the motto !

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  • on August 6, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    Dhoni has to select the best team and not his personal favorites if India has to win. Why let players like Amit Mishra sit out when he could bat also as he did in 2011. If Shikhar has to go and so it should be with Kohli as he has not fared any better than Shikhar. Infuse fresh talent and let those left out improve their batting. We had a similar case with Rohit Sharma in the past and then he was left out for some time.Talent is available aplenty in India, Akshar Patel is a good batsman and a good bowler and so are other players as seen from Australia tour recently. If they want to play Jadeja then he should play like a batsman who has scored 3 triple centuries and not like a ODI player, needs to bat more time. One thing for the Indian Team players to remember is that not to talk about how they score runs or take wickets as you are giving the oppostiion an idea as to what they should do to counter that !Talk less should be the motto !

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 6, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    Ashwin in for Rohit (Ash can easily score as many runs as Rohit did in the last test), Varun in for Bhuvi, as they should not take a chance with half-fit bowler. Unfortunately, Shami is the only bowler standing, though poor so far, leaves hime with one last chance to prove himself.

  • Annihalator on August 6, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    clutching at straws anyone? just because it happened before does not necessarily mean it will happen again

  • on August 6, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Stop playing mindless test matches please! Sheer wastage of time and intellect! It is not 1970 anymore!

  • Smithie on August 6, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    There is certainly one thing that the whole world is against India on and that is DRS. If is had been operating it is probable Anderson would have had Jadeja out in the second last over before lunch and this whole sequence of events would not have occurred. Dhoni's intransigence (and failure to logically explain or countenance any questioning from journalists on the topic) is degrading the game.

  • jj1001 on August 6, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    To the person posting as "f" without a name Amit Mishra did not take a wicket and conceded 200 runs latetest he played in England. He is a habitual no ball bowler and concedes about 4 runs an over. AkSar Patel is 20 yR old and has played one season and you want him bowling in England when selectors used him against Australia A. I like Patel but give him some time. Please make sense in posting.

  • glen1 on August 6, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    Sid has aptly described the Indian Team and the Country at the same time; Indian Cricket is a microcosm for the bigger picture. ' Hoping', 'functioning under adversity', 'standing up for what's right', are recurring themes, and that is why win or lose, people like to follow cricket. For many the Lord's win itself may have been good enough!

  • freeboy26 on August 6, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    England are gloating over the fact that Anderson got away with it.. I am waiting for the next series when England tour India.. hope anderson sticks around till then.. the Indian spectators will be waiting to give him a nice welcome

  • alok21oct on August 6, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    Don't be surprised, if you all know MSD, Ishwar Pandey can be on debut tomorrow along with Varun Aaron and Shami. Nothing alarming in Ishwar's short career rather than playing and bowling a few good spells for MSD's CSK. Complete favoritism is being showcased here....who so ever is in good books of Dhoni is in the team like Shikhar, Rohit. They could have opted for Dhawal Kulkarni (Good experienced bowler, could have done well in seaming conditions of England), aggressive Bumra, Mohit sharma. Can't make out the selection of Stuart Binny apart from fact that he is son of selector Roger Binny.

  • Nutcutlet on August 6, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    A facebook user writes: Stop playing mindless test matches please! Sheer wastage of time and intellect! It is not 1970 anymore! Ayoung man's utterance, if ever I read one. Clearly, Test cricket is currently out of your intellectual depth. Your comment speaks for itself. I suggest that you continue to paddle in the intellectually shallow end for the time being. Develop confidence before venturing into the deeper water. I wonder what you are doing commenting on a Test match thread. It is not something that engages you. Or does it? In your innermost being, perhaps you wish you could understand more... Hang around. Look. Listen. Read. Learn. You'll get there, in your maturity. I wish you much excitement and a great deal of enjoyment in your long journey.