England Vs India: Test-1, Day-1


After a frenetic-paced start, England had moved to a sedate 268 for 4. Cricinfo declared that “honours were even” on Day-1 although the start line of the report by Andrew McGlashan gives one the impression that he may have been watching the wrong match! He writes, “England spent the early part of the season feasting on plenty of help-yourself offerings from West Indies“!

At the close of play — when bad light stopped play — both teams ended the day perhaps on par. At lunch, England had moved to 116 for 1 off 28 overs. The fact that they only scored a further 152 runs in the remaining 52.3 overs that were bowled in the day perhaps implies that India pulled things back a bit through tight bowling. In reality, it was a bit of tight bowling and a bit of over-cautiousness on the part of England.

Sreesanth got better as the day progressed. He was not really helped by his fielders. The main culprit was, of course, Dinesh Karthik with that sitter of a let-off of Strauss, just prior to the lunch break. R. P. Singh impressed all day. He bowled to a plan. He bowled a good lenght and got the ball to move all day. Anil Kumble was… well… Anil Kumble. The biggest disappointment was Zaheer Khan. He did not shoulder the responsibility of senior pace bowler well. He went to sleep on the wheel through either excitement or ineptitude or both. He had just got up on the wrong side of the bed. On top of his woeful and directionless bowling, his fielding wasn’t crash-hot either. Overall, for him, this was a day to forget.

India need a few quick wickets — especially that of the dangerous Kevin Pietersen — early on Day-2 to pull things back. Pietersen did not seem to be totally on top of Kumble and it may be the wily fox that provides India the early breakthrough. If India lets Pietersen get away, this could be a long road back…

I’d give Session-1 to England. Session-2 was, I’d think, even with Session 3 going to India. So, a session-by-session tally would read 1-1 at this stage.

Dravid’s captaincy was strong and good. Ravi Shastri, in his report, indicates that Dravid perhaps over-attacked too much too soon. Perhaps, but he gambled initially and wasn’t helped by his bowlers who started the day terribly. One of them — Zaheer Khan — stayed in that mould right through the day! He switched Sreesanth’s end around and removed Zaheer Khan, who was really bowling terrible stuff. R. P. Singh came in to the attack and bowled some sensible stuff. He didn’t panic in my view. He was merely being pragmatic.

— Mohan

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3 responses to “England Vs India: Test-1, Day-1

  1. Srikanth Mangalam

    Mohan,

    Overall, I tend to agree with the assessment but for the Dravid captaincy bit. While Ravi Shastri is a good analyst, he tends to go off into “tape recorder” mode once in a while. Keeping in mind, the high standards that Dravid sets himself to, he was certainly below par pre-lunch and for atleast an hour into post lunch. He was reacting more than planning, he was not necessarily focusing on the finer elements which seemed to be crucial in the early parts of game ( I can certainly a few examples such as the setting of the leg side fields for Sreesanth etc.). In this regard, the analysis of Naseer Hussain and Atherton was outstanding.

    Contrary to general belief, I actually thought Sreesanth bowled well through the day. The criticism of his bowling down the slope, I thought was harsh. His seem was upright almost always, his length was good (he tended to bowler fuller more often though). Where he may failed (marginally) was direction, but that I believe, is something to get used to at Lords. And for a first outing on this surface, he did exceedingly well.

    Dhoni received a lot of praise for reading the swing quite well quite early. He was compared with Ramdhin and Kamran Akmal (the last two foreign keepers to play at Lords) who, according the folks mentioned above, weren’t as successful. So, any speculation about Dhoni’s declining standards can be brushed aside for the timebeing.

    Finally, IMHO, the selected Indian team is the most appropriate one. Dhoni is simply too good a player to leave out. Having said that, imagine the situation if Yuvraj was at point at the receiving end of Strauss’s catch??????

  2. Let’s agree to disagree on Dravids’ captaincy Srikanth. I saw the game too and I think it would have been an abrogation of responsibility on Dravid’s part if he had chosen to sit on his fingers at that time. He had to stem the rot and I thought he did it brilliantly by recognising that Sreesanth’s problem was precisely with what you agree was his problem — direction down the slope. He switched ends for Sreesanth and immediately, we had a better bowler. He wasn’t reactive. I thought he was brilliantly proactive. As I said, happy to agree to disagree and leave it there.

  3. I did not understand Ravi Sastri’s comments also. He was just trying to find some faults. David Llyod’s comments are better, IMHO –

    flat track, friendly bowling, …

    Hopefully, our guys can take advantage of the flat track too.

    Zaheer is the spearhead of the attack. The other two guys are new/rookies. Zaheer’s bowling was lacklustre. Kumble can not do much on a first day wicket. Hopefully, Zaheer can come back with the second new ball and take a couple of wickets – Otherwise, India is in for a long day with IR Bell and Prior yet to come.

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