England v India: Terrible from the Poms



The first day’s play between England and India at Lord’s contained some of the worst bowling, wicket-keeping and captaincy we’ve seen in Test cricket for some time. It was proof again that the English still haven’t recovered from last summer’s shellacking by the Aussies.

Alastair Cook at least did one thing right when he won the toss on a 1970s English greentop and inserted the opposition, but it was about the only thing he did right for the day. On a pitch which reeked of 140 all out at best, the Indians are in a position of strength at 9/290.

As an unabashed fan of Cook throughout most of his career, it almost seems cruel to say it, but he must surely be on borrowed time now. He was clueless in so many ways last night : his field placings were typically unimaginative and defensive, he over-bowled Anderson and Broad early in the day and paid the price when Indian recovered from 7/146 to its current position, and his leadership was totally devoid of authority.

Shane Warnie and the Sky TV boys have had enough by the sounds of it, and that doesn’t include the perennially outspoken Boycott. The likes of Hussien, Botham and Lloyd didn’t hold back, and it was no surprise to hear Warnie pointing out what Michael Clarke may have done in similar circumstances.

Of course it’s not all Cook’s fault  –   he only has two proper Test bowlers in his attack. Plunkett isn’t up to it, Stokes is a promising all-rounder with a sometimes misguided heart, and Ali is a batsman. When you are bowling on a raging seamer there’s more pressure than on a flat one, and it showed in all three last night.

The Australian hierachy must have loved what they saw last night, and one could only imagine how Ryan Harris would have bowled in those circumstances. As for Mitchell Johnson and the pain he endured in 2009, he must be salivating about twelve months hence.

It’s almost incongruous to think that this has happened to English cricket in such a short period of time. Before last winter’s Ashes series England were arguably the most well-organised team in world cricket.

Yet with the demise of such bowlers as Finn, Rankin, Dernbach and Panesaar, the misguided approach of the current group and the petulance of Anderson, one can only wonder what might happen to bowling coach David Saker if things don’t change drastically. He’s been outstanding for English cricket, but maybe it’s time to jump ship.

The demise of Pietersen, Trott and Swann has been a mortal blow for English cricket, and it certainly hasn’t helped Cooke’s cause. If Cooke scores a ton tonight it will be as remarkable as Tubby’s ton against all odds in 2001. But it won’t cure England’s problems. For Clarke and his troops, roll on 2015.



  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Brendan what is totally remarkable is Cook has no fki . Players form fluctuates and this is the beauty of sport but how can you play over 100 test matches and tactically be going backwards is beyond me , there seems to have been nothing learnt absorbed and stored in the memory bank . Poor captaincy and lack of leadership over all in , English cricket prevails . Brendan you are spot on they seemed so well organised and structured defeating , India in , India . How could they unravel so much ? Has Johnson damaged them physiologically beyond repair ? Your thoughts Brendan ? Thank you

  2. Tony Tea says

    In 12 months England, the kings of pitch fixing, will have changed from green tops back to dead spinners’ wickets. There’s no way they will allow Johnson and Harris to run amok.

  3. Matt Watson says

    I love it. Edges dropping short. Poor bowling. And the incessant criticism.
    Never heard so much vitriol for a 9/290 score…
    Unless of course we ponder last night’s game between North and Carlton.

  4. Plunkett has put in a good perforance with bat and ball. Stokes not back to his form of the Australian summer. Match evenly balanced


  5. Certainly Plunkett played well on day three, batted well and a good spell after tea.
    His misguided tactics on the first day were his greatest mistake, but not sure he has the consistency of a true Test bowler.
    Stokes has made 5 ducks and a top score of 5 in his last nine innings for England. Not there yet as a Test player.
    The match is evenly balanced, but whatever happens England missed a great opportunity on day one. They have left the door open in every Test this northern summer and have paid the price.
    Dhoni looks up for it. A terrific leader.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Cook’s decline is as startling as England’s. Time for Prior to be replaced with Buttler.
    Been a very good Test match, may not have been had India won the toss.

  7. How important were the runs from Jadeja & Kumar? The English taking of the second new ball might have been a mistake. The wickets of Dhoni & Binny saw the pendulm swing back to England, who, however, could not maintain the pressure on India, as Jadeja and Kumar made valuable runs.

    Dhoni is indeed a fine leader. India have not been blessed with great captains,i’m too young to recall Wadjekar, but in recent times Ganguly & Dhoni have led India well, both bringing them well earned success.


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