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India vs England, Oval Test, Day 1 Disturbed by Rain

August 19, 2011

India’s condition now is like a big stone rolling down the hill, it doesn’t get slow, but falls even faster as it comes down. India’s performance have been seen to get weaker as long as we progressed. The margins of defeat seemed to increase. India have lost the series already, nothing they can do now to regain their #1 test spot so easily. They climbed to the top without defeating the likes of South Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia their home soil. But now they probably will need to do a lot of those to regain what they have lost in this series. So now it’s all about pride, playing to save the country from what can be the utmost shame, a whitewash.

England on the other hand will keep playing attacking cricket and why not? Things have been going so well for them, almost without any trouble they have made it 3-0. And they will fancy their chances to convert this to a 4-0 victory and they won’t mind even if it goes 3-1 in attempt to do so. One can’t ask for any better revenge of not winning a series against India for the past 15 years.

Oval as usually provided a very decent batting track. There were some patches of grass but all brown, not too many green were seen it the pitch. This track is likely to get even better for batting as the sun comes out and the moisture dries up. It might just turn from day 4 post lunch session or post tea. So once again batting 4th in this pitch is something what both the captains would not have wanted. And it showed, Strauss having won the toss showed no hesitation what so ever to call for batting. Once you see off the morning session even losing 1 or 2 wickets you can still well be there in the game.

The best thing for England that they could come with the winning combination, Anderson having been doubtful for this test still declared to be fit and will take the new ball once again, and worse for India that they lost Praveen Kumar for an arm injury. Praveen has been the most successful bowler for them in the series as far as taking wickets and the economy rate are concerned.

I was really surprised to see Munaf Patel not chosen. He has been there with the team from the outset and the man who just flown in, R.P.Singh has the new ball! It is understandable that India wanted a left arm pacer against whom the English batsmen have not been so comfortable, but even then what is Sreesanth doing in the team? He has not only failed to pick up wickets in the last test, and also in the 2nd innings of the second, but more importantly has been conceding runs at an expensive rate that is well above 4.

R.P.Singh has come from an off season and not sure how much of practice he had. He opened the bowling and 4 out of 6 balls drifted down the leg side! Ishant bowled with some pace, found the edges that had gone in between the slips and gully. Not a great deal of movement was seen. When you don’t have the things going your way one should try to stick to the basics. Not try anything hard, not experiment too much. But one can’t understand why Sreesanth does not follow these guidelines, it’s never going to help you and has been the biggest problem for him.

English batsmen were not troubled much as the Indian seamers didn’t have the bite from the pitch. Very few occasions they were found to be in the spot of bother. Cook survived one leg before shout that was going high. The English opener was caught into a position from where he neither could come front not go back. This is the length to be hit at much regular basis under these conditions where even the new ball is not doing anything for you.  One must try to hit certain lengths here as well as to pitch it up. But once again the Indian bowlers bowled a much shorter length  that allowed the England batsmen to survive till the rain came in stopped play for the rest of the time. Only 26 overs were bowled today.

India have not been able to break the momentum of England. Not getting any breakthrough at the first day of a test match under overcast conditions is very frustrating for the men at the receiving side. Tomorrow if the sun comes out, it’ll get better and better for batting, it was really a good toss to win for England. Dhoni probably needed a sheer of luck going his way, but it wasn’t to be so. The champion’s luck continue to stay with the new test champions.

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