India vs England: 1st Test day three

This particular Test has caused a mild outbreak of panic at BOC Towers, falling as it does during a period when all three of us are snowed under with work during what tends to be our busiest time of the year in our respective jobs.  Add into that 4am start times, lots of travelling and full days and trying to keep abreast of goings on in Rajkot appear to be a little distant.  In my own case, this week has been spent at World Travel Market at Excel, where international goings on allowed me to play a small joke on various colleagues on Wednesday morning:  “Have you seen the news overnight?  Isn’t it extraordinary?”, “Yes it is, I wonder how all the people on the American stands are feeling this morning”, “Oh I doubt they care too much, but 311-4 is a really impressive start”.

England’s 537 all out undoubtedly created scoreboard pressure, on a pitch that was felt likely to deteriorate, but India’s response has been one of outstanding batting and perhaps slightly disappointing bowling.  The seamers have been tidy enough, without being especially threatening while the spinners have been short too often, and badly used in at least one instance.  The stand between Vijay and Pujara was both essential and deeply impressive, slowly getting India back into the match, taking few risks and batting time.  Having reached 277-1, what followed was something of a surprise, for England had shown few signs of being likely to take wickets, only to snare three in little more than an hour.  If nothing else it was a reward for plugging away, and for keeping the scoring rate under control.

High scoring matches often appear to drift for large parts of a given day, as one side slowly claws their way towards parity and the other fruitlessly tries to stop them.  It’s why low scoring matches tend to be consistently exciting throughout, whereas with ones like this the viewer can disappear for an hour or two and come back to see how little has changed in terms of the balance.  The three late ones don’t exactly amount to a clatter, more of a gentle rattle, but they will have caused a frisson of anxiety in Indian ranks and raised the hopes of the English ones.  The pitch so far hasn’t been a dead one by any means, and there is both spin available and some movement off the surface for the seamers and rather more in the air.  It may be simply that both sides have batted well, it wouldn’t be the first time.

While Stokes removed the fluent Pujara, it was Adil Rashid who got the obdurate, yet intermittently attacking Murali Vijay with a delicious googly in his first over back just before the close.  And here is where even Sky felt it reasonable to offer up some criticism of Cook (before Rashid took the wicket, note) for not making more use of him and going to him as the last possible option.  It’s a criticism this blog has made repeatedly, and it’s not a matter of being wise after the event, it’s because there’s absolutely no point in having a leg-spinner if he’s not to be used as an offensive weapon.  England’s plethora of all rounders frees up spaces for luxury players who can bring something different, and a leg spinner is about as different as it gets for an English team.  Yes, he will go for runs, yes, he will be sometimes inconsistent.  But he’ll also get you wickets, that’s the whole damn point.  England have six frontline bowlers in this side, there are plenty of fall back positions should the leggie have a bad day – for him to bowl the fewest of any of the spinners on a pitch that is offering purchase is a waste of resource.

As for the wider question of where this game is going, as things stand the draw appears the favourite, but that is based on how the bat has dominated to date.  The behaviour of the surface is going to dictate much, yet with few signs of radical change to date it’s perhaps wishful thinking to expect it to drive a result on its own over the next two days.  India have plenty of batting still to come but are also a sizeable 218 runs still in arrears.  Should they get remotely close then the pressure will transfer to England as they will be doing nothing other than playing for the draw with the time remaining, while even if they only add another hundred it’s hard to conclude that England would feel safe enough to declare until some time into day five assuming things went well.  But perhaps given the kneejerk response to defeat in the last Test in Bangladesh, that’s still a position England should be pleased with.  The old mantra that they are never quite as good or quite as bad as the press portray them is as true now as it ever was.  All things considered, so far it’s quite even.

Day Four Comments Below



29 thoughts on “India vs England: 1st Test day three

  1. jomesy Nov 11, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    It’s a criticism this blog has made repeatedly, and it’s not a matter of being wise after the event, it’s because there’s absolutely no point in having a leg-spinner if he’s not to be used as an offensive weapon. England’s plethora of all rounders frees up spaces for luxury players who can bring something different, and a leg spinner is about as different as it gets for an English team. Yes, he will go for runs, yes, he will be sometimes inconsistent. But he’ll also get you wickets, that’s the whole damn point. England have six frontline bowlers in this side, there are plenty of fall back positions should the leggie have a bad day – for him to bowl the fewest of any of the spinners on a pitch that is offering purchase is a waste of resource.

    You’re too kind LGL – it was an absolute disgrace (being polite) with 500+ on the board.


    • thebogfather Nov 12, 2016 / 10:40 am

      Jomesy, so very well said, it does expose the on-field insecurities still


  2. Mark Nov 11, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    I to have been very busy, and have seen none of the cricket. Not a single ball. So what I say is based on what I have read, and looking at the scoreboard. The late 2 wickets (albiet one a night watchman) have given England some hope. If India had gone in just two wickets down there was a real danger they might bat all day tomorrow, and get a lead of 120/150. That would have had England batting under pressure on the last day to save the game. They may still yet achieve that if their middle and lower order fire. Even if they bat just till tea they will have have removed most of the lead. But there is a possibility ENGLAND might bowl them out, and get a lead of 100 say and can set India a difficult period to bat on the last day. All three results are still possible if unlikely.

    England amassed a good total in the first innings with three players making hundreds. Not bad seeing the last outing was the collapse in Bangladesh. It has to be said mind that the pitch has not been what was expected, and India dropped numerous catches. I Have no idea how many were ones that should have been taken. England could have been all out for about 350 odd and deep in the mire.

    Assuming India can knock off most of the remaining England lead tomorrow it looks odds on a draw. This will be seen as a good result as it ensures they can’t lose 5-0. And seeing as the media informed us anything other than 5-0 would be acceptable, it will be time to rejoice! Can’t comment on Cooks captaincy because I have not seen any of it. But it seems the normal painting buy numbers job. When England don’t take wickets it seems the only tactic is to go so slow they don’t get all the overs in. It has happened on so many occasions that it has to be a deliberate plan. It’s quite ludicrous with 3 spinners in the side.


  3. SimonH Nov 11, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    I watched about an hour’s play which more or less coincided with Kohli’s innings.

    England had a clear plan against Kohli and you didn’t need to be Alan Turing to decode it. Two seamers came on and bowled a 5th/4th stump line outside off-stump for over after over with two slips.

    I can see that there are some circumstances where that’s a good plan to Kohli. I also understand that it’s a flat pitch and the bowlers had had a hard day. However it was tactically dense. Kohli was playing his first innings of the series against a team he had a nightmare against last time. There was a chance of a straight ball keeping low but a wide ball keeping low isn’t going to get anyone out unless there’s a drag-on. There was also a case for going with some short stuff – the nearest Kohli came to getting out was gloving a hook to the keeper at one Broad bouncer but there was no short-leg or leg-gully for a catch.

    Kohli didn’t get off to a flyer but he hardly looked like getting out. If you don’t attack with 500 on the board and a new batsman, when do you attack? Cook has no feel for the rhythms of the game or sense of when to try to seize a moment – and he never has had.

    He’ll probably poke a wide one to first slip first thing tomorrow, mind.


  4. Mark Nov 11, 2016 / 10:05 pm

    Example of Shiny toy consistency ….

    1st day……. “Proper first day test match batting..Sensible at times..aggressive at times.. Great start.”

    Day 3………”This pitch in Rajkot is no good for test cricket….Just not a fair battle between bat and ball.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dlpthomas Nov 12, 2016 / 1:29 am

    Just to hijack this thread for a second – I think this this is the 4th test in a row between Australia and South Africa where the Saffers have lost a bowler to injury during the game.


    • d'Arthez Nov 12, 2016 / 5:45 am

      Well, if you bowl the opposition out for 85 in just under 2.5 hours, that is not the biggest disaster though.


      • dlpthomas Nov 12, 2016 / 7:33 am

        Also, he came back on to finish the job. It looked nasty at the time – must breed them tough in South Africa.


      • d'Arthez Nov 12, 2016 / 8:10 am

        Australia lost the toss, and got themselves bowled out for 85 in Hobart. It was overcast, and quite a good toss to win, but it was not an 85 all out wicket. Second worst total the Aussies have put on in the first innings of a home Test since WW2.

        Batting remained tricky throughout the day, but South Africa have made it to close at 171/5, with Bavuma and de Kock unbeaten.


  6. BoredInAustria Nov 12, 2016 / 8:03 am

    Player rating in the MSM:
    Cook 10/10 for placing a short leg for Jadeja
    Rashid 3/10 formerely getting some tailender wickets

    Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez Nov 12, 2016 / 8:11 am

      The great bowler Cook has taken 9 wickets through innovative captaincy. The useless bowler Rashid merely executed Cook’s orders and has taken 4 wickets in this innings.


  7. pktroll (@pktroll) Nov 12, 2016 / 8:11 am

    Rashid has been bowling pretty well in this innings. The best that he’s bowled in test cricket over the last couple of days, and not just today. Will be interesting if Selvey will take credit for suggesting he needed to bowl quicker?


    • BoredInAustria Nov 12, 2016 / 8:30 am

      Did you see Fred’s post on the previous thread: (Fred please allow me to re-post:

      fred November 11, 2016 / 5:34 pm

      …. Just checked out the match report on cricinfo to see what’s been happening, this from Farbrace struck me:
      “In the past there has been lots of talk about Adil bowling a bit slowly. But the work he has done with the bowling coach, Saqlain Mushtaq, has been about trajectory, not pace. So he has been aiming to get the ball above the eye-line, allowing it to spin and getting the ball up there for batsmen to drive.
      “The key thing is that he has learned quickly. He has worked hard on trying to be more disciplined. He was calm between deliveries and set in his plans and he has bowled consistently. He didn’t rush it or try and bowl too quickly. But he spun the ball out of the hand and got a nice bit of drop. It’s only one day and we’re looking for consistency across the series, but he did have a good day.”,
      Hey Mr Selvey, what was he referring to with that bit about “In the past”?


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Nov 12, 2016 / 8:42 am

        Yes I did see that and was thinking about it when I posted here. Good to see that the England management have been understaning and encouraging. On to the game though and a dreadful Cook drop off Broad has now brought India within 50 runs (as I type Ashwin holes out off of Ali and the lead is 49)

        I am now worried about an upper order collapse and a bit of panic. It is nearly 10 years since Adelaide and I hope Dmitri does a reminder of that time just as part of the therpeutic process!


  8. d'Arthez Nov 12, 2016 / 8:48 am

    Moeen takes the last wicket. A bit of a gift, since Ashwin was batting for quick runs. I am guessing that no one will mention that it was just the last pair. And maybe the MSM will be generous and actually imply that Kohil was not a tail-ender when reporting on the action today. I am not too optimistic.

    The lead is just 49, with 127 overs left in the match (at tea). Yet again, England could not be bothered to bowl 14 overs / hour. Despite playing three spinners.

    All results still possible. What I suspect will happen is that either England collapse in a heap or bat on too long to trouble India by letting them bat for just 40 or 50 overs.


  9. BoredInAustria Nov 12, 2016 / 9:21 am

    I am just following on cricinfo – is Cook living dangerously? Almost played on, close lbw, missing short leg etc…


    • thebogfather Nov 12, 2016 / 9:34 am

      Apparently Cookie is feeling a bit poorly… was on and off the field at times, dropped a sitter too…. although the cynical may think he’s trying to share the blame and the fine for slow over-rates with vc Root 🙂


  10. d'Arthez Nov 12, 2016 / 9:24 am

    That close lbw was survived on umpire’s call. Barely hitting the stumps, so he is kind of lucky that he was not given.

    Nearly caught again at deep backward square (Vijay just could not get to the ball in time). So yeah, Cook is living a charmed life thus far.


  11. SimonH Nov 12, 2016 / 10:34 am

    Should’ve gone with 4-2….

    Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria Nov 12, 2016 / 10:37 am

      … will they drop Rash for Jimmy then…?


      • SimonH Nov 12, 2016 / 11:40 am

        Of course! Look at those maidens’ columns!!


  12. Rooto Nov 12, 2016 / 11:27 am

    Chuffed for HH. He’s Trottesque in his ability to exude calm even through the medium of radio.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Nov 12, 2016 / 12:14 pm

      When you have been wrong as he has I guess you have to keep inventing excuses. So it’s the coaching team now.

      How about if your batsman put 500 plus on the board then a wicket taking bowler comes into his own. The test for Cook is how to use him when ENGLAND score only 300.

      Liked by 1 person

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Nov 12, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      Never forget…”his card is marked” according to Selvey!


  13. alecpaton Nov 12, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    Really thrilled that Rashid picked up wickets today. There seems to be an assumption that players are only as good as their first appearances (although he took a five-for that nearly won the game in his). This is odd because some very good cricketers have taken their time to find their feet at this level. Bairstow, Gooch and even Anderson blew hot and cold, showed promise but took time to develop consistent performance at the higher level.

    Also thrilled that Haseeb has batted so well. Like with Compton, Root, Carberry, Robson et al I repeat my hope that he nails down the second opener’s slot.

    My other hope is that England bat out tomorrow. As good as India have been at home, there is every chance that attrition can disproportionately affect them across a 5 test series just as it did in 2014. Give the bowlers a day off tomorrow and put some more miles into India’s fielders; see if they’re fitness has improved any over the last few years.


    • alecpaton Nov 12, 2016 / 12:52 pm

      Oh, fuck it; “their”, not “they’re”.


  14. Cricketjon Nov 12, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    plagerism will do for me

    Liked by 1 person

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