India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali, 5th day December 23, 2008

Test cricket deserves better

A match that could, and should, have been fought to a rousing finish was allowed to meander to a miserable stalemate
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One of the sport's marquee contests merited a better finish © Getty Images
 

Test cricket deserves better than the execrable final day that was served up at Mohali. A match that could, and should, have been fought to a rousing finish was allowed to meander to a miserable stalemate, thanks to India's misguided obsession with personal milestones, and the equally daft decision to limit one of the sport's marquee contests to a mere two Tests.

Let me clarify one or two points. India richly deserve their series win because they were the better team. With the exception of VVS Laxman, each of their top six batsmen produced contest-turning performances in at least one of the matches, if not both, and in Zaheer Khan they possessed the stand-out bowler on either side. If I was to draw up a composite eleven for the series*, it would be dominated seven-four by Indians, with Graeme Swann just sneaking into the spinner's vacancy on account of his attacking intentions.

But it is not enough in the current climate merely to be the better side, because Test cricket is fighting for its life in the face of the Twenty20 revolution, and every game that fails to spark the imagination feels like another step towards extinction. So-called "purists" who write in to complain that I am just another thrill-seeking bandwagon-jumper are missing the point. There is a massive difference between a draw where one side battles to safety in the face of overwhelming odds, as India managed at Lord's in 2007, and a stalemate such as this. The punters at Mohali voted with their feet, and who - in the circumstances - could blame them?

With even a micron of intent, Mahendra Singh Dhoni could have been sizing up a shot at his fifth victory in five Tests as captain, a statistic that would have counted for much, much more than Gautam Gambhir's second Test hundred in the game, or Yuvraj Singh's first against any team bar Pakistan - feats that, karmically, were both missed. Instead, Dhoni's only notable entry in the ledger was also the most farcical - the moment he took off his pads and came on to bowl the last over of the match, his second in Test cricket. Last week's historic victory in Chennai breathed new life into the old game, and South Africa's follow-up was a fillip like few others. Today's drudgery, however, was a sad and untimely regression.

Test cricket needs saving from itself as well. Nobody could have foreseen the need to reschedule the Mumbai Test, but to choose a venue so far north that fog and bad light were an inevitability was not the ideal solution. Having said that, the real flaw was in the game's stiff-limbed regulations, which still - even in this professional day and age - require the players to break for full-length lunch and tea intervals. There are no such qualms about pushing on through the evening session if the light is deemed acceptable - at Perth last week, play on the fourth day finished at 8pm after three straight hours in the field. A measure of flexibility would have restored several lost overs to this contest, and improved the prospects of a proper finish.

The ebb and flow of Test-match cricket requires give and take if it is to capture the imagination in a world dominated by instant gratification. That is as true of the pitches as the tactics, and it compounds the frustration that the curator actually did a pretty good job on this occasion. Here, as at Chennai (and Perth for that matter) there were trustworthy challenges offered to the batsmen on each side, pace and bounce for seamers and spinners alike, and a degree of degradation that made batting on the final days in both games more tricky that the scorelines suggested.

Nevertheless, in 13 overs in the delayed morning session, Yuvraj and Gambhir batted with such poise and purpose that a declaration seemed inevitable. They added a hefty 82 runs in that time, stepping across their stumps to slap England's bowlers with the same violence they had shown throughout the one-day series. It was an affirmation both of the lack of intent India had shown throughout the fourth day, and of the vulnerability of England's bowling when the attack is taken to it. India could well have established such a position by stumps the previous evening, but as it was, with a lead of 367 and two sessions to bat out, what in all honesty did India have to lose?

 
 
Test cricket is fighting for its life in the face of the Twenty20 revolution, and every game that fails to spark the imagination feels like another step towards extinction
 

Everything, it would appear, although that timidity hardly tallies with the dominance that India have enjoyed all throughout England's visit this winter. Five one-sided victories in the ODI series should have been ample proof of their superiority when it comes to setting and defending targets, but apparently not. I would sooner have seen England return home with a 2-0 defeat (either pipped valiantly at the post, or skittled ignominiously - either would do), rather than dribble out of the country in such a low-key fashion - especially after the dramatic circumstances of their return.

But a dribble it must be, and as they board their flight from Delhi tonight, England will have more than a few issues to contend with ahead of their squad announcement for the tour of West Indies on December 29. What is to be done with Monty Panesar, whose strategies at times seemed as bereft as his form? Can Steve Harmison really be trusted as a spearhead for the Ashes next summer, and will Ian Bell ever deliver his best form when it most matters?

Overall, England's experiences in this all-too-brief Test series were beneficial - they held their own for long periods against arguably the form team in the world, and can only emerge stronger - but for the last few days of the trip, they must have wondered why they went to such lengths to get the show back on the road.

* Composite eleven 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Andrew Strauss, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Kevin Pietersen, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Andrew Flintoff, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Ishant Sharma.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AndieRae606 on December 25, 2008, 22:46 GMT

    An excellent article Andrew. True, a 2 test series inevitably becomes a goal of win one-draw one and in that degree, India succeeded wholesomely and Dhoni's decision to 'stat' his team mates is forgiveable in a new captain, even if a surely wiser decision would have been to go for the win. I hope that does not become a precursor for complacency so soon after achieving the dominance so many arrogant supporters 'insist' on, as I cannot imagine any of the great Aussie sides letting England off the hook the way Dhoni did. However, I think the criticism of Dhoni is premature - I believe he is destined to shepherd this Indian side to Australian-style success over the next few years - if they can keep Ishant fit.

  • fijindu on December 25, 2008, 21:25 GMT

    History shows that Dhoni and India did what was required based on how the match progressed. It's called checkmate in chess and Dhoni made sure of this by batting until there was no chance for England to win this match and at the same time eliminate any possibility of a tie in the series. If the personal records came by the way of achieving this move then so be it. Nice article by Andrew when you look at cricket on the whole but does not in my opinion carry much merit in regards to these two test matches. One could say sour grapes.

  • maxymax on December 25, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    The real culprit is the BCCI for choosing Mohali as the alternative for Mumbai. They are morons truly if they didn't know about the fog and bad light around this time of the year. Seems like they just wanted to please certain influential people by choosing Mohali where as there so many other better venues in the country. As usual, sport and sportsmanship comes 4th or 5th in India always.

  • Sageleaf on December 25, 2008, 9:09 GMT

    Excellent article and I strongly believed that every essence in that article was carefully analyzed. I was very happy when India defeated England in the 1st test. But the way Gambir and Dravid batted in the 1st innings depicted volumes that the match was heading for a draw. It was very surprising to see India batting for so long in the 2nd innings. Dhoni should have set a decent target and made a match of it. I recalled how Ian Chappell used challenge teams when he was the captain of Australia. Some targets were so achievable. But that what made him the most challenging captain in the history of test cricket. He had faith in him team. Now I consider Dhoni a lucky captain. A personal milestone does not matter than bringing victory to your country. The best example was Sehwag's batting in the 1st test match when chasing a target. He scored only 83 but that earned him player of the match. I still remember how Imran Khan declared the innings when Miandad was 280 not out.

  • vikasagr on December 25, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    Why make such hue and cry over the last match. Onus of interesting finished lied with the England team, not on Dhoni. He did the best thing. Had England done the same then everybody would have called it a master strategy. Why do teams outside the subcontinent so poor loosers??? Its high time that Iandian supremacy in cricket should be accepted by everyone.

  • Ranil24 on December 25, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    Andrew Miller is absolutely right. India played negatively and not like the way a better team should have played. With a 150 run lead Rahul Dravid playing 19 balls without a run and then getting bowled for a duck says it all. Dhoni,s captaincy was defensive and negative. He did not try to force a win. The poor crowd endorses it was boring cricket.

    Ranil Mendis

  • TwitterJitter on December 25, 2008, 2:12 GMT

    The reason India did not go for win is because of Dravid. Take it from me that if and when Dravid scores a hundred on a flat pitch from now on, India will not win. It is because he will take a whole day and a half to score a hundred and at such poor scoring rates, it is impossible to set a defend able target for opposition on flat pitches. The only result will be a draw. If cricinfo needs to find a culprit, it is Dravid, the ever defensive, "negative minded" batsman. It is high time India let him go. He is too selfish to go back to domestic cricket and get his form back and tries fighting his personal demons on our time. Even his duck in second innings took him eighteen balls. He apparently forgets all his strokes (knows only blocking the ball) until he reaches 50 or 60 for which he takes about 300 balls. That will bore all TV audience to death and kill off any realistic chance to win the game.

  • spinkingKK on December 25, 2008, 1:39 GMT

    The composite 11 is good, except the captain option. Why on earth you want Dhoni to be the captain, after writing about how Dhoni's decision to bat on was bad for the Test cricket? Please, I will not make him the captain of my backyard team. A captain should, atleast, understand his responsibility to the fee-paying general public. He has an obligation to entertain those people. If not for the future of the Test cricket, he should atleast provide an entertaining cricket to the fee paying public. He failed. Only time the Mohali test had life was when Kevin Pieterson and Flintoff hammered the Indian bowlers on the third day. Dhoni wants to make sure he wouldn't lose the series. As if the world will end if England pulls off a most unlikely win in Test history. So, basically, he doesn't trust his team's abilities.

  • docwarren on December 24, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    I think the greater disappointment is that we even have 2 test series at all. How much do 2 tests tell you really, and should this count as a series? I don't think so. I think the minimum number of tests in a "series" should be 3. India will now be remembered as having won a series against England. England won a series against Australia when they won the Ashes. Spot the difference.

  • k.warrier on December 24, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    Frankly speaking, whats the big deal!!? Yea, India wanted centuries. But even if they would put England to bat, the chances of a draw was much greater. The chances of bowling England out was highly unlikely!! ..so if that is the case, then why not play for personal milestones. Let the england team suffer chasing the ball. They sure like to talk a lot while fielding, then lets just give them a chance to do what they are best. It really is not a big deal. Dhoni is not a selfish cricketer. He has always done what is best for the team. The media only likes to hype up information to get more visitors. Go India!

  • AndieRae606 on December 25, 2008, 22:46 GMT

    An excellent article Andrew. True, a 2 test series inevitably becomes a goal of win one-draw one and in that degree, India succeeded wholesomely and Dhoni's decision to 'stat' his team mates is forgiveable in a new captain, even if a surely wiser decision would have been to go for the win. I hope that does not become a precursor for complacency so soon after achieving the dominance so many arrogant supporters 'insist' on, as I cannot imagine any of the great Aussie sides letting England off the hook the way Dhoni did. However, I think the criticism of Dhoni is premature - I believe he is destined to shepherd this Indian side to Australian-style success over the next few years - if they can keep Ishant fit.

  • fijindu on December 25, 2008, 21:25 GMT

    History shows that Dhoni and India did what was required based on how the match progressed. It's called checkmate in chess and Dhoni made sure of this by batting until there was no chance for England to win this match and at the same time eliminate any possibility of a tie in the series. If the personal records came by the way of achieving this move then so be it. Nice article by Andrew when you look at cricket on the whole but does not in my opinion carry much merit in regards to these two test matches. One could say sour grapes.

  • maxymax on December 25, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    The real culprit is the BCCI for choosing Mohali as the alternative for Mumbai. They are morons truly if they didn't know about the fog and bad light around this time of the year. Seems like they just wanted to please certain influential people by choosing Mohali where as there so many other better venues in the country. As usual, sport and sportsmanship comes 4th or 5th in India always.

  • Sageleaf on December 25, 2008, 9:09 GMT

    Excellent article and I strongly believed that every essence in that article was carefully analyzed. I was very happy when India defeated England in the 1st test. But the way Gambir and Dravid batted in the 1st innings depicted volumes that the match was heading for a draw. It was very surprising to see India batting for so long in the 2nd innings. Dhoni should have set a decent target and made a match of it. I recalled how Ian Chappell used challenge teams when he was the captain of Australia. Some targets were so achievable. But that what made him the most challenging captain in the history of test cricket. He had faith in him team. Now I consider Dhoni a lucky captain. A personal milestone does not matter than bringing victory to your country. The best example was Sehwag's batting in the 1st test match when chasing a target. He scored only 83 but that earned him player of the match. I still remember how Imran Khan declared the innings when Miandad was 280 not out.

  • vikasagr on December 25, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    Why make such hue and cry over the last match. Onus of interesting finished lied with the England team, not on Dhoni. He did the best thing. Had England done the same then everybody would have called it a master strategy. Why do teams outside the subcontinent so poor loosers??? Its high time that Iandian supremacy in cricket should be accepted by everyone.

  • Ranil24 on December 25, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    Andrew Miller is absolutely right. India played negatively and not like the way a better team should have played. With a 150 run lead Rahul Dravid playing 19 balls without a run and then getting bowled for a duck says it all. Dhoni,s captaincy was defensive and negative. He did not try to force a win. The poor crowd endorses it was boring cricket.

    Ranil Mendis

  • TwitterJitter on December 25, 2008, 2:12 GMT

    The reason India did not go for win is because of Dravid. Take it from me that if and when Dravid scores a hundred on a flat pitch from now on, India will not win. It is because he will take a whole day and a half to score a hundred and at such poor scoring rates, it is impossible to set a defend able target for opposition on flat pitches. The only result will be a draw. If cricinfo needs to find a culprit, it is Dravid, the ever defensive, "negative minded" batsman. It is high time India let him go. He is too selfish to go back to domestic cricket and get his form back and tries fighting his personal demons on our time. Even his duck in second innings took him eighteen balls. He apparently forgets all his strokes (knows only blocking the ball) until he reaches 50 or 60 for which he takes about 300 balls. That will bore all TV audience to death and kill off any realistic chance to win the game.

  • spinkingKK on December 25, 2008, 1:39 GMT

    The composite 11 is good, except the captain option. Why on earth you want Dhoni to be the captain, after writing about how Dhoni's decision to bat on was bad for the Test cricket? Please, I will not make him the captain of my backyard team. A captain should, atleast, understand his responsibility to the fee-paying general public. He has an obligation to entertain those people. If not for the future of the Test cricket, he should atleast provide an entertaining cricket to the fee paying public. He failed. Only time the Mohali test had life was when Kevin Pieterson and Flintoff hammered the Indian bowlers on the third day. Dhoni wants to make sure he wouldn't lose the series. As if the world will end if England pulls off a most unlikely win in Test history. So, basically, he doesn't trust his team's abilities.

  • docwarren on December 24, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    I think the greater disappointment is that we even have 2 test series at all. How much do 2 tests tell you really, and should this count as a series? I don't think so. I think the minimum number of tests in a "series" should be 3. India will now be remembered as having won a series against England. England won a series against Australia when they won the Ashes. Spot the difference.

  • k.warrier on December 24, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    Frankly speaking, whats the big deal!!? Yea, India wanted centuries. But even if they would put England to bat, the chances of a draw was much greater. The chances of bowling England out was highly unlikely!! ..so if that is the case, then why not play for personal milestones. Let the england team suffer chasing the ball. They sure like to talk a lot while fielding, then lets just give them a chance to do what they are best. It really is not a big deal. Dhoni is not a selfish cricketer. He has always done what is best for the team. The media only likes to hype up information to get more visitors. Go India!

  • shim on December 24, 2008, 22:06 GMT

    What Dhoni did by bowling the last over of the 2nd test was completely uncalled for. It shows complete lack any sensibility and civilized behabiour. I thought he had better sense than that.

    My sincere apologies to the English team and the public for this gross ineptitude. India should be greatful to the English team for having come back to play the test after the Mumbai atrocities by the terrorists.

    Dhoni and his team seem to have forgotten that in their hollow glory.

  • Swamy.M.K. on December 24, 2008, 21:57 GMT

    A has been rightly pointed out by most of them, Doni was right, ofcourse interest of the team is paramount. I think Miller is not observing / listining to other matches which are being played at same time around the world and their results.

    Swamy

  • Nampally on December 24, 2008, 21:18 GMT

    Let us face the facts Andrew. The early morning fog & bad light was largely to blame for about 5 hours of lost time in this test match. The final day was no exception. If the game had started on time, Dhoni had a good reason to declare after first hour and hope to get at the England batting. Nut it would have been difficult if not impossible to get England out in 5 hours of play.The pitch was in excellent shape and it was still in favour of batsman. It was a toss up whether to go for it or play on and give Yuvraj and Gambhir their chance to get centuries. Dhoni decided to go in favour of his team mates personal stats. I don't blame him for it even though the test ended rather tamely. Yes 2 test series is meaningless. It should be 3 or 5. England does have some serious problems both in batting and bowling. Flintoff and Swann stood out in bowling while Strauss, KP & Colli did well in batting. Pamesar will be useful In W.I.India is World #1 team today and England did well despite losing.

  • sarthakv on December 24, 2008, 20:47 GMT

    Despite being a die-hard indian fan and supporter, I do feel a little disappointed in the fashion the 2nd test ended. Scoring 350 plus runs in 60 odd overs in a test match(in fading light) may be impossible for a batting line consisting of Sanath Jayasuriya, Virender Sehwag, Mathew Hayden, Adam Gilgrist, Viv Richards - let alone an average batting line up of the english squad(barring Kevin Peterson). I think Dhoni is an excellent captain and India are on the right track but there are moments like these that still highlight the gulf between an Australian or even a South African side and an emerging Indain team.Aggression and the habit of winning consistently is what will make India a number one side. The mindset has to change where 1-0 series win is somewhat unacceptable when there was an opportunity to win it 2-0. Ruthlessness.... thats what the australians had for almost a decade when Mcgrath and Warne were in the squad and that is what India lacks. Be Ruthless India!!

  • L.Modi-IPL on December 24, 2008, 18:53 GMT

    Approximately 90overs were lost in the match due to fog & bad light otherwise England would have surely lost the match, after India took a 150 runs lead after the first innings & set England to score 401 runs or more to win in the 4th innings. England would then have gone home for X'mas thoroughly "whitewashed", like a Santa's beard. Bearing in mind the collapses England team have gone through on this tour, does Mr. Miller really believe England would have had the remotest of chances of winning the test match by scoring 401+ runs in the 4th innings against the current India's attack. Interestingly, in the 3 completed England innings, the last 6 wickets collapsed as follows: 1st Test -1st inns- 6/95 runs, 2nd inns- 6/54 runs 2nd Test -1st inns- 6/22 runs not exactly scores that would inspire confidence of winning. Maybe Mr Miller should advise England & KP to give Aussies a sniff during the forthcoming Ashes series, assuming England ever reach that state against the Aussies.

  • anmn on December 24, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    Please stop blaming the 2-test series for english debacle. We have 1, 2,3...n test series all along. It would be easy to remember if the number of matches in a series is fixed, like US baseball. But, why does it even matter. english knew the rules as much as Indians did. They should've adjusted accordingly. Indians won. Thats what matters. Now, are you guys searching for a reason to justify english defeat. I suddenly feel like how an australian would have felt two years ago. Everyone seem to be searching for reasons to dampen indian victory. Indians have been better this two months. Its not because of weather or pitch or fog. They worked harder, thought deeper and executed better, all within the rules. Miller being an english supporter, obviously is venting. Please dont fall for that.

  • Anand_S on December 24, 2008, 17:30 GMT

    Wow Andrew, what an article. England is 0-1 down and doesnt want to force a win. They play poor cricket and now you blam India and its captain for the result!! Andrew, test "purists" and all pro English whiners, please understand that Dhoni is the captain of the INDIAN TEAM and not an ambassador for test cricket. I dont know how many people commenting here have ever played a game of cricket for a whole day. The England team is not a minnow to be bowled out in 60 odd overs. Dhoni did the wise thing by not tirinmg his bowlers out in a stale-mate. If Andrew and other English fans should rather worry about the fact that England with 2 spinners on a wearing track couldnt defend 387!! More than anything remember that whining doesnt win matches for your team. Sad that instead of looking to work on their teams weaknesses England cricket and fans are looking for alms from the opposition in terms of chances for winning test matches. Why didnt u guys give Australia a chance to draw the 2005 ashes

  • bgkr on December 24, 2008, 16:39 GMT

    Don't think Andrew Miller is coming from partisanship. Maybe he is being a journalist! (Every writer needs an angle...) No way would the crowds have been any different even if the declaration had been made a couple of hours sooner. The test was dead when India made 453 in the first innings and the available daylight in the match was what it was. There must have been good reason why Mohali was chosen - but that reason is roaming around incognito. Only two tests, and one of them played in a place where the match starts late and ends early! India has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory too often in the past to bear repeating. Under Dhoni, they are not going to to that. Indeed, they routinely do the opposite. The guys out there in the centre seem to know far better what to do than those in commentary or other media. What Dhoni has achieved is phenomenal - and he keeps going this way, the crowds will come!

  • h_kap on December 24, 2008, 16:10 GMT

    Good strategic approach by Dhoni. Clinching a trophy was more important that taking unnecessary risk and throwing it all away. Plus letting players play for their milestones in this dead last test is a good move. It keeps the motivation level of players high. I understand Andrew Miller's "sour grapes" article here. England have been punched down and out since they lost the Stanford cup (million dollars actually per pop actually) and since then their moral is down.

    Good attempt Andrew but your magic will only work on English fans.

  • NK67 on December 24, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    i can't believe mr miller is suggesting india should've opened up the game so to give england a chance of winning. this isn't a mickey mouse pre-season friendly. i am sure had there been 5 full days of cricket then both sides would've approached the match in a positive manner.

    if the ashes were at stake would england declare leaving australia with a target of 300 on the last day...or would they try to hold on to a 1-0 advantage?

  • Gopalakrishna on December 24, 2008, 11:09 GMT

    A thought provoking article. Adminstrators and ICC should look into the various points penned in this article. Thanks Andrew for this wonderful article

  • chrisel on December 24, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    This was always likely to happen when the Indians only allowed two tests to be played. Anything less than a three match series does not allow time for the true drama of tests to develop.

    For teh earlier post to blame this on the desire of the English is unbelievable. The importance the two boards place on tests and one dayers is evidence enough.

  • Badger36 on December 24, 2008, 10:59 GMT

    This game must have been a huge disapointment for the English fans who made the long journey to northern India.The players have a duty to entertain and there was no reason why India could not have pushed on day four with so many wickets in hand.I had a good idea that the game was going to end up like it did when Dravid came in at number 3 instead of Yuvraj or Dhoni himself. In the wake of Mr Millers report it seems odd that he made Dhoni captain of the composite team!!

  • ecps on December 24, 2008, 10:56 GMT

    Brilliant captaincy by Dhoni. The Indians had battled to get the lead in the series and there was no way that he should have given a sniff of victory to England in the second Test. An England victory should only have been brought about by brilliance from the English team - not by a gift from the Indians in the name of encouraging people to attend Test Cricket. And I would suggest that a series win for the better team will do far more good in the long term for Indian Test Cricket than the possible alternative of an unjust series draw!

  • rkn11 on December 24, 2008, 10:46 GMT

    PhilGoorha sums it up brilliantly. Test cricket is being affected by people thinking like Mr. Miller and his followers. How many ashes series have ended in 5-0 margins? why is there so much fuss all of a sudden? Just cause England didn't get a chance to win? At 285 runs to win at the start of play England could have pushed for win but if they lost quick wickets won't they play for draw? Would MR. MILLER still write this article? Dhoni did a right thing by letting his batsmen bat rather than tired bowlers bowl for a draw. "with a lead of 367 and two sessions to bat out, what in all honesty did India have to lose?" why didn't this article end at this phrase?

  • sap2009 on December 24, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    so now test cricket is the new sacrificial lamb for england's collective and individual failings, mr miller?

  • sap2009 on December 24, 2008, 9:17 GMT

    A uniqueness of test cricket lies in the ability of one of the captains to raise the spectre of a draw and try and bowl out the opposition in the fourth innings. Yes, Dhoni left it a little too late. But it is understandable. India has been mainly playing the best test teams in world cricket -- four test matches against Australia in Australia and then three each against South Africa and Australia at home. The intensity was great and the efforts untiring. By contrast England had only played South Africa at home (and lost). I thought, given the overall match situation and the larger picture, it was incumbent on Dhoni to provide an opportunity to his two best batsmen to get to their hundreds. India were one up in this series after a brilliant run-chase in a difficult wicket. It was up to England to stop cribbing and getting more out of the game. They failed. Surely, we cannot fault test cricket for providing us with such a fantastic year. Or, for England's failings.

  • PhilGoorha on December 24, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    It didn't look like India taking 10 England wickets in the limited time available and the condition of the pitch. Should Dhoni have declared when the only two outcomes could have been a draw or an England win? I am convinced he did the right thing, because he cannot be expected to let England draw the series in the name of saving test cricket from the onslaught of 20-20. Pietersen's declaration in Chennai made sense on two grounds. He didn't have much batting left any way and the fact that the pitch was behaving rather awkwardly for the batsmen. KP had a very good chance, nothwithstanding England's slow 4th day batting grind. Dhoni couldn't have let England bat with 325 to chase in close to four hour-and-a-half on this Mohali 5th day pitch. That was the real reason, and cannot be derided for that. His statement that he waited for those two centuries is to be seen in the light that there was nothing else to look forward to in the game. Where is the problem, Mr Miller?

  • sonyjtp on December 24, 2008, 6:18 GMT

    Dhoni's revelation that it was the team's decision to continue so that the lefties score centuries makes one wonder whether the captain himself was feeling guilty and does not want to take the blame alone. When Dravid as captain declared the innings when Sachin was not out on 194, he could have easily put the blame on the team(and I am pretty sure that he did not decide on that by himself), but he never did. I have great respect for Dhoni and i do believe that he is one of the best things that could have happened to Indian cricket, but the Mohali test has made me rethink. Harbhajan has never scored a test century and there was ample time left.Maybe he shouldn't have declared at all!

  • theregalpower on December 24, 2008, 5:51 GMT

    The second test between India & England at Mohali can at best be described as a farce. In this day of instant gratification of T20 cricket, test cricket was pushed to the limits of extinction by this travesty of a game. The pace of India's game during the fourth day was baffling at the most. Rather than setting the tone of the game, India allowed themselves to get bogged down and allow the match stutter to a futile draw.

    Compare this with the way South Africa set up the chase against Australia at Perth and paved the way for a rousing finish. Even though substantial number of overs was lost owing to bad light, India made sure that the game ambled towards a draw. With India having nothing to lose, they could have upped the ante and set up a better finish.

    Surely this is not the greatest advertisement for test cricket…

  • abin06 on December 24, 2008, 5:31 GMT

    I thought it was most unlike Dhoni to be pushing for a dull draw like the one in Mohali. I felt India should have declared early morning or may be even on the 4th day evening setting England a target of around 280-300 runs. That would have produced on hell of a contest and judging by the form would most likely have gone India's way. This is something which differentiates Dhoni from Captain Ganguly who would have taken a shot with even a little smell of victory.

  • ganeshram78 on December 24, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    there was no way a result was likely after play began after 11.30 on the last day. so i dont think dhoni was wrong. england wants to be home for christmas. so they asked for a 2 test series.

  • panditshekar on December 24, 2008, 4:45 GMT

    Wow Indian teams attitude of being shelfish and Playing for Records has re-emerged within no time and thats what I call it consistency. If I were MSD I would've been ashamed to even think of personal records of the team mates but Dhoni dared by admitting that the team has decided to play for Centuries. This is what is called the most shameful statement ever made by any captain in the history of Cricket. MSD has proved that Indian Cricket team is still to find patriotic people who are both committed, selfless and Daring. Also it clearly exposes the greed of Yuvi to get some test runs which he never did in his entire career and still remains a lucky entrant to the test team. Anyways I'm proud that I'm neither MSD nor Yuvi else would not be in a position to face any indian.

  • sridharps on December 24, 2008, 3:07 GMT

    Andrew, test cricket is long overdue for some drastic changes. The purists may cringe but we have to force changes to bring the crowds and enthusiasm back - like,for e.g, every team getting exactly 90 overs to bat each for two innings. Boring draws like these do not help the cause - but you can't really blame Dhoni too much - with so much media focus on the game, he can't afford to lose. Also, when you are already one up, why will he bend his back to make it two zero? Mate, the rules of this great game have to change and the rules must take the matter out of the captain's hands. The rules must force them to play for a win at all costs - otherwise, they will always take the easy way out. That is human nature - who can blame them?

  • ayekaygee on December 24, 2008, 3:05 GMT

    Andrew is merely being a messenger and so lets not adopt the attitude of shooting the proverbial messenger. Whilst the decisions made by Dhoni or India are debatable issues, what is pertinent in the article is the flexibility that one needs to bring into the game. If a 20/20 world cup can be decided by a bowl out (!!!) merely to get a result, why not follow the same principle for test cricket. Some of the issues that should be considered are making up for lost time with flood lights , establishing a min overs to be bowled for a test match to conclude and keeping a 6th day in reserve for such an eventuality etc.

    For the purists of the game, the Test version is a great one and if we are to see this survive, then we must all support measures that will bring about results.

  • smirchand on December 24, 2008, 2:57 GMT

    Mr. Miller - I have 4 (FOUR) words for you - see if they jog your memory from about 6 years ago -

    ASHLEY GILES - SACHIN TENDULKAR.......

    I would like to know if you thought AT THAT TIME if Mr. Giles' incessant leg-side bowling was a GOOD advertisement for TEST CRICKET!!!

  • yakka on December 24, 2008, 2:44 GMT

    I also think this is sour grapes. Why should it be up to captains on the field to risk a series win in order to keep the crowd "entertained"? It's up to the organisers to ensure a structure that rewards positive cricket. Only having two tests means whoever wins the first has nothing to lose by defending in the second; boring 5 day draws on flat pitches keep promoters happier than an interesting game with the risk of a result on the fourth day. That is what is killing test cricket, not 2020.

    Congrats to India - the best team in the world at the moment in any form.

  • henchart on December 24, 2008, 1:56 GMT

    Andrew Miller has overlooked the fact that onus lay with England not India to do something extraordinary to win the Mohali test on the last day.India was well within its rights to protect the lead earned with a hard fought win at Madras.Englishmen have known to be bad losers .Wasnt it Tufnell who got distracted by beggars and lepers in India?Bottomline is -India and S.Africa are the two best teams at the moment.

  • ndogcricfan on December 24, 2008, 1:46 GMT

    Personally, I think Andrew's article is one that a whining fan would write. Yes, the cricket was boring, and Dhoni could have declared earlier. However, why is it DHONI's responsibility to make the game interesting when he was winning? Instead, KP goes around calling Yuvi a pie-chucker but still is afraid to score runs off him (3 KP runs from 17 Yuvi deliveries). Near the end, England had given up too. Also, if Dhoni wants to let his guys get 100s, why shouldn't they? I'm sure had KP declared in Chennai when Strauss was on 99, Andrew would have written an article saying something like "captains in modern test cricket no longer feel that milestones and personal achievements are important as trying to get an early declaration". Also, I must say, it seems people are very quick to criticize Dhoni. I think this is complete and unfair rubbish. Dhoni decides to play it safe once, and India freaks. But if he had repeated his World Cup antics by attacking, we would have burned his house down

  • heman_cricket_fan on December 24, 2008, 1:44 GMT

    Sorry Andrew, I totally disagree with your opinion that India shd have declared earlier and not gone for centuries of Gambhir / Yuvraj. Its sad that it did not happen but that wasnt to be known at lunch right where both were less that 20 away from the milestones. It is not just about achieving the milestone but what it would do to their confidence and careers. Anyone who would have listened on TV to commentators (Ravi Shastri, David Lloyd, Allan Lamb and Jimmy) would know where am I coming from. However, what sure requires retrospection is the choice of venue and the timings and you are spot on in saying that full length breaks did not make sense at all.

  • apyboutit on December 24, 2008, 1:07 GMT

    Andrew, after loosing four sessions of play to weather, and given that there was no way that India was going to take 10 wickets in 50 + overs, I don't think there was anything else to do than to have fun. Since two guys were looking set for a hundred each, THAT just happened to be the "Having FUn"! One of the teams would have had to toil on the field, to bowl out those overs. DHoni had a choice to choose which team that would be - and he made his choice. Kevin didn't have the choice - "unfortunately". So,there is no point in crying about it. This game, thanks to the weather, had no other way of going, unless, England had capitalized on their fourth day heroics, early on the fifth day, with the sky overcast and the ball moving. They did not have the attack that could curb Yuvi or Gauti. So, they did not earn the choice of a second chance in a dead match. Period. England needs to get a fresh bowling team. Batting is fine - it is time Bell fires. I think you should be writing about these.

  • apyboutit on December 24, 2008, 0:54 GMT

    Andrew, I think your column is crying, "you should have given us another chance". THis is (not) amusing. Kevin and co. had their couple of chances at Chennai and here at Mohali. They didn't grab them. India grabbed most of their chances and came up trumps. These chances are like game or set points (tennis). one who holds their nerves and wins them, comeout the eventual winners. It was surprising to hear Kevin and Flinttof say that they had lost hope, on the evening of day 3!! Everything was immediately blamed on the "unfortunate" fall of their wickets! They had no faith in their own batsmen - Strauss, Cook, Bell, Collingwood, Prior - to come good in the 2nd innings!! THAT to me is where this match lost its "Test" competitiveness. In international sport, today, it is pathetic to see a team crying out - "please give us one more chance". Good teams create their own chances and use them. I guess we are in for the most boring Ashes in near memory, next year. Good luck. Thanks for coming.

  • gentlemans-game on December 24, 2008, 0:23 GMT

    Thank you Andrew. Test Cricket and a worthy opponent deserve much better. England came back to India for a contest, got a fantastic one in the first test; and were not given an opportunity in the second one. India and Dhoni can line up any number of arguments to explain (defend?) the pointlessness of delaying the declaration. Administrators, weather, and 2 test series can lead to some novel debates, too.

    But the key question is : Does India truly aspire to the No 1 position? In this test, India had the chance of setting up the game for another exciting finale, challenging themselves yet again to deliver the goods, and showing their opponents true gratitude (for coming back) by giving them another contest. By displaying positive intent again, India had the opportunity to behave as true leaders in the game.

    Sadly when that opportunity presented itself, Dhoni and India blinked. Worse, Dhoni actually believes he got it right!

  • cricamateur on December 23, 2008, 23:48 GMT

    I totally agree with Miller. In his continued pursuit of pleasing his teammates and making them his faithful followers, Dhoni missed the main purpose of a contest...play aggressively to win or at least put the competetor in a difficult situation at close.

  • Benster2 on December 23, 2008, 23:45 GMT

    Andrew - I couldn't agree more with your article - and good on your for writing it. Generally any time a journo criticises the Indian team all their die-hard fans get their necks disjointed and, instead of being objective and realistic, rush to the defence of their team.

    India have always played defensive cricket. Against England, in the last two series they have played them, they have been content to go for a 1-0 victory, instead of trying to seize victories which were available to them in their final tests. This is how Australia became so far ahead of all nations several years back - by not being satisfied by a mere series victory and playing for each individual test (even putting test series results at risk). I thought the defensiveness would go once Kumble retired and am greatly saddened that Dhoni would continue with the same mindset.

    This test shows the value of attacking batsmen. Had Sehwag scored 100 instead of the Dravid-corpse - India could be in a position to win.

  • lsybary on December 23, 2008, 23:23 GMT

    I am relieved the series was completed safely and no other untoward incidents marred the headlines in the subcontinent. The English team needs to be commended for their sportsmanship in allowing the tour to continue..

    Andrew can be forgiven for being pro-english in his comments but when taking the cause of greater good of test cricket's sustenance, I find it intellectually boring that he does not blame the English captain for not trying to pursue the target of 400 - granted it was 10/over - but what did he have to lose after being behind in the series.. Perhaps there-in lies the answer to Andrew's frustrations..

    When taking up a higher cause, it is imperative to look at both sides of a coin.. especially if you are the author of an article that can influence people's views around the world..

  • bolts on December 23, 2008, 22:21 GMT

    Well, I think Andrew is being very critical because the result of at mohali, but to be fair to both teams I dont think there was enough time in the test match to force a result delayed starts and the loss of play on the first day. There were only about 318 overs bowled, make that approx. 63 overs per day and add to it the fact the that the pitch was pretty good for batting. A draw, though boring, is fair result I would say.

  • fununlimited on December 23, 2008, 22:05 GMT

    For the most part, I agree with you Andrew. But I think you are overracting about the fate of test cricket. The Mohali test had a lot to offer in Gautam Gambhir's century and Dravid's comeback. Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pieterson's first inning partnership and their little tiff with Yuvraj were worth watching. About Dhoni's declaration tactics - the declaration definitely should have come earlier. In fact after the long delay, I thought India should have declared right away. But even then, with the lost time, it was unlikely for either team to force a win so why not let the batsmen get their personal milestones?

  • NRI- on December 23, 2008, 22:05 GMT

    Wonderful article. Completely agree with you, Andrew including preferring Swann to Harbhajan & Mishra and I am not of English origin.

    367 in 2 sessions in a total of 60 overs from an out of form batting line up (save Pieterson)was ungettable. Some excitement would have been there had early wickets fallen. But the tragedy was that we played at Mohali. When it is well known that December brings fog, at least the lights should be turned on so they can continue late into the evening every day. The other tragedy is that teams batting last rarely win hence to equalise test cricket the toss should be always awarded to the visting team; I have been saying this for a long time.

  • Liontamer on December 23, 2008, 20:53 GMT

    As nostalgic as it is to see men in whites with floppy hats hanging out in the sun for 5 days. (Clive lloyd, Gavaskar and Boycott come to mind), I think the rules of test cricket need some changing. No one wants to do anything about them besides complain that its a dying artform.

    Without tinkering with it too much, one way I can think of is to have some kind of cap on each of the innings. Assuming we get 100 overs bowled in a day, each team has 150 overs for first innings and 100 overs for second innings. (that way some one can still score a 300 in the first innings:).

    Idea2: to jazz things up a little more, each team has 250 overs for the match, and they can split it how ever they want between first and second innings. Or they can play 250 overs all in one inning, in which case there wont be a second inning. (5 day international anybody ?).

  • MAVAW76 on December 23, 2008, 20:25 GMT

    This article is rubbish! India had every right to defend Her lead in the series, just like England did in 2005 at the Oval to regain the Ashes. I didn't see Team England make a sporting declaration then to force a win. If you want less draws, get Team England to bat more aggresively. They'll do the game a great service by doing so.

  • Cricdish on December 23, 2008, 20:03 GMT

    Guess who asked for a change of venue (original venues were Ahmedabad & Mumbai) - England. Guess what they wanted - a venue in north India. Guess what they got - fog.

    England ensured this game was drawn. If they hadn't got Sehwag out, we'd have had a very interesting 5th day.

    That said, I was very happy Gambhir & Yuvraj didn't get their 100s. I wouldn't have had problems with them getting it in pursuit of quick runs, but they slowed down after the lunch break - that's selfishness.

  • CiMP on December 23, 2008, 18:52 GMT

    I agree with the author about being flexible about the lunch and tea break. A match that starts at 11.30 am can definitely go on till 1.30 am and a 25-30 minute lunch will do. Similarly the tea break could be curtailed or totally replaced by another drinks break and thus 5-6 hrs of play could have been had. Definitely there is a case for being flexible with the break. Similarly, lights must be used where they are available and this should not be left to anyone's choice/consent. Third, the composite team is a good one, though I am sad that Dravid and Laxman could not make it! I am at a loss to understand the crawl of Dravid (despite a 100) and Laxman (the stroke maker when just within a few minutes Yuvraj proved there were no demons in the wicket.

  • LondonRaj on December 23, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    What was missing was an intent from India that they wanted to make a match out of it rather than a draw. From Dhoni's previous decisions which showed his positive attitude I expected him to get his players going after a win and set up a good total. Only after Yuvraj came in to bat it looked like they wanted to put up a total for England to chase. Even when they had a good total Dhoni waited for Yuvraj's and Gambhir's centuries. That clearly showed a negative intent. Remember Dravid declared once when Tendulkar was on 93!! This is why Australia sit apart from all others and still look number one by a big margin.

  • Abran on December 23, 2008, 18:24 GMT

    For test cricket to survive the rules have to be amended. Today test cricket has been reduced to an event that the audience do not want to watch, the sponsors do not want to advertise and the teams want to play it relatively safe. Don't blame the Teams or the players or the audience. Blame the rules which has not allowed the game (test Cricket) to grow with times. For instance have an extra day scheduled for all test matches to account for lost time during a particular match. Here is another one, No team can bat more that 150 over in any given innings. The administrator of the game have to think creatively to revive test cricket. Otherwise one of the most talented game in its purest form will be extinct in the next 5-10 years and we will no one to blame but ourselves...Anyone really listening?...

  • AJ23 on December 23, 2008, 18:23 GMT

    Lets not beat around the bush. India only make wickets for their batsman. They have a class line up so they will generally make alot of runs which means they are unlikely to lose many tests meaning they will draw or win.

    But they have always had a negative test match mentality. They have no decisiveness or brutality in their play. If India were in SA's position, hell would freeze over and they would not have gone for the win earlier this week. It's not in their psyche or make-up. They are a boring side, a collection of statistics.

    In 20 odd years of cricket Tendulkar has not taken India home in a test. It was all down to Sehwag. If he did not bash England around the night before the first test would have been a draw. It's players like Sehwag and Yuvrag who will hopefully change India's boring mentality. Rid of the stats men... Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid.

    India's motto is "Do not lose at all costs". They do not play for the spectacle or for the spirit of test cricket.

  • anmn on December 23, 2008, 18:21 GMT

    Andrew, I have noticed all your articles are pro-english. I thought you were a reporter. I suppose you are just a english propoganda machine. Today, India won a series. Is this the best you can do? If you cant be biased, quit. Dont propogate your selfish, biased propoganda. No other result was possible on that day. You are just diverting your country's maladies. You are a sore looser. Nothing different from Ponting.

  • nyc_chd on December 23, 2008, 17:55 GMT

    I could not agree more. Two match series between these top tier teams is a joke. Also, they have to ban the 8-1 field settings - 6-3 should be the max. Everything should be done to get full play - penalize severely for slow over rates, allow early starts, use of floodlights and cutting down of breaks. For full disclosure, I'm an Indian supporter but care more about the long term health and attractiveness of test cricket.

  • Vkarthik on December 23, 2008, 17:46 GMT

    Earlier i supported Miller's argument. Now i would like to look from Dhoni's point of view.I think when England toured last time with out their main players Dravid instead of settling for series win made some foolishly adventurous decisions. For a Mumbai pitch Dravid went with 5 bowlers. 3 seamers!!. Second he chose to field on a Mumbai pitch. Criminal. He did go for the win from the outset. But made all the wrong decision. It was far worse than conservative decision. Instead of winning the series India ended up drawing it. It was outrageous. Dhoni was part of that team. So i see where Dhoni is coming from.

  • r1m2 on December 23, 2008, 17:40 GMT

    India never fails to disappoint when on a high. They keep on reminding me, why despite all their talent they cannot be number 1, or does not have the same aura as a winning Aussie team (except when they are playing against the Aussies). This is not the first time that India gave more importance to other matters than winning a match. I would easily expect this from Tendulkar, Dravid or Kumble the captain. But Dhoni after Gangs represented the next most positive captain India had. This is just sad. Boo India, and unfortunately (something I thought I wouldn't have to say) boo Dhoni.

  • sandip22-yahoo on December 23, 2008, 17:37 GMT

    Andrew, I totally agree with your view. As a staunch Indian fan, I was extremely dissapointed that India did not try and win the test. We should have declared on day for with a target of around 350. England were never going to get such a target, specially since it was clear to anyone who has bothered to watch this boring contest that there is no way 90 overs can get bowled in a day.

    Test cricket is poorer for the pathetic display India and if matches like this continue, I cannot see myself continue to follow this form of the game.

  • AyrtonS on December 23, 2008, 17:11 GMT

    Ok Folks, It is all about sour grapes here from Andrew, At the end of the day India and MS had nothing to prove, they had already walloped England in the one day series and had already won the first test match. The onus was on England to force a win here.

    At the end of the day, I think that the opportunity to establish a record like the one that Gambir was after does not come too often and one needs to size on it when it does.

    Regarding the administrators, I think that it is a poor choice of venue, considering the amount of time that was lost to fog. The administrators should have known the weather pattern of Mohali for this time of the year and should not have scheduled test matches here at this time.

    Secondly to schedule two test matches as opposed to three or five is stupidity beyond belief, obviously the administrators are no rocket scientists.

  • Nik003 on December 23, 2008, 17:06 GMT

    Andrew, I dont agree to your point that greater risks should be taken to press for a win just to get test cricket exciting. In first match India took risk when Sehwag started in a blze. If he could have lost his wicket then India might have been on backfoot. And had to save the match. But on a last day on Indian batsman played exceptionally well on a deterioting track and won the match. 387 is quite a large target. And if you and fellow English commentator are critisizing Dhoni for negative tactics when the 'FishChin' batsman Kevin Peterson was in full form in 2nd test then I will have to remind you that Nassir Hussain has implemented similar tactics against Tendulkar when English team was in India in the past. So dont crib about it. If you are so much worried about the test cricket's life please lead from the front first and then adivse other.

  • Vkarthik on December 23, 2008, 16:58 GMT

    Andrew you have echoed my thoughts. Atleast in the interest of protecting Test cricket India should have tried something out of it instead of meandering on the field for 30 odd overs. Didn't expect from our captain. He just openly said he delayed it for their centuries. That is even more painful considering he could have turned this contest into a thriller with better timing of his declaration. Serves India well that they didn't get their centuries. I don't think Andrew is biased here. He sounds like a genuine cricket fan like others.

  • Doliver on December 23, 2008, 16:55 GMT

    I doubt if anyone not of English origin would pick Swann...er...who????...Career average 40, minimal impact bowling on two last day pitches and no contribution with the bat ahead of Harbhajan who is over 500 international wickets ahead, played a crucial hand with the bat in Chennai, took more wickets for less runs in fewer overs in the series. If the nebulous and subjective criteria of "attacking intentions" (in the eyes of a brit) was the yardstick for picking players on a team then Brad Williams should have played more tests than Jason Gillespie...just saying.

  • msaab90 on December 23, 2008, 16:54 GMT

    This article seems to forget the basic fact about test cricket i.e it is much more significant and thus teams are unlikely to bait the opposition when series win is already in their pockets. Commentators like Mr. Miller expect athletes to act as gamblers for the sake of the proverbial "game". They fail to grasp the very point they are making..... that plyers still regard test cricket as ultimate and would never ever toy with the notion of losing a series for the purpose of having a great game. I know any sport is after all supported by the spectators, but test cricket is a unique dilemma in this regard. It is strategic game, almost a wonder in the mondern sports where the excellence is still old fashioned but, enigmatically all that a great cricketer desires.

  • deadlyvirgo on December 23, 2008, 16:28 GMT

    Definitely, India could have gone for the kill. I for one, am fully convinced that India might have gone for the jugular by scoring rapidly and decisively between lunch and tea yesterday, let England bat after tea and the whole of today. This would have given India adequate opportunity to bowl out England. But I realise that the legacy of Gavaskar and Bishan Bedi will linger on for a while longer. For India at the moment, not losing is more important than winning. However I found it amazingly comic that in the midst of all this confusion, someone has found the time and inclination to find the caste angle by infering that Dhoni being what he is, has allowed someone else from his ilk to go for a personal landmark which was not justified. Really, the caste system will stay on after homo-sapiens go extinct in India.

  • intoxicatedhunk on December 23, 2008, 16:26 GMT

    Totally agree with andrew miller on this one. i understand that winning the series is more important than risking a match...but if the captain thinks 350 is still achievable on the final day against a team that is totally out of form...that tells u that he does not trust his bowlers enuff. when was the last time we saw australia trying to save a match? no matter if they r up or down in a series...australia always look to win the match that is y they been dominant over the past 10 yrs. I have nothing against the 7-2, 8-1 field but a game like this where they didnt wanna push for a win kills the game!!

  • quantum on December 23, 2008, 16:22 GMT

    I agree with the composite 11, and your article today is much better than the previous one. However, it is naive on your part, or too wishful, to think that any other result was possible. India rightly did not see a win possible here, but they saw it in Chennai, and they won. Because England lost all matches in the tour, so you were desperate to see Dhoni declare, but why would Dhoni please you. If you were in India's position, you would have done the same.

  • santoshjohnsamuel on December 23, 2008, 16:17 GMT

    in absolute agreement. not happy with dhoni's captaincy on day 5. we should have declared when the lead was 300. the target would have been tempting (and just safe). and if england had decided to have a go it would have made for a great test match. what if india had lost? the 1-1 result would have hardly mattered, though teams around the world would have taken notice of this indian side that was willing to take risks -- we would have won a moral victory, that's for sure.

    was it fair to the paying public? no team can be expected to chase 400 in a test match on a truncated day 5. once that entertainment value is gone, what else is left. at a time of dwindling interest in test cricket, should not dhoni and company be aware of this?

  • Sharma on December 23, 2008, 16:12 GMT

    Absolutely agree with everything you've said here. As an Indian fan I personally would have been okay with India losing the match and the series being tied 1-1, but not with knowing the fact that any chance of a result had been killed by India itself (after being in such a commanding position) when they came onto the field on Day 5.

    Only because of the defensive tactic and the boring day that followed (plus its effects on International Test Cricket; I can see why the stadiums have been empty) I would have had KP as captain (of your team) rather than Ms. Dhoni

  • StJohn on December 23, 2008, 15:51 GMT

    I disagreed with Ravi Shastri's comments this morning on TMS. I think it would have been much more interesting and a lot bolder to have declared overnight and set England a target. In a shortened day, when I think only 50-odd overs were bowled, that would have made an interesting target and opened the game up, with India still holding the advantage by some way. India's priority was, quite rightly, winning the series. But batting on after lunch, when England would have needed 368 to win??? In the end neither Yuvraj nor Gambhir made centuries, so the decision didn't achieve that objective. But between fog at the start of most days and bad light at the end, this match was almost doomed to be a draw from the start. Sushilb's suggestions and ideas are good: replacement days for days or time lost to bad weather etc and playing under lights. The ICC, BCCI etc need to be more innovative if Test cricket is to survive the cheap thrill 20/20 razzamatazz of the 21st century.

  • sharmar on December 23, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    I agree with the statement that test cricket deserves better, but to squarely lay the blame on India is wrong. Although I would have liked a 2-0 result in this series, there was no need for the Indians to go for a result in this game. In fact it should have been the English who should have pursued the victory. When the captain of the opposition states that it will be impossible to win after this third day, mentally the opposition has already lost. I did not see the English players, captain specifically, fight the Indian march and go for broke. Also, add to this the fact that the venue for this contest was plagued by fog and that the BCCI chose to host only a 2 match series, which is completely beyond me.

  • pragmatist on December 23, 2008, 15:47 GMT

    Don't blame the teams, blame the administrators. A two-Test series is a nonsense, and will always lead to a cautious approach in the second Test if a side is one up. Two Test series should be banned - simple as that. They devalue Test matches more than anything else. Secondly, scheduling this match for Mohali was ludicrous. Around a day's play was lost due to weather/light/fog. Somewhere like Bangalore would have been a better option.

  • nick_japan_2007 on December 23, 2008, 15:40 GMT

    The great Australian sides of the last ten years would have gone for the win today. If Indian cricket wants the respect from it's peers it thinks it deserves, then it will need to shelve the personal milestones and back it's stars to win tough matches.

  • cricsand on December 23, 2008, 15:37 GMT

    Just a couple of days back everyone was talking about test cricket and the run chases at chennai and perth, on how they were morale boosting. Now, it s all back to doom and gloom after one draw!!?? Get a grip on things. Don't be so paranoid people. We don't need to sell test cricket. People who really love the game will watch it. We take the highs with the lows. T/20 is for the noobs. And for all those romanticizing about the thought of forcing a victory every time a team plays, it ain't gonna happen. Captains tend to prefer the conservative approach. Australia did not do it because they were so damn good compared to the rest. We'll see how often they push for a result now. Yes, I have to agree on the 2 match Test series bullshit. It is farcical to have 2 great test playing nations play just a 2 match series. The Impotent Cricket Council needs to make it mandatory to have a 3-test match series and ban 7 match ODI series. 7 matches is a bore. 5 is good enough.

  • singhdk on December 23, 2008, 15:35 GMT

    It is not very reasonable to accept results in 3.8 days of play possible, unless the pitch is a mine field or one of the teams in a minneow. With so much of the time lost to weather and pitch holding up, there was only one reasonable outcome, a draw. If England lost under such conditions, it would have been embarassing for them. If India gave them a reasobale chance by declaring earlier, it would have been basically throwing away the game.

  • CricketPissek on December 23, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    first things first, i dont like either India or England and dont support either team :) i love test cricket (and the other forms) and that's why i'm commenting on this. "thailandcricket" made a very good point. where he mentioned that Dhoni's #1 priority surely was to win the series. He wasn't as negative as Rahul Dravid when India visited England though was he? He also knew how important a milestone like a century would be for Yuvraj Singh (who i personally detest!) who's trying very hard to cement his place. This was the first ever test match that Dhoni has NOT won right? So it's a bit premature for Andrew Miller to label him as a negative captain! There's nothing wrong with a draw in test cricket because this is the only form of the game where it's allowed! Finally, yes,a 2 test series is quite lame i have to agree! Remember this is after SEVEN blooming ODIs were played in the earlier part of this tour! Money talks

  • Shrini on December 23, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    Andrew, your comments aren't completely justified. Agreed, M.S. could have been more aggressive. But, could one of you please tell me, why would anyone want to drop an opportunity in the bag to win the series?The wicket did not deteriorate as expected. So ANYTHING was possible. I would also add that since we all knew that nothing would be achieved on the final day(considering that the pitch didn't turn as expected), what was wrong if M.S. delayed the declaration for Gambhir's milestone. Let me also say that you are being a bit chauvinistic. Why, England played even more defensively on day 4 at Chennai. It is totally another question that the result ultimately went in favour of India. But where did the 'beauty' and 'spirit' of test cricket go on that occasion, Andrew?

  • ImpressiveTeer on December 23, 2008, 15:11 GMT

    Andrew, you should be non-biased when talking about test cricket in general. To win a test you need to take 20-wkts. If you can't, then be it a 3, 5 or even 9-match series, you would see the similar results. In Tests, while setting the target, you need to consider the time frame too. ITS NOT 20-20. Its all about strategies. You cannot set target of 300 and give oppenent 5 sessions to bat. I think India played well. To save their ass after fumble on 4th day was incredible. India should not be blamed for slow run-rate. A draw is more likely when the match is cut short by over 100 overs due to bad weather. From Dhoni's point, it was SMART to save the series rather than lose the match as well as the series lead by acting foolish. ENGLAND NEVER SHOWED HUNGER TO WIN THE GAME ANYWAY. India could drag the 2nd inn because Eng cd'nt capitalize on early breakthroughs. And at the end LET THE BEST TEAM WIN. I appreciate England's decision to comeback for Tests and lift spirit of the game.

  • charank100 on December 23, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    India richly deserve their series win because they were the better team. Only valid point!!!

    I feel as if some one here is desperately trying to find a fault with India's play..

  • arshadmomin on December 23, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    The only reason this series was possible was because BCCI paid ECB handsomely. It is a different game when players play for money as opposed to playing for your country.

  • VijaySh on December 23, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    Lets face it - all Test teams should realize fans deserve a result otherwise Tests will die a natural death, regardless of how many purists bay against it. Dravid has done more single-handedly to make Test cricket uninteresting than any other similarly talented cricketer over the years. His ultra-slow 1st inning century was a major culprit - Rahul please don't fight your demons on my time. Granted weather was the other major culprit here. But Dhoni could have played it as a 4 day game, which was obvious it was going to be from day one. I also don't get this obsession with preserving a series win. With 5 or 4 or 3 or 2 and even 1 Test "series" played these days, the only thing that should matter is each match won or lost. The ICC points system should reflect that as in 2-0 being twice as good as a 1-0 win. I suggest Tests should have max (450 - 6 (2*3 inning chng)) = 444 overs. Each 1st inning max 111 ov/side with 2nd innings max ov = (222-1st inning). Result guaranteed.

  • Rohan1 on December 23, 2008, 14:27 GMT

    "Dull","boring" draws are part and parcel of test cricket. I remember a time,not too long ago,when draws were the most common outcome. Now suddenly everyone wants non stop excitement in test cricket. Get over it.

  • desi_red on December 23, 2008, 14:26 GMT

    Here is the deal. While the two tests played has been wonderful given the circumstances, a two test series between 2 of the four best teams in the world is frankly ridiculous. The BCCI should be ashamed of themselves for always putting money before the purest form of the game. Twenty 20 comes and goes but test matches will always be the benchmark for judging a player.

    On the matter of the draw, at the end of the day cricket is about tactics and tactics reflect the nature of players. Dhoni is a new captain and perhaps with a few more years under his belt he may have opted for a more aggressive approach but under the circumstances he did enough to ensure his team took the series. Cricket is a great example of extremes - attack and defend; fast and slow; pace and spin. Its what makes the game great extremes - Chennai was a last day cracker and Mohali was 5 days and a tame draw. Fuels the anticipation for the next one.

  • Chiman on December 23, 2008, 14:25 GMT

    Mr.Andrew is quite right about the disgraceful conduct of both teams,but in particuar that of the Indian team which had a better chance of forcing a result. Both Gambhir and Yuvraj deserve NOT to get the hundreds they were so assidously seeking : would they not have been better off if the team had declared and given the spectators and the TV audiences the scent of a result? Shame on Dhoni, who has now contributed to putting a nail in the coffin of Test cricket.

    If this is Test cricket, who needs it? Bring on 20/20,folks, and be done with the sham.

  • sushilb on December 23, 2008, 14:25 GMT

    Overall sentiment is what I agree with - totally. Result should be a must even in a test cricket - I don't get the kick when things go well for 4 days, I watch, with keen interest and then we end up with no result. However, the blame for this needs to be directed towards ICC and not India or Dhoni - by adding an extra make up day for the time lost in the game due to weather etc. OR allowing game with lights on - come on - lets not be sissy and say that the contest would be unfair if one team plays under sun and other under lights - while it does, its nothing different than one team getting to bat on a broken pitch on 5th day and other one, based on the toss, getting to play when the pitch was better on 4th day...IF the game is allowed to continue in lights to complete all 90 overs in a day, we would have had a result for sure - because even on the last day, England would have had 77 overs to bat and that can produce any result. So let us put the blame where it belongs...thanks

  • thailandcricket on December 23, 2008, 14:25 GMT

    I disagree. David Lloyd and Ian Botham spoke well on the subject: it would have been different in the days of Graham Gooch, but test cricket has changed.

    Dhoni, as always, did well. His first duty was to secure the series win and make sure there was absolutley zero chance of an England comeback (btw, I agree with yesterday's post that a 2-match "series" is ridiculous). Now, in the modern era, a good captain must satisfy the multi-million-dollar egos on the team. Also, cricket must be entertaining. Lastly, let's respect the English team and their decision to return after the horrors in Mumbai.

    I found today's events entertaining. I loved Yuvraj taking the piss, acting out Pietersen's rib injury. There was fun, laughter and respect coming from both teams. After what happened in Mumbai, maybe that's what we needed, and I wonder whether Dhoni understands the game better than those who are stuck in the win-at-all-costs mentality that is so typical of Australia.

  • Mopsy on December 23, 2008, 14:10 GMT

    Absolutely. Indias intention was clear from the first day when dravid and gambhir merrily plodded on. Dhonis batting in first innings was even more puzzling. Past Indian cricketers were celebrating dravids return to form rather then be critical for putting his person before the team.

    The Australians and the West indies when they were the top teams, never missed an oppurtunity to win 2-0 or 3-0 or 5-0 thats why opponents feared them and they were rated as champion teams for years together. This team will never become world champions with this attitude. Also these cricketers get paid so much that they do not care any more for public reaction or criticism.

  • Kaps83 on December 23, 2008, 14:07 GMT

    This is test cricket. There were some years of boring test cricket where tests were resulting in innumerable draws. But due to introduction more entertaining forms of the game, the longer version is proving somewhat less crowd pulling. But for this reason, one can't say/expect that every test should end in one-day or 20-20 fashion. Test is different genre. It has it's owown style. It's the basic form of the game. India can't be blamed alone for the last day game. The game was already headed for a draw on third day itself. England somewhere lacked the spirit to win. They failed to stop India at appropriate place. And that's test cricket! Enjoy it!! This is test which can suggest many things to make tests more result-oriented rather draw-tending. If the light is affecting the game, overs should not be cropped. Instead, game can be forcefully continued in flood lights to complete 90 overs by introducing new rules.

  • scorpio_on_blue_moon on December 23, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    Ohhh, now all blames on India, good going Mr. Miller !!! Where were you (and other India basher) when England tried the same 'miserable stalemate' batting in Chennai and same bowling tactics in Mohali? That was game plan of Engalnd and here its fault of India !!! Why only India responsible for the 'Fighting for life of Test cricket'? India tried with firing all the cylinders in Chennai to get a result and the same approach should have been taken by England in Mohali, but they failed to do so. Batting wasn't easy on Mohali pitch, as you can see from the scorelines, and only few slog-hitters (Sehwag - failed though, KP, Flintoff, Yuvi) or few accumulators (Gambhir, Dravid, Cook) could get some runs. So you just can't say that nobody tried to get a result. Its just they waited for opposition to take initiative (or for that matter 'risk'). This is also a proved tactics of test cricket, its not all about to get results. You can blame BCCI & ECB to agree upon short-series and vanues. Thanks.

  • nagadev on December 23, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Couldn't agree with Andrew Miller more.When Sehwag was run out yesterday morning I was expecting Dhoni to walk in at No 3 like he did against the aussies.Yuvraj at No.4 could have meant the English chased the same total yesterday tea time.That would have earned him more respect than letting Yuvraj and Gambhir go for hundreds.I thought this team under Dhoni showed more intent and was going to change the way India played testcricket.I usually respect Ravi shastri very much but couldn't for once agree what he said in Test match special this morning that he would have done exactly the same as Dhoni.I might have agreed with him if India had another series to play soon after this.The tiredness factor could be taken into account. They dont have another test match for 3 months so why not play a bit more positive.Winning a series is great but going for the clean sweep would be ultimate.That's the way I look at it. Wake up Dhoni, Be yourself and dont listen to what the other's have to tell you.

  • AniketRS on December 23, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Simply, if this were a 3 test series I do not believe India would have played the 5th day as they did. The fault is in the format not in the formula India employed on day 5. On the other hand, if in a 3 Test series India had played thus, the griping about this being bad for Test cricket would be valid. Till then, India: 1 win, no losses, 1 draw. 2008 ended well.

  • bumbles11 on December 23, 2008, 13:50 GMT

    BCCI could have put the 2nd Test in Calcutta, Delhi, Bangalore or another major ground? They put it in a suburb of Chandigarth...where England played in 2006.

    If they knew there would be fog, cloud and rain...surely it would have been common sense to have put the match in an area that would not suffer these weather conditions at this time of year.

    It wasn't the best match but still a good series, next time please have at least 4 Tests! 3 is not enough and 2 is just plan stupid for India V England!

  • venbas on December 23, 2008, 13:49 GMT

    Sadly my respect for Dhoni has come down a notch after the Mohali test. There is no way England was going to get 367 lunch in 2 sessions even if had declared during lunch.

    Infact even declaring with the overnight score, I do not think England had a chance once the match started at 11.30am a good 3 hours behind schedule. On the contrary the 285 odd runs would have been a very interesting prospect for England to have a go and who knows we might have had another win in our kitty. But unfortunately our captain cool has chosen to tread the SAFETY FIRST DAMN THE REST patch taken by his predecessors.

  • Go_F.Alonso on December 23, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    My first reaction was just as yours - why the hell doesn't MSD declare with about 300-odd ahead? I still don't think delaying the declaration was a good idea, however, I don't think the result would've been any different had he done that. England would've lost 2-3 wkts in under 2hrs and most certainly batted to save the test. The other two possibilities - India taking all 10 English wkts or England getting to the target - are unimaginable to be honest. Ofcourse the less written/said about Indian batting on the 4th day, the better. Just to be a little less critical of MSD, he probably knew this & decided he might as well give the 2 guys the chance to get 100s - personally, not my preference.

  • RSKNA on December 23, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    It was real letdown the way things meandered today at Mohali. I have a deep admiration for Dhoni's supremely attacking style of play; but today, I think an impostor entered the field (the fog must have hid the Real McCoys). I was praying that with 60 overs left and a target of 300-ish, a declaration would build a riveting contest between the bowlers and the batsmen. Alas, that wasn't to be! Notwithstanding the mind-boggling and commonsense-defying breaks for lunch and tea, the last few overs were nothing short of an insult to cricket lovers. As Andrew points out, a draw is only justified when it is "a fight to save the match"; for everything else, it is just statisticians' workload and a punch in the stomach for test cricket.

  • RDamodaran on December 23, 2008, 13:35 GMT

    Bluntly, England must have done all the running in the game as they were behind. Pietersen was also resigned to a draw after third day! Although I do believe there must be laws against negative bowling, but current regulations do not restrict Dhoni's approach and I do not blame him. Andrew, Be fair mate in yesterday's article you called out Tendulkar and Dravid as impeding the progress of India just when one has been invaluable in winning a memorable last test match. Even T20 and ODI put have dished one-sided contests fairly often and a draw in the conditions was the most likely result. So move on, it was not India's responsibility to gift England a chance to come back into the series.

  • kingofthechill on December 23, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    I think that the most important point of this article is not the ensuring of a draw in order to win a series, although I agree that it would have been much better to see England have an attempt at an unreachable target (I wonder if they would have tried), but the fact that the BCCI only scheduled a two-test tour. Surely an England - India series warrants at least 4 test matches? And surely they should be played in the big four cities wherever possible? England have not played a test match at Eden Gardens since 1993, and I, for one, believe that to be one of the must-see sporting experiences in the world. If they do play there next time, I will be there in a flash.

  • pun8max on December 23, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    I am disappointed in England too for bowling negative, wide of off-stump line and not trying harder to equal the series. They seemed more concerned by loosing by 1-0 rather than loosing 2-0 or drawing 1-1. KP and England deserve some boos too!

  • pun8max on December 23, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    Despite being an ardent Indian fan, I could not agree more. I feel disappointed in having wasted 4 days on a contest that was to prove useless in the end. It sucks all the more that they did not even make an effort to win. May be they did not intend to disappoint Indian fans by taking chances and loosing! May be they were weighed down by the expectations of millions, but I would rather they tried and lost rather than put up such a poor show! About personal milestones, boo to Ravi Shastri for even suggesting that it should matter. Yuvi should still be considered a good player even if he left it at 50 rather than 100. Poor, poor show, team India. I am disappointed. I hope Mahi, Yuvi and Gauti were confused as to what to do (as noticed from their confused approach post-lunch) and would learn something for future. I hope there is no repeat of this, EVER.

  • samod on December 23, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    Even if I am an ardent fan, after the end of the match I just felt England win was better than the tame draw.. Better lose the game instead of playing so sheepishly.

  • jokerbala on December 23, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    Yeah, Dhoni going for a victory and a 5-0 win loss record would of have been much better,especially after they got 6 of England's batsman for 22 runs in the first innings.I usually watch drawn tests if there is some intent shown by any of the sides,like the one we had between NZ and WI.But,400 in 40 overs? are u kidding? this was a farce and why do u need a lunch break when the game starts during lunch? Just when we think that sub continent players have got rid of their "statistical" mindset,it is the future of Indian batting resorting to the same.Guess everybody cannot be a Sehwag ehh?

  • AravindZ on December 23, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    Perfect! I have always been wary of Dhoni's so called strategy/tactics.Allowing batsmen to go for their tons has provided a tinge of things to come from Dhoni as a captain.If its really the case that it was a 'team decision' as he put it in the presentation ceremony, well and good for him.But, if its his decision, well, it only goes to show how much favoritism he shows within the team for certain players (surprisingly his favs fall into the singh clan-RP,yuvi,harb..i don't mean to say he is biased, but just an observation that caught my eye!).Anyhow, its a shame for test cricket.Contrast this to Punter's decision to risk a series leveling game on slow over rate, assuming we give credit to his 'keeping the games ethics intact' explanation,I'm for Punter and not for Dhoni as a test captain.Dhoni's had a fair share of luck that eludes other test captains and it won't be long before his limitations get exposed.Let's hope true cricketing spirit prevails in this cash-crazy(20-20) world.

  • Percy_Fender on December 23, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    In a way I agree that the end at Mohali was a trifle farcical. However given the weather that Mohali had in the last five days, it was too much to have expected a result unless Dhoni had take the decision to close at lunch on the last day. But even if we consider the Engish collapse on day 4, it seemed unlikely that they could have provided an encore.That being so I do not think it is right to talk negatively about this short series because it was more than just cricket. The English team will leave secure in the knowledge that they have won many hearts in India, the onesidedness of the cricket notwithstanding. I am sure we are going to see more of Pietersen, Flintoff, Shah and Swann in the IPL matches for sure. Hopefully there are others as well.

  • BabuD on December 23, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    Why do you guys keep blaming India rather than the BCCI that scheduled a test in Mohali at this time? Make no mistake, it is the fog that should be blamed and not Team India. Wake Up!!... We have won the series, that is all that matters.

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  • BabuD on December 23, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    Why do you guys keep blaming India rather than the BCCI that scheduled a test in Mohali at this time? Make no mistake, it is the fog that should be blamed and not Team India. Wake Up!!... We have won the series, that is all that matters.

  • Percy_Fender on December 23, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    In a way I agree that the end at Mohali was a trifle farcical. However given the weather that Mohali had in the last five days, it was too much to have expected a result unless Dhoni had take the decision to close at lunch on the last day. But even if we consider the Engish collapse on day 4, it seemed unlikely that they could have provided an encore.That being so I do not think it is right to talk negatively about this short series because it was more than just cricket. The English team will leave secure in the knowledge that they have won many hearts in India, the onesidedness of the cricket notwithstanding. I am sure we are going to see more of Pietersen, Flintoff, Shah and Swann in the IPL matches for sure. Hopefully there are others as well.

  • AravindZ on December 23, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    Perfect! I have always been wary of Dhoni's so called strategy/tactics.Allowing batsmen to go for their tons has provided a tinge of things to come from Dhoni as a captain.If its really the case that it was a 'team decision' as he put it in the presentation ceremony, well and good for him.But, if its his decision, well, it only goes to show how much favoritism he shows within the team for certain players (surprisingly his favs fall into the singh clan-RP,yuvi,harb..i don't mean to say he is biased, but just an observation that caught my eye!).Anyhow, its a shame for test cricket.Contrast this to Punter's decision to risk a series leveling game on slow over rate, assuming we give credit to his 'keeping the games ethics intact' explanation,I'm for Punter and not for Dhoni as a test captain.Dhoni's had a fair share of luck that eludes other test captains and it won't be long before his limitations get exposed.Let's hope true cricketing spirit prevails in this cash-crazy(20-20) world.

  • jokerbala on December 23, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    Yeah, Dhoni going for a victory and a 5-0 win loss record would of have been much better,especially after they got 6 of England's batsman for 22 runs in the first innings.I usually watch drawn tests if there is some intent shown by any of the sides,like the one we had between NZ and WI.But,400 in 40 overs? are u kidding? this was a farce and why do u need a lunch break when the game starts during lunch? Just when we think that sub continent players have got rid of their "statistical" mindset,it is the future of Indian batting resorting to the same.Guess everybody cannot be a Sehwag ehh?

  • samod on December 23, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    Even if I am an ardent fan, after the end of the match I just felt England win was better than the tame draw.. Better lose the game instead of playing so sheepishly.

  • pun8max on December 23, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    Despite being an ardent Indian fan, I could not agree more. I feel disappointed in having wasted 4 days on a contest that was to prove useless in the end. It sucks all the more that they did not even make an effort to win. May be they did not intend to disappoint Indian fans by taking chances and loosing! May be they were weighed down by the expectations of millions, but I would rather they tried and lost rather than put up such a poor show! About personal milestones, boo to Ravi Shastri for even suggesting that it should matter. Yuvi should still be considered a good player even if he left it at 50 rather than 100. Poor, poor show, team India. I am disappointed. I hope Mahi, Yuvi and Gauti were confused as to what to do (as noticed from their confused approach post-lunch) and would learn something for future. I hope there is no repeat of this, EVER.

  • pun8max on December 23, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    I am disappointed in England too for bowling negative, wide of off-stump line and not trying harder to equal the series. They seemed more concerned by loosing by 1-0 rather than loosing 2-0 or drawing 1-1. KP and England deserve some boos too!

  • kingofthechill on December 23, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    I think that the most important point of this article is not the ensuring of a draw in order to win a series, although I agree that it would have been much better to see England have an attempt at an unreachable target (I wonder if they would have tried), but the fact that the BCCI only scheduled a two-test tour. Surely an England - India series warrants at least 4 test matches? And surely they should be played in the big four cities wherever possible? England have not played a test match at Eden Gardens since 1993, and I, for one, believe that to be one of the must-see sporting experiences in the world. If they do play there next time, I will be there in a flash.

  • RDamodaran on December 23, 2008, 13:35 GMT

    Bluntly, England must have done all the running in the game as they were behind. Pietersen was also resigned to a draw after third day! Although I do believe there must be laws against negative bowling, but current regulations do not restrict Dhoni's approach and I do not blame him. Andrew, Be fair mate in yesterday's article you called out Tendulkar and Dravid as impeding the progress of India just when one has been invaluable in winning a memorable last test match. Even T20 and ODI put have dished one-sided contests fairly often and a draw in the conditions was the most likely result. So move on, it was not India's responsibility to gift England a chance to come back into the series.

  • RSKNA on December 23, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    It was real letdown the way things meandered today at Mohali. I have a deep admiration for Dhoni's supremely attacking style of play; but today, I think an impostor entered the field (the fog must have hid the Real McCoys). I was praying that with 60 overs left and a target of 300-ish, a declaration would build a riveting contest between the bowlers and the batsmen. Alas, that wasn't to be! Notwithstanding the mind-boggling and commonsense-defying breaks for lunch and tea, the last few overs were nothing short of an insult to cricket lovers. As Andrew points out, a draw is only justified when it is "a fight to save the match"; for everything else, it is just statisticians' workload and a punch in the stomach for test cricket.