India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali, 4th day December 22, 2008

Fortune favours the cautious

A two-Test rubber was always going to sell this series short, but only now do we get an idea of quite how short
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Stuart Broad removed Rahul Dravid, but thereafter India shut up shop © AFP
 

It is such a great pity that England's Test series with India is almost over before it has begun. At the end of a year that will forever be associated with the Twenty20 boom, the game's oldest and greatest format has been enjoying a timely spike in popularity in recent weeks, thanks to two of the finest matches in recent memory, at Chennai and at Perth. But up at Mohali, the embers of a contest are dying as quickly as the wintery evening sun, thanks in no small part to an itinerary that has encouraged a closed-shop mentality from the hosts.

A two-Test rubber was always going to sell this series short, but only now do we get an idea of quite how short. Kevin Pietersen's world-weary demeanour at the close of the third day's play was revealing, not only for the clear emotion he felt at squandering two late wickets, but also for the knowledge that England's last chance in the series had been and gone. One-nil up and with a sizeable lead in the bank, India's approach on the fourth day was understandable but disappointing. Double or quits is not a game worth playing if the rewards of pushing for a series clean sweep don't outweigh the risks of being pegged back to 1-1.

On the one hand, England made a rod for their own backs. Notwithstanding the brilliance of Pietersen's century, his side still contrived to lose their last six wickets for 22, a collapse of mid-1990s proportions from which they should not really have been able to escape. And had this been the second match of a five- or even a three-Test series, you can be fairly certain that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's response would have been swift and to the point. Momentum is there to be seized upon in Test cricket, especially when you've got a batting line-up that drips with quite as much class as India's.

Alas, the rules invariably change in two-Test series, which are abominations on two counts. Either they are hideously uncompetitive, unenthusiastic affairs designed to fulfil the requirements of the Future Tours Programme, or they are over so quickly that the established rhythms of Test cricket are not given time to take hold.

Right now, this series should be at fever pitch. England would be down but quite clearly not out, a fact best epitomised by the delicious rivalry between Yuvraj Singh, Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, which would have enough friction to ignite even the deadest of rubbers. Today, however, Yuvraj faced only two deliveries from Flintoff before his spell had to come to an end. It was the single biggest anticlimax of the day, not least because we know that their battle might not be properly rejoined until India tour England in 2011.

Having avoided that mini-battle, Yuvraj went on to put the decisive stamp on the day's play. His innings bristled with the sort of point-to-prove aggression that Pietersen had himself shown on Sunday, and carried India clear of a potential embarrassment at 80 for 4. Their approach up until then, however, had been incoherent. There was no central strategy underpinning their approach, especially when Virender Sehwag, their most clear-headed batsman, ran himself out cheaply. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar seemed to forget they were back in form with a pair of geriatric performances, while Gambhir the anchorman ground along diligently, waiting in vain for a colleague to dictate the pace

India took much the same attitude at The Oval in 2007, when they followed a whopping first-innings advantage of 319 with a panicky scoreline of 11 for 3, and ultimately ground through a further 58 overs to set a target of 500. Partially, of course, their approach, then and now, must be seen as a sign of respect. Pietersen scored a trouble-free century as England eased to 369 for 6 in that chase, and recent events have confirmed the suspicion that fourth-innings targets aren't as daunting as they used to be. Even so, fortune ought to favour the brave in Test cricket. Right now it favours the cautious.

There is still time, of course, for England to lose this match, in which case India's approach will be amply justified by hindsight, but it's hard to see that happening now. England themselves turned South Africa over in two sessions at Johannesburg in 2004-05, although that feat required both a sensational morning of declaration-inducing strokeplay from Marcus Trescothick, and of course the urgency of a side that had lost the previous Test by 196 runs and was hungry to make swift and decisive amends.

You don't sense that hunger has come into India's thinking very much in this Test, and the net result is that everyone will go home slightly empty. So many strands of the narrative are crying out for development, but instead they will have to be scraped into the recycling bin. Has Yuvraj really cracked Test cricket? Is Flintoff back to his best? Are Dravid and Tendulkar holding their team back or providing the ballast to drive it forward? All these questions and more could have been answered over the course of a proper old-school Test series. Instead, they seem destined to remain obscured in Mohali's fog.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sharma on December 23, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    "What's wrong with you Mr. Miller? Who are you calling timid? The Indians who chased down the target of over 350 in Chennai? Or the Indians who won the one day series 5-0? Or Yuvi, who is tackling the everyday verbal bullshit by KP and Freddie by fours and sixes?"

    I think he means the Indians that could have brought on a very interesting Day 5 where both teams could have won, but instead produced what to me seemed like the most boring and annoying day in the history of Test Cricket. India were in a very strong position when they were batting in the 2nd inning, and could have made sure the match was theirs to win, instead they approached it so defensively that the only entertainment was Dhoni trying to bowl ... even KP admitted at the end of Day 3 that "we [England] are out of this [match]", why India didn't go for the win is beyong my comprehension (I'm waiting for someone to make me understand)

  • prashant1 on December 23, 2008, 9:44 GMT

    Here we go again... If it wasn't so ridiculous ,it would actually be funny. After a good series against Australia where Tendulkar came good almost every time when it was really required. And after a superb innings in his last match at Chennai,he then has one bad match...and suddenly he is holding the team back!? Really...what is it with you people anyway?

  • GlobalCricketLover on December 23, 2008, 8:20 GMT

    Anyone who says India is No.1 team, just ask urself one simple question - when was the last time India won even 5 tests on the trot?? forget about winning 16 or 17 like the Aussies or remaining unbeaten for 9 consecutive test series like SA. While an aussie team would all out for a white wash even after they are 4-0 up in a 5 match series, we can see Dhoni so satisfied even with 1-0 in a 2 match series. Yes, India have won a couple of games recently but to call someone No.1 you have to have the hunger to win every match - not playing negative tactics when u can do nothing to the opposition.

  • GlobalCricketLover on December 23, 2008, 8:16 GMT

    I lost every inch of appreciation I had for Dhoni after seeing his negative tactics - bowling so wide of offstump to Aussies. And he is repeating it here again with England. If England also did the same fault as him I would still attribute it to Dhoni cos he is the one who has set a bad example. To me, whether you win or lose a match is secondary in comparison to how u play the game and in that context Dhoni has been an awful, consistent loser - doesn't matter what the record shows. To me he will always be someone who didn't have the guts to play with right spirit and win the game. The biggest joke I ever heard is from Zaheer khan when he said this Indian team is 'aggressive'...may be he should refer to some dictionary or talk to a few spectators to understand what 'aggressive' means.

  • Ranil24 on December 23, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    Dravid and Tendulkar are certainly holding the team back. They should have played aggressively to try and force a win. India killed the game by being over cautious in the 2nd innings. It's not cricket and explains the poor crowds.

  • gauravk on December 23, 2008, 4:27 GMT

    I am not going in the discussion of how India approached their second innings but I definitely agree that these two-test series are not able generate the kind of contest that we expect in a Test series. It is dead just when it started to blossom. Lose the first match and then the only thing you can do is to draw the series. There is no way of winning it. This is so ridiculous. All this is being done to adjust those T-20 leagues which started by saying that they will not affect current tours but all the boards are going after only money. All in all, I am not amused by the concept of two-match series. There is not enough contest that we are used to see in a test series.

  • KrisRay on December 23, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    I must commend Andrew for some terrific writing. "...So many strands of the narrative are crying out for development" ... indeed. That is the thing about good sports it should be mythic in its story-making potential. Otherwise, it is just a game and none of us would be so drawn to it.

    A two-test series does not provide enough narrative plot points. May be just a good enough short-story that has to be aborted before a novel... much, much, before a good novel. About the themes themselves Andrew has said aloud what needs to be said: Yuvraj is back into this form of the game; Fintoff is perhaps set to reap for a little while; Monty is out; Rahul and Sachin do appear geriatric... may be it is time to let go; and the meek shall inherit the earth, unfortunately...

    On a related theme, as an Indian fan I don't think we should be so defensive about our team as so many of the other commentators have been rushing to defend everything they do. Let them earn our love a little.

  • andrew-schulz on December 23, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    England, in fact, lost the Test prior to Johannesberg by 196 runs. Miller is as accurate with this as a previous comment that India are the team to beat in all forms of the game.

  • sri1010 on December 23, 2008, 3:16 GMT

    Is this not a team game? Then why does the media point fingers at individual players? Dravid and Tendulkar really do not need to prove their abilities and class to anyone. Taking individual contributions into account, Sehwag also has only one performance ('match winning' ) in this series so have many other players who have put in atleast one good batting performance right upto Harbhajan Singh & Mishra.

    There would have been some game plan, if India really wanted to go for a Do or die, Dhoni could have come at 3 (his best performances have at that position)& sent Dravid at No 10. There was no need for adopting the standard line.

    Stop the blame game, these players are one of the finest the game has ever seen and it may be a long, long time, you would see players of the class of Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly & Laxman all of whom are nearing the end of their careers.

  • AbhijitC on December 23, 2008, 3:06 GMT

    I just can't believe Cricinfo approved such a title "Fortune favours the timid". What's wrong with you Mr. Miller? Who are you calling timid? The Indians who chased down the target of over 350 in Chennai? Or the Indians who won the one day series 5-0? Or Yuvi, who is tackling the everyday verbal bullshit by KP and Freddie by fours and sixes? May be you need to ponder over the overall sequence of match events and Indian team's game plan so far in the second test. There is a difference between being aggressive and foolish !

  • Sharma on December 23, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    "What's wrong with you Mr. Miller? Who are you calling timid? The Indians who chased down the target of over 350 in Chennai? Or the Indians who won the one day series 5-0? Or Yuvi, who is tackling the everyday verbal bullshit by KP and Freddie by fours and sixes?"

    I think he means the Indians that could have brought on a very interesting Day 5 where both teams could have won, but instead produced what to me seemed like the most boring and annoying day in the history of Test Cricket. India were in a very strong position when they were batting in the 2nd inning, and could have made sure the match was theirs to win, instead they approached it so defensively that the only entertainment was Dhoni trying to bowl ... even KP admitted at the end of Day 3 that "we [England] are out of this [match]", why India didn't go for the win is beyong my comprehension (I'm waiting for someone to make me understand)

  • prashant1 on December 23, 2008, 9:44 GMT

    Here we go again... If it wasn't so ridiculous ,it would actually be funny. After a good series against Australia where Tendulkar came good almost every time when it was really required. And after a superb innings in his last match at Chennai,he then has one bad match...and suddenly he is holding the team back!? Really...what is it with you people anyway?

  • GlobalCricketLover on December 23, 2008, 8:20 GMT

    Anyone who says India is No.1 team, just ask urself one simple question - when was the last time India won even 5 tests on the trot?? forget about winning 16 or 17 like the Aussies or remaining unbeaten for 9 consecutive test series like SA. While an aussie team would all out for a white wash even after they are 4-0 up in a 5 match series, we can see Dhoni so satisfied even with 1-0 in a 2 match series. Yes, India have won a couple of games recently but to call someone No.1 you have to have the hunger to win every match - not playing negative tactics when u can do nothing to the opposition.

  • GlobalCricketLover on December 23, 2008, 8:16 GMT

    I lost every inch of appreciation I had for Dhoni after seeing his negative tactics - bowling so wide of offstump to Aussies. And he is repeating it here again with England. If England also did the same fault as him I would still attribute it to Dhoni cos he is the one who has set a bad example. To me, whether you win or lose a match is secondary in comparison to how u play the game and in that context Dhoni has been an awful, consistent loser - doesn't matter what the record shows. To me he will always be someone who didn't have the guts to play with right spirit and win the game. The biggest joke I ever heard is from Zaheer khan when he said this Indian team is 'aggressive'...may be he should refer to some dictionary or talk to a few spectators to understand what 'aggressive' means.

  • Ranil24 on December 23, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    Dravid and Tendulkar are certainly holding the team back. They should have played aggressively to try and force a win. India killed the game by being over cautious in the 2nd innings. It's not cricket and explains the poor crowds.

  • gauravk on December 23, 2008, 4:27 GMT

    I am not going in the discussion of how India approached their second innings but I definitely agree that these two-test series are not able generate the kind of contest that we expect in a Test series. It is dead just when it started to blossom. Lose the first match and then the only thing you can do is to draw the series. There is no way of winning it. This is so ridiculous. All this is being done to adjust those T-20 leagues which started by saying that they will not affect current tours but all the boards are going after only money. All in all, I am not amused by the concept of two-match series. There is not enough contest that we are used to see in a test series.

  • KrisRay on December 23, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    I must commend Andrew for some terrific writing. "...So many strands of the narrative are crying out for development" ... indeed. That is the thing about good sports it should be mythic in its story-making potential. Otherwise, it is just a game and none of us would be so drawn to it.

    A two-test series does not provide enough narrative plot points. May be just a good enough short-story that has to be aborted before a novel... much, much, before a good novel. About the themes themselves Andrew has said aloud what needs to be said: Yuvraj is back into this form of the game; Fintoff is perhaps set to reap for a little while; Monty is out; Rahul and Sachin do appear geriatric... may be it is time to let go; and the meek shall inherit the earth, unfortunately...

    On a related theme, as an Indian fan I don't think we should be so defensive about our team as so many of the other commentators have been rushing to defend everything they do. Let them earn our love a little.

  • andrew-schulz on December 23, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    England, in fact, lost the Test prior to Johannesberg by 196 runs. Miller is as accurate with this as a previous comment that India are the team to beat in all forms of the game.

  • sri1010 on December 23, 2008, 3:16 GMT

    Is this not a team game? Then why does the media point fingers at individual players? Dravid and Tendulkar really do not need to prove their abilities and class to anyone. Taking individual contributions into account, Sehwag also has only one performance ('match winning' ) in this series so have many other players who have put in atleast one good batting performance right upto Harbhajan Singh & Mishra.

    There would have been some game plan, if India really wanted to go for a Do or die, Dhoni could have come at 3 (his best performances have at that position)& sent Dravid at No 10. There was no need for adopting the standard line.

    Stop the blame game, these players are one of the finest the game has ever seen and it may be a long, long time, you would see players of the class of Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly & Laxman all of whom are nearing the end of their careers.

  • AbhijitC on December 23, 2008, 3:06 GMT

    I just can't believe Cricinfo approved such a title "Fortune favours the timid". What's wrong with you Mr. Miller? Who are you calling timid? The Indians who chased down the target of over 350 in Chennai? Or the Indians who won the one day series 5-0? Or Yuvi, who is tackling the everyday verbal bullshit by KP and Freddie by fours and sixes? May be you need to ponder over the overall sequence of match events and Indian team's game plan so far in the second test. There is a difference between being aggressive and foolish !

  • FreddyForPrimeMinister on December 23, 2008, 1:41 GMT

    Brilliant article Andrew and beautifully written. "All these questions and more could have been answered over the course of a proper old-school Test series. Instead, they seem destined to remain obscured in Mohali's fog"... I wish I could have written that - English prose at its very best!

  • Finnster on December 23, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    India on the rise to number 1? Not by a long shot. Remember, the series against Aus. could have gone 1-1 on the last day of the last test, but Aus. went on the attack, regardless of the risk. India were "gifted" that victory, precisedly because Aus. wouldn't play the way India played yesterday - but it could have gone either way after lunch. So, against a rebuilding, injured and sick Aus. team, after having won 3 out of 4 tosses, they just managed to avoid a 1-1 draw on the last day of the series. And now, they can only beat England 1-0, after England were the better team for most of the First Test. India are a long way from No.1. They will never be this strong, nor always play on home grounds, nor win 3 out of 4 tosses. This is as good as it gets. England have shown that they have as much cause to call themselves No.3 in the world - Aus and SA have nothing at all to fear.

  • shim on December 23, 2008, 0:19 GMT

    I agree. ICC should make all the test playing teams to play 3 tests, 3 one day games and one 20-20 with the top teams. The teams should get a month's break to be with their families between games. All the games should be televised across the world (for a fee ofcourse).

    I also suggest that the teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Kenya be at a sub level and the winner among them should play a limited number of matches with the top teams.

  • Subra on December 22, 2008, 22:53 GMT

    A two-test series should never be played between the top teams. A Test match is the ultimate challenge of a cricketer. A five test series gives a lot of scope. The drawback of a two-test series is that whoever wins the first is in the box seat and can dictate terms. I feel that while India's negative tactics was understable (they had won the first - all they need was a draw), I just couldn't fathom England's negative tactics on Day 4 - they played into INdia's hands. One would have thought that they should have attacked to force a 1 - 1 result, even if it resulted in a 2 nil loss (they have lost the series anyway). By the way I am sure that Dhoni is being advised by the Indian think-tank anyhow let us hope that Day 5 will be more challenging. Siva from Singapore

  • broad_to_yuvi on December 22, 2008, 21:27 GMT

    OKay, now that was not needed... who changed the title of this article from "Fortune favours the cautious" to "Fortune favours the timid" in your homepage? I liked your article (I commented earlier) that I came back for a second time and I was in for a rude surprise! Hmm..

  • ImpressiveTeer on December 22, 2008, 20:48 GMT

    Sometimes you win and sometimes you win by forcing a draw. This is the beauty of test matches. You have 5 days to plan your journey and all it takes is one session to turn things around. Sehwag did it in last match. England also has the same opportunity to bowl India out early and get an explosive start tomorrow.

    Should England not have bundled out in first innings after KVPs heroics, this match would have been a draw anyway. India pulled the string for 2-0, England fought back, India on defensive to make sure they don't lose match as well as the series lead. NOTHING WRONG. Its a strategy and fortunately it worked. For all who think India was slow, mind you, this is TEST not 20-20. It takes lot of determination to even stick around especially against kind of Bowling display by England.

    Day-5: With Yuvi and Dhoni to come, I hope India scores 50+ in 1st 10 overs and let England defend it. Then KVP's side will have to win the game by forcing a draw and Andrew Miller won't complain.

  • karthik1729 on December 22, 2008, 20:26 GMT

    I partially agree to the authors view on India's approach, and the slower rate is also contributed by the england bowlers bowling outside the off stump line to Gauti, (however every time, when the bowlers bowled at his stumps, he clipped it through the mid-wicket) and some tight bowling to Rahul and Sachin. You cant really blame sachin for the slower rate, as he got out trying to force the rate by guiding a delivery outside off straight to gully, Rahul wd have shouldered arms for it. I would suggest the boards should have 3 or 5 test matches, with 3 20/20's in every tour, otherwise this 7/2 or 8/1 field setting non-sense, and meandering approach to kill the time by the team who is leading the series will never stop. I am pretty sure the poms would have taken a similar defensive approach like Indians did today. finally thanx to Yuvi, for the brief entertaining knock, hope he does the same tomorrow and leave poms chasing around 360 in 60 overs!!

  • Harshtmm on December 22, 2008, 20:08 GMT

    very funny!! Mr. Andrew, if Englad did it you would have said how well they adjusted when the chips were down. Also if India went after foolishly without wisely consolidating like they did now , you would have said irresponsible. All is unfair when Englad looses is the Mantra isn't it? And for someone in these comments who said Australia in their prime wouldn't have done that.... They have done it several times thats why they are number. Being number one is not about dominating all the time. But reading the game well. that is why India is fast becoming number one and they deserve that status. Stop whining.

  • truespirit on December 22, 2008, 18:16 GMT

    This is exactly the reason why indians cannot be number one side as Aussies. Indians played good cricket in last match and won mighty Aussies in last series and still they are not in a position to dominate opposition and play positively. Instead they are worried they may loose......not a sign of a top side. Australians or SA when they are in form would never think like this. Instead they would go for victory right from the word go. The way indians batted in first innings after the brilliant partnership by gambhir/dravid was pathetic. Dhoni is not aggressive a captain or person as people/media created hype. having said all this india may still win the game...provided Ishant and Zaheer come out with some brilliant spells tomorrow.

  • broad_to_yuvi on December 22, 2008, 17:38 GMT

    hood338 seems to be missing the point. It wasn't about Tendulkar- it was about test cricket! Which other sport can boast of evoking such deep and varied emotions over a course of five days, and yet have a totally different format which wraps up in three hours providing just as much excitement.

    Coming to the point, by limiting the series to two matches, we have been crudely cut off from watching more of the wonderfully competitive cricket between two great sides. But considering the circumstances before this series, I'm glad I got to watch even two, which was seeming extremely unlikely at one point.

  • shankargg on December 22, 2008, 17:28 GMT

    yeah...really would have loved a longer series...like u've said, this test wud have been played differently then...but the story of the series is the fact that we could have one in the first place...congrats to england for turning up. england's done some good karma here. best luck to them.

  • anmn on December 22, 2008, 17:21 GMT

    Andrew's article always has english bias, for obvious reasons I suppose. The game is still there for India to win. Andrew is remorseful because the side he supports has resigned already. Instead he is insipidly attacking Indian approach to win. Why is Broad's picture next to article? He did nothing, relatively. I generally see a lot of bias in cricinfo towards non-indians, especially aus and eng. e.g. in today's home page, this was the message "England fought back, taking four wickets, including Rahul Dravid for a duck, but India were still on top" with a pic of dravid bold. Clearly more emphasis on england. The picture is totally pro-english. Is that really close to truth at all?

  • Davesh_cricket_analyst on December 22, 2008, 16:59 GMT

    I think the subject of the topic was required but the causal analysis was not perfect. I think the man who should be blamed for this stalemate is MS Dhoni. My feeling is if this is what Dhoni's captaincy is all about then the romanticism associated with it will soon be over. When he made Ishant & Zaheer bowl 2 feet outside offstump in the last test match against Australia, it was hailed by commentators as a masterstroke, which i thought was despicable. But considering what Australia did to India in Sydney few months back, it was still all right. But he seems to have made a habit of it. Bowling outside leg for Peterson & Flintoff when the score is not even 150 gives an impression of a middle class man who just bought his first car and wants to ensure that it remains dent free, just like his captaincy record. He wants to play Harbhajan not because he will take wickets but because he can bowl economically. Really disappointing stuff from Dhoni. Please don't call yourself the no:1 team.

  • archis100 on December 22, 2008, 16:56 GMT

    This reads a bit one-sided story telling, though makes many valid points. Yes, India failed to set the pace and insert England in today, and it was due to some very good bowling from England. But 'closed-shop mentality'? I DID see the game as well, and bowling to Gambhir feet-or-more away outside off stump can barely be defended from this point of view, specially when you are 0-1 down. What kind of mentality was that? Prudent, I suppose, you want to contain a strong batsman in fine nick. Nothing more, nothing less. Cricket has become very multi-layered at the moment, and many tactical plays are on within an overarching strategy, and both teams are thinking on their feet. When someone registers only one side ignoring the other, it looks somewhat pre-determined. Has the famous fog of Mohali crept inside the mind of some of the observers as well?

  • msaab90 on December 22, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    Mr.Miller has hit the nail on it's head. This series has just left us salivating. England attack is much more challenging and enjoyable to watch than australis's. We were also just starting to see some needle between the two sides. As far as the selection goes both the teams tend to err towards uninspiring conservatism. This clearly being demonstrated by inclusion of out of form but celebrated batsmen and bowlers in both the tests. Hope these two play more frequently in the future, but considering the head in the proverbial "B" attitude of ICC and perpetual inability to take enterprising action it just seems a wish destined to doom.

  • ElPhenomeno on December 22, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    hood338, I have to agree with you. While I see where monsiuer andrew is coming from, this is a no brainer. Being 1-0 up and having a scare, it was natural that india were being cautious. Even australia - now that they do not have warne, mcgrath and gilly - would have done the same. So in the end it sounds like nothing more than typical whining from a pom.

  • inswing on December 22, 2008, 15:59 GMT

    Agree with Andrew Miller. It seems that too much importance is being given to series results, and not enough to individual test results. Why should 1-0 be the only scoreline that matters? Here are some possible rule changes: (1) Change the test ranking system so that series victories are not be-all-and-end-all. Individual tests count a lot in rankings or, (2) A 4-test series should be a minimum (except series involving B'desh), or (3) Make a standard format for all tours, where they always play 5 tests, 3 ODIs and 3 20-20s, or (4) Give very low weight to series results achieved in three or less tests or (5) No. of ODIs in a tour has to be less than double the no. of test (so 2 tests and 7 ODI is not possible) or (6) A draw should count less than half of a win, so it would be better to have 1 win and 1 loss than 2 draws, for both countries.

  • sap2009 on December 22, 2008, 15:47 GMT

    Misleading article. The fact of the matter is that the wheels have come off each time England has played a higher-ranked test team in the last three years. England has lost to India, South Africa and Australia since 2006 at a fairly consistent rate. I am sure England would not be cribbing too much if they were in India's position. Also, Andrew Miller would have probably written how a well-balanced side of youth and experience (in both the bowling and batting departments) have played sensibly and brilliantly to put the game beyond the opposition's reach. Also there would have been a lot of MBEs probably coming their way had the English team played half as good as India did this year in all forms of the game. Let us put our hands together for the fantastic cricket played by India in 2008 in all forms of the game. Everyone knows how badly England want a test win……Good luck against the West Indies, chaps, (if Gayle flops, that is).

  • sparshithp on December 22, 2008, 15:22 GMT

    pathetic comment about sachin especially holding the team back................... come on guys he just had one bad test and he won u the lats match itself.............. what problem do u guys have with him.....

    he is the 2nd highest run getter this year

  • khmayecha on December 22, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    I totally agree with Andrew Miller regarding the size of the test series. Why call it series at all ? Call it a test double. I really fail to understand what the boards are trying to do when they plan for a 2 test series. I feel test series are planned AFTER the 20-20 and one day slots are filled up. Its a real pity....

  • bGopinathanB.E on December 22, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    What ever the end result of the match may be we can clearly see the issues happening between the younger side & the experienced side present in the indian team. The younger side are really eager to kill the England team with another defeat, where has the elder side is trying to make secure the indian team with a draw and clinch the series. as well has keep their place secured in the indian team. This is the exact point where both the faces of indian team should try and keep to the situation of the match. Hope if this is full of dhoni's devil team they would go for a counter attcak and white wash the england team. Tomorrow's interesting point is when will dhoni declare and will we are interested to see his tactics of either killing the England team or hold on for a 1-0 series win.

  • keyur_s on December 22, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    I fully agree with andrew miller regarding the fact that two test things are not quite as fun. While playing a five test series these days is not possible, i believe matches involving 2 out of top 4 sides: aus,sa,ind,eng/srl should be 4 test series and all others 3 test series except 2 test series against bangladesh. 7 one dayers and just 2 tests against eng seemed too many 1 days and too few tests just after an engrossing 4 test series betweeen india-aus. Even the ongoing 3 test series between sa and aus seems short given the competition between the 2.(would have loved a full 5 test series!) This year has been great for test matches, but if tests are to be preserved, then maybe ICC needs to ensure that the series between top sides are long enough to ensure that the team winning the first match doesnt use it as a cushion and look for draws! This will lead to more result oriented matches.

  • hood338 on December 22, 2008, 14:41 GMT

    That was clearly a winging Pom's article. Is tendulkar holding back the Indians? That was never in question. The man has over a 1000 runs for the year...He scored perhaps one of his finest 100's in the last test match and had a very good series against the Australians, to help us take the series. You are clutching at straws Andrew...If England were in India's position, 1-0 up in the series...I'm sure they would have played just as defensively. Furthermore, I think we have all forgotten that test cricket of yesteryear was dominated by cautious and measured play rather than brave and sporting declarations. There is nothing wrong with what India did. They were pegged back early, with two quick dismissals...and needed to settle down, consolidate. The Englishmen bowled well...India's choice to not force the pace is a non issue...1-0 is the only scoreline that matters. Just as it did last summer. Stop winging!

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  • hood338 on December 22, 2008, 14:41 GMT

    That was clearly a winging Pom's article. Is tendulkar holding back the Indians? That was never in question. The man has over a 1000 runs for the year...He scored perhaps one of his finest 100's in the last test match and had a very good series against the Australians, to help us take the series. You are clutching at straws Andrew...If England were in India's position, 1-0 up in the series...I'm sure they would have played just as defensively. Furthermore, I think we have all forgotten that test cricket of yesteryear was dominated by cautious and measured play rather than brave and sporting declarations. There is nothing wrong with what India did. They were pegged back early, with two quick dismissals...and needed to settle down, consolidate. The Englishmen bowled well...India's choice to not force the pace is a non issue...1-0 is the only scoreline that matters. Just as it did last summer. Stop winging!

  • keyur_s on December 22, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    I fully agree with andrew miller regarding the fact that two test things are not quite as fun. While playing a five test series these days is not possible, i believe matches involving 2 out of top 4 sides: aus,sa,ind,eng/srl should be 4 test series and all others 3 test series except 2 test series against bangladesh. 7 one dayers and just 2 tests against eng seemed too many 1 days and too few tests just after an engrossing 4 test series betweeen india-aus. Even the ongoing 3 test series between sa and aus seems short given the competition between the 2.(would have loved a full 5 test series!) This year has been great for test matches, but if tests are to be preserved, then maybe ICC needs to ensure that the series between top sides are long enough to ensure that the team winning the first match doesnt use it as a cushion and look for draws! This will lead to more result oriented matches.

  • bGopinathanB.E on December 22, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    What ever the end result of the match may be we can clearly see the issues happening between the younger side & the experienced side present in the indian team. The younger side are really eager to kill the England team with another defeat, where has the elder side is trying to make secure the indian team with a draw and clinch the series. as well has keep their place secured in the indian team. This is the exact point where both the faces of indian team should try and keep to the situation of the match. Hope if this is full of dhoni's devil team they would go for a counter attcak and white wash the england team. Tomorrow's interesting point is when will dhoni declare and will we are interested to see his tactics of either killing the England team or hold on for a 1-0 series win.

  • khmayecha on December 22, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    I totally agree with Andrew Miller regarding the size of the test series. Why call it series at all ? Call it a test double. I really fail to understand what the boards are trying to do when they plan for a 2 test series. I feel test series are planned AFTER the 20-20 and one day slots are filled up. Its a real pity....

  • sparshithp on December 22, 2008, 15:22 GMT

    pathetic comment about sachin especially holding the team back................... come on guys he just had one bad test and he won u the lats match itself.............. what problem do u guys have with him.....

    he is the 2nd highest run getter this year

  • sap2009 on December 22, 2008, 15:47 GMT

    Misleading article. The fact of the matter is that the wheels have come off each time England has played a higher-ranked test team in the last three years. England has lost to India, South Africa and Australia since 2006 at a fairly consistent rate. I am sure England would not be cribbing too much if they were in India's position. Also, Andrew Miller would have probably written how a well-balanced side of youth and experience (in both the bowling and batting departments) have played sensibly and brilliantly to put the game beyond the opposition's reach. Also there would have been a lot of MBEs probably coming their way had the English team played half as good as India did this year in all forms of the game. Let us put our hands together for the fantastic cricket played by India in 2008 in all forms of the game. Everyone knows how badly England want a test win……Good luck against the West Indies, chaps, (if Gayle flops, that is).

  • inswing on December 22, 2008, 15:59 GMT

    Agree with Andrew Miller. It seems that too much importance is being given to series results, and not enough to individual test results. Why should 1-0 be the only scoreline that matters? Here are some possible rule changes: (1) Change the test ranking system so that series victories are not be-all-and-end-all. Individual tests count a lot in rankings or, (2) A 4-test series should be a minimum (except series involving B'desh), or (3) Make a standard format for all tours, where they always play 5 tests, 3 ODIs and 3 20-20s, or (4) Give very low weight to series results achieved in three or less tests or (5) No. of ODIs in a tour has to be less than double the no. of test (so 2 tests and 7 ODI is not possible) or (6) A draw should count less than half of a win, so it would be better to have 1 win and 1 loss than 2 draws, for both countries.

  • ElPhenomeno on December 22, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    hood338, I have to agree with you. While I see where monsiuer andrew is coming from, this is a no brainer. Being 1-0 up and having a scare, it was natural that india were being cautious. Even australia - now that they do not have warne, mcgrath and gilly - would have done the same. So in the end it sounds like nothing more than typical whining from a pom.

  • msaab90 on December 22, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    Mr.Miller has hit the nail on it's head. This series has just left us salivating. England attack is much more challenging and enjoyable to watch than australis's. We were also just starting to see some needle between the two sides. As far as the selection goes both the teams tend to err towards uninspiring conservatism. This clearly being demonstrated by inclusion of out of form but celebrated batsmen and bowlers in both the tests. Hope these two play more frequently in the future, but considering the head in the proverbial "B" attitude of ICC and perpetual inability to take enterprising action it just seems a wish destined to doom.

  • archis100 on December 22, 2008, 16:56 GMT

    This reads a bit one-sided story telling, though makes many valid points. Yes, India failed to set the pace and insert England in today, and it was due to some very good bowling from England. But 'closed-shop mentality'? I DID see the game as well, and bowling to Gambhir feet-or-more away outside off stump can barely be defended from this point of view, specially when you are 0-1 down. What kind of mentality was that? Prudent, I suppose, you want to contain a strong batsman in fine nick. Nothing more, nothing less. Cricket has become very multi-layered at the moment, and many tactical plays are on within an overarching strategy, and both teams are thinking on their feet. When someone registers only one side ignoring the other, it looks somewhat pre-determined. Has the famous fog of Mohali crept inside the mind of some of the observers as well?