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India vs England, Oval Test Day 2, Another English Dominance

August 20, 2011

Things just not tend to change at all; the momentum, luck everything seems to be  with the home team. Sometimes you need luck to go in your favour to get on with the game again, just not to be the case this time for Team India. India lost a very important toss, Oval always promises to be a very good wicket for batting. It was always certain with the batting depth and form in the England line up and lack of variety in the Indian bowling that England will once again put up a very big total and that is what exactly happened today. To have more than 450 runs in the board with only 3 men back in the hunt, is something that any team will like to be in.

Although it was a very good start from the Indian bowlers, they came in with the right attitude, and with the kind of body language they had shown in the first couple of hours of the day, it looked like a different Indian team all together. They struck early in the first over with Ishant Sharma who had been the pick of the bowlers of day 1 as Cook edged one to Sehwag in the first slip without adding any run to his overnight score. Just goes to show with that dismissal that what can happen if you can bowl the right length here.

Andrew Strauss wasn’t looking comfortable against the Indian bowling. It all started with the bouncer of Ishant at day 1 that took him on the helmet. Since then he was not moving his feet well, not coming to the pitch of the ball, just seemed to stray back in his crease. He was not making proper contact with the ball even today, was out chasing a very ordinary delivery from Sreesanth. Dhoni making no mistake this time to gather the ball.

At lunch 2 wickets India managed to take, and only 51 runs for the English batsmen. And that’s it for India for the day. Nothing much from the rest of the day they would like to remember as it was a complete dominance from Bell and Pietersen. Things don’t come fast in the test matches, you must be patient enough to continue concentrating at the good things that you have been doing. But in case of India it was never going to happen. Just goes to show that the kind of bowlers they have do not have the potential to play the 5 day game.  It was always a big question to be asked that how long India are going to contain with the good works. And once again it has been seen that likes of Sreesanth who was really running hard before lunch, bowling his heart out, has gone undisciplined seeing there is nothing for him in the pitch.

Both Bell and Pietersen have been in tremendous form in the series continue to capitalize. It is not all about making a good start, it’s about carrying it all the way through. Already in this series at times we have seen that first 2 hours have gone India’s way, but the rest of the 5 hours were England’s. Specially as the sun came out and the pitch dried up these are ofcourse fantastic batting conditions. Always difficult to get wickets at regular intervals under such conditions. But what India should have concentrated on was not to give easy runs. The spread out field made sure that the scoreboard kept ticking always with the boundaries also came in. It is ridiculous to give so many runs in form of boundaries through the third man region. It is quite an important fielding  position in order to stop the edges going for four and must be kept unless the batting team have lost some early wickets. It is far better of giving a single instead of a boundary. India could have had a fielder there at a much regular basis instead of having a deep point who could not stop neither the edges to third man, nor the shots driven much squarer.

To win test matches any team must come with a bowing attack that is capable of picking up 20 wickets in a match irrespective of what are the conditions. But India without Zaheer and Harbhajan seem to have no variety in the bowling! Ishant at times really bowling well, then again from the other end Sreesanth and R.P.Singh gave runs away. Amit Mishra has managed to get the turn from the pitch, but he is so slow through the air that the batsman has all the time in the world to see, think and then play it with ease and comfort. When Sreesanth gets demoralized it is almost that he is not in the game and better of not to concede him as a specialist bowler then. Under such circumstances it necessitates the other bowlers to cope up with the challenge of filling the gap of one bowler. And here the lack of one more specialist bowler, probably another pacer has hurt India throughout the tournament. A part timer like Raina has to come under these conditions and bowl 14-15 overs with nothing in the pitch for him which is just not the right way to go.

Nothing more to praise about the England’s batting. They took the attack to the opposition as it shows with the run rate that they have maintained. 384 runs for a day is huge by any standards. No surprise again that only 51 of those came in the morning session as it not going to matter at the end of the day specially when playing in such a way allows you to put a 350 runs partnership. Both the men at no 3 and 4 are in such great form that every time they get a pitch like this will go on to produce runs. No wonder that both of them have gone to hit a ton. Pietersen rather would have been disappointed that when he was looking so good for his second double century of the tournament was held by Suresh Raina with an absolute blinder of his own bowling. Bell on the other hand continues his dream run and looking comfortable to get his maiden test double ton if not more.

They have the men like Morgan, Prior to follow who have been in some sort of form with a long and strong batting tail to contain. Broad, Bresnan, Swann all are well capable of getting the runs as they have already shown during this series, so as Bopara who will try to make the most of the use of this opportunity. One might just get the feeling that they will be quick to score runs right from the word go tomorrow, put a score of 650-700 plus, and leave the last session for India. On the other hand, in the back of Indian players it will be there that they haven’t been able to cross even the score of 300 for a single occasion in this series, and if it happens once more, they will be under the threat of follow on. And not only that, as the stats show that how many no of overs they have been able to play out against the pace battery of England, there remain a high chance that they can be bowled out twice in two and half days…and hence the whitewash..

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