Wednesday, 19 December 2012

England in India: The Final Test

by Sampad Sengupta

Team England victorious in India
The last match in Nagpur ended in a draw, giving England their first Test series victory in India in 28 years. The series turned out to be a one-sided affair with England dominating all the matches barring the first one which India won. The drawn Test meant that England won the four match series 2-1.

On a slow, low pitch, the batsmen found in difficult to score freely. It was no paradise for the quick bowlers either as they had to bend their backs to extract some pace and bounce off the wicket.vIndia, playing with three spinners thought they might be able to tame the English batsmen who have been ruthless against the Indian bowlers throughout the series. They started well, taking a couple of early wickets, including the coveted scalp of England captain Alastair Cook, who has been in terrific form of late. The Poms however, bounced back with Kevin Pietersen and young Joe Root (making his debut) top-scored with 73 each, taking them to a score of 330.

The bowlers who turned the tide
As has been the trend throughout the series, the Indians started poorly, losing early wickets. Similar to the England innings, the middle-order restored some pride, with Kohli and Dhoni putting together a solid partnership. Kohli scored a century while skipper Dhoni fell one short of triple figures after being run-out by his English counterpart. They nearly managed to survive the entire day without losing a wicket, something which both teams have struggled to do this series. However, that was not meant to be, as England struck late in the day picking up 4 wickets.

Declaring early, India hoped to bowl their opponents out cheaply and give themselves a chance to level the series. England batsmen started the second innings cautiously and then settled in well to play through the last day and a half to ensure a draw with struggling batsmen Johnathan Trott and Ian Bell scoring centuries at just the right time. This was enough to win them the series, one in which they have played well and deserved to win. England captain Alastair Cook was declared Man of the Series while fast bowler James Anderson was named Man of the Match. The series ended what had been a lean patch for England, who recently lost their No. 1 ranking in Test cricket. With quite a few standout performances, namely those of Cook, Anderson, and the spinners, Panesar and Swann, England would look to build on this victory and aim for the top spot in Test cricket once again.

The Indians on the other hand, would be utterly disappointed with their performance with all of their big names failing to deliver when it counted the most. There were a few positives from the series, Pujara’s form early on, Kohli’s hundred in the last test. These were overshadowed though, by the negatives. Their bowling lacked any sort of penetration with their spinners failing to make much impact compared to the English spinners. While on commentary, Paul Collingwood went on to say that the English batsmen were giving the Indians a lesson on how to play spin in their own backyard. The repeated failures in batting also meant that the management might need to take a closer look at team selection and the futures of some of the senior players would now be under scrutiny. There were quite a few surprises in this series which had a few twists and turns. This might just be the wake-up call India needed and the boost in morale for England to regain top spot.

See also Sampad Sengupta's reports on the FirstSecond and Third Tests between England and India.

1 comment:

  1. England are playing well but they always struggle in the first test. They failed in INDIA and are not doing well in NEW ZEALAND.

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