Just before the England team came to India, the promos for the series that were being done on the TV channels were all about exacting revenge for the 4-0 humiliation in England last year, and that too when India was the number one team in the rankings.
England not only beat India then, but also claimed the number one ranking after that big series win. While cricketers don’t talk revenge, the followers certainly do and that was what was expected from the series.
When India won the first Test in Ahmedabad by a comfortable margin, it seemed like England were on a hiding to nothing. But like it happens in films the story was changed at Mumbai and now it looks that it’s not just no revenge, but another tail between the legs situation for India.
The man who changed the script is the England skipper, Alastair cook. It was his marathon effort of 176 not out in the second innings of the Ahmedabad Test that gave England the belief that India’s spin could be tackled. Cook has led from the front and he has had the troops who are prepared to battle it out for him. His new ball bowlers for example don’t get much encouragement from the surfaces in India, but they have bent their backs and have given it everything.
They are bowling in conditions where the energy gets spent faster than one can say, Anderson, but they have kept coming back and that is the resilience that has surprised the Indians, who thought that it was going to be a stroll in the park for them. Mind you some of them are still strolling in the field and the singles are being stolen from right under their noses.
The fielding effort has been so listless it is bordering on embarrassment. The odd bright spark has been the spunky Virat Kohli, and the tireless captain Dhoni. All others look as if they are running with weights tied to their legs.
Indians have seldom been the most enthusiastic of fielders from the beginning of their Test status in 1932. There have been exceptions of course with the 1953 team to West Indies being remembered even today as one of the finest fielding teams to tour the Caribbean Islands. When Tiger Pataudi, Russi Surti, Chandu Borde patrolled the covers not much went past them, but after that there’s just been the odd individual brilliance, but seldom a team effort.
The only way Cook looked like getting out was a run-out and it was a bizarre way when he lifted his bat to avoid it being struck and the unimpeded throw hit the stumps. Trott played himself into form and Pietersen got a half century.
Matt Prior batted aggressively too and with the ball turning and also keeping a bit low, it will take a 'Laxman-Dravid' effort for India to save the Test.
Professional Management Group