Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 5th day April 7, 2012

Banishing the subcontinental homesick blues

England's victory in Colombo proved they can succeed in Asian conditions but they will have to do so consistently to be ranked among the very best
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Is Tim Bresnan really such a lucky charm for England? That's now 11 Test wins out of 11. After four consecutive Test defeats, which threatened their No. 1 status, Bresnan comes back into the team and they level the series with a convincing all-round display. He had a side role to play - two wickets, albeit important ones, and not many runs - but maybe his presence is enough. "He's pretty confident he can do a job when asked," Andrew Strauss said with a smile.

In reality, of course, England just played better than at any stage this year. Sounds simple, doesn't it, but this was one of their hardest-earned Test victories in recent times. It finished with a flourish thanks to Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen, but it was old-fashion sweat and toil which got them there. James Anderson, in particular, may need to be wheeled on to the plane for the journey home.

Make no mistake, England were chastened by what had happened since January. Suddenly the images of Strauss lifting the Championship mace at The Oval in August were a distant memory. Strauss has always insisted the ranking is not what drives England - and continued to do so after this win - but reputations do matter. One victory does not mean all is suddenly right, but it shows that all was not as wrong as it may have appeared. The task, however, of transferring England's dominance at home and in pace-friendly conditions (such as Australia) on to the subcontinent was perhaps a bigger challenge than anyone expected.

It was also important for the captain. A lot had been written leading into the Test about Strauss' position (the arguments were valid) and defeat here would have led to a difficult build-up to the home season, although he still needs more runs. "I never had any doubts," Strauss said when asked about his position. "I'm very determined and committed to see us improve as a side."

Although this series against Sri Lanka was a self-encapsulated contest, it is worth assessing where England stand by looking back over the five Tests they have played this winter. Outside of the first Test against Pakistan, in Dubai, where they were hammered by 10 wickets they have not been steamrollered. That was down to the bowlers who, in their various combinations, were outstanding throughout. They did not have the two months of complete downtime of some of the batsmen, with training camps in South Africa and India. Andy Flower will not make that mistake again.

Still, the batsmen had plenty of time to prepare for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle yet sank for 192 in the first innings. That challenged for worst innings of the year because it suggested scrambled minds still unsure how to approach the game. Block or bash appeared the only options.

In Colombo that changed, building on the seeds sown by Jonathan Trott's second-innings hundred in Galle. Still the bowlers did their job - they struck late on the first day and, even more crucially, late on the fourth day to regain the initiative - but this time so did the batsmen. A century opening stand was followed by a Kevin Pietersen special. In a perfect world the lower order would have swelled the lead further, but it was still riches for England.

"Only the very best teams have managed to win consistently on the subcontinent, but that is what England aspire to be"

And it was the method that had served them well throughout the previous two years. Suffocate then pounce with the ball, build a solid base with the bat then let an attacking middle order express themselves. For a while it appeared they could not translate that format in these conditions, but the last five days have shown that, with a little tinkering, it can bring success.

Yet questions will rightfully remain until they can do this consistently. Only the very best have managed it, but that is what England aspire to be. So that is why thoughts are already turning to the series against India later this year even though England may not be No. 1 by then if they can't hold off South Africa during their home season. The presumption is that India's spin threat will be greater than Sri Lanka's - despite Rangana Herath enhancing his reputation significantly - and England's batsmen will have to be swift and confident in footwork and shot selection. Cook, Trott and Pietersen have shown what is possible.

However, it seems only fair that this comes back to England's bowlers. The ability to take 20 wickets in all conditions is priceless. In Anderson and Graeme Swann they have two of finest operators in their respective arts in the world. Anderson up against Dale Steyn in July and August should be a contest to savour. Swann is now bowling better than at any time over the last 12 months. He rarely bowled poorly - and the success of England's quicks meant there wasn't always much to do - but the last Test and a half has been the Swann of 2010. Right-handers were troubled during this Test almost as much as the left-handers.

The balance of the side remains a ticklish point. Samit Patel was certainly not embarrassed in Colombo and could have a role in the future. However, India does not always produce the raging turners it used to and England's strength in fast bowling could be the most important factor. That, though, is getting ahead of things.

England have six Tests to play at home between May and August - these last few months has shown how much can happen in that space of time. They will enter the home season as the No. 1 Test side, if only by a narrow margin ahead of South Africa, and it is abundantly clear how hard it will be to stay there. The subcontinent remains the final frontier, but progress is being made.

Edited by Alan Gardner

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 5wombats on April 10, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    @JG2704. You are really getting the hang of this aren't you!!!

  • RohanMarkJay on April 9, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    Shame it was only 2 tests. Should have been 3 tests. I was impressed with England fighting it out in the Sri Lankan heat and humidity. SL is a tough place. Well played!

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 8, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    So england lost in Dubai....who plays cricket in dubai?!...its beach cricket & i dont count that as an actual loss

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 8, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    Alot of anti-english attitude from most here... We brought the game to you, so why you mad?

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    Gerard Pereira - AWW - You sound a little miffed there. Still at least , despite your shortcomings on our grassbowls/designer pitches in tests your team have been back to great form back in the SC in ODIs where they excel and blew all other Asian teams off the park to win the Asia cup at a canter.Oops , sorry you didn't win the Asia cup. Still at least you got to the final of the 4 team event. Sorry put my foot in it again. By the way the "Sri Lanka side with one decent Batsman" would that be MJ who just scored a couple of 100s and a 50 in 4 inns or KS who was world number 1 a month or 2 ago? Still this SL side were they the side which got to the final of the 3 team tri nations tournament which Australia won? How bad must the team who didn't qualify have been? Sorry , just realised who that was. Still I'm sure there were reasons other than being poor. By the way , thanks for the credit as usual. Always a pleasure

  • Valavan on April 8, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    interesting gerard pereira is back after 4 - 0 loss in Australia. Well those are one among top 8 teams, but they dont have a loosing streak of 8 - 0 out of home, probably gerard, you are disappointed that england won, but your team is in more shambles. cricinfo please publish.

  • on April 8, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    OK so England beat a Sri Lanka side with one decent Batsman and no world class bowlers. An at the moment in another part of the world the West Indies are 378 for seven against Australia. what does that tell us about these two teams that we did not already know. Take them away from the grass bowls and designer pitches and they are two ordinary sides amongst 8 other ordinary sides playing test cricket.

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (April 08 2012, 11:56 AM GMT) Re batsmen I'd have to agree with you. Re the "Closed Shop" - I'd say the doors are locked , the lights are off , the alarm is set - just the shutters that need to come down. They seem to favour continuity and loyalty when it comes to Bell who was woeful in all but 1 inns on tour but were cool about leaving Monty out who had delivered in every test and tour match he played in bar one

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (April 08 2012, 16:13 PM GMT) Agree with most of your post but not about the quicks who bowled outstandingly on mostly unhelpful conditions. Batting and team formation are the 2 things we need to address

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 8, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    While England have done well to win in Colombo, I feel they are FAR from banishing sub-continental blues. They are still a WEAK team in slow, low conditions. Their quick bowlers are toothless when there is no bounce or movement; Swann though a good spinner would be handled pretty well by solid batsmen brought up in the sub-continent. What England do very well however is that they are good fielding side with a professional approach towards the game. Their work ethic would be a strong factor in ensuring they remain at no.1 for a while. The problem with popular press is that they jump on one off victories as a breakthrough solution to a long term problem. It's like SL or India winning one off test matches in tough, quick conditions of SA and Australia. Those are solid performances but in no way are they solutions to a long term issue. England according to me are average in Asian conditions. That doesn't mean they can't compete in the region.

  • 5wombats on April 10, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    @JG2704. You are really getting the hang of this aren't you!!!

  • RohanMarkJay on April 9, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    Shame it was only 2 tests. Should have been 3 tests. I was impressed with England fighting it out in the Sri Lankan heat and humidity. SL is a tough place. Well played!

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 8, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    So england lost in Dubai....who plays cricket in dubai?!...its beach cricket & i dont count that as an actual loss

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 8, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    Alot of anti-english attitude from most here... We brought the game to you, so why you mad?

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    Gerard Pereira - AWW - You sound a little miffed there. Still at least , despite your shortcomings on our grassbowls/designer pitches in tests your team have been back to great form back in the SC in ODIs where they excel and blew all other Asian teams off the park to win the Asia cup at a canter.Oops , sorry you didn't win the Asia cup. Still at least you got to the final of the 4 team event. Sorry put my foot in it again. By the way the "Sri Lanka side with one decent Batsman" would that be MJ who just scored a couple of 100s and a 50 in 4 inns or KS who was world number 1 a month or 2 ago? Still this SL side were they the side which got to the final of the 3 team tri nations tournament which Australia won? How bad must the team who didn't qualify have been? Sorry , just realised who that was. Still I'm sure there were reasons other than being poor. By the way , thanks for the credit as usual. Always a pleasure

  • Valavan on April 8, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    interesting gerard pereira is back after 4 - 0 loss in Australia. Well those are one among top 8 teams, but they dont have a loosing streak of 8 - 0 out of home, probably gerard, you are disappointed that england won, but your team is in more shambles. cricinfo please publish.

  • on April 8, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    OK so England beat a Sri Lanka side with one decent Batsman and no world class bowlers. An at the moment in another part of the world the West Indies are 378 for seven against Australia. what does that tell us about these two teams that we did not already know. Take them away from the grass bowls and designer pitches and they are two ordinary sides amongst 8 other ordinary sides playing test cricket.

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (April 08 2012, 11:56 AM GMT) Re batsmen I'd have to agree with you. Re the "Closed Shop" - I'd say the doors are locked , the lights are off , the alarm is set - just the shutters that need to come down. They seem to favour continuity and loyalty when it comes to Bell who was woeful in all but 1 inns on tour but were cool about leaving Monty out who had delivered in every test and tour match he played in bar one

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (April 08 2012, 16:13 PM GMT) Agree with most of your post but not about the quicks who bowled outstandingly on mostly unhelpful conditions. Batting and team formation are the 2 things we need to address

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 8, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    While England have done well to win in Colombo, I feel they are FAR from banishing sub-continental blues. They are still a WEAK team in slow, low conditions. Their quick bowlers are toothless when there is no bounce or movement; Swann though a good spinner would be handled pretty well by solid batsmen brought up in the sub-continent. What England do very well however is that they are good fielding side with a professional approach towards the game. Their work ethic would be a strong factor in ensuring they remain at no.1 for a while. The problem with popular press is that they jump on one off victories as a breakthrough solution to a long term problem. It's like SL or India winning one off test matches in tough, quick conditions of SA and Australia. Those are solid performances but in no way are they solutions to a long term issue. England according to me are average in Asian conditions. That doesn't mean they can't compete in the region.

  • hhillbumper on April 8, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    got to love the Inidan fans on here going on about how badly we do.At least England were in some of the tests we player unlike India who got beaten so badly in England last year that people would have thought they had been bought of to play that bad.Lets see what happens when we get to India later this year then we will see.

  • alfredmynn on April 8, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    To put it bluntly, losing so many test matches is not the mark of a no. 1 side. The one victory was due in part to a relatively weak SL team and in part because the Eng bowling has been uniformly excellent. I can't recall a time when batsmen all over the world were so poor in even slightly unfamiliar conditions while looking like world-beaters at home. Neither Aus nor UAE were overwhelmingly bowler-friendly, but Ind and Eng batsmen showed no technique or application. It's not impossible to improve; however, if these performances against spin continue even for one more series, one would have no option but to agree with the Ind fans. Moreover, to really make the case for a world-beating side, it's not sufficient to merely survive against spin, but to look genuinely comfortable against it. This seems a long shot but England and Flower have shown the willingness to do the hard yards; let's see what they come up with.

  • jmcilhinney on April 8, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    @Anil Babladi, you know that that was an ODI in which Bangladesh beat SL, right? Despite not winning the CB Series, SL had just come off a 4-3 head-to-head win over Australia in ODIs and had recently won a Test against SA in SA. Funny how you pick and choose your stats to indicate that England's win doesn't count. If SL could take a Test off SA in SA and England could take a Test of SL in SL then I'd give England a fairly good chance of taking more than one Test off SA in England. The main criticism of England is that they have issues against spin in the subcontinent and such criticism is obviously warranted, but noone can say that they can't play pace in their own conditions, so your bold proclamation is obviously simple anti-Anglo bravado.

  • StJohn on April 8, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    I think Panesar should have played instead of Patel, but whatever way you look at it a win by 8 wickets is a big improvement over the last 3 defeats, which have each been relatively close losses by margins of about 70 runs each. But SL have a very powerful batting order and they do have a quality spinner in Herath. So this win is not as meaningless as @dual.citizen suggests. But England are not favourites to win in India next winter, though few visiting teams there are. Even if England dominate against WI and SA this summer, India will still be favourites in India. It's such a pity Simon Jones's career was cut short as England have not yet found someone else to offer the quality of his reverse swing, and if England had that in the armoury then they would be stronger contenders in India. I wouldn't read too much into England's batting this winter: form is fickle and English batsmen don't have a terrible record there.

  • JustIPL on April 8, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Wonderful, Hopefully, they will continuue it on the rank turners as well. English team have now learnt to win on sub-continent pitches and kevi switched it.

  • Puffin on April 8, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    I hope the lessons in cricket given to England by Pakistan recently are not forgotten or overshadowed by this victory. That and the poor preparations are not the marks of a proper no 1 team. They should remember no team can always rely on its bowling to solve batting failures.

  • Nutcutlet on April 8, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Despite post-match comments by Flower, that this team is not a closed shop, that's what it has begun to look like. The vast majority of clear-sighted English fans will see this solitary success for what it was: a face-saver, albeit a well earned one, against a side that has one quality spinner and a batsman (Dilshan) who has a knack of taking top-order wickets. Top class, this SL attack is not. Concern must surround Bell - & like others here I'm concerned that he stacks up the runs v WIndies, does enough v SA, & finds himself in India where he is found out again by a set of quality spinners. Although it goes against the Flower philosophy, I do think that the WIndies Tests should be used to blood a new #5, or see what Ravi can do,2nd time round. At last the England top order disciplined themselves enough to keep the sweep out of their play until the score was already healthy, but there again, once it reappeared, the wkts started to fall: Eng has yet to prove themselves in sub-cont.

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (April 08 2012, 07:42 AM GMT) If I had the foresight and Bell performs well vs WI AND SA and then has a stinker in India ,I think I'd keep him in but if his form stretches no further than the WI series then I'd rather see him go now. It's a double edged sword , but I feel that it is almost sending a message that a player is irreplacable which can't be great to keep a player on his toes or great motivation for those who are on the outside if it is pretty much a closed shop - despite Flower's comms to the contrary.Maybe part reason our bowlers have out done our batsmen is because they know Eng are less tolerant of bad bowling performances. I still prefer to go with a 5/1/5 as it gives us more options but back in Eng 6/1/4 is better than 6/1/4 out here as 2 spinners are not so essential and we can still have 3 paceman and Patel as a better spin option than KP.

  • Lord.emsworth on April 8, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    I wouldnt call this one victory as banishing the sub-continent blues. Well done and all that Enjgland, but remember this Sri Lankan team is in huge transition having lost key players in recent times. SL are an average team at best and had just one batsmen and one bowler in this test. Heroes Pietersen,Swann and Anderson went AWOL against Pakistan a world class outfit.

  • RandyOZ on April 8, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    @JG2704 - good points re Bell. The problem is for you guys now that he will probably perform against the Windies and SA, and then fail once again against spin in India. Which would you prefer? Drop him now? Or have him good at home and then risk him again against India?

  • Praxis on April 8, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    @prashnottz, I think the real test was against Pakistan & we all know the result. As someone mentioned, Pakistan surely is the best Asian side for over a year now. However people shouldn't expect the same result as ENG seem to work extremely hard & surely have improved a bit.

  • Rakesh_Sharma on April 8, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    Lot of things are said about England but the fact is their performance against Pakistan was a close one as well. The games were very close. It was not the way India were outplayed in England and Australia. People also forget the victory England had in Mumbai in 2005.

  • on April 8, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    OK Let English media not go nuts. One victory against a team that has lost against Bangladesh recently. So stop making any lucky charm of Bresnan or England. Next 5 matches they are sure to lose and will end as one of the worst ever # 1 to hold.

  • venkatesh018 on April 8, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    England are the true Guardians of Test Cricket. No doubt about that. The effort their bowlers put in on day four in such oppressive heat on a slow wicket to eke out a series levelling win is a tribute to their will power. Hats Off to Strauss and his team. Can't wait for their visit to India at the end of the year.

  • on April 8, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    @Gokul Ganga-Nair Hard to say what would have happened with Mendis, after all he had a great start to his career in 2008 but has looked pretty poor since then. England did play him in the test series in England and he lacked any real threat taking 1 for 66 on a pitch where Swann took 7 for 94 in the match. I must admit to being puzzled as to what happened as he looked like the next big thing and now he can't get a game. Has an age of video analysis removed the mystery from the mystery spinner?

  • on April 8, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    just by winning one game after losing 4 in a row, can you say England can play in sub continent? i don't think so

  • dual.citizen on April 8, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    A far cry from what Mr McGlashen might want us to believe. It was a hard fought victory by England against a struggling side with only one bowler and poor batting form except Mahela. If England want to take pride in a victory against two men army with 9 other fielders, they can do so playing ostrich. Fact is they have good bowling outfit but they are poor batting side against quality spin bowling who always cry and never take defeat with humility feeling that they still rule the world. If they could help it, spin bowlers with variety should be banned just like fast bowlers was curtailed (bowl just one bouncer per over) in the era of W's.

  • StatisticsRocks on April 7, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    It's still only one win in 6 test matches agnst a batting lineup that was struggling except the great Mahela. Yes, I believe Eng can win in the subcontinent and their best chance is later when they tour India as India do not have Ajmal. India's bowling is at it's weakest and now that Dravid has retired I am not sure who is going to hold the fort on one end. Ian Bell along with KP, Trott and Cook will score runs in India. ICC should play 5-test series and stop this 2 or 3 match series in the future.

  • HatsforBats on April 7, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    A confidence boosting win for Eng, but again it's their attack keeping their heads above water. A win & runs for struggling batsmen on the most batting friendly track in SL shouldn't inspire too much confidence, there's still a lot of work to be done. Not sure Patel is the answer either; I'd like to see a straight swap for Broad when he's fit. I'd like to think India will put a fight after some serious embarrassment, but who knows.

  • Shan156 on April 7, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    @prashnottz, yes, losing 0-4 to an Aussie side without McGrath and Warne and rebuilding is the real big deal. England will compete better in India than India did in England and Australia. Re: the series, England have shown real improvement in their methods. The bowling was never a problem, the batting was. Seems like some lessons were learned. Hopefully the team would do well in the summer and in India.

  • JG2704 on April 7, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    @prashnottz on (April 07 2012, 16:01 PM GMT) Have to say it will be a much bigger test. At the moment I feel we have failed by losing to the best (on current form) Asian side and drawing against possibly the weakest. Our problem area is our batting as our bowling by and large has been very good. So baring that in mind I'd say Indis's bowling attack is better than SLs but definitely not as good as Pakistan's

  • JG2704 on April 7, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - Should have picked both and dropped Bell whose contribution once more was poor. I know I have said about Bell for a while but he has scraped 50 once in 10 test inns and about 8 warm up matches. Monty surely was still a better bet to take wickets then Bell was to score runs.

  • binojpeter on April 7, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    I think England will do well against India. They have good gauge of subcontinent surfaces against some quality spin. In my opinion, Ajmal is a far better off-spinner than Ashwin and Herath is far better left arm spinner than Ojha. I don't see too much of a problem for England in India later this year.

  • jmcilhinney on April 7, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Despite the win, there may be some who will say that England missed Monty Panesar. It's been said that you're always a better player when you're out of the team. There may be an assumption that Monty would have performed as he did in UAE, but if included he may well have performed as he did in Galle. There really wasn't much to pick between Panesar's contribution in Galle and Bresnan's in Columbo, so it's really much of a muchness. Sure Monty had a shocker in the field but it was Anderson's first drop of Jayawardene on 90 that was the most expensive, so Monty shouldn't even have had the opportunity to drop those catches. I have no issues with the selections England made. Some were saying that Swann should have been out before Monty. Do they still think that?

  • prashnottz on April 7, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    Having drawn a series in SL without Murali and Vaas and rebuilding is not a big deal. The real test is when they come to India..

  • on April 7, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    England were always fine against normal spin. If mendis had played it would have been a real indication. England couldnt play saeed ajmal with his variations and mendis is similar in his approach with variations. R Ashwin will rpovide a real difficult test for us in the subcontinent later this year so lets not get ahead of ourselves.

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  • on April 7, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    England were always fine against normal spin. If mendis had played it would have been a real indication. England couldnt play saeed ajmal with his variations and mendis is similar in his approach with variations. R Ashwin will rpovide a real difficult test for us in the subcontinent later this year so lets not get ahead of ourselves.

  • prashnottz on April 7, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    Having drawn a series in SL without Murali and Vaas and rebuilding is not a big deal. The real test is when they come to India..

  • jmcilhinney on April 7, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Despite the win, there may be some who will say that England missed Monty Panesar. It's been said that you're always a better player when you're out of the team. There may be an assumption that Monty would have performed as he did in UAE, but if included he may well have performed as he did in Galle. There really wasn't much to pick between Panesar's contribution in Galle and Bresnan's in Columbo, so it's really much of a muchness. Sure Monty had a shocker in the field but it was Anderson's first drop of Jayawardene on 90 that was the most expensive, so Monty shouldn't even have had the opportunity to drop those catches. I have no issues with the selections England made. Some were saying that Swann should have been out before Monty. Do they still think that?

  • binojpeter on April 7, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    I think England will do well against India. They have good gauge of subcontinent surfaces against some quality spin. In my opinion, Ajmal is a far better off-spinner than Ashwin and Herath is far better left arm spinner than Ojha. I don't see too much of a problem for England in India later this year.

  • JG2704 on April 7, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - Should have picked both and dropped Bell whose contribution once more was poor. I know I have said about Bell for a while but he has scraped 50 once in 10 test inns and about 8 warm up matches. Monty surely was still a better bet to take wickets then Bell was to score runs.

  • JG2704 on April 7, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    @prashnottz on (April 07 2012, 16:01 PM GMT) Have to say it will be a much bigger test. At the moment I feel we have failed by losing to the best (on current form) Asian side and drawing against possibly the weakest. Our problem area is our batting as our bowling by and large has been very good. So baring that in mind I'd say Indis's bowling attack is better than SLs but definitely not as good as Pakistan's

  • Shan156 on April 7, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    @prashnottz, yes, losing 0-4 to an Aussie side without McGrath and Warne and rebuilding is the real big deal. England will compete better in India than India did in England and Australia. Re: the series, England have shown real improvement in their methods. The bowling was never a problem, the batting was. Seems like some lessons were learned. Hopefully the team would do well in the summer and in India.

  • HatsforBats on April 7, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    A confidence boosting win for Eng, but again it's their attack keeping their heads above water. A win & runs for struggling batsmen on the most batting friendly track in SL shouldn't inspire too much confidence, there's still a lot of work to be done. Not sure Patel is the answer either; I'd like to see a straight swap for Broad when he's fit. I'd like to think India will put a fight after some serious embarrassment, but who knows.

  • StatisticsRocks on April 7, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    It's still only one win in 6 test matches agnst a batting lineup that was struggling except the great Mahela. Yes, I believe Eng can win in the subcontinent and their best chance is later when they tour India as India do not have Ajmal. India's bowling is at it's weakest and now that Dravid has retired I am not sure who is going to hold the fort on one end. Ian Bell along with KP, Trott and Cook will score runs in India. ICC should play 5-test series and stop this 2 or 3 match series in the future.

  • dual.citizen on April 8, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    A far cry from what Mr McGlashen might want us to believe. It was a hard fought victory by England against a struggling side with only one bowler and poor batting form except Mahela. If England want to take pride in a victory against two men army with 9 other fielders, they can do so playing ostrich. Fact is they have good bowling outfit but they are poor batting side against quality spin bowling who always cry and never take defeat with humility feeling that they still rule the world. If they could help it, spin bowlers with variety should be banned just like fast bowlers was curtailed (bowl just one bouncer per over) in the era of W's.