Tired India bullied by England

 

by Brendan McArdle

England’s second successive victory over India at Nottingham on Monday was another example of the impressive cricket it has been playing in recent times. It contained all the elements we have come to expect from the very good international teams of the past  –  potent bowling, resilient batting with depth, and a strong belief that no situation is a lost cause. Yet the real story to emerge from Trent Bridge is that we are probably witnessing the rapid decline of the Indian team.

India was thoroughly bullied in the end by England. From a situation at tea on day one where England was reeling at 8/124, and then with India 40 runs ahead with six wickets in hand on the next afternoon, India degenerated into a rabble. Its bowlers were plundered to the tune of 417 runs for just 5 wickets on day three, and then its batting capitulated to some wonderfully hostile bowling on day four –  at one stage being reduced to 6/55. In a nutshell, India were bounced out.

The looks on the faces of many of the Indian players during that fateful final day said it all : they were a mixture of shock, insecurity and resignation. In the end the great Sachin Tendulkar was a sad and lonely sight amid the carnage that surrounded him. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were victims of swing, while youngsters Suresh Raina and Abhinav Mukund had no answer to the short-pitched barrage they received from Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Tim Bresnan.

But it was the rather pathetic Yuvraj Singh who best summed up the Indian inadequacies against this well planned assault. Struck a painful blow on the hand by Bresnan early on, he continued to jump, wince and weave as the Yorkshireman maintained the rage. With eyes popping and a look on his face of almost pleading for mercy, he lamely popped one up to silly point before departing, shoulders slumped and head bowed.

Yuvraj, remember, was man of the series in India’s glorious World Cup triumph just a few months ago. Mukund is supposed to be a 21 yr old shining light of the next generation, and Raina is a star of the IPL. But, if nothing else, this day proved that when Test cricket becomes physical, all the glitz, glamour and money in the world count for nothing. There is no place to hide.

MS Dhoni is a tortured man at the moment. His own game is in total disarray  –  he can’t glove the simplest of deliveries, and his technique and confidence with the bat are totally shot. He has an impotent and ageing attack, a poor fielding side, and the weight of millions on his shoulders. Normally a wonderfully cool leader, you would think his current situation can only be revived by some individual brilliance from Tendulkar or the recently arrived Virender Sehwag. But it would surprise.

A lack of real depth in the Indian attack has been apparent for some time, and it has been a remarkable feat by Dhoni to have made do with what he’s had up until now. Of course Harbharjan Singh’s 400 wickets have helped, as have the sub-continental wickets the Indian batsmen have been playing on. But Singh is injured and weary, as is Zaheer Khan, and the younger brigade seem to lack consistency.

India is looking tired and vulnerable, and the long journey from the World Cup triumph, through the IPL and the Carribbean has taken its toll. It looks like England has well and truly got its measure for now, and by the time January comes around Australia might be ready to extract some revenge of its own.

Comments

  1. I saw most of this debacle Brendan. The Poms bowled well and as you point out, the INdian batting lacked fight.

    The Indians reminded me of the punter who is $500 up after race 3 and then does some stupid things and goes home losing. The guilt of lost-chance and lost-opportunity got hold of them.

    The Broad burst illustrates the beauty of cricket, even club cricket, that 2/145 is only a few overs away from 6/150. It’s something good captains drum in to cricketers.

    I think the English batsmen have the patience to milk defensive finger spinners (Aust 2010-11) even Harb Singh here.

    Enjoying your analysis. I like how much interest this series is generating, even when shoe-horned in to a tight sporting calendar.

  2. Reading this piece you could substitute India for Australia and it’s almost the same story. England has risen above the best in world Test cricket to be, well, the best. Good on the Poms. Aussies, get yer act together.

  3. Peter Flynn says

    Brendan,

    Would you have recalled Bell?

  4. Peter,
    Yes I would have recalled Bell.
    It was a bit messy, and an example of that missing link that will prevent Bell from being an even better – potentially great – player, but the end result was right.
    It was typical Dhoni. He’s a class act.

  5. Brendan

    I must disagree.
    Bell was arrogant, and deserved to lose his wicket for such a foolhardy (at best)
    and contemptuous (at worst) action.
    Although they were within their rights not to, the Indians were most gracious
    with their decision to recall Bell.

    Smokie Dawson

  6. John Butler says

    I’m glad they recalled Bell.

    Cricket needs a bit of grace to be shown by somebody at the moment.

    It doesn’t seem like the administrators are capable of it.

    Good write up Mr McArdle.

  7. Peter Flynn says

    Thanks Brendan, Smoke and JB.

    This was an interesting incident.

    Well-umpired I thought.

    I reckon Bell was dopey and I don’t think I would have recalled him.

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