India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 2nd day

England need to adapt and move on

England's policy of consistent selection has produced success in the past but the present situation must be identified and dealt with

George Dobell in Ahmedabad

November 16, 2012

Comments: 66 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad got through ten overs but suffered a heel problem, Mumbai A v England XI, 2nd day, Mumbai, November 4, 2012
Stuart Broad has lacked pace in recent matches (ESPNcricinfo are not carrying live photos of the India v England series due to reporting restrictions imposed by the host board) © Getty Images

Perhaps every silver lining has a cloud. Perhaps, after a time, every strength becomes a weakness and every virtue a vice: determination becomes stubbornness; loyalty becomes inflexibility; consistency becomes a fear of change.

There were times on the second day in Ahmedabad when it seemed that way. There were times when it seemed that England's policy of consistency of selection - a key feature in the upturn in their fortunes in recent years - had resulted in them persisting with players who were past their sell by date and with tactics that were flawed.

Let us be clear: India batted very well. By winning first use of the pitch that will surely deteriorate, they have batted when the conditions were at their best and taken full advantage. England could have bowled to their optimum against these batsmen and still conceded 500. It is not always a disgrace to be second best.

But England did not bowl to their optimum. They did not bowl anywhere near their optimum. Indeed, a couple of the seamers - Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad - bowled as poorly as any England seamer has for many months. Yes, more poorly then at The Oval. There, England lacked bite: here they lacked direction with Bresnan and Broad consistently drifting not just too straight, but down the leg side. And at no stage did Samit Patel look like a Test-class spin bowler. Sometimes he looked much worse.

It is true that England at least slowed the run-rate as India's innings progressed. But that was more the result of a spread field and a painfully slow pitch than a concerted improvement in the bowling. Only James Anderson and Graeme Swann had the control that should be a pre-requisite of a Test bowler.

England also missed their fifth chance in the field. Like the other four, it was not easy. But it was the sort of chance they used to take more often than not and the sort of chance they rarely take now. Alastair Cook said, in the run-up to the tour, that he had never heard of anyone being selected with a view to them being a good fielder. But perhaps they should be, for if England had held Cheteshwar Pujara here, on 8, or Hashim Amla at Lord's and The Oval and Alviro Petersen at Leeds, they might still be No.1 in the world.

England have been consistently disappointing all year. They continue to drop catches, they continue to lack penetration and they continue to insist they are good players of spin

There is a case for concluding that the balance of the England side is wrong. In hindsight, it seems that England should have made room, somehow, for Monty Panesar though, to be fair, it is hard to recall too many people arguing for Panesar's inclusion before the Test started. He is not perfect, clearly, but he offers control and, on such pitches, as good an attacking option as they possess.

Panesar might have eased the burden on Swann, too. Bowling 51 overs in the first innings of the first Test can have done little to ease his on-going issues with his elbow. Remember what Shane Warne's workload in India in 1998 did to his shoulder? England are asking an awful lot of Swann at present.

It may not have been such a tactical error as an error of execution. Some of England's bowling was simply poor. Steven Finn would have played ahead of Bresnan had he been fit and, had Bresnan bowled as he has done in the past, his selection might have been vindicated. But it is a while since he has bowled with the pace that he once did. And for all the talk of faulty speed guns or the lack of importance of pace, it is quite clear that all three of England's seamers have lost pace in the last year and, as a result, lost some of their effectiveness. England may be in denial on the issue, but the facts are thumping them over the head with increased venom.

Bresnan, for example, has played seven Tests since returning to the side after surgery on his elbow. In that time, his 16 wickets have cost 51.12 apiece. And, since June his five wickets have cost an eye-watering 92.40 each. And he has averaged only 18.50 with the bat. Compare that to his figures before his operation: his wickets cost only 23.60 a piece and his batting average was 45.42. He is clearly not the same player.

Broad is more interesting. Only Swann of any bowler in the world has taken more Test wickets than Broad this year. His average in 2012 - 30.20 - is fine and his strike-rate - 60.09 - is fine. There were times, in Sri Lanka and the UAE, when he bowled as well as he ever has. But in his last five Tests, his wickets have cost 48.07 and he had lacked control or pace. He is, like Bresnan, living largely on credit. At some stage very soon they need to deliver.

There is a clear lack of logic in England's persistent use of a nightwatchmen, too. There may be occasions, such as a batsman falling ill, when it is an appropriate to ask a bowler to do a batsman's job. But generally it is an absurd tactic - it is surely a batman's job to see off the bowlers - that merely betrays fear and gifts momentum to the opposition. In this game, it will also leave Swann, a more than respectable batsman, wasted at No.11.

Yet there is a reluctance from the England management to accept any of this. They are persisting with the same faces, the same tactics and the same balance even though it has been shown not to work. It is true that these same players performed superbly in the Ashes and wonderfully against India at home. But that was then and this is now. England need to adapt and to move on.

For it is not as if they have endured one disappointing game. They have been consistently disappointing all year. They continue to drop catches, they continue to lack penetration and they continue to insist, in the face of all evidence, that they are good players of spin. It is time to shut up and show us.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by markatnotts on (November 17, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

rahulcricket007, I can't comment too much on Indian selection policy and use of bowlers by the skipper. But you do raise a good point. Ojha has superb control, this was shown in England for Surrey in 2011. A Stewart in particular speaks very highly of him. I do now as well! That said Ashwin is a good variation to him.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

Where was Ashwin in the series in Australia.. had series figures of 148-18-492-7. P.Ojha has played all o his 16 tests and taken 75 wkts only in India. Why did Ojha not play in Australia.. Hiding...

Posted by himohan007 on (November 17, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

So far in the second inning good batting by England. Cook looks solid but waiting for single wicket that bursts into 3. Hope Ashwin provides it since Ojha is injured now

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (November 17, 2012, 9:51 GMT)


Posted by chokkashokka on (November 17, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

practise in Dubai - practising with loud music - lol, three warm up games and what does the english team have to show for it? seems like a waste of time. Now they've got all the spin practise they like. The result in the second test will be the same.

Posted by markatnotts on (November 17, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

Oh dear England, this is still a good batting pitch, I am watching this and we have followed on. Just because the ball turns, doesn't make it difficult. I am afraid we need a national enquiry into how we make good batting pitches look bad when abroad. That said, congrats to Ojha, he bowled beautifully. The only bad luck England had in this latest debacle was Samit's dismissal!

Posted by mav_nitb on (November 17, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Maybe Flower needs to step out and show the Poms how its done in India...Even Kumble and Bhajji in their prime had trouble getting him out...But seriously this side looks the weakest English side touring India in a long while...not to mention there recenr no.1 status.

Posted by himohan007 on (November 17, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Yipee England on Follow on... Seriously am I harsh..... Are u kidding................ I am enjoying.......... Its pay back time folks..... Belated Happy Diwali folks....For reference Watch Enthiran(Tamil)/Robot(Hindi) movie....

Posted by aby_prasad on (November 17, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

Mark my words England. If you think this is the problem/scenario that you have, then you are wrong! If Ahmedabad is difficult for you, then Mumbai is going to be a nightmare! I mean it!, mumbai will turn much more and india might play with 3 spinners. Hope you do some homework by scoring in the 2nd innings and playing monty or somebody else/more in mumbai! Having said that, India and England both have a weakness, one on green seaming and other on a normal flat n spinning or a rank turner. I guess both of these teams have to send their players to such countries and get adapted as soon as possible!

Posted by   on (November 17, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

The Aussies are one who have had success in India in recent times because of their pace attack in which bowlers bowled to the stumps, they had a 3rd man in place and the stopped the singles. I refer to the 2004 series in which Gilly was captain

Posted by himohan007 on (November 17, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

Guys I am seriously excited that all the SC teams playing well today. Today is the best day in cricket IMO. Welcome to Sub Continent folks....

Posted by chokkashokka on (November 17, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

All these people who are complaining about the quality of the pitch - India declared after scoring 520 on the same wicket. Now shut up and stop whining. England bats techinque is faulty - and their bowlers' too.

Posted by ceres111 on (November 17, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

England team has to face harsh realities in India. They have done very well in their home ground as well as in Australia but in India, they will have to really practice above their level otherwise, there is no scope of winning or even drawing a single test against India.

Posted by Vinmu on (November 17, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

Cricket is a cruel game..The only good thing tour match did was a false sense of security to england.Patel getting runs n wickets and bresnan also among wickets ,it made selection problem of plenty..2 days later they are not even good for test matches..India tactically 1 , england dramatically 0.

Posted by himohan007 on (November 17, 2012, 5:30 GMT)

@George Dobell: Wasn't this the case since they started playing cricket.

Posted by himohan007 on (November 17, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

@ Hammond: The pitch is sporting wicket in SC standards. Your Pommy team is an absolute joke over 28 years. And I love their comedy equal to Mr.Bean's

Posted by himohan007 on (November 17, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

Eng 69/5. Seriously these Pommys need Barathanatiam dance class. Why don't they have a two day camp in Chennai where they can find best Gurus of India.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

Adaptability..yes. at last a honest assesment. It is important to play to your strengths. England's have been pace bolwing. yes, this pitch is a graveyard for those..but, if you see some of the success had recently by visitng pace bowlers, it is to attack the stumps a LOT more than they traditionally do.. short of length outside the off stump, sits up and provides room in these conditions. However good a visitng spinner is, Indian batsmen play them with ease..think Murali, Warne, Vettori etc., Swann fought gamely..but, 5-150+ is a damage control exercise at, dont kid yourself that Monty Panesar as a second spinner would have changed anything..

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 17, 2012, 2:49 GMT)

Continued...One more thing..I think cook is technically text book batsman. He will be ok captain with few victories. I advise england follow chinse astrology and appoint trott as next captain until someone new comes in. Cook is ok, he has great cricket knowledge but his team is full of politics like any team with RAT (chinese astrology) as leader. Not a unified force.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 17, 2012, 2:46 GMT)

Continued...I do not want england dejected that they can't play in these conditions.,..They can ...They can bat like indians. But can they bowl to indians in this conditons...I am started to see chinks in the armor of tall bowler theory. It works great in AUS, SA and England. Its spectacular failure. In India you need to be extremely fast and swinging or tall and fast or great spinner like swann becoming now. Swan do not spin that much but i likes his fearless attitude. That makes him very different panesar who may have great control. But i really think ENgland killed panesar confidence by making him improve his batting etc. He might have greatest england spinner but he failed few tiimes and england selectors punished him badly. I think engalnd can draw all 4 test but they should stop dreaming of win with their trundler bowlers. They need to find atleast one real fast bowler next time they visit india. Flintoff can willed a wicket by sheer energy. Not sure england has anyone.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 17, 2012, 2:41 GMT)

I know how england can draw all the games. But i won't tell simply because i want india win. That said england team and the english commentators at sky were superb analsyt. Naseer hussein is spot on perfect analyst. MIke atherton is spectacular in saying thing exactly not offend anyone. I was very impressed with sky team trying to find how to adjust to new situation. Monty panesar would have changed the game? Idealist may think he would have. But again if jimmy anderson not sleeping on pujara gift , things would be totally different. India had two moments in first two test england they failed to grab it. if they won those moments india would have come out 2-1 win. That said you have to win key situation. England were stunned by the fluent batting by sehwag , more because of ball do not swing that neutered english swing bowlers. For me england bowlers did very good only sehwag escaped but pujara gave a gift that they did n't capture it. continuedd...

Posted by balajik1968 on (November 17, 2012, 1:49 GMT)

I didn't understand the point of Samit Patel playing. Sure he did well with the bat, but is he good enough to walk into the side on his batting? England's trying to beef up the batting did'nt make sense. They have a good bating line-up. Frankly Panesar should have played instead of Bresnan. Sure he is an ordinary fielder, but he can be a wicket taking bowler in these conditions. Swann has already bowled 50 overs. Just think how different things may have been with Panesar. India may still have scored 500, but there were periods when England were just letting things drift. If what everyone says about Flower holding absolute power is true, it is time some checks and balances are brought in.

Posted by RodStark on (November 17, 2012, 1:12 GMT)

England always like a 6-1-4 balance, and based on his recent form, Patel definitely justified his inclusion as one of the six batsmen. That said, I suspect the selectors were then very relieved that they had a batsman who could help out with the spin bowling, and for that reason felt they could do without Panesar. Also, Bresnan (I think) had the best bowling performances in the warm-up games and Broad (mistakenly in my opinion) was made vice captain and therefore more or less had to play. In retrospect, it would have been much better to have picked Panesar instead of Broad or Bresnan.

Posted by Garp on (November 17, 2012, 0:44 GMT)

This is typical England fast bowling overseas, main reason is England hasn't has true fast bowlers since Harmisson and Flintoff retired! All England's quicks are medium/fast bowlers, not actual fast bowlers. Broad has never been fast, there are some pitches that are genuinely faster than others and in those wickets is the inky time Broad has hit 90mph but then again on those same wickets Freddie would hit 95+ as would Harmie. Beefy always has said bowlers need to bowl. In todays England setup bowlers are rested constantly and are never allowed to get into bowling shape. Sure they'll last longer in the game than years past but what good is a bunch of 80-85mph bowlers when top batsmen will just knock them all over the pitch. I've said it for 3 years now in all of England I can't believe there isn't a true fast bowler?

Posted by sportofpain on (November 17, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

@Hammond: We heard you the first time mate. Repeating the same thing over and over again is tiresome. Think you can say something new for a change?

Posted by Hammond on (November 17, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

"England could have bowled to their optimum against these batsmen and still conceded 500."- that says it more than anything. The pitch (and the whole series) is an absolute joke.

Posted by Talubar on (November 16, 2012, 23:40 GMT)

I too am baffled by the nightwatchman concept. Is it a team decision or the batsman who decides? If the management decides a batsman can't survive, why are they selecting him in the first place? If it's the batsman who doesn't think he can survive he should drop himself.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

Dear England,

Samit Patel is a batsman.

That is all.

Posted by jango_moh on (November 16, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

i expected eng seamers to do better than they did... u can clearly see their pace has dropped, sehwag treated bresnan like a club bowler... i think finn would hve done much better... @coolerking .... this is not about "mystery" spin... stop listening to SKY commentators.. believe what you actually see... ashwin and ojha are just regular spinners, so was pak's rahman... ajmal may be a bit strange... but otherwise its just about playing spin well on turning tracks...

Posted by Peterincanada on (November 16, 2012, 21:44 GMT)

@Saurabh Kishore I agree with your point about all rounders. I don't think England see Patel as an all-rounder, however. They see him like Yuvraj. He is a batter who bowls a little. India were smarter in that Yuvraj is the third spin option not the second. Monty should have been selected ahead of Bresnan. Whether Patel is good enough with the bat remains to be seen. He made runs against some Indian third raters, so the selectors assume he is a better bet than Morgan to do it against the first raters. I tend to agree with you though that he is more suited to one day cricket than the test arena.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 16, 2012, 21:17 GMT)

Stupid, boring selections and inept batting against spin = whitewash for England at the hands of the Asian teams in Asia.

Posted by applethief on (November 16, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

Mediocre journalism for a mediocre team. How appropriate.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 16, 2012, 21:07 GMT)

Better late than never. At last an honest presentation by George. I hope the English management reads this honest dissection by George regarding England's problems. The problem isn't the pitch by any stretch of imagination as the author was trying to portray in his earlier articles. Why wasn't Cook not troubled one bit by the Indian spinners? THINK! He played with soft hands and let the ball come to him rather than he reaching out for it with firm grip. Gooch would cringe looking at the way the English management too seems to believe that English are being victimised by having to play on either a flat or a substandard dustbowl. The pitch offers no assistance to the pacers. True. But what stopped the medium pacers of England to put it in the channel like McGrath or Kapil or Zaheer? Simple. This trio of English bowlers is just not as talented as we were made to believe. When things got tough, their general loathing of these pitches contributed to them resigning very early. Monty? Sad!

Posted by AJT1 on (November 16, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

India can't play seam bowling in English conditions and England can't play spin bowling in India. Perhaps we should play test matches between the two countries in Australia and then we might find out which team is the best.

Posted by GeoffBoycottsGrandmother on (November 16, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

Good points. This talk from our boys about being good against spin is laughable and everyone's sick of hearing it.

Posted by Dragon129 on (November 16, 2012, 20:07 GMT)

George Dobell - in the past week you've referenced John Beck, Joseph Conrad, and used the word exegenesis. You obviously had an outstanding education. Great work, always a joy to read, I'm a huge fan - Jim Eyre

Posted by cricket-is-passion on (November 16, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

@George Dobell: You read my mind. Being an Indian always supports Team India was surprised the lack of pace from English bowlers. They are almost like Indian medium pacers and I think Khan can bowl much faster than them and ofcourse Umesh certainly can bowl much faster than them. But in particular I like Broad, not sure what happened his pace is diminishing, I remembered he hit 140+ mark when England white washed India but now in India he is not able to cross over 135. If the pitch is slow then they can still produce the same pace but thats a strange thing that Broad need to address quickly.BTW, it is not over yet as KP is still out there with Captain and he is yet another player who can change the equation single handedly. So let's wait until tomorrow before someone comments

Posted by Bodders70 on (November 16, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

Oh come on George, selection isn't the issue, beyond Panesar should've played. We're simply outclassed in these conditions. It would be like WI beating us in England, not going to happen anytime soon but they're hardly going to admit they're not as good. No different seamer would've made any difference and these are the best current batsmen. We just have to accept that at the moment the conditions are too alien for our batsmen, but the ECB are doing things right consistently touring the sub-continent so in a few years maybe we'll be closer to competing. I do agree with you about the catching, even a lesser team can learn to field better.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 16, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

This car-crash in Ahmedabad can be written off. All England's shortcomings have been exposed which is, after all, what Test cricket is all about: wrong selection; catching well short of fc; failure to use KP's offies on Day 1 (i.e. a failure to think outside the old box); field settings that never pressured the batsmen esp. at the start of inns (even MSD knows that's what you do!). As the TV pundits sitting in London said, 'In India you have to do things differently. It's no good just doing what works in England!' Why Stuart Broad is still being picked baffles me. He's well down on pace, lacks control & looks like cannon fodder when he's not scowling. So, moving on: Finn comes back & Monty plays. Only Jimmy is really worth his place as a quicker bowler on this form. There's no place in Mumbai for SB or TB. The stodge at #1,#2 & #3 also needs looking at. Bairstow could open with Cook, or Trott with Cook & Bairstow at #3. Having passive batsmen in blocks just hands the initiative over.

Posted by shekar4evr on (November 16, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

this article is funny!

lot of IF'S (for if England had held Cheteshwar Pujara here, on 8, or Hashim Amla at Lord's and The Oval and Alviro Petersen at Leeds, they might still be No.1 in the world. )

stop IF'S and talk about present more.

Posted by harishk19812007 on (November 16, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

English team always keep pondering about a single success for centuries........they always refuse to adapt to change.....this article clearly mentions the same....anyways they don't have enough resources to make necessary changes as they are known to be bad players against spin......really doesn't matter how much they adapt & change they will loose the they can'e play spin....if you don't believe, SHUT UP, wait & watch

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

Well said, Well written. I am looking forward to to proper full fledge explanation or apology from Andy Flower or whoever bar Monty from playing 11

Posted by PPD123 on (November 16, 2012, 18:38 GMT)

I think Ind has tricked Eng here. They gave them the flattest of tracks to bat on in their practice games, gave them the Tier 2 or 3 batsmen and bowlers to face and bowl to. What happened? Players like Samit Patel and Tim Bresnen bowled and batted like rock stars and got lulled into a false sense of security. They gave them team Haryana to play :-) Now when they are faced with the real indian conditions, they are finding it hard to bowl, bat and field... But wait,having said all this, I still feel this Eng side has some fight. Come day 3 you will see Pietersen/cook and Bell putting up a fight...India should win this from here, but Eng will fight and make it difficult...

Posted by timohyj on (November 16, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

india don't play with 2 spinners outside the subcontinent, so why do england persist with 3 seamers in the subcontinent especially on such a slow wicket. Anyway, there seamers could still ahve bowled much better. Zaheer looked much better than them in the few overs he bowled

Posted by oze13 on (November 16, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

Definitely, Bresnan and Broad have lost 5 or 6 mph since the Ashes and are looking like a couple of pie throwers. The England selectors also pick a team like they are playing in England. They still have learned the lessons from last years Winter tour. A little more flexible thinking is needed. India is looking like a team of world beaters. This they are not!

Posted by phoenixsteve on (November 16, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

An interesting and well written article as ever George. However I think that you are being premature in writing off England this time. OK it wasn't a great start to the innings but they are effectively only 2 down? After 2 days in the field under the scorching Indian sun the whole side must feel knackered! A nights rest and some deep breaths should enable the batting to post a respectable reply. Big scores from Cooke, KP, Bell and Patel would be very welcome and it would be interesting to see how India fare after being put to the sword by some artitional English batting? We're in trouble here - no doubt - but all is not lost! Broad has been disappointing and Bresnan continues to look like he doesn't belong? As Nelson put it "England expects that every man do his duty". Tomorrow will be England's Trafalgar day....... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by sportofpain on (November 16, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

George: Keep the faith with this team. They got you to World No 1. If you blast them, you are no different from the many Indian reporters as well who are 'fair weather friends'

England is a good side but not yet a great side - they will become that when they master conditions alien to them. Playing in the subcontinent is a much bigger challenge than playing in Aus or SA where conditions are usually good for the fast men.

However the big error was in the mindset - Samit Patel got included in the side because of his batting. There is no comparison in terms of bowling abilities - Monty is streets ahead. I said this much before the test - pick the best bowlers and the best batsmen. Only if two bowlers are absolutely equal does batting or fielding tip the scales. That was not the case here. So an error of judgement was made. I think India should have played Bhajji as well - the leading wicket taker in world cricket has no business warming the benches. He'd be a handful on this track too.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

Yeah, but they left Monty out because he drops catches innit. I'd back Monty to have clung on to the ones that Anderson and Trott fluffed. And they've made Malfoy Broad vice-skipper, which keeps him in the side just watch. Get Gooch out of there - I remember his formulaic and narrow-minded captaincy. Like, have Essex won anything since he's been coaching there?

Posted by rajpan on (November 16, 2012, 17:29 GMT)

Teams on a visit abroad, specially in a country with different cultural background, are always vulnerable and show a marked decline in results. Hence, England, South Africa and Australia show this effect more in sub-continent visits than in visits to each other. Same goes for Asian countries when they visit E/SA/A. But, if by chance, you have become a No.1 team in the meantime, neither you nor your fans want to admit it. Actually, it's routine!! For winning in alien conditions you need to be twice as good than what is sufficient in home conditions. England are not that good in India, nor were India that good in England last year.

Posted by ListenToMe on (November 16, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

Even though I am an Indian fan, I do not want to see England lose the same way India lost in England. There should some contest otherwise even if India win, I won't be happy.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

What if Monty had played and dropped that Sachin catch in the deep? Monty doesn't catch many.

Posted by Nampally on (November 16, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

So much was said by the players before the start of this test. O.K, England team did not "Respect Tendulkar" but surrendered to Sehwag, Pujara & Yuvraj.Yes there was "team unity" but the skills + intensity in bowling,catching & fielding in a " united Team" - missing. But there is one more aspect left untested. Despite losing 3 wkts. for 41 in an hour, can the batting still fight back the Indian spin Trio? When the events are not going in your favour, Murphy's Law always gets revoked. Don't forget India was also #1 in Tests when they faced England in the 4 Tests last year. Murphy's Law also came into play there in its worst form. At least England have all their players fit & are resting Finn - for the next test. Imagine Swann+2 seamers +2 front line batsmen out due to injuries! England would be whitewashed as happened to India last year.So England has a lot to be thankful for. This is why Cricket is such a noble game. It teaches one great lesson-Be humble in victory & gracious in loss!

Posted by Chris_P on (November 16, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

I got admit, after Panesar's efforts against Pakistan, I would have thought he was the next logical replacement for Finn given the pitch & conditions. There has always been this thinking (not only by England either) that if a guy can handle a bat a bit he gets the nod ahead of a bowler who doesn't bat as well, irregardless of their bowling prowess. It's all ahead of England now, it is up to them to show the fight & grit they have built up over the past few years. Well done to Pujara, well compiled effort.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 16, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

One more thing George, couldn't you be unequivocal in letting the English management know that they screwed it up by not selecting Monty rather than saying Monty may have made a difference and some such soft lines? Long story short, why can't you honestly point fingers at Andy and say that he is the problem here by selecting a wrong XI for this test match? Having read about the highhandedness of Andy, I wouldn't put toomuch blame on Cook. But if Cook allows these kinds of elementary tactical blunders to continue, then you guys need to question his abilities as a Captain. He's a toughnut on the field like a Dravid or a Kallis or an Amla and a perfect gentleman too. He should carry the same toughness and weight while selecting the final XI. Anyways, early days for Cook, the Captain. Wonder what Gooch was thinking in all this!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

2 days totally dominated by Indian English looks weak what to show in 3rd day (Cook,pietersen,Bell) Have to proff themselves or otherwise have to pay for it !!! Nightwatchman didn't watch the Night allow A great Asset to Loss(Trott). Swann did well solo Job (fantastic )Key wickets too!!!

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

Duncan Fletcher held back Monty Panesar in the 2006-7 Ashes down under until it was too late. Fellow Zimbabwean Andy Flower has done it now in India. Have spinners and then don't play them? England, it appears, had started defensively with the hope of drawing the series rather than winning it. They will need Ken Barrington, John Edrich, Geoff Boycott, Michael Atherton and Chris Tavare in the line up. Just a Cook and Troot wont do.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 16, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

Continued: IF this is how the next pitch is going to be and IF Monty doesn't get selected, then that's a huge question mark on the collective conventional wisdom of Cook, Flower and others in the English thinktank. Make no mistake, Monty will trouble Indians on pitches like this and I don't think Gambhir will score as many as he did here. Did any of the English even notice that Gambhir lived dangerously, consistently misjudging the length against Swann? He finally had to perish that way, getting cleaned up by going back to a ball that was fuller. Just imagine having Monty and Swann operating from both ends! Where's the pressure on the Indian batsmen thus far? If you have a 2-2 bowling team, this series is going to be very interesting, otherwise, from the looks of it, India seems to be moving ahead. I thought the batsmen are going to win this series. While saying that I never assumed that England will go in with 3-1. I always thought they will have the COMMON SENSE to go in with 2-2.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 16, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

Better late than never. At last an honest presentation by George. I hope the English management reads this honest dissection by George regarding England's problems. The problem isn't the pitch by any stretch of imagination as the author was trying to portray in his earlier articles. Why wasn't Cook not troubled one bit by the Indian spinners? THINK! He played with soft hands and let the ball come to him rather than he reaching out for it with strong hands. Gooch would cringe looking at the way the English management too seems to believe that English are being victimised by having to play on either a flat or a substandard dustbowl. The pitch offers no resistance to the pacers. True. But what stopped the medium pacers of England to put it in the channel like McGrath or Kapil or Zaheer? Simple. This trio of English bowlers is just not as talented as we were made to believe. When things got tough, their general loathing of these pitches contributed to them resigning very early. Monty? Sad!

Posted by GHemrajani on (November 16, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

The author has echoed my feelings. Well written. The only thing I would add is that the reluctance is from Andy Flower. Why is the author not criticising Andy Flower. He has been the sole power in selection and cant seem to adapt. Its time he resigns or he will be let go.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

I have absolutely no idea what business Samit Patel has in a test side or for that matter any one who has the brand and stamp of limited overs written all o'er him.Give me a specialist any day,or if you have a mind to throw an all-rounder into the ring,he had better be good.

Posted by FlashAsh on (November 16, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Ah George!! Hindsight is a wonderful thing! If the catch with Pujara had stuck IND would have been AO 300 and ENG would have batted out the day!

So lets not go jumping to conclusions just yet!! Agreed Night watchman should have been avoided and that Monty should have been playing somehow! But to say they are not good enough is rubbish, maybe not focused enough, especially the fielding, which is what has let them down more than anything else!!

Posted by Boston_Legal on (November 16, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Panesar, after being ignored for 1st test against Pakistan took more wickets than Swann in the next two. Wasn't that a very good indicator that he was indispensable on spinning tracks if not anywhere in subcontinent?

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

Hard to argue with any of that George. Although I suspect England will.

One thing I'd add is that in English domestic cricket we need to start identifying and promoting mystery spin, as a matter of urgency. The current 'limbo' status of Maurice Holmes is as dispiriting as it is telling.

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

This one's fine kick on the stern!

Posted by Sanjayascc52 on (November 16, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

Totally agree with the article...England and it's fans need to wake up and smell the coffee....your not a good side anymore...!!

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

Well - Bishen Bedi, Geoff Boycott, Rahul Dravid and Jon Agnew all thought Monty should've played!! As Samit Patel had scored runs, they should've asked Trotty to open, batted Samit at 6 and included Monty. He would've been a great threat on this pitch.

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