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England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 4th day

India outclassed by better-prepared rivals

If India haven't managed to be the team they could have been, they must ask a few tough questions of themselves

Sambit Bal at Trent Bridge

August 1, 2011

Comments: 128 | Text size: A | A

VVS Laxman looks back to see his stumps cart-wheeling, England v India, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 4th day, August 1, 2011
India went down to a team that has displayed more skill, intensity and fitness © Getty Images

The crown has not been officially removed yet, and it is plausible that India may still be able to hang on to it, but it would seem a distant dream after a four-day annihilation by a ruthlessly professional English team. This has been a devastating defeat: they were battered with the bat, and literally pounded by the ball, with three of their top-order batsmen taken out by the short ball, and two being dismissed without offering a stroke.

Not since 2008, when they were mystified by Ajantha Mendis, have they lost two Tests in a series, let alone two Tests in succession. And though they lost by an innings to South Africa last December, not in years has the last innings batting performance been so utterly abject. From the margin of defeat, it now seems staggering that they had England down at 124 for 8 before tea on the first day.

It must be taken into account that England have put up two mighty performances. There is a wholesomeness about this England side that makes them intimidatingly formidable. The pace attack is comparable to 2005 when they recovered from a disastrous first Test to win the Ashes; and even though Graeme Swann was collared at Trent Bridge, he took a couple of crucial wickets at Lord's; they bat down to No. 10, and despite the fact that their openers have not scored too many, they have managed to bat India out in both the Tests; and as demonstrated by Tim Bresnan's innings-wrecking spell on the fourth day, their reserve strength runs deep.

Comparisons are always tricky, but since they are necessary for the sake of context, this is perhaps the tightest, most evenly balanced, and the most confident English Test team in the last four decades. Apart from their embarrassing slip catching, it's hard to find a genuine weakness in the team. It is unlikely they will be beaten by a couple of blinding individual performances: India will have sustain their best game through the match to be able to take a Test off them.

Of course the Indian performance should be seen in the context of their troubles. Losing Zaheer Khan on the first day of the Lord's Test was a crippling blow. Apart from reducing them to the three-man attack through the Test, it ensured that Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar carried weary and tired bodies to the next Test. And with a stomach muscle strain keeping Harbhajan Singh out of the attack for most of the second Test, the workload on the quick bowlers bordered on the inhuman. They toiled away spiritedly, but by the final session of the third day, when Matt Prior and Tim Bresnan mounted their astonishing assault, they were comprehensively spent.

This is perhaps the tightest, most evenly balanced, and the most confident English Test team in the last four decades. Apart from their embarrassing slip catching, it's hard to find a genuine weakness in the team

Equally debilitating has been the loss of their openers. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, who average 59.18 as a pair and have ten century partnerships between them, have provided the base for India's batting success since they became the side's regular openers in 2008.

From the outside, there might seem to be little difference in opening and batting at No. 3, but for someone as meticulous as Rahul Dravid, the deviation from regular routine can be hugely disruptive. He coped admirably in the second innings at Lord's and the first innings at Trent Bridge, but in the swinging conditions in England, the prospect of an unplayable ball early is far higher, and losing Dravid early not only meant that India were also deprived of their best No. 3 batsman, but also exposed VVS Laxman, who has been phenomenal at No. 5 or 6 in the last five years, to the new ball.

India's worst nightmares came true in the final innings at Trent Bridge when Dravid nicked one early and James Anderson conjured a ball - shaping in and then moving away with the seam - that Laxman had no reasonable chance of keeping out. What had begun with a near impossible task for India became absolutely beyond possible in the course of seven overs.

There is no room for argument about the fact that India have been hopelessly outclassed by a team that has displayed more skill, intensity and fitness over the course of the Test. But if India haven't managed to be the team they could have been, they must ask a few tough questions of themselves.

Injuries are unavoidable, but have all the Indian players come in to the tour with the best preparation possible? Did Zaheer, who sat out of the tour to West Indies, come to the tour in the optimal physical condition?

And why did Sehwag not opt to undergo the shoulder surgery immediately after the World Cup and wait instead until his IPL team was out of semi-final contention, when it was almost certain that it would risk his participation in this tour? It is, of course, far simpler to sit before a laptop and suggest he should have chosen the interests of the national team before a couple of million dollars cash, but then who takes the responsibility for setting the priorities for the contracted national cricketers?

And only Gambhir can say if it was impossible for him to play the second Test after the blow to his elbow in the first Test, but examples of cricketers playing through pain aren't rare.

Those who opted out of the West Indies tour were playing their first Test since January, with the World Cup and the IPL putting a pause to longer form cricket. Was one tour game enough to get them match ready?

It is true that that India have never had the aura of the truly great teams of the past. Rather they have scrapped their way to the top. But in England they have appeared ragged and jaded.

Without doubt, England have been the better side by a margin in the first two Tests but it is not a coincidence that they have looked more desperate, sharp and ready.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by soumik on (August 3, 2011, 10:11 GMT)

Add to the injury list the ineffectiveness of certain players like Dhoni and Harbhajan.Both of them are in the side because of their past reputation and not on the basis of current form.While Harbhajan is out in the next test is certainly a blessing in disguise for India,what can be said of Dhoni?He can't keep,can't bat and can't bowl either(!!)..Now that he has lost 2 tests in a row (which is first under his captaincy) he has carefully made his fame in the Ian Bell incident.He is not the greatest (or best) captain of India like India is not the best (or #1) team of the world.His winning WT20 was a fluke,process of getting India to #1 started under Kumble's captaincy,CSK winning IPL was arguably rigged(Warne pitch incident),had almost no contribution(except the final) in world cup victory.Ultimately after all his excuses he is pinning his hopes on Sehwag who has not played a single competitive match after surgery!!Pathetic..

Posted by gbqdgj on (August 3, 2011, 9:21 GMT)

I have to say I do enjoy a good laugh..and some of the comments on here make me laugh so hard my sides ache. Firstly let me say, hats of to India for playing the game in the right spirit, particularly to Laxman and Tendulkar who I understand were the main drivers of the Bell decision being over turned.

However, to those on here who state that the vistories are meaningless...what a load of nonsense. Of course they are meaningful. Just because India played without Sehwag and Zaheer it doesn't make them meaningless. England have injuries a plenty but were well prepared and overall have played better cricket because they have strength in depth. It will be interesting to see what happens on the sub continent but Swann is a quality bowler on a turning pitch and I reckon Panesar who is bowling brilliantly at Sussex or Rashid will also have to something to add. Finally, one minor point, I was at Trent Bridge for Dravid's century and most of the England players did applaud!

Posted by CricketMaan on (August 3, 2011, 7:46 GMT)

I'm too and ardent Indian fan, but injuries cannot be excuses for losing a tough test tour. Congrats to England, but good luck to you and your swing bolwers when they bowl in the dusty swingless wickets of India in your 2012 tour.

Posted by visualdp on (August 3, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

The overrated Indian team will go down 4-0 defeat for sure. They rated there player so high standard, but when their services needed it was not happened so far. So sad to see. All the best England.

Posted by   on (August 3, 2011, 6:11 GMT)

The ranking is irrelevant, and contrived. England has played exceptionally well and in, more crucially, a well-balanced way. If India can recover, it would be a series for the ages!

Posted by bhaloniaz on (August 3, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

Sambit you and Akash Chopra were my two favorite writers. Very balanced stuff. I cannot believe you are missing the biggest point England simply played well, tried more and did better. Its time to be gracious. Sattam Shivam Sundaram. Otherwise India would not know where they need to improve.

Posted by Rukky on (August 3, 2011, 4:39 GMT)

Reasons...why India lost according to me are: 1. Absence of Sehwag, bcos of which Abhinav was introduced to such a great and strong bowling attack...2...injury to Zaheer Khan during 1st Test. because of that batting orders were not in orders so longs...everyone has to play in different position. 3. Harbhajan singh is not effective at all. 4. Last but not least...Indians Player and BCCI were not serious for this important series (fight for No.1)...really..i mean it.

Anyway..i still hope..with coming of Virendra, Zaheer and Gambhir..India will not let them No.1. Indian are not weak..and if England players are thinking they can beat them so easily like they did in last two tests..its their big mistake.... India will definitely take revenge of this.

Posted by shovwar on (August 3, 2011, 4:05 GMT)

India outclassed by better PREPARED rival???? It should MORE be like this- INDIA OUTCLASSED BY A BETTER TEAM ON THE DAY. I dont like the English, but I always knew that England is a better Test side than India. I knew it was coming, after all India is starting to come out of their continent. It was inevitable. The ratings??? I dont believe in those ratings. If they were right>>> THEN Y ARE THE AUSSIES STILL NO.1 WHEN INDIA IS THE WORLD CHAMPION? CAN ANYONE ANSWER ME THAT? The ratings does not give you the current strength of a team. India is no.1 test side in the world but they are not no.1 in ODI. BS!!!! I think India is the no.1 ODI side in the world but in TEST, I believe SA and England are better than India. Those ratings reflects all those test match India been playing at home. Plus a real strong team always have good back up, India still far from that. If Zaheer is out the whole team suffers. Dravid or Zaheer are not the whole Indian team. The better team won. No excuses.

Posted by cccteam on (August 2, 2011, 20:47 GMT)

I think Dhoni is not test class.His keeping is very average and his batting come off very rarely.I'm surprised he has managed to survive this long in the test arena.

Posted by Mannix16 on (August 2, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

I think the problem for the fan's surprised reaction to India's losses is due to the fact that a majority of Indian fans only watch Indian cricket. Anybody who watched the Ashes or the Sri Lanka series would tell you that India didn't have a chance to WIN against the English in their home conditions, and that the best they could do would be to draw the series. Yet, to be brutally honest, most Indian fans (in fact most fans in general) do not actually watch an entire Test match. They look at the score reports, media reports, or highlights. Even worse, they only watch a certain player and stop watching when that person gets out. In fact, most of the Indians I know only seem to like to watch India's batting and never even attempt to watch India bowling. Some Indian fans do watch cricket other than their own couuntries, and they knew India had a small chance. To the rest of the world, this series is no surprise, just the reward that was coming to England for a while.

Posted by demon_bowler on (August 2, 2011, 17:46 GMT)

A fine article as usual by Sambit, but surely he means "There is a completeness about this England side" and not "There is a wholesomeness" etc.? No side containing Graeme Swann can be altogether wholesome!

Posted by voma on (August 2, 2011, 16:31 GMT)

All England can do is beat teams , its the sheer size of the victorys against India which is astonishing . Im sorry but how on earth did India get to the no 1 position in the rankings . Also its absolutely crazy flying into the UK and playing almost immediate test cricket , England have just come off the back of a very competetive series against Sri Lanka . India need to improve massively

Posted by Philip_Gnana on (August 2, 2011, 16:11 GMT)

Hung, Drawn and Quartered. England have been the best team over the past two years. India were up there not because they were the best, but because of the flaws in the rankings system. You cannot be blaming injuries. India have a much better bowling attack than that of SriLanka who did far better in worse weather conditions too. If a country having a population of over a billion people and who are fanatical about cricket, is the best team that they can come up with? THEY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED AWAY FROM HOME. The tour of the West Indies did give us a foErtaste of this series. Their dismall showing there and just scraping A win against an inexperienced WI team, just said it all. Take Dravid out then you are looking at a mediocre team in my view.

Philip Gnana, surrey

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 15:04 GMT)

Indias bowling without zaheer is very weak , and they should induct some new blood. sreesanth has been given numerous chances and he goes for a lot of runs, why not put a new face from the indian domestic circuit , it mite come as a surpirise to the english s well

Posted by joseyesu on (August 2, 2011, 14:40 GMT)

I could neither accept India as no.1 and nor England after seeing how Aus dominate all across in the past. It is a loss to the entire world.

Posted by allblue on (August 2, 2011, 14:39 GMT)

I'm of the view that India is a team in decline. They passed their peak IMO when Kumble retired. We're seeing the England bowler with a 5-for being interviewed after the game and they are saying 'it's the pressure at the other end that got me the wickets' - and they're right, England are bowling brilliantly as a unit. Similarly, I'm sure a lot of Harbhajan's wickets came due to the pressure applied by Kumble at the other end. Without Kumble, and a seam attack that have not made use of helpful conditions, this India attack would struggle against a lot of county sides. The other big thing, that almost goes unmentioned, is that India's nos. 3,4 and 5 are 38, 38, and 36 respectively. There's not much cricket left in those weary legs and 'promising youngsters' and hardened Test cricketers are not the same thing. I think India are in for a tough few years in the Test arena.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Hi arful don't u consider srt a batsman then I want u to get yours facts right since last 2years how many hundreds he has scored and how many has Dravid scored the only difference was when Dravid was total failure including the series in sa India was winning cause of srt and others performing just cause srt got 1half century in 3innings you don't consider him mind u he still is the 2nd highest scorer for India in this on going series not lax man by the end he will leave Dravid well behind

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 14:20 GMT)

india derserved to lose india are only used to winning at home now overseas is truly gna test them,whilst england are just too good these days taming anyone hu gets in their way

Posted by jondavies01 on (August 2, 2011, 14:00 GMT)

One of the great strengths of this England team is that they have 15-16 players in the camp at the world class level. If one gets injured (eg. Tremlett) they have other players who fit right into the 11 without diminishing the team's potency. They all train together and it's completely seamless. That's something that has taken several years to develop. India have not built up that kind of depth so to say that their current poor performance is a result of injuries misses the point (every team gets injuries and you can only beat the team that shows up on the day). Secondly, the ICC rankings look at several years of results not just one series. England played SA to a draw on their own soil, they beat Australia home and away etc. etc. to get to the brink of earning the No. 1 ranking. So to say that this series doesn't count (for whatever reason) is extremely myopic. India's No. 1 ranking was also based in part on home wins and victories over less-than-full-strength sides.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 14:00 GMT)

People are talking as if India was never in a winning position. India had their chances and England was threatened in some stages of the tests. India could come back after licking their wounds.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 2, 2011, 13:58 GMT)

Yes, india (just) beat England in England in 2007 and subsequently beat them in England. I don't think even the England fans would suggest that the 2007/8 England side was better than the 2007/8 Indian side.I don't think many England fans would even argue that India were the best team in the world for a couple of years. They had one of the best batting line ups ever to take the field and an attack which was about good enough. But it is is now the back end of 2011. Saying India are a better team because they won a series here four years ago doesn't wash.

Posted by milipath99 on (August 2, 2011, 13:51 GMT)

Come on guys. I am an Indian fan and really want to see India win. But lets face it we have been outplayed in all departments by England. Injuries or not give England credit when its due. If players are injured, a team ranked as number 1 should have enough bench strength to still have a fighting chance. Bowling has been below par, fielding is rubbish and there is too much pressure on the batsmen.

England are overall a better side right now, if anything is to be blamed its how the BCCI manages the playing schedule (not to mention IPL!) and the attitude of the players in general. Cant expect to turn up without enough training and expect to win.

I am hoping for team India to bounce back in the next two games, otherwise it would be a waste of what could have been a really great series!

Posted by Puffin on (August 2, 2011, 13:12 GMT)

What is clear is that it's not just that England have an excellent team, they also have an excellent backup system capable of putting such a team on the field, even if they lose some players to injury. You don't prepare to do that in the space of a few weeks, it takes months and years of planning and execution to make sure important positions have good players and good replacements. People are talking about this win being devalued because India had this or that player injured. Is it really wise to be relying so heavily on one player? In the good old days you could possibly get away with that, clearly not now. Too much money is at stake.

Posted by BHARATLIFE on (August 2, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

Enough with the crucifiction....... We did not have Sehwag, Ghambir and Zaheer..... Okay, people will argue.... what if England went in without Cook and Strauss and Swann, ( But see all three have not really had a great impact on the match right). But i think Zaheer, would have had impact ( may be Sehwag with his attack , might have failed, ) 124/8 Zak would have not let it slip, he might have yorked or something. Mukund has played bad strokes, but, it has been a tough for openers..... No need for crucifiction, even if India keep the score to 2-0 or 2-1 , it will be inspirational.....But we have to watch out for Cook and Trott... now..

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 2, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

@Arnab Banerjee, so its alright for india to be number one based on home series results, but not England, isnt that double standards. India only seems capable of beating lesser nations away from home, even when SA visited India, India couldnt beat them in a series. Take your head out of the sand, and look at the reality, India have been beaten heavily twice. Top teams have a depth to them and india are lacking that kind of depth, they rely to much on 38 year old players, Sehwag and Zaheer, without them they are an average team as has been proven.

Posted by valvolux on (August 2, 2011, 12:52 GMT)

india's crown is about as official as south africa's was in either the late 90s or early 2000s...which was due more to schedule rather than being the best. like back then - south africa held the crown even after being thumped by australia at home. this tour has shown one thing - india have no depth. to think that the guys who did make the pitch, tendulkar dravid and laxman are in their twighlight, i think it's going to be a long hiatus for the indian side. since 2008 india have only tasted success overseas against bangladesh, new zealand and the west indies. if you can claim to be top of the world, you have to start winning series away from home against good teams. i expect the "world champs" to be soundly beaten in the ODIs as well. they will get their chance in australia later this year - but id bet the kiwis could win a series in australia these days.

Posted by pabbu on (August 2, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

Victory would be thier's who take the opposition Head on. To do that,Team needs be ready and rearing to go. Alas this Indian Team looks jaded and tired.I am not against IPL but BCCI needs to clarify why IPL was organized just after World Cup and, with important tours to England, Australia due this year. England were better side in three departments(Batting,Bowling,Fielding) except in slip catching. With sehwag out of the contention for 2 test matches, they would have selected another opener.BCCI and selection committee needs to rethink. SkRaina, Yuvraj, Mukund should learn from SRT,RSD,VVS. Nothing is lost, still 2 to go. Pull up yourselves and look back this Team played well against all conquering Australia when all the other teams were surrendering. Keep in mind this Team has done well in the past and i am sure it will bounce back.

Posted by anfour on (August 2, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

England are playing in their own backyard.If you really want to prove that you are No.1 come to India and play against India.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

The Plain n simple truth is England bat till no 10, their top 8 players are batting extremely well, their bowling was always better than India's wobbly dobbly medium pace attack. India on the other hand seems to be playing with only one guy, Rahul Dravid.. bowlings done better than expected though so its not all hell after Zaheer retires


Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 12:15 GMT)

India should not be number one if all they can do is win at home. A rethink of the way the teams are ranked should be considered. If England can beat Australia at home and India has never done so in 60 years then England are already a better test side. And India to me look like being on the same slippery slope that Australia is on. Furthermore if the youngsters in India are only interested in front foot wallops like Yuvraj then the slide will continue for years to come.

Posted by Kricket_Fan on (August 2, 2011, 12:08 GMT)

Chetam Sharma... What ur point? ur best team cant even make 300 runs in England yet u inquireing about Englands performance..... Wonder which team India brought to England. Few months ago it was the third stream team that went to the west Indies... u guys should just understand that teams will perform differently in different conditions and stop trying to justifing ur team performance by questioning the other teams.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 11:49 GMT)

"It is true that that India have never had the aura of the truly great teams of the past. Rather they have scrapped their way to the top", very truly said Mr Sambit. Even if India draw from here one thing is for certain there is no "top" team currently in world cricket and certainly no Indian dominance. Just because you have points accumulated over a period of time doesnt make you number one. Coming to the series, well stop bashing the batsmen although they could have played better in the second innings..but how much better?it was a record chase!!India cannot win test matches in England, Australia, South Africa with their current bowling line up they need good quality fast bowlers. The batsmen will eventually get their act togather..but stop relying so much on Virender Sehwag, he doesnt have an exceptional record in England, if players like Sachin, Dravid and Laxman who are much more reliable than him hav failed to make an impact I doubt he will be the savior here.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 11:21 GMT)

India Toured SA, then WI and now here. Not enough preparation to adapt to the new conditions (Except Dravid). On the other side, England, who just beat SL in their home soil and well settled to the conditions. India had a well settled team. Here they lost opening batsman and bolwer. Which mean every one need to fill different places, middle order moved to top order and leaving a big hole. Thats the reason for failure, again Except Dravid who scored ton in both positions (even at no.3, he comes in to bat with in few overs anyway). Along with complete misfire of Bhajji and Dhoni caused lower order to collapse. Other than that, how often did we saw Indian fast bowlers bowling so many overs in a test match?. So with 1 (Dravid) and half batsman (VVS) and three bowlers , India did very well though.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 2, 2011, 11:18 GMT)

When I read about the bouncabil;ity of India, I wasn't expecting the kind of stuff Besnan dished up! I am imagining a very, very cruel scoreline had England took their catches. After many false dawns, this side is justifying the plaudits heaped on it. When you have a side down, go for the throat. Credit goes where it is due, well done England. You have played another level of cricket against all teams. And to score 500 plus in an innins on this wicket & afer losing the toss and being sent in, you still managed a comprehensive victory.

Posted by Tigersrini on (August 2, 2011, 11:16 GMT)

It was not the case of better prepared team winning. It was the case of not being ruthless when opportunity presents itself. Does anyone remember even a single yorker being bowled by an Indian bowler at Swan or Broad !!!!. Day 1, England 128-8, India allowed England to claw back. Day 2, India 267-4, India mess it up. Just a lead of 67 instead of at least 167. Day 3, Andrew Strauss is out early and Peterson walks in and there is no Thirdman and Bell, Peterson and others score almost 180-200 runs thru' boundaries at Third man. Nothing lost plan each move. Be ruthless. No need to be nice. Go for the kill every minute.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 11:11 GMT)

It is no excuse to say the fast bowlers were spent. If they could not bowl 50 overs in a test match then they should not have played at all..

But, more importantly, what I find disturbing is the lack of a plan B. When your bowlers are tired and opposition is getting runs at more than 6 per over, then spread the field and stop the boundaries. It is not something new for Dhoni and co. They did this successfully against Australia in India.

It is utterly unfathomable why India had no third man while the lead had crossed 300 and England had deep cover for Sachin while India was 55/6!!

I feel the entire team had been mentally exhausted by tea Day 3 and just went through the motions. We were not behind the test till the end of that session.

Posted by Master01 on (August 2, 2011, 11:07 GMT)

You hit on the injury issues very well. England would have lost had they not had broad prior and anderson. These wins mean very little to a knowledgable cricket fan.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 10:39 GMT)

bingohaley, that would be a little too strong considering that this is just one series! England cannot call themselves world beaters on just their performances on home turf! England were a better team-yes. But you guys would not last two sessions on a Kanpur pitch against this same ineffective Harbhajan Singh, nor would Swanny take any wickets on the paradise for spin bowlers!!

Posted by PPD123 on (August 2, 2011, 10:10 GMT)

India were definitely outclassed by a better opponent. I am a huge Ind fan and I still believe we have a very good team. I guess what hurts more than the defeat is the nature of defeat, if your team plays aggressively and gives in its best - dont think you can ask for more than that. Dont think Ind has played as a team in the 1st 2 test. Ganguly on air was correct - he mentioned that Ind should win the toss and bat 1st. Thats our best bet for a win. You always play to your strengths. If you have such a strong batting line up, then they should be able to front up and challenges posed by the pitch and overhead conditions. 2ndly, i also believe Dhoni needs to play with 5 bowlers. Ind need to get 20 wkts and I dont see that happening with 4 bowlers, else he shud bite the bullet and play Mishra/Munaf - depending on the conditions, and drop Harbhajan. Ind can still fight back - not impossible, but highly improbable. It going to be a mental battle from here on in. All the best Ind!

Posted by Herath-UK on (August 2, 2011, 9:51 GMT)

While appreciating the superb England win,will the current England team would have won a Test series with the current Indian and Sri Lankan team in India and in Sri Lanka respectively.Answer is clear no.Therefore England should not go overboard;let's see when they travel to India and Sri Lanka in the winter. Ranil Herath-Kent.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 9:29 GMT)

Apart from the players the selectors r also to be blamed for their selection. as gavaskar ponted india needed a third opener. why dint they chose somebody like wasim jaffer who religiously plays 4-day cricket & is quality opener. on what basis was mukund picked ahead of him.agrred u wanna blood younsters but experience does count. okay when gambhir got injured, why dint they flew an opener rather than shuffling the batting order on such an imp tour. that it self shows how prepared we were for this tour.

Posted by Domzo on (August 2, 2011, 9:20 GMT)

The slip catching has been pretty poor this series, but to call it "embarrassing" is a bit of a stretch - it would be embarrassing if that was the usual standard, and not an aberration from it.

Posted by vissu295 on (August 2, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

To all SL fans - The reason why your team did well was because the new Duke ball that was used for the SL series was not aiding swing bowling much. For this series, they are back to using the old Duke ball. This is not an excuse for India's poor performance though

Posted by Sashank_sharma on (August 2, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

True, absolutely true. But I would like to add a point. In all these years for the rise to the top, India have greatly depended upon openers and Zaheer. Had it been injuries to say harbhajan or so, things would not have been so worse. This is the first time India is playing a good test country with Sehwag ( their greatest attacker with bat) and zaheer( greatest attacker with ball) missing.

Posted by Fluffykins on (August 2, 2011, 8:40 GMT)

I am going to the Oval later in the series and would willingly pay my match ticket price itself just to have seen live the ball that Anderson bowled to dismiss Laxman in the second innings . Sublime.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

I wonder whether this English team be able to win even a single game at subcontinent?

Then how one can say it is the best team in the world?

Posted by bd_ind on (August 2, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

Loosing Bhajji may be a blessing in disguise..

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

I cannot just get people criticising srt just because he did not score in 3 innings you forgot what happened in sa where he alone on difficult conditions scored 2 hundreds and pls don't talk about Dravid what has he done in the last 2years check his avg he was not thrown out cause we were winning mainly due to sachin and pls check how many centuries he has scored in last 2years against quality oppositions then u speak about srt

Posted by Naresh28 on (August 2, 2011, 8:12 GMT)

India's bad fielding in a team game is one of main factors for defeat. Bad fielding leads to the bowlers having to put extra effort and to an extent the batsman need to score extra. The bowlers only shine in patches when the ball is new. When its old the slow pace becomes fodder for good batting side. The aging batsman are the only plus point for India but become a burden in the field. Having said that I am quite impressed by Rohit Sharma who can become Sachin's replacement. Naresh28

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 8:09 GMT)

its surprising 2 see most of the comments pitting one player against other blaming for the defeat. it is a team game & team either wins or loses, not individuals. individuals have got their roles 2 perform which they simple as that. As for preparedness, england were eyeing this series post ashes, even before WC[read strauss- post ashes conference]. that was their prime goal which they have almost acheived.even if india comeback strongly, they will know in their hearts they have been out-classed blow by blow. its time they justify their no 1 status which some -how was always unconvincing despite their performance in last year or so.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

congrats england for a thorough ruthless performance. india committed biggest blunder by underestimating their opponents. that show's up in their itenary where just one warm-up game with most of the senior players coming out of hibernation. that's just kidding on their part. to make matter worse the injuries to the key players happenend. but excuses apart dhoni blaming bowler short as the reason for defeat is puzzling. india mostly won abroad due to their batting. here too batting cost them d match. seeing raina & yuvi playing shots like they did is embarrasing. i honestly believe they dont have technique/temparment for test cricket. its bcos of lack of 4-day games.they have been playing shorter format for ages & think their inclusion in test side is automatic in absence of seniors. none of the young guns have impressed & with ipl around i dont think they r bothered either.i think selectors intervene & ring some changes.

Posted by WhoCaresAboutIPL on (August 2, 2011, 7:43 GMT)

The series was always going to be India's star batting versus England's better (team) bowling. Having bowlers who bat well is also quite an advantage. Few have picked up on the significance the toss has, particularly in England, where the pitch usually starts a bit green, and at both Lords and Trent Bridge, there was heavy cloud cover. Whoever won the toss was bound to bowl - had Strauss won either, the result might have been even more one sided...

To those SL fans who are crowing about a 1-0 defeat, all 3 matches were severely restricted by rain. The last match was a possible draw (although England would have batted on) but the stats show overall the most likely result was closer to a 3-0 defeat, if there had been even 4 days play at any of the three venues.

Posted by reghuh on (August 2, 2011, 7:39 GMT)

Why everyone is putting blame on our batting.Its clearly out of 2 key players- Sehwag and Gambhir and the Ganguly replacement (Raina/Yuvraj) is not very convincing .Bowling is the key culprit.Indian seamers lost the match when they allowed Englands last 2 to score 100+ from 120+/8.Also in innings 2, they were clobbered here and there like club bowlers.England run rate in the second innings was much better than some one dayers at slightly less than 5. They had cleverly designed their pitches ensuring that no spin assistance is there whatsoever and that was the key.Had India bowled better to get the tail off cheaply and had not the Indian middle and tail gone so cheaply in both the innings, there would never have been such a miserable collapse and shameful drubbing. Any Indian cricket fan who had watched the match fully would have got heartbroken by the way indians surrendered and by the way the english batsmen milked our bowlers on the previous day. Sehwag comin back would help a lot

Posted by tjsimonsen on (August 2, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

@Master01: Because cricket is a contest between BAT and BALL, not between BAT and BAT. Watching two strong batting sides pile on runs after runs after runs on a flat track is about as exciting as watching paint dry. If India prepares tacks like the turner/mine-field they beat Australia on at Mumbai in 2004 it's perfectly fine with me. Besides, I wouldn't be too confident in the India batting line-up on flat tracks given that the conditions at Lords were excellent for batting except for the first day when England were batting. For the rest of the match, and especially during India's 2nd innings, it was actually great batting conditions. Yet, England's bowlers just applied themselves to the task and India couldn't stand the pressure.

Posted by tough_cool on (August 2, 2011, 7:07 GMT)

@spinkingKK: You have raised an important point; That when Sreesanth was going full throttle he was not allowed another over; it is a typical Dhoni's management style; I know another example; in 2009 T20 world cup match against WI that India lost and eventually led to exit of india from the tournament, there was an amazing insight to this match. Though india lost the match but irfan pathan's spell read was 2 overs 9 runs for 1 wicket. And India had a grip on the match until nearly end of 17 th over, and just when I was thinking that irfan he will be used in 18th and 20th over of that match -- isn't that too obvious, what I see is it is not irfan but ishant who comes to bowl and promptly gives away some nearly 18 runs in the over and the match was over after that. But that is not the end of the story; the end of the story is that Irfan pathan was dropped from the next match against England and he never payed an international match again.

Posted by nickcarter80 on (August 2, 2011, 7:01 GMT)

I said this after the first match and I'm saying it again. 1. India is not the best team in the world and has never been. 2. Tendulkar is not a god as Indian fans say. Even though he is a really good batsman he is hugely overrated. 3. Dhoni is not the best captain. Infect he lacks the discipline to be even a great captain. Throughout the India's tour of England what I'm writing here will be reiterated and proven. Let's wait and watch as it happens.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

Why no one thinks dhoni is the biggest culprit. If he would have played better in the lords test in 1st innings or 2nd innings, we would have got a draw at least. He starts the collapse with his reckless shots and then the remaining tail just surrenders. similarly here in trent bridge, he started the collpase in the 1st inning, otherwise we cd easily have scored 400. even no. 11 anderson bats better.

also to accomodate yuvraj, he has changed the entire batting order putting dravid as opener and laxman at 3. also in last 30 innings in test matches, dhoni has not played any match winning or match saving innings. he is a non-playing captain as bhajji is a non-playing spinner. bhajji has failed in last 5 test matches. dhoni is also a culprit for not giving chance to parthiv who was a good reserver opener. he does not want to give parthiv a chance because of insecurity of his own postion. any other wicketkeeper or batsman wd have been dropped by now after failing in last 30 innings.

Posted by george204 on (August 2, 2011, 6:52 GMT)

Yes, I agree with the last part of your article. A single first class match was never going to be enough preparation for this series. Cramming a West Indies tour in was just one committment too many & took all the gaps our of an already crowded fixture list. Silly, greedy decision bythe BCCI, they should have put the WI tour off until next winter & approached both series properly.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 6:44 GMT)

Well what happened in these two tests was very much expected. Indian batsmen are great players of "FLAT WICKETS" and coming to England would always had been a completely different story. Tendulkar being one of the best batsmen in the history of world cricket should have stepped up instead of laxman at no.3 position. Indian bowlers were also never up to the task. U cant expect much from slow swinging balls of praveen kumar and inconsistent bowling of sreesaanth and ishant. Rahul Dravid showed his class and his potential once again with his 2 great centuries and i believe now tendulkar should start taking lessons from dravid on how to play test cricket coming out of IPL.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

@Rizwan Moulana: Please do not start singing SL song again, you know very well that SL would have been beaten 3-0 if not for rain interruptions in at least 2 days in both drawn tests. Anyway I would ask you to wait till the end of this series before passing any such comments, because finally England are going to face the full strength number 1 team, and if they can beat the true number 2 bunch, then the crown would be rightfully theirs, but it won't be easy.

Posted by Herbet on (August 2, 2011, 6:42 GMT)

Excuses, excuses. The real fact of the matter is that India just aren't that good! Apart from 'the big 3' their batting is hopeless, Yuvraj, Raina and Mukund just aren't capable of playing anything that swings or bounces above their knees! And injuries are no excuse either. Would losing Malcolm Marshall have stopped the West Indies of the 80's? No, they had a que round the block of fast bowler. Likewise, Australia had enough batting to cover if Hayden and Langer were out. India have no strength in depth and rely on individuals. I cant see Sehwag making a difference, he cant play swing either. I honestly think the Pakistan team last year, with their fantastic bowlers, were better than India, in tougher conditions too. And does anyone think ifvwe had been 128/8 v South Africa we would have won? No, me neither, India aren't even No 2 in the world.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

In the entire test series that is West Indies and now with England, India is totally depending on two batsmen Rahul and Lakshman. Another factor is India never reached 300 mark in the first innings so far against West Indies and England presently. The way England are showing their class and quality bowling and batting, there is a every possibility India may be routed in the remaining two test matches also. Now we are eagerly waiting for Viru to show for bailing out the Indian team.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 6:33 GMT)

I don't think india losing this series with 3-0 or 4-0 simply because england won the first two tests against bewildered and depleted indian side which lacking depth in batting and bowling.I admit that england have played better cricket than india.I have never seen indian test side like this in past 3 yrs under dhoni.I under stand that their loss due to changes in batting positions and extremely low confidence of the bowling department. I hope the return of sehwag n gambhir n zaheer will reinstate their legcy.Remember according to icc if india manages to 2-2 or 1-2 in the series they still be the no.1 with 124 and 121 rating points respectively n england with 118 and 121 .I hope india retain their best test team tag by giving their 100% in the next matches which they haven't given yet. Go india all the best.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 2, 2011, 6:22 GMT)

I must congratulate England for their truly dominant manner in their quest for top status in cricket. They have the all round team to beat anyone and the bench strength as well. The point however that will rankle is how the Indian team landed in England less than a week after the West Indies tour and played one hastily organised first class fixure before playing two back to back Tests against a side that just recently thrashed the Australians in Australia. This is some planning and I find it baffling that N Srinivasan, who is also a successful corporate honcho can have not seen the disaster in waiting. You can blame the players for their performances or maybe the injuries. But if the administration is the cancer, that should be set right. Or is it that the BCCI felt that no team could match India for years to come. It is really sickening to see such ineptitude.

Posted by stormy16 on (August 2, 2011, 6:03 GMT)

Interesting some of the comments here are begining to have a sense to de ja voo but the problem is the same folks were battering the SL team who toured earlier this summer. The unfortunate reality after the excuses of IPL, injuries, captaincy, non spinning wickets (!!) ETC is that India have been thrashed in two tests - the kind of thrashing usually reserved for lower end teams and not the #1 team. India needs to wake up fast to ensure this doesnt turn in to a total disaster.

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (August 2, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

India is never a standout no#1. Infact I would say SA has a better record abroad than India. So is England. India has at the most managed to draw series and victories never comprehensive. Also India has Historically since last 30 - 35 years been at the same level. It is just that exceptional sides like WI and Australia declined. India can never match the strengths of past champions Australia and basically WI of 80. If there is a scale in place WI of 80 was no#1 with say with points of 10 to the scale of 10. Australia 9 to scale of 10 . Infact Ashes winning team of England was 9 to a scale of 10.

India can at the most be raked at 7.5 to a scale of 10. so nothing surprising.

Posted by tick on (August 2, 2011, 5:26 GMT)

this test reminds me of pakistan vs india in karachi 2006...pak 39-6 in first session of match but won the game easily...

Posted by SouthPaw on (August 2, 2011, 4:09 GMT)

TwitterJitter - you are on the money! It is the bowling that has let India down. The English were 120 for 8 and we allowed them another 100 runs. In their 2nd innings, we just could not take wickets. Our bowlers never looked like taking wickets in either of the 2 tests played so far. Drop Harbhajan and get someone like Amit Mishra to take his place. I am not saying he is better, but at least he will want to prove a point. These guys - Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan, etc., do not have any decent work ethics.

Posted by SidLovesIndia on (August 2, 2011, 4:04 GMT)

(contd.) In SA, the 3rd seamer was Tsotsobe, and the Aus seamers in 2009-10 were not as potent. Swann was been shown his correct place by the Indians. Much is being said of how good a side England are, but bear in mind this is in English conditions. They hammered Aus in Aus too, but frankly speaking the Aus team itself is leagues behind the one which thrashed a very similar attack in 2006. England are winning at home - keep that in mind when tagging them unbeatable. So are India in India.

Posted by SidLovesIndia on (August 2, 2011, 4:01 GMT)

@ Rizwan SL got so lucky with the weather. All 3 tests had major time lost due to rain, which is why 2 of the tests were saved. The comprehensive collapse in the 1st test was abysmal. Only Sanga's century in the final innings of the 3rd test was praiseworthy, and I can guarantee there will be such an innings from at least one of the big 4 (once Sehwag comes in) in the last 2 tests. Looking at India's performance, the impact of Zaheer and Sehwag's absence is the sole reason. The Indian bowling attack becomes so much threatening with Zaheer leading it. Sreesanth and Ishant's bowling is heavily impacted by his presence. It is no secret that India depends heavily on the openers giving us a strong start. The famed middle order needs that early push from them to prosper. Look at the last series in SA and Aus for evidence of this. Another crucial factor is England's relentless bowling attack in their conditions. The quality of the 3rd seamer makes a big difference. (contd.)

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 2, 2011, 3:53 GMT)

I am afraid i have to disagree with sambit and every one here. You are saying india depends on one man like sehwag? That is bad organization. We all know indian batting is procession on display under pressure. i really think india picked spinner in both Test. That was the blunder. I am not sure what duncan fletcher doing. Dhoni went with same formula we use in subcontinent Test condition with bowlers bowl around bhaji. It did n'tw ork in first test , they did n't learn from the mistake. They repeated the mistake. I understand india can not win without sehwag. But atleast it should have drawn the game. Mega stars of indian batting is chumps without sehwag. Sehwag is no saviour in swinging condition. So it is more of using 4 fast bowlers. if india play again with spinner , they will go down 4-0 even with sehwag/gambhir/zaheer playing.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 3:35 GMT)

I agree with Rizwan Moulana.... Sir Sunil Gavaskar was way ahead of Sachin Tendulkar...Sir Gavaskar would open the innings to the most deadliest pace attacks from Windies and Aussies ever.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 2:54 GMT)

@spinkingKK , I completely agree with you ; in two occasions in this test match , Dhoni has removed Sreesanth from attack just after he got a wicket and just when he got a good rytham and threatening , its really puzzling what this idiot Dhoni thinking about bowling skills of various players! He would bring Sreesanth back once other bowlers failed and batsman already settled ! Its very easy to see the way Sree bowling, you need to allow him at one end as long as hes in rytham caz hes a bowler who need three or four overs to get back it again ! And as long as there is a fear that you wont be continuing the over after taking the wicket where is the motivation ?????

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 2:43 GMT)

I am fed up of these current indian players who think they can excel in any form of cricket. It is not possible except for likes of Sachin/ Sangakkara/Gayle who are complete players. So, we dont need players like Yuvraj/Raina/Dhoni who cant stay play long innings or defend when required. Same case applies to bowlers as well. Its Horses for Courses! I dont know when will Indian selector understand this. First Indian team should learn that there is something other than forcing a who or a loss which is earning a DRAW when you are in a loosing position! I am fed up of these current indian players who think they can excel in any form of cricket. It is not possible except for likes of Sachin/ Sangakkara/Gayle who are complete players. So, we dont need players like Yuvraj/Raina/Dhoni who cant stay play long innings or defend when required. Same case applies to bowlers as well. Its Horses for Courses! I dont know when will Indian selector understand this. First Indian team should learn

Posted by grizzle on (August 2, 2011, 2:34 GMT)

bingohaley: Exactly the thought that crossed my mind when I read the title! Let's call a spade a spade and a hiding a hiding!

Posted by ABP235 on (August 2, 2011, 2:25 GMT)

Writing was on the wall, always. India was too reliant on its experienced batsmen, exaggerated praise of its two bowlers Zaheer and Harbhajan, too much confident about Dhoni's luck factor (nothing will go wrong as long as Dhoni is there) etc but never ever thought of the issue of fitness and preparedness. So Sambit Bal has summed it up all nicely as a post mortem, which I, like many real cricket fans (not the ones who praise when win, deride when lose) knew in advance this will be its fate. After seeing India struggle against the lowly ranked and badly depleted WI side, the writing was on the wall. Barring Dravid and Praveen, none have impressed consistently. And mind you, people were having doubts on these guys - on Dravid for his age and for Praveen they were saying that he cant last 5 days! What a joke! I have always stated, India is a superficial No.1 more due to the decline of Australia. India did not plan well for the ascendancy of England which had 3 consecutive Ashes wins.

Posted by neil99 on (August 2, 2011, 2:24 GMT)

Even though India has been pulverised in every department it is very amusing see such crass comments about pitch fixing - elements of desperation to defend India's blindingly obvious weakness. The pitches at Lords and Nottingham rewarded both accurate full pitched bowling and also batting. A fair balance between bat and ball.

India is out of it's depth and the much over hyped IPL seems now to be severly damaging it's ability in tests. Where is the strength in depth? Yuvraj, Raina and Mukund? Bresnan, a second choice seamer comes in for England smashes 90 and picks up 5 wickets. Moreover, with the impending retirements of Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar and given the IPL influence on upcoming players it is very difficutl to see how India won't slide down the test rankings by 3 or 4 places.

In my opinion India have not been worthy of the top spot in tests for a few years and this series cleary shows the gulf of class between a brilliant England and a poor India.

Posted by nickcarter80 on (August 2, 2011, 2:08 GMT)

This is what I have said after the first test. "1 India is not the best team and they never have been. 2 Sachin Tendulkar is not a god. He is a just a good batsman who had the fitness to play for many years. 3. Dhoni is not the best captain; in fact he does not have the discipline to be even a great captain. Throughout the India team's tour of England these facts will be reiterated and proven. Let's wait and see as it happens." Indians fans now have to understand these realities and should not go on criticizing other teams. I see the comments put by most of the Indian fans are the most one sided comments in cricinfo. Please guys, the world has taught you a lesson. Keep in mind that India is not the only team in the world who plays cricket.

Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (August 2, 2011, 2:05 GMT)

Didn't you miss the role of the selectors ? Had they opted for Aakash Chopra for WI tour or someone with a reasonable technique/temper, India would be playing without the excuse of a batsman called Abhinav. There, fixed that for ya!

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 1:54 GMT)

Dhoni slipped the game out with his absurd batting -nothing more to say! May be its a 4-0 white wash for England over India ! there is a need to be humiliated to learn the basics of batting for over hyped batsmen like Dhoni and also for bowlers who do not know how to bowl yorkers to tail enders :( need to learn lot from Anderson and Co. Its not bad losing to a far better team which has been also very professional in its approach! Cudos to Andy Flower and England team! BCCI can keep on prepare flat pitches for their domestic players to practise!

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

i think we have to prepare a separate team for tests, one-dayers, t-20s and IPLs !

Posted by vj3478 on (August 2, 2011, 1:39 GMT)

I wasnt expecting the series to be so exciting. da way indian batsmen played is simply awesome. da way they played short balls, da way they left the balls around off stump.. may b some going towards stumps was a treat to watch. Dhoni led the team by an example with his wkt keeping n batting. Sachin proved why is considered god n i m sure hez having 'fun'. Bhajji playing through pain showed why he is India's premier spinner. Zak the leader, who knows abt his body showed how to come into one of da toughest series. Da support the strong indian batting line up gave to its young indian pace attack by scoring mammoth totals is the way to go. Its really heartening to watch this #1 team fighting so hard like true champions n they certainly deserve some improvement in their ranking. For too long were struck at #1 n its time to move forward to #2. Its not da result dat matters but its da way da team fought.True champions never surrender just like da way India batted in second innings Go Ind Go!

Posted by bingohaley on (August 2, 2011, 1:34 GMT)

Ever thought of entitling the article with the truth: "India outclassed by better rival"?

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 1:25 GMT)

The root cause for not being well prepared is the ipl,which needs a restructuring.i am not against ipl,but the national team issues should be given more preference.the cons of the ipl has been mentioned.england had no ipl distraction,post wc most of their players opted to be at home after 5 gruelling months away,played 1st class games,got into the test mould and you see the results.The root cause for not being well prepared is the ipl,which needs a restructuring.i am not against ipl,but the national team issues should be given more preference.the cons of the ipl has been mentioned.england had no ipl distraction,post wc most of their players opted to be at home after 5 gruelling months away,played 1st class games,got into the test mould and you see the results.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 1:20 GMT)

The only time India got runs was between 60-80 over period. And they lost most wickets between 80-90. So they should plan their team so that 2nd new ball is played by some "opener" at No.4 or No.5

Posted by Stevo_ on (August 2, 2011, 1:00 GMT)

India is paying the price for IPL

Posted by TwitterJitter on (August 2, 2011, 0:59 GMT)

Not sure why everyone is so focused on Indian batting while it is obvious that the main culprit is bowling. If you keep looking at the wrong places (like batting) you will never find the real issue. Indian bowlers did not have a prayer at taking even the English tail. Ishant and Sree were basically at the mercy of Stuart Broad for crying out loud. That itself would be sufficient to deflate any team. English made sure that there was absolutely no assistance in the pitch for spinners when they prepared the pitches and then toyed around with Ishant and Sreesanth once Zaheer was injured. To me Indians lost the plot when they had England at 120+/8 and let the last 2 go for another 100. The lower order of England far outperformed thatl of India in both bowling and batting and that is where the game was lost. For all the hype around Ishant, he is still an unreliable player. India need the likes of Malinga as enforcer to make sure lower order does not sneek up on them for too many runs.

Posted by spinkingKK on (August 2, 2011, 0:52 GMT)

Victory to the team with a captain who doesn't care which player takes the honours. Two defining moments in this match was: (a)In the first innings, when Sreesanth took his third wicket with a peach, Dhoni refused to give him another over. Sreesanth had the history of wrecking the best batting line-ups in the world and it was a sin not to allow him to take more wickets when the momentum was with him. (b) on the Fourth morning, Dhoni refusing to bring Sreesanth back to bowl when Kevin Peterson and Bell were scoring more than 4.5 runs per over and had a partnership of over 100. Sreesanth was his only wicket taker and for a change he was the most economical at that stage. Among all the bowlers India played in this match, Sreesanth was the only match-winning bowler and Dhoni's failure to recognize that, has a big bearing on the result of this match. However, I do admit, to lose 10 wickets in 2 sessions on a pitch on whcih England score more than 500 in second innings, was a BIG SHAME!!

Posted by CKfrombrisbane on (August 2, 2011, 0:50 GMT)

It is good to see that England is playing Cricket after hundreds of years !

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 0:41 GMT)

Considering the thrashing the # 1 team in the whole universe is being subjected to, I think my team SRI LANAK did well to go down 1-0. Mahela, Sanga and co. had it tougher in the early part of the summer when the temperature is much lower than now.

As some others have pointed out, 20/20 is the cause for the deterioration for the batting skills. If Gavaskar, Manjrekar, Vishy were batting, England's pace attack would have been tamed. Anderson and the rest are military medium in comparison to the West Indian battery of the 80 s and 90 imagine the damage Holding would have done to Yuvraj, Raina, and Gambhir.

I doubt many of the current lot would have those 50 plus averages if they had played in the 80 s without helmets. This is why Gavaskar would always be ached of Tendulkar no matter the 100 + centuries Sachin will end up with when he hangs his boots

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 0:39 GMT)

MeraBharatMahaan, I agree with you, why did not TENDULKAR come at # 3. If he is the best, he should man up. Contrast this with Ricky Ponting who refuses to bat lower than # 3, despite being nudged to by the selectors.

If Dravid can move up, why can't Tendulkar. Dravid kept wickets when he was asked to opened the batting when no one else had courage to face Anderson and yet Dravid does not get the recognition he deserves. Even when Ganguly was the captain, he wanted Dravid to keep wickets in ODI s, to accommodate an additional batter / bowler.

Dravid is the most selfless Indian player and he should be allowed to retire on his own terms.

India with their superior batting line up should have gone in with 5 bowlers like Sri Lanka did a few weeks ago

Posted by charlzy_33 on (August 2, 2011, 0:36 GMT)

@Mitcher agree with you 100%. Best side since Australia 3-4 years ago.

Posted by Master01 on (August 2, 2011, 0:31 GMT)

I love how pitch fixing only works one way. when England produce bowlers tracks, its good for the game. When india produce batsmens tracks its bad for it. Englsnd neeed to find some perspective, beating a half strength India side at home means nothing. When you come to India, we'l see how well your bowlers do in non bowler friendly conditions.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 0:30 GMT)

central idea of the article is IPL has cost India No.1 ranking in the tests

Posted by MeraBharatMahaan on (August 2, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

My question is when Dravid was batted one slot higher, it was natural everyone bats one slot higher in the batting order. Then, why didn't Sachin bat at number 3? Why was Laxma batted at 3? Why does Sachin always hide behind others? In one-days, he took a confrontational attitude to open the innings even breaking the successful pairing of sehwag and gambhir. But, why is is trying to hide behind in Tests? WHY? someone please explain me???

Posted by Mitcher on (August 2, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

Never easy for an Aussie to admit but, Indian excuses aside, this England side is definitely worthy of some time at the top.

Posted by AvidFanDownUnder on (August 2, 2011, 0:10 GMT)

England have developed in leaps and bounds these past couple of years - I still remember the teams that got a pasting in 02/03 and 06/07 Ashes (I'm Aussie btw) and they seem to have thrown away all those scars and I think they are an even better side than the one that won the 10/11 Ashes (who were damn good). I think India is reaping what it has sowed - the players really needed to rest after the World Cup comp, not gallivant around in the IPL and resting during the Windies series is of no help when you are playing a revitalised and hungry English team. I hope the Indians find their mojo soon (only Dravid and Tendulkar seem to have it at the moment) because it would be a real shame to have a lopsided series between what is unarguably the top two test playing nations at the moment. Congratulations to the Poms - can't wait to see the redeveloped Aussies take them on again - it will be the old times of the All Powerful British (ie England and Wales) Empire v the Underdog Colonies. Cheers.

Posted by SPS1 on (August 2, 2011, 0:03 GMT)

Sambit rightly mentions about Dravid having to open the innings and Laxman having to move to number 3 instead of at 5 or 6. If Dravid had to move up to open the innings, then should Sachin not move up to number 3 in the batting order? Why Laxman ? If Sachin is truly a team man, then he should have taken number 3, not Laxman.

Posted by RD270 on (August 2, 2011, 0:02 GMT)

In my books England are currently already Number 1. It is now up to India to win the remaining two tests and wrest back the crown. If they don't they will officially lose their ranking and will fully deserve their slip from the top position.

It is no coincidence that the only player in the Indian side who seems to truly value test cricket has done well on this tour- Rahul Dravid. Good on him.

Posted by GeorgeWBush on (August 2, 2011, 0:00 GMT)

Excellent article Sambit. As an England fan I am of course very pleased to see England winning and given home advantage it has not surprised me that England would be very hard to beat. What has shocked me though is that lack of preparation by the India side before the series began. I recall in 2007-8 an England team showed a similar lack of respect for the importance of an away series and turned up, played some half-hearted warm up matches and then assumed they could take on Austrailia. It hurts too much for me to mention the score in that series, but cricket fans will remember how that Ashes series panned out for England. This tour of England by India seems to have been treated in the same vain. They turned up a couple of weeks before the series, played a single 3 day match, and then hoped that they were adapted to unfamiliar conditions. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail. It is no surprise that India are being comfortably beaten by England.

Posted by DaGameChanger on (August 1, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

Before series two spinners were in limelight but funny part has been Swann and Harbhajan have looked completely ordinary. With hopefully all 17 players available to select on Aug 10th for India, that test match is going to be a WAR.

Posted by snoipmahc on (August 1, 2011, 23:52 GMT)

This is one of the most dismal performances by the Indian team in the recent past. Loosing is a part of the game, but loosing so convincingly two tests in a row is a matter of concern. The margins of loses has also grown. The much boasted about batting line-up had no answer to England's bowling. This is a much needed reality check for the world champions and the number 1 test team. Hopefully, the defeats bring them down to earth and help them focus on doing the basics right. Tendulkar needs to show that he is the best batsman in the world by contributing in crucial circumstances and not by just maintaining his batting average above 50. The lower middle order needs to step up their game. Dhoni also needs to bring his best form back and soon. The bowlers need to learn from their opponents and bowl in the right areas. Hopefully, Sehwag is able to give a positive intent to the batting. All in all, India need a great improvement to loose the series by a respectable margin.

Posted by timus6778 on (August 1, 2011, 23:51 GMT)

everything is okay with this article....but you are being harsh on Gambhir...he has always put country before club...he batted in pain in the SA series...where he took a blow on his body while fielding in short leg....what india is missing is not a wise captain but strong captain hwo is not afraid of taking bold decisions like dropping harbhajan..who has vowed to make it large but can't find a way 2 do it...anyways i believe in this indian team....they will bounce back...let's pray 2 that

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 1, 2011, 23:50 GMT)

True reasons for failure without excuses. 1. England tail start at number 11. Indian tail start at number 5 in swinging condition. from 5 onwards it is all walking wickets. 2. Lack of Fast bowlng all rounders make indian team very unbalanced and over worked bowlers when the only spinner go for runs. ( Even after MRF pace foundation in india for 20 years , it can not find 150kmph fast bowler is beyond shame. why not find 100 Tall well build young kids and train them in cricket acadamy. short and Touch players can not play well when ball bounces to chest height.) 3. Dhoni and indian team management know in advance trent bridge pitch swings all 5 days , then they go with bhaji instead of fast bowlers. There is no excuse for poor planning. Duncan Fletcher is a big fail not recognize the weakness and he fail to bring reinforcements. When dhoni crying that bowlers are tired does n't make sense to me when u pick spinner instead of 4 bowlers. Dhoni is still great captain but he lacked tools

Posted by JustOUT on (August 1, 2011, 23:49 GMT)

May i know a valid reason for any true Indian supporters. Why Mr. Sachin will never open or atlast play in 2nd position in Test. Why did he allowed Laxman to go before him? Is he scared of New ball? or Dhobi is supporting him. LOL

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 1, 2011, 23:37 GMT)

One excuse after another. First india were always slow starters and bouncability etc. Then sachin and gambhir did not have match practice. How many test matches for you to get match practice when you spent whole month acclimatising practicing in the same weather. i really think England is better team even with sehwag and khan in the team Games are won in critical moment. India's major problem is how to get get rid of england tail. I do not think india have answer for that. Indian fans need to understand and accept that india is not number 1. Difficult pill to swallow with all the hype about sachin the greatest batting line up. The pity thing is england do not have great bowlers. They just have Tall Bowlers who can bat like real batsman. Prior , Broad , Bresnan , Swan Bat like top tier batsman and tail start number 11 for england and india's tail start at number 5 from raina/yuvaraj. India must find Tall (6' 5") Fast bowler who can bat. We need atlest 2 of them.Team is not balanced now

Posted by NRI- on (August 1, 2011, 23:29 GMT)

Too many excuses, Sambit. Like VVS, Bell, too was suddenly up at no 3 and Cook once again fell early. He made 159. Bell is no better than VVS but he faced a far less potent attack. Before WI, you can go back 4 years and not find more than one test which India won in which ZK or HS did not get a five for in one innings. India's seam attack is much inferior to Eng, SA, Aus and EVEN WI. SRT needs acclimitisation too so sending him into a test battle after a break and an IPL season before that is wrong. You need at least two first class matches on tour and everyone who will play in the final XI must have at least one. Dhoni cant bat overseas- should Karthik replace him? HS needs a break too.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 23:21 GMT)

Gosh, Leave it out people

Big Deal India lost 2 on the trot, so what ? It's not the end of the World. We just won the world cup, we wont all 3 formats series in West Indies, We had lot's of Fun watching the IPL (if some1 critises IPL, i wanna ask those person's if shewag or sachin DID NOT PLAY IPL, U THINK MUMBAI INDIANS & DELHI DAREDEVIL's Fan's will watch their team play ??) Cricketers need to earn money, and it's their wish and will. Who are we to comment on their life earnings ?? We all would have done the same thing if were in their place.

It's just that we have been the NO.1 Test side in the world for 2 years, and suddenly when we lose 2 matches in a row we feel hatred. Please Don't. England will be happy to claim NO.1 spot by playing in their home conditions other than playing else where and losing all their overseas(except Aus)

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (August 1, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

Some more points I would like to add. Player for player see where we lost. India didn't have openers; so is the case with England. Our no.3 (assuming Dravid as no.3) has been better than their no.3. Our no.4 is woefully short of their no.4. Our no.5 (assuming VVS as no.5) is kind of even stevens with their no.5 until the last inning. The problems start from there - Raina, Dhoni and the rest. That's where India lost these two tests. Yes, Sehwag may have offset this poor lower middle-order and Sachin's performance. But Sehwag performing (assuming that he performs) doesn't take away the fact that there are clear failures in this Indian team in the respective positions for the first two tests in comparison to those of England. Prior, Broad, Kevin, Bresnan snatched the first two tests from us. Only Kevin is no.4 in that list and the remaining 3 are lower order. That's why I say remove Dhoni and Harbhajan immediately. If Pujara was fit, he would be playing instead of Raina in this series.

Posted by farazh.hussain on (August 1, 2011, 22:51 GMT)

I have been a supporter of Indian cricket for years.But,since last year i have been observing an arrogance in Indian cricket specially Indian Board.Thay have money and power in ICC.There is ahuge influence of india in ICC and that is destroying the game of cricket.Now, I love to see India lossing every match of this series.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (August 1, 2011, 22:37 GMT)

Get rid off Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh immediately, if possible during this tour itself. Dhoni is not test match material. Every time he gets to bat, the slide will start with immediate effect. He's been having a devastating effect on the team both as a captain and as a player, as though the other injuries aren't enough. What was he thinking when he let Ishant Sharma not bowl after taking a 40 minute rest? That cost us the first test. See how he panicked when Broad and Swann started to counter attack in the second test. Nothing like regrouping and persisting with aggressive fields. Let some runs leak but you'll have catches to take at least. Let's not talk about his batting because he doesn't bat. He cuts grass with those ugly, unsteady hoicks, stabs and jabs. Bring in Dinesh Karthik. Cut down on t20 for Test Players and vice versa. Everything will be fine once Pujara is fit. Yeah BCCI rise the remuneration of these kids for playing test matches or else don't crib if they prefer IPL.

Posted by cricsavvy on (August 1, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

What a meek surrender!! SL, Pak and BD fans - have a field day. Enjoy at the expense of the Indians!!

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 1, 2011, 22:20 GMT)

The slip catching from England has been just horrible though.........

Posted by Finn92 on (August 1, 2011, 22:18 GMT)

I don't care that the English never get picked for the IPL, especially as it means we get results like this

Posted by big_al_81 on (August 1, 2011, 22:13 GMT)

Really sensible article. The question of warm-up matches is interesting as on the Cricinfo forums there many super-confident Indian supporters were quick to dismiss the very poor showing against Somerset and say how different it would be in the Tests. They were right, but not in the sense they meant - it's been much worse rather than better. In Australia, where only 6 months ago England thumped the Aussies 3-1 (in non-English conditions for those who keep mentioning 'English conditions') we played several good quality warm-ups and played increasingly well. Even then it took the first Test for England to get into their stride and come out with a very impressive draw which then built the momentum for the success to come. Next time they go to Australia, SA or England, the BCCI need to learn from that and have the team playing several warm-ups against good opposition. But I think the financial lure of other (lesser) forms of cricket will just be too much.

Posted by landl47 on (August 1, 2011, 22:11 GMT)

I was very surprised that Gambhir didn't play. His injury was to his left, or rear, elbow, so there was little chance of his suffering further damage. Apparently, according to Shane Warne, he was participating in full practices on the first day of the test, so he couldn't have been in much pain. Since there was no bone or ligament damage, he wouldn't have been hampered much and injuries like that heal quickly anyway. England have just looked a tougher team than India so far. Maybe playing so many ODIs and T20s has made the Indians soft when it comes to the rigours of 5-day cricket. Certainly on days 3 and 4 of this test, they just didn't seem to be physically up to the task.

Posted by SDHM on (August 1, 2011, 22:06 GMT)

The slip catching is puzzling us all I think - over the past year or so, England have held pretty much everything in the cordon. To see them dropping a few clangers is surprising, but at the moment with the way they are playing luckily not essential. They've been aberrations as opposed to the norm, and the one Bresnan put down today is slightly more forgivable considering he ain't a slipper. Swann wasn't in there, nor Trott, the back-up for if something goes wrong with Strauss or Swann. Collingwood has retired recently too, who was vitally important in there. To call it embarrassing is actually, I think, clutching at straws; it'll come good. I don't recall a dropped catch again the Aussies or Pakistan last summer!

Posted by wibblewibble on (August 1, 2011, 22:04 GMT)

I think India will be much improved at Edgbaston provided they can get a better opening pair. Dravid is amazing, but he really needs to come in at 3, after a bit of the new ball has been seen off.

The Indian middle order really can't handle the new ball too well, so Sehwag and Gambhir need to show some form in the 2 day game coming up, and try not to expose the middle order so much.

I still think it will be either 3-0 or 4-0, the Oval has draw written all over it.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (August 1, 2011, 22:02 GMT)

If people think India win in their back yard only .. well, same thing for England, they can't win in Subcontinent and had very hard time in SA. SA beat them recently in their backyard. India beat them in 07. Australia almost beat them in 09. So, to tell them great side is still long way to go. Their bowlers are very competitive in English condition, but haven't showed their class in subcontinent, like SA has. India worked hard to retain their title, same thing for England, will have to work very hard to retain it. I expect Australia to be much stronger in coming ashes. Also, I am excited to see how England can survive against Zak (if he plays in next 2 tests), who might have ran over them on first day and 4th day at Lords with Ishant, and could have changed the game in TB, when England were 124/8. England are good side to compete but they will have to defend their title as India has by playing SL, SA, WI, and now Eng, later India plays Aus. Can England survive playing these teams?

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 21:53 GMT)

It was a decade ago, I was angry on Indian cricket. I still feel like keeping cool. There was no fighting spirit. That is enough to sense that we are losing. I am not sure, how good the atmosphere is in Indian dressing room. It may remain same, even if India play Sehwag, ZAK and Gambhir in third and fourth test until and unless we show that we can fight. You need not win. I would be happy if team fights at least.

Posted by MeraBharatMahaan on (August 1, 2011, 21:46 GMT)

My question is when Dravid was batted one slot higher, it was natural everyone bats one slot higher in the batting order. Then, why didn't Sachin bat at number 3? Why was Laxma batted at 3? Why does Sachin always hide behind others? In one-days, he took a confrontational attitude to open the innings even breaking the successful pairing of sehwag and gambhir. But, why is is trying to hide behind in Tests? WHY? someone please explain me???

Posted by crikbuff on (August 1, 2011, 21:46 GMT)

It all comes down to the stench created by IPL. Sehwag and Gambhir could have treated their existing injuries by missing IPL. Sachin could have missed IPL and spent time with family. Instead they all decided to skip the WI tour and thought they could land in England and start hitting 4's and 6's. India does not deserve to be the #1 test team because they do not respect test matches. They want the riches of IPL - so let them have what they want. England will take over the #1 position - deseervedly so!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 1, 2011, 21:43 GMT)

I totally agree with Sambit. This is a clash of FITNESS rather than Titans. India have looked UNFIT, DEPLETED, LAZY etc while England look STRONG, CHARISMATIC, and FIT, which is a cliche for a team that has always put strong emphasis on training and physical well being. India can no longer offer lame excuses with regards to their injuries. Its time the Indians pay close attention to physical fitness rather than IPL money. The shocking thing is even the young Indian players look unfit and weak. This is BAD news for India in the future. They have so much talent which is a shame. Lastly, the Indians need to do something about their short ball woes. England will continue to test them for the remainder of the series. Even if Sehwag comes back he will be bombed with short pitch stuff cause he doesn't like it there. I expected India to win this series but now it's England's for the taking. Perhaps even a 4-0 drubbing is on the cards. Now that will send some heads rolling in the Indian camp.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (August 1, 2011, 21:41 GMT)

India has always prepared for any tournament like this for ages. They haven't played much of practice matches either. I think this is not the main reason. India has gained top ranking while IPL was on. Every team suffer from certain player missing out or not. The only thing I question is the amount of cricket we play and where we play. We play highest amount of cricket in almost all formats. India clearly lost at Lords because of bowler down. Look at how many overs PK and Ishant bowled. Bhaj is hopeless in any pitches other than spinning track.BCCI won't make spinning track at home, because ICC whines. Trent Bridge was great bowling by England, India had three chances to take command of game and possibly win that test. Full credit to Broad, then in 2nd inning Bell and lower order. India soon will go to transition so it's better for future that other newcomers get chance as much as possible. Yes, Viru was missed, but having Mukund wasn't bad thing at all. Let's see how England retain #1

Posted by rocket123 on (August 1, 2011, 21:39 GMT)

Please stop making excuses for the loss. Zaheer is a good bowler with an avg of 32 plus but he is no Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Holding Roberts, Lilee, Hadlee or Imran Khan. He could take a wkt or 2 to impact the game but not to control the game the way the above legends did. Pakistan had played w/o Imran's deadly fast bowling from 1983-1986 after his shin fracture in 1982 India Series. So should PK say that they lost all the tests for 3 yrs because Imran Khan was not bowling. Champions remain Champions whether they miss one or 2 links. They need to have the back and mental strength to the job. Sorry to say India bowling attack is not a world class bowling attack. It is just good when Zaheer is there or avg when he is not but in either case it is no world class bowling attack.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 21:39 GMT)

Considering the thrashing the # 1 team in the whole universe is being subjected to , I think my team SRI LANAK did well to go down 1-0 . Mahela , Sanga and co. had it tougher in the earlly part of the summer when the temperature is much lower than now.

20/20 is the cause for the deteroration for the batting skills.If Gavaskar , Manjrekar , Vishy were batting , England's pace attack would have been tamed.Anderson and the rest are military medium in comaproson to the west indian battery of the 80 s and 90 s.Imagine the damage Holding would have done to Yuvraj , Raina , Gambhir.

I doubt many of the current lot would have those 50 plus averages if they had played in the 80 s without helmets.This is why Gavaskar would alway be ahed of Tendulkar no matter the 100 + centuries Sachin will end up with when he hangs his boots

Posted by KingOwl on (August 1, 2011, 21:36 GMT)

Oh, come on. Let's not give excuses for the defeat. Tired, no preparation, injuries? These are all part of the game. These same conditions applied to SL and they played in the early season (Spring, really). And they put up a much better fight. So, let's not give poor excuses. The fact is, India hasn't got enough quality players - as Shastri has said - In my view, shameful for a country of billion plus.

Posted by xjunda on (August 1, 2011, 21:36 GMT)

IPL is causing some serious damage here. BCCI will have to answer some tough questions about their priorities.

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Sambit BalClose
Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

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