Tuesday, 20 November 2012

India Crush England

Pujara 206x & 41x Man of the Match
It was too predictable really.

After a long and courageous fight, once Matt Prior and the superb Alastair Cook were prised apart, the rest gave up. The long partnership of 157 which held the Indian spinners at bay for more than sixty overs, ended forty minutes into the final day. Prior, nine short of his hundred, went back to the back foot yet again, intent on smacking the ball through the off side and instead, spooned a return catch to Pragyan Ohja. Whether because of a change of mind by the batsman or a change of pace by the bowler, in was an undignified end to a glorious innings only nine overs into a day that Englishmen had dared to hope on overnight. When Cook made his only mistake and stood leaden footed on his crease line to a ball which kept low, he was done. The ball went from pad to stumps and all hope was gone.

Broad got a leading edge to be caught and bowled by Yadav. As a result of one innings, his batting is massively over rated and spin is as mysterious to him as quantum physics. Swann was Swann, almost lbw twice before he scored his first run, a slog-sweep for six off Ohja. With the ball keeping low, he seemed intent on playing a notable innings, with attack being the only form of anything. After reverse sweeping Ravi Aswin past first slip for four and thumping a drive to mid off for no run, he stepped down the wicket, reversed his stance and attempted a switch hit over what had been cover. Ashwin hit his middle stump.

When Tim Bresnan drove the ball straight into the hands of Gambhir's substitute at cover, England were done.

Virenda Sehwag smashed a quick 25 and Pujara stroked his way to an unbeaten 41, plump with 8 boundaries. The task was quickly completed with Sehwag the only victim. The five an over rate made England's complaints about the pitch rather ridiculous.

England lost this Test because apart from their captain, no one in the top six has any idea what to do with the Indian spinners. For some, its technique but for most its a mental problem. Ohja and Aswin may as well be bowling hand grenades. Cook and Prior have shown how to do it but they can't clear up the scrambled eggs that is fogging the inside of Trott's, Pietersen's and Bell's head.

The second of four Tests starts at Mumbai on Friday. For India, it can't come quick enough.