Post by irishrover on Aug 19, 2018 23:17:26 GMT
So I spent today at Trent Bridge - first time I have been for a few years but it remains by far my favourite Test Ground. It has been developed properly as a cricket ground and therefore retains intimacy and quirks that other grounds have been desperate to jettison in order to cram in an extra few bums on seats. It also tends to provide extremely compelling cricket as it did today for all the wrong reasons if you have sympathies towards England.
It was all very odd and maybe typical of modern Test Cricket where everything seems on permanent fast forward. So when I arrived at the ground to discover that play was put back half an hour it seemed as though the order of business would be something like 1)Will India get up to 400 and put some genuine pressure on England or will they get blown away giving us the edge 2)How many will England have by the close? Instead, what I witnessed was bizarre really. England duly blew a very poor Indian tail away. Firstly, their strategy of boring the youngster Pant out worked. They just bowled 2 feet outside the off-stump to him for 4 Overs eventually he cracked, had a go at a wide one and played on. India then crumbled. This left us a tricky 40 minutes session. Cook and Jennings looked like the out of form openers they are for the first 4/5 Overs - they were very jumpy and going for things they should have been leaving. But after that they calmed down and we were as good as 50 for 0 at lunch. It looked certain that an afternoon of steady accumulation was in store.
Instead what occurred was deeply pecuilar. Suddenly the innocuous Indian attack of the morning session became incredibly threatening. With remarkable consistency every batsman seemed to scramble their way unconvincingly to 10-15 runs and then get out prodding forward stuck on the crease with no foot movement. They just never looked 'in'. It's hard to understand how an up and down dobber like Pandya could cause so much damage but there's no doubt that England's batting was technically shocking. A lot has been made of India's failure to deal with English bowling conditions - well today showed that England aren't much better at dealing with those conditions! The phrase is 'positive defence' and it was completely lacking. It was just poking and prodding away from the body. Total lack of decisive forward movement towards the ball. It was genuniely embarassing and they should be doing some serious soul searching.
Of course then India came out with a 170 run lead and no scoreboard pressure at all and were able to get over their inhibitions in English conditions. Perfect situation to get over the psychlogical hump - we were pretty pummelled in the final session and I think Kohli et al. will pile them on tomorrow although it's largely irrelevant because they're already guaranteed a 350+ lead which will be more than enough, especially as the pitch will break up for Ashwin. I'm going back tomorrow and what annoys me is that I will probably be watching quite a lot of dead cricket now as India have the luxury of just eating up the time and have an interest in grinding down our bowling lineup for the next test.
Series is very much still live and, it is clear that for all the crowing about India's batting failings we seemed to have forgotten that England's current lineup is itself absurdly brittle in anything other than very favourable conditions and game situations. No evidence they can deal with pressure really and today showed that again.