India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 1st day

Toss only part of England's struggles

England were always up against it having lost the toss but their lack of patience with the ball and slackness in the field contributed more to their position at the end of day one

George Dobell in Ahmedabad

November 15, 2012

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

Tim Bresnan claimed two wickets but England could not force victory, Haryana v England XI, Ahmedabad, 4th day, November 11, 2012
Tim Bresnan went at over five-an-over on day one and England cannot afford their third seamer to be so expensive (File Photo: ESPNcricinfo is not carrying live match photos of the India v England series due to reporting restrictions imposed by the host board) © AFP
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Joseph Conrad might not have been thinking of bowling first on a flat wicket in Ahmedabad when he wrote "The horror! The horror!" but it would have aptly summed up England's thinking for large parts of the first day of this match.

It was not just that they lost the toss. It was not just that they bowled and fielded below the standards they set themselves. And it was not just that they were confronted with a low, slow pitch that negated many of the qualities of their seamers and suited the hosts perfectly.

No, it was the sense that, all the while they were conceding runs - and for much of the day they conceded them at a rate of above four an over - the pitch was deteriorating. All while Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara were accumulating runs with relative ease for Test cricket the pitch was becoming more and more suitable for India's spinners. England knew they were in deep trouble within an hour.

But they never assumed it would be easy. They never assumed India would offer them a wicket with pace and bounce. They would be insane to do anything of the sort.

The concern for England is that they failed to do themselves justice. They missed four chances: a stumping, two catches and a misjudgement in the field. The seamers offered too much width to Sehwag, in particular, and there remain grave doubts about Samit Patel's ability to perform the role of second spinner. He did recover after a poor start - as friendly a full toss as Sehwag can have received in his career - but he lacks the bite to take many wickets and the control to create pressure.

Tim Bresnan, impotent in the face of Sehwag's assault, lacked the pace or the control to stem the flow of runs and requires a major performance in the rest of this game to retain his Test place. A team cannot afford for their third seamer to concede 5.60 an over in these conditions.

England lacked patience in the first session, in particular. Within minutes of the start of the game, it became clear that the ball would barely bounce above chest height - Bresnan's first ball reached the wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, on the second bounce - and there would be little lateral movement. The lush outfield and square also negated England's hopes of scuffing one side of the ball in a bid to encourage reverse swing. Indeed, while they gained reverse swing after about 10 overs against Haryana, it took about 60 overs here.

 
 
Some will claim England should have selected Monty Panesar. While India play him rather well, it is highly likely he would have offered his captain more control.
 

But instead of settling for nagging accuracy and economy, they tried to make things happen. Stuart Broad used the crease and attempted to fire the ball in full; Anderson attempted to swing the ball across the left-hander; and Bresnan attempted, somewhat optimistically, a few short deliveries. The result, each time, was boundaries. Anderson, at least, pulled things back very well later in the day and did not concede a single run against Virat Kohli in 17 deliveries to him.

The one bright spot of the day for England was Graeme Swann's excellence. In truth, Swann rarely bowls any differently; it's just he sometimes bowls on surfaces that help him and very often he does not. But, after a tricky few months where he seemed to have lost a bit of his flight and perhaps even a little confidence as a result of some excellent South Africa batting, some flat wickets and his elbow injury, he looked back to his best here. Even before the ball began to turn - and it is turning more by the hour - his arm ball, a weapon of beauty, demanded respect. Once he was finding turn as well, he was threatening.

With the wicket of Sehwag, Swann overhauled Jim Laker's tally of 193 victims and became the most successful offspinner for England in Test cricket. But the real pleasure was to come later: to beat Virat Kohli - who he had already had dropped - through the gate with a classic off-break must have been pleasing, but to defeat Sachin Tendulkar in the flight and have him caught at deep midwicket was special. As Swann said: "Let's face it, he's the greatest player still playing the game. It's always nice to get him out, and get him out early."

The success of Swann will have provoked bitter-sweet emotions from within the England camp, though. While it was pleasing for them to at least find a foothold in a match that was running away from them, it came in the knowledge that India's spinners will have final use of the pitch. Bearing in mind England's struggles against spin of late and the likely pathogenesis of the pitch, it is hard to be wildly optimistic for them.

Given Swann's success and Bresnan and Patel's struggle, some will claim that England should have selected Monty Panesar instead. It is a reasonable point, too. While India play him particularly well - Panesar's Test wickets against them have cost 53.57 apiece - it is highly likely that he would have offered his captain more control. Whether he would have caught Tendulkar in the deep, as Patel did, or can score the runs that Bresnan or Patel might is debatable. England may well have to reflect on the balance of their side if all pitches are to be like this.

England also might have to reflect long and hard on how to bowl at Pujara on any wicket. He might be something of a throwback in modern cricket - he has never made a T20 half-century - but he looks an outstanding player. He remains largely unproven on seaming tracks or against pace and bounce, but he looks to have the technique to succeed.

India took a risk with this pitch. Had they bowled first, they, too, could have faced an awkward first day. But their risk has come off and besides, it is unlikely they would have conceded as many as 323 in a day. England will have to bat exceedingly well to save this game. Already, it is hard to see how they win it.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by cricketmad on (November 16, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

@David Goodwin - And you think the various batsmen hailed the next big things in English cricket are all great players against spin bowling? The point Im trying to make is its better just write about this innings today and not about he may or may not perform in the future on a different pitch. You dont call Anderson a poor bowler just because he performed badly in conditions unhelpful to his style of bowling--- or do you?

Posted by Johnny_129 on (November 16, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

@ GloveActually on (November 16 2012, 09:27 AM GMT) - In recent times only SA has been doing well away from home...so why pick on India!??

Posted by Ozzbozz on (November 16, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

Can't really blame the pitch as this type of pitch in that part of India is what they should expected, now everyone and thier dog knew that England should have picked out and out spinners. Bresnan was picked just to bolster the fragile tail. Now that's water under the bridge, Englands second fault was that they have been line and length only and haven't tried anything out of the ordinary, hardly any yorkers or genuine bouncers to the neck. Why not one of the seamers try cutters for an over or two? This is Cook's job to think of these things but then I'm only listening on the radio at my work so I may be totally wrong, but I doubt it. By the way regarding spinners only getting wickets in Asia and seamers in Eng, S.A., Australia and N Zealand is a bit simplistic because if your good enough you can get wickets anywhere which is why Murali and especially Warne got wickets anywhere. Also if memeory serves me right I Courtney Walsh has more wickets in India tha Warne, think about it.

Posted by spiritwithin on (November 16, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

@Cantbowlcantbat..indian supporters were not whining about green tops in eng when india toured last time bcoz they were instead questioning their players of not playing well last year unlike english fans in this series who instead of blaming their players of not playing well taking the easy route and blaming pitch instead and only bcoz of that the indian fans r now questioning ur pitches as well..and ur eng pitches does'nt support spinners either but only pace bowling,so stop whining on pitches...btw all pitches becomes slower and lower with each passing days or u have found a new formula to alter that lol

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 16, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

@spiritwithin, and let's also add that the Legend Kapil took 9 for 83 in Ahmedabad. And hear it from his own mouth. There was no assistance from the pitch. It was slow and low. Very tough for the batsmen and the pacers as well - Kapil said just a while ago on the TV while remembering that match. And here we have England fans in bucket loads filling this column about how bad this pitch is, ably assisted by George, all the while conveniently ignoring the fact that England made elementary selection errors and that their pacers are not world class like Marshall or Kapil or McGrath or Steyn. It's enough proof that they rely heavily on pitch to grab wickets unlike the greats that I've mentioned who had loads of talent to prevail in all conditions. Some of the English guys are always looking for EXCUSES instead of REASONS for this dismal show thus far, 28 years and counting.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (November 16, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Bresnan and Broad are good pace bowlers for England. They are obviously more potent when they play in their home conditions. Are they world class bowlers who can be successful when playing in away conditions? Or are they like India batsmen who similarly couldn't adapt to Eng conditions last time? As an India supporter, I have my doubts whether our batters can adapt to foreign conditions, without serious advanced training in those conditions.

Posted by GloveActually on (November 16, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

Flat track bullies living up to their names once again. This cycle of getting thrashed away and dominating in the subcontinent will never end, what a joke.

Posted by spiritwithin on (November 16, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

also want to add one more point-it seems english pacers always needs assistance from pitch to get wickets,i m quite sure Zaheer Khan will get more wicket than any english pacers in this series

Posted by Flash_hard27 on (November 16, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

Hats off to Pujara, I have only seen this guy bat in test cricket 3 times but on each occasion he has impressed. I cannot imagine him becoming a huge fan favourite with many Indian supporter due to the pace that he bats which is a real shame. But if you love test cricket I am sure fans around the world will come to love him, he clearly has the technique and concentration to be a success, so much more than that overrated slogger Yuvraj Singh.

Now here is hoping Cook & Trott can mirror his innings...

Posted by path_finder_13 on (November 16, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

i think anderson is a kind of bowler if he does not get even a little help from pitch he is good for nothing ...how in God's name he calls himself a world class bowler... look at styen he came to india and took quite a few wickets....even mcgath.. people like waqar akram and some extent in the same class zaheer khan ware bought up in such conditions and became world......although fitness is always a problem with zaheer but he is good on so called dead indian wickets........

Posted by spiritwithin on (November 16, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

@Hammond,when was the last time aus or eng pitches helped spinners??all the touring sides spinners struggled it aus/eng and the teams picks only one spinners in their playing 11 while playing there bcoz the pitch r heavily loaded in favor of pace bowlers..just like ur pitches favors pacers similarly in india it favors spinners..and u saying spinners can get wickets in aus/eng well in that case even pacers gets wickets in indian pitches,infact Zaheer Khan has better record in india than outside,60% of the wickets till date in india were taken by pacers..will u plz stop crying and better concentrate on how ur players r playing in india rather than moaning and whining everytime..last time india visited aus/eng their spinners struggled too much and were hammered,is this a good pitch for u??all the pitches in the world has its own character,try to win rather than giving EXCUSES

Posted by dscoll on (November 16, 2012, 9:05 GMT)

What's the point of preparing a pitch when the toss decides the outcome of the game. You may as well just toss the coin, award the result and have 5 days off!

Posted by Hammond on (November 16, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

@Ross_Co- actually have never said anything except the fact that I am 100% Australian. In relation to the pitch I turned the TV off when Broad banged it in at 85mph- it got up to Sehwags navel. It just is boring. I like spin bowling but spin bowling is only one type of bowler. Wickets in Australia and England can and do turn, and spinners can get wickets in both these countries. In India there simply isn't any point being a pace bowler. Everything that enables you to take wickets as a pace bowler is denied you. And it truly may be a matter of taste but a spinner with men all round the bat endlessly looking for a batpad or leading edge is really boring compared to Dale Steyne testing technique and personal courage on a raging green top. I admit that Aussie (and English) batsmen are not as good at playing spin as Indian batsmen. There is no argument. Pontings average in India clearly illuminates this. But conversely Sehwags average in England illuminates the other side of that coin.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 16, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

Alright Brits, this is the 'worst' pitch. And our batsmen piled runs on it. If your batsmen are good enough, let them pile runs on this 'worst' pitch. Only England prepares 'good' pitches. Are you guys happy now? How much will you focus and blame the pitch when the problem is with the professional cricketers who are representing your country and who can play only on 'good' pitches? Grow up guys and start questioning your cricketers rather than coming here and questioning our pitches and conditions. Question Cook as to why he went in with 3-1 combination rather than 2-2 combination? Sadly, partisan articles from the likes of George won't help you guys to think beyond.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 16, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

@Monday301 : What is a definition for sporting wicket? It will spin a bit in final day and the match would be over in 4 days? Any pitch which offers assistance to the bowlers is a sporting wicket. England just preferred a cushion of long tail in the form of Bresnan and not a proper spinner in Panesar and paid the price. As simple as that.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

Although its early days, but Cheteshwar Pujara is already showing the sign of becoming a true Test Batsman. In future, he will be in the same league where the Legends like Gavaskar and Darvid belong! A master Test Batsman in the making!

Posted by Haleos on (November 16, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

Pujara looks like he belongs at international level unlike the overly unlucky but too much hyped Badri who looked like a deer in front of a car. Also glad Viru has come back strong so that Vijayi can go back to ranji/ipl and blast his runs.

Posted by ImpartialObserver on (November 16, 2012, 6:44 GMT)

@crh8971, I beg to differ. Just as England and Australian pitches are naturally green-tops and aid bounce and swing, pitches in the Indian sub-continent naturally are dry and aid batting and spin bowling. This is more because of the tropical weather and soil, than anything done by design. And this scenario is not seen in India alone. Similar is the case in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and to an extent even Pakistan. Some Pak wkts offer pace and bounce because Pak is in the North. In fact, even in India, the Mohali pitch is the one pitch that offers more pace and bounce than other pitches. We all have to be happy for this, since it gives different kinds of conditions in which a player is tested. If a batsman were only to play in Eng, Aus or SA, there would hardly be any major difference. Variety is the spice of life. Though, of course, I'd rather India played better and won in Eng, Aus and SA, then on the spinning tracks here. But still, fact remains that pitches're naturally this way in India

Posted by Cantbowlcantbat on (November 16, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

jmcilhinney is spot on. A sporting pitch gives all players a chance at some stage during the game- quicks, batsmen and spinners. It makes for exciting cricket as the match progresses with plenty of twists and turns. These low, slow Indian pitches only get lower and slower over the 5 days. The English "green tops" the Indian supporters keep whining about are not green tops for the whole 5 days.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (November 16, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

England fielding was below average and bowling was average only. Then whats the point of blaming pitch. I just wonder how can you produce a bouncy green pitch in hot and humid sub-continent conditions! You can expect bouncy of Mohali pitch only in Indian conditions.

Posted by jnandi on (November 16, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

@ Phil - I love comedy - unfortunately yours turned out to be that of errors. And of some brave futuristic crystal gazing. India will get some "REAL" green tops ? huh. Sounds more like rant than anything else. First handle the "sporting pitch" of Ahmedabad. And why do you resign so quickly ? After all it was just Day 1 of the Test match. Home conidtions, albeit I accept is a word unfamiliar to you, or does in your parlance, Home means, your home.. always ? But I got to admit, views like yours what makes this forum so enjoyable !

Posted by ayanraja on (November 16, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

Actually its hilarious to read the ignorant comments of some English fans. Do you guys know who were the best bowlers when England last toured India ... Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. Another info for you ... 11 wickets for 223 runs at an average of 20.27 and a best of 7/51 ... Dale Steyn in his last tour of India.Maybe your pace attack is so below par ....

Posted by tokoloshe on (November 16, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

With all the comments floating about I would like to add my 2 cents.....C"MON India. Give the poms hell. Who cares what they call your pitches? Dustbowls, sand traps etc. Spin them out and make them grovel.

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (November 16, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

L4zybugg3r.But we like the batsmen dancing against the spinning balls.And do you know a truth English dance very well.They have danced brilliantly when they last came to India.Again they danced in SL.Now if you have missed these two watch tomorrow.You will be seeing some amazing dancing from the English.And we love good dancers.

Posted by Meety on (November 16, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

@TAPOREE on (November 16 2012, 00:21 AM GMT) - the fact is that cricket evolved in England, once pitches were to be covered, there is an expectation that whatever grass is on a pitch, dies off over the next few days & then the compacted soil breaks up till the end of the match. Sporting wickets are for ALL aspects of cricket to be engaged. In Oz, pitches are NEVER prepared specifically to be spinning tracks, BUT they do spin, we've had some bowlers you may of heard of like Warne, MacGill, Grimmett & O'Rielly - who took mountains of wickets in Oz. There have been Ozzy pitches that have played far slower than normal when India have toured - WACA about 5 years ago, Adelaide last year. IF the pitch doesn't bounce you don't get to see HOOK shots or CUT shots - which are amongst the most exciting in cricket. I expect pitches in India to be pro-spinner, but I expect a fair pitch - SHOULD give a pacer some chance of roughing up a batsmen on Day 1.!!!!

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (November 16, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

LOL! Some Indian fans, who worship our flat track masters to end, are claiming that the green tops were the reason India got trashed 8-0. Then how come on the same pitches Alistiar cook got 200 and clarke made a 300??!! Other than the first hour, the pitches were good to bat on. So our much-hyped stars cant even sometimes deliver on true pitches.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 16, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

@Agila on (November 15 2012, 23:07 PM GMT), you obviously don't have a very good understanding of Test cricket. Any pitch is going to change and deteriorate in condition over the course of five days. A pitch that helps fast bowlers on the first day is good because it will deteriorate over time and offer less and less help to the fast bowlers and get easier for the batsmen through the middle section and then it will help the spinners later as it deteriorates more. A pitch that helps spinners on day 1 is only going to help spinners more and more over the course of the match, making any period good for batting quite short and the period good for fast bowling non-existent. A good Test pitch should provide a balance for everyone. A pitch that favours just fast bowlers, just batsmen or just spinners too much is not a good Test match pitch.

Posted by L4zybugg3r on (November 16, 2012, 1:32 GMT)

To all those saying that India has every right to produce spinning tracks as England makes seaming tracks fair enough. The thing I object to is the lack of bounce, it is so boring to watch batsman who aren't even threatened by bouncers. This also means that batsman can more less just plonk the foot forward because there is no way they are going to get hit in the head. It's like a sport in second gear, no wonder Indians don't fork out heaps of money to see this farce. I do wonder how often bowlers get heartbroken due to the ball not carrying...

Posted by ghost_of_len_hutton on (November 16, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

I find it hard to agree with the calls for Panesar to play instead of Patel. If England are going to be under the kosh against spin, then having Prior at 6 (fine player though he is), followed by Bresnan at seven and a longer tail will hardly help their batting chances. Patel should be seen for what he is - an aspiring test batsman with the ability to bowl some left arm spin. And he was hardly disgraced yesterday - 14 overs for 39 with two maidens compares very favourably with the performances of the seamers. I saw his spell in the final session, and he bowled tightly enough and even managed a couple of shouts for lbw.

Posted by moBlue on (November 16, 2012, 1:19 GMT)

based on their comments herein, ENG fans are just as clueless about IND pitches as their "famed" batters are against spin bowling. IND were beaten fair and square in ENG on seam-friendly pitches, and you didn't hear us IND fans complain about your pitches!!! we complained only about our raina's - but not a dravid or a tendulkar - for not knowing how to duck and weave, and how to play good swing bowling. yet, time after time, our colonial ex-overlords [yes, there is that "history", isn't there?] come to IND, and ENG fans start to complain about our "dust bowls"! are these the same "dust bowls" on which a sehwag compiles a carefree hundred with ridiculous ease, or a young pujara carefully crafts a disciplined one? ENG, where are your other spinners? why is monte [whose first wicket was sachin in IND] on the bench? why can't your players play spin? why do you - unlike us - complain about pitches rather than demand better quality of performance from your professional cricketers? pray tell.

Posted by Monday301 on (November 16, 2012, 1:13 GMT)

People (English & Indian fans both) just like complaining. Our British friends keep saying - the pitches prepared in England for India were sporting and it was India's quality (or lack of it) that failed to put up a fight. Fair enough. So please explain to me how is the current pitch any different from being sporting. Only cause English bowler and batsman (in the coming days) are clueless on how to play on these wickets, don't make the pitch rubbish. These are the kind of pitches that are used reqularly in the domestic circuit and very often then result in draws with both team scoring heavily. The only sorry state here in the mentality of lots of ppl. To believe that fast/bouncing wickets is sporting and anything else not is ridiculous.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (November 16, 2012, 1:12 GMT)

One more failed outing for Tendulkar. Lets see the second inning.

Posted by crh8971 on (November 16, 2012, 1:02 GMT)

I love all this conspiracy theory by the Indian fans that England and Australia have prepared deliberate green tops for them on their last tours and that is why their team lost four nil. I can say with 100% certainty that the pitches India received in Australia were absolutely no different to the test pitches we produce for all visiting teams and were pretty much the same as we had produced on the previous Indian tour where your great batsmen prospered. They are generally pitches that offer true bounce and a bit of assistance for the quicks on day 1, develop into good batting strips on day 2 and 3 and then deteriorate on day 4 and 5 and assist the spinners. The difference was on the last Indian tour of Australia that they were rubbish. Generally if a pitch is a true green top then both teams struggle to score more than 200. In both Australia & England the home teams made a mountain of runs. Preparing a pitch that has no grass on it and has had no water for a month is shameful.

Posted by sportofpain on (November 16, 2012, 0:37 GMT)

@SnowSnake: Well said mate. Why don't the rest of the English supporters have the same sort of balance? Barring a few who make sensible comments, the rest are full of garbage. You don't have to imitate us in that respect:-) You guys clobbered us in England - fair enough. Now you are in our country and we want to clobber you but will stand up and applaud if your team fights hard. And if you win we will take our hat off to you.

Win on our turf in our conditions - we couldn't do it in England but we sure aren't going to give it to you on a platter.

Swann is so classy. Cook missed a trick by not playing Monty but so did India by not playing Bhaji - he should have been unleashed as well.

What an awesome days play - 323 runs, four wickets - and some say it was boring. Boring was the 1980's when Boycott and Tavare would stonewall or the 60's with Trevor Bailey or the 50's when Bapu Nadkarni would bowl maiden after maiden. THIS IS THE REAL DEAL!

Posted by TAPOREE on (November 16, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

I have read many articles about preparing sporting wickets and I am unable to understand what does it mean? And why this term sporting wickets always come into picture when England or Australia visits subcontinent? I never heard of sporting wicket anthem when South Africa or West Indies or to an extent New Zealand visited subcontinent. It is a fact that England and Australia always relied on their pacers to get them 20 wickets. So if fast and/or bouncy wickets are prepared by subcontinent countries on the visits of English or Australian teams those probably will be sporting wickets. Right? Giving opportunities to their bowlers to grab wickets is what the sporting wicket means. Subcontinent teams always relied on spinners to get them wickets. And so for them sporting wickets means having a spinning track during their visits to England or Australia. Then the question comes to the mind is how many times did England or Australia prepare spinning wickets for subcontinent teams :)

Posted by the_blue_android on (November 16, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

To all the English fans calling this a flat pitch. Wait till you guys bat :)

Posted by xylo on (November 16, 2012, 0:03 GMT)

It was surprising to see Cook go with three pacers, one spinning 'all-rounder' and one spinner, and not swap Samit Patel with Monty Panesar. Maybe he was nervous, or does he think that Samit Patel is that good?

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 23:56 GMT)

@Crikfanatic

Perhaps it was mentioned because most of the touted next big things of Indian cricket (with the exception of Kohli, who I think is the most exciting new talent in world cricket and likely to be the next Tendulkar) have looked great on sub continental pitches and failed miserably when exposed to bounce and pace on faster tracks. That's what is going to be missed the most when we look back on the galactios - they were exceptional in all environments.

Whether George mentioned the converse with Trott on debut, because you are right that sometimes new non sub continental players do well in familiar conditions only to fail in the sub continent, is irrelevant - that's not what the article is about. It is about *this* game. I think you are looking for an issue where there is none.

Posted by Agila on (November 15, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

@hunksurat , yeah when Indians could score 160 in 20overs , England could only score 80! Isnt it?

Posted by maddy20 on (November 15, 2012, 23:11 GMT)

@Phil Katon You cannot expect seamers to pick wickets bowling wide of the off-stump or on the batsman's pads. Their attack lines should be stump to stump so that the odd ball keeping low would get them a good chance of lbw or bowled. Simply put, English bowlers cannot blame anyone else for being inept. There was reverse swin on offer and I thought Anderson would exploit it to get some late wickets. Watch Zaheer and Yadav bowl tomorrow. They will atleast pick a couple of wickets in the first hour and hand it over to the spinners to finish them off. Blaming pitch, toss etc., makes you English fans look bad. You were outplayed. Man up and own it! @Randy OZ You are next in line to be hammered buddy. It so happens that the mighty Ozzies have not won a single test vs our "minnows" for the last 8 years in India. Hows that for a stat? The thrashing will be even more sound this time, just like 2-0 clean sweep last time you were here.

Posted by Agila on (November 15, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

I dont understand this theory. If a pitch that helps seam on the first day gives fast bowlers (Seam/swing) an advantage over the batsmen is a good pitch, why not when it spins, either way the batsmen should be challenged to accumulate test runs! If it the ball moves in air in some part of the world, it spins in this part of the world. The batsmen's strength whether he is good at swinging ball/ spinning ball, lies in the conditions of the part of world he lives! , barring a few batsmen like Sachin(who is off color now), Rahu Dravidl, Kallis, Lara who are way above the pack with their technique.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 23:04 GMT)

Yeah, I am serious. The pitches in England favoured pace, but good batsman scored on them. They were good cricket wickets. This one is already disintegrating on day one. It is slow, low, and makes for sub standard viewing. That is the difference. A 'good' pitch offers both bat and ball a chance. This offers only batsmen and spinners anything, and certainly is not beneficial to India in the long run. How will India ever develop quality quicks, or batsmen that can handle pace, bounce, and seam movement on these dusty seamers' graveyards? So sure, keep saying how 'fair' and 'good' these pitches are, keep lying to yourselves; but it is only to the detriment of Indian cricket and cricket in general I'm afraid! :(

Posted by Humdingers on (November 15, 2012, 22:54 GMT)

@Phil Katon - 324 runs (due to pyrotechnics from one batsmen) and 4 wickets is not test match standard? What game are you watching mate? If you whinging poms managed to hold on to some of the catches then it would have been 250 odd for 6/7 down!

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

The issue with this pitch is not about home advantage - it's fine for India to prepare turning pitches. Home advantage makes things interesting.

It's that pitches ought to enable 2 things: 1. A relatively even contest of bat against ball.There was next to zero bounce, swing, seam or even turn of this pitch. Even the spinners need bounce, perhaps more importantly than turn.

2. A pitch that doesn't make the toss the deciding factor in the game. It is very clear that the team batting first has a huge advantage on this pitch. It's very likely that, had England won the toss, we would be hearing the same comments about the Indian bowlers' lack of penetration.

Don't get me wrong, as a neutral obverver I thought England didn't bowl straight enough on this type of wicket. Still, it would be nice to see a pitch that allows the team batting second to have a chance of winning a test.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

Yeah, this too slow a pitch comment is nonsense. When England or Australia makes bouncy pitches its game, but when India makes slow pitches its unfair? Make those dust bowls and wrap these matches up in 3 days to rub it in. That would be some sweet revenge. (Although I am skepticall about Indian spinners anyways)

Posted by 6pack on (November 15, 2012, 22:10 GMT)

Does Sri Lanka prepare only spin-friendly wickets anymore? True they don't have the quality they used to once possess in that department; but Pallekelle appears to actually favour seamers to a certain degree. I would think that preparing wickets that are not your forte actually helps develop your local talent. Potentially Sri Lankan batsmen will be better able to cope with such tracks in overseas conditions sometime in the future. One can only hope... My apologies for musing about a team that isn't playing in this match... but then again my dear Indian friends bring India into the picture regardless of what other team we're talking about...

Posted by drsankalp on (November 15, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

Classic English writer trying to find 100 excuses from day one for defeat. It's ridiculous to see same stupid nonsense excuses given everyday, Fact is England is pathetic team good only in England . Their bowling is club class bowling with exception of swann. Inspite of getting hammered everywhere in different part of world England stays under delusion of best team. Watch this match will finish in four days.innings defeat. White wash in India for sure. England can drop to test ranking of 8 in two years time. Just look how good Bangladesh playing and I am sure with kind of batting England got they can't even defeat Bangladesh in Bangladesh.

Posted by La_Bangla on (November 15, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

@Phil Katon - are you serious with your comments? Vaughn, Agger, Lloyd, Stewart- all said that they had never seen such Green Top that was offered to India at Lords. So to be fair, the pitches in Englad during the India series were equally disgraceful. I don't think anything wrong with the Pitch in current series. It's typical subcontinent pitch with slow, low bounce and little spin to offer on the first day..

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 15, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

I already told you people , trott should be captain not COOK. cook and pieterson do not have leadership ability. Cook is a good analyst and knowledge of game..Appliying at pressure times totally different thing.

Posted by MMahmood1 on (November 15, 2012, 21:50 GMT)

England selection is not making any sense. Why Bresnan on these pitches they can use Trott who will be more effective than him. In place of Bresnan they should have gone for Panesar. He would have thrown 25 - 30 overs with 60 - 70 runs and this would have given Swan a bit of rest and on the other hand put pressure on Indian batting order. In test team everyone need specialist specially in subcontinent rather than fillers like bresnan and patel. I am in favour of patel as he is a good player of spin so would include him. Cook would have gone for the part timers like KP and Trott. let c wt will happen.

Posted by Crikfanatic on (November 15, 2012, 21:15 GMT)

@Phil Katon, mate... don't loose confidence in your own team so quickly as there are still 4 more days to go in this match. England have been blasted by Sehwag and co on the first day but Swan bowled brilliantly too. Had they not given 120 in the first session the contest would have been even but you say the pitch is a disgrace, need to improve your knowledge in cricket mate...sorry, this is a typical Indian wicket which is fair for both sides.

Posted by 402_Navata_Complex on (November 15, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

As an Indian supporter, I like where India is placed right now. However, I also feel that it is way too early for experts to jump to conclusions about England's chances in this match. England has some outstanding players in Cook, KP and Bell. These players have immense knowledge about Indian pitches and will make best use of them.

While some experts say that the pitch seems to be assisting spinners, some Indian batsmen (especially Viru) claim that this pitch is placid and that the batsmen have to throw their wicket away to get out.

Whoever wins, I certainly hope we see an interesting test match.

Posted by cricketmad on (November 15, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

Hi George, Pretty balanced article except for one thing. When Jonathan Trott made a century on debut, did you think or write "He is unproven on subcontinent pitches"? Why add Pujara's unknown ability on pacier pitches as a rider to his very good display today? If it is so easy to score in Ahmedabad or subcontinental conditions in general, why did England fare so badly last winter? It would suggest a underlying superiority complex possessed by the English media and the team. I hope I am wrong.....

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 19:27 GMT)

@rajesh_singhSTM are you joking? We prepared nothing more or less than good test match pitches for India. The fact that India capitulated in such a sorry fashion was not due to any problems with the pitch. This pitch, on the other hand, is a disgrace, and is not up to the standard that should be required for cricket at the top level. If you thought the pitches in England were fast bowler friendly when India last toured, then wait until next time! A good but orthodox offie like Swann should not be spinning the ball miles (and ripping up chunks of the surface) on the FIRST DAY. That is a symptom of a below standard pitch.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

@Phil : I wonder if any of your pitches in England give any assistance to spinners. In your own words, atleast India is ok away from home, how about the english side in alien conditions. Live with it, everybody's a lion in the condition they are familiar with! Pitches like this ofcourse make a great watch, albeit for the home team.

Posted by a1234s on (November 15, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

@Phil Katon that's just rubbish. this ain't a real turner either.

if you want to talk about real turners, then a look at the match where the aussies were bundled out for 93 at wankhede. now, that's a real spinner's wicket.... this pitch is nothing like it.

England has been spooked and as long as England continues to whine and cry about spinning wickets, its never gonna do well in the subcontinent.

Posted by StarHawk on (November 15, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

the green-top bullies will start roaring again once they go back home!

Posted by PPD123 on (November 15, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Welcome to India... If India is able to get anything over 450, it will be very difficult for Eng given that there will be a lot of turn by the end of day 2. Even though the pitch is slow, it is keeping low as well, that brings the variable bounce into picture and will assist in LBWs. Eng have a tough road ahead in the test, to start with, they can do themselves some favour by getting the remaining indian wkts asap. Finally to answer George Dobell's question" England may well have to reflect on the balance of their side if all pitches are to be like this" - YES all the pitches will be like this and some of them will even spit and jump (if it is red soil like in Mumbai). KP is the only player (& Bell if he is confident) who can tackle/attack and score of the spinners on these tracks.

Posted by rajesh_singhSTM on (November 15, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

The keywords here are "India took a risk with this pitch.". Did England even give this chance to India when they toured.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 15, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

Bresnan is an Ashes hero but couldn't hit his usual good areas today, English seamers tried too many things on a pancake pitch and should have bowled like they do in England by maintaining threatening, accurate lines. This match will be a draw, unless this pancake of a pitch suddenly turns into a minefield on days 4-5, which wouldn't befit a real contest.

Posted by itclanster on (November 15, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

For me bresnan is the bowler who could reverse swing it for england. But for Cook's unimaginative captaincy, he did not have a burst of reverse swing on indians. I think it is wrong to criticize bresnan because when viru gets going the going gets tough for opposition :)

Posted by sweetspot on (November 15, 2012, 16:59 GMT)

ESPN Cricinfo, According to your own piece the BCCI has not imposed restrictions on the press and its photographers, while just banning photo syndication services. AP, AFP and Reuters have not been banned by the BCCI or restricted. Now you say "ESPNcricinfo is not carrying live match photos of the India v England series due to reporting restrictions imposed by the host board". What exactly is the situation?

Posted by hunksurat on (November 15, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

I think England still has good chance to draw this match if not win. If Indians can score 340 odd runs in a day then anyone can!!!! I hope there is some fun left in this test match (not a tame draw)

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

The pitch at Ahmedabad is a disgrace! By day 3 it will be even worse, and India will get some REAL green tops next time they come to England! Apart from anything else, pitches like this do not make for interesting cricket. What a shame that the powers that be in India don't think the home side are good enough to play on a wicket that offers ANY assistance to the seamers. As long as this continues India will never be anything more than ok away from home, and never produce quality quicks. This is a sad state of affairs where nobody wins, and India carries on stagnating on the world stage.

Posted by yoogi on (November 15, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

England have certainly faultered with their bowling selection. Also I doubt whether they will have the experience for close-in fielding that spin bowlers wants. There India will have plenty of experience and as early as fifth over, we can see seven men around the bat when India bowls. Actually that many close in fielders are more fearsome than a 95 mbh delivery where seven man stand behind you. C'os, fielders are close and infront of you, the spinner is like leader of a pack of woves.

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 15, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

Hey George, what happened to - 'But They Can Do It'? Apparently they in fact can't, unless of course you meant concede 300+ runs on day 1 - they can certainly do that.

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 15, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

Statchin once again fails, much like the whole English team. This battle of the minnows really is painful to watch.

Posted by CricketMaan on (November 15, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

Its only 323 not 623, I do see England getting near to India's score. The only question is Swann's workload. He will bowl tomorrow as well and soon many more overs..that could have a telling effect on his elbow injury. I wonder why Cook didnt use KP, he too can chuck one or two pies, can't he?

Posted by YVKT on (November 15, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

It was a treat to watch purjara. He remainds me a lot about Dravid and also is an ideal person to replace him. Coming to the case of England I think they messed up in picking three seamers. Why pick Broad if you are not sure about his fitness? Instead they should have gone with panesar. England conceded too many runs roo quickly. If India gets 500+ on board, then their spinners can be in attacking mode for most of the time. If that happens survival will become very difficult for English batsmen, who generally are very weak players of spin. From here on England can forget about winning this match. It will be very hard for them to even salvage a draw. Well played India. I love you guys. Good luck for the restof the match and series.

Posted by Nampally on (November 15, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

While this report summarises the woes of the England side, there is not a single word of praise or otherwise for the century by Sehwag or unbeaten 98 by Pujara. The Indian batting was trashed by most England fans & some long time Indian fans. It was great to see Sehwag & Gambhir re-establish themselves as one of the best opening batsmen in the world with 131 run stand. For the first time they played responsibly & no gift wkts. to the opposition as they did in 8-0 rout. Sehwag got his 117 at a S/R of 100!.His 3x 4's in a single over by Anderson with the new ball showed his daring batting.Young Pujara showed his quality with a fine innings. If he continues to keep one end up India should be heading for 500. SRT failed again. Swann bowled very well for England & was not well supported by other bowlers. It is futile to hope the English seamers to dominate Indian batting in India, as some fans expected.Dhoni did a great job by winning the Toss. England had defensive field from 5th over on!.

Posted by SnowSnake on (November 15, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

It is getting to a point of foolishness to blame Indian pitches for poor performances. Indian pitches have been this way for decades, so blame rests on England for lack of preparation. They should have picked Monty. Ask Swann; and he would be perfectly happy with Indian pitches. To ask for fast tracks is being unfair to spinners. Cricket needs both fast and spinning tracks. No one track should take precedence. Latest trends shows that when fast tracks are prepared, fast medium pace become new fast pace. Spinning tracks make fast bowlers raise their pace a bit. Why should world cater only to the needs of fast bowlers? And when it does, fast bowlers only lower their standards to a new low.

Posted by anuradha_d on (November 15, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

maybe for a brief while England punched abover their weight and their real level is catching up with them in bolwing (123 kph Bresnan is a speiclaist speamer for England).....and in catching when Anderson drops 1 per inning...and atleast in the field doesn't allow Monty to be missed

Posted by Rahulbose on (November 15, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

Haha, Dobby what a difference a day makes. Gone are the bold proclamations of how Eng team is "ready" to test the Indian team. How Indian players like Sehwag are "out of form". I thought England's game plan was obvious, they are looking to play for a draw in this test. All their bets are on their first innings, and they have a good shot at putting up a good score to force a draw.

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