India v England – 3rd Test, 1st Day

And so to Mohali. There seems little need to write a preview for this test match, because many people believe that the course of the match will be determined half an hour before the first ball is bowled. The consensus appears to be if India win the toss they will win, and if they lose the toss they’ll probably win. England have got themselves in the usual mindset, a bipolar existence we’ve seen too often in the past. One week (Rajkot) we are a bunch of world beaters, punching above our weight, batting beautifully, putting pressure on India, and the next we are a bunch of plucky underdogs, out of our depth, but fighting the unremitting odds presented us by losing the toss.

Ben Duckett has paid the price for losing in Vizag, and bowling three spinners may also bite the dust, but with Stuart Broad’s injury, it may also survive . Now England will be going in with Moeen up one spot, and Jos Buttler batting at seven, while Chris Woakes comes in for Stuart Broad. Will Ansari lose his place given the less than thunderous applause his 2nd Test performance garnered from the attendant press hordes (to be fair, it wasn’t Zafar’s best game)? It looks likely.

On Broad, I have to say what Cook said made me really concerned that this attitude is allowed to stand. Broad showed amazing amounts of resolve to bowl with a sore tendon. I’ve had achilles tendonitis and it is agony. So to bowl with it is a great credit to his powers of resolve. But was it really wise? Really? Careers end on decisions to play on with quite nasty injuries.

Cook also had warm words for Broad, who produced an exceptional spell on the fourth morning in Visakhapatnam despite a foot injury. “You wouldn’t know that his foot was as bad as it was,” Cook said. “But the specialist’s advice is that there is a risk of it going totally and he would then be out for a period of time

“They were quite surprised how well he got through those four-and-a-half days after doing it in the third or fourth over of the match. If he played here and did more damage to the tendon in the second over then you’d look stupid.”

“There’s a risk of it going totally…” let those words sink in. Ruptured tendons aren’t five minute injuries.No-one ever questioned Broad’s commitment. But if someone else is on the brink of serious damage, don’t criticise them if they don’t play. Don’t say their card is marked. Don’t say they are fragile. Don’t put out press briefings to say that they aren’t committed and/or their injury can’t get any worse. Arguably Mark Wood is still rehabbing because he was playing through pain, or playing with a risk of serious injury. Sports stars want to play, but sometime they need saving from themselves. Broad has been top notch on this tour so far, against past form, but there’s a need for sense out there. I know some might say “I’m sure they know better than you, Dmitri” and they are right, but that’s not to say that I’m not. Let’s hope for the best.

India have also made a change, and that is behind the stumps. Parthiv Patel makes a return to the test team. Parthiv made his debut as a 17 year old at Trent Bridge in 2002, and has played one test in the last 12 years, falling behind the towering presence of MS Dhoni. His recall, as a 31 year old, maybe a little bit surprising as Rishabh Pant, a 19 year old phenom, is scoring mountains of runs in the Ranji Trophy (four centuries, including a 308), but the Indians are putting weight on experience over youth. The sorts of scores Pant is getting would have a campaign being run in England for him, so it shows some of the depth behind the front line. Parthiv made 139 not out against Madhya Pradesh just over a week ago, so knows where the middle of his bat is at present. Other than that, India look a little more settled, although another poor test from the sublimely talented Ajinkya Rahane may have the home journos mumbling.

As usual, there will be plenty of debate about the wicket. Let’s take a look at the match played at Mohali recently.

Quite a well balanced match with Delhi, being quite a strong team on paper, making a decent score (and Gambhir making a ton, which probably got him selected!)

England’s record there isn’t crash hot. Mohali wasn’t on the 2012 rota, but it was on the preceding three tours. KP’s 144 helped avert a tricky position in the 2nd test in 2008/9, but we were well beaten there in 2006, being “Kumbled” who took 9 wickets in a game that was quite even at halfway. We were given a sound beating in 2001 too, losing by 10 wickets in the first test in that series. Interesting that we batted first in both the two losses, and batted second in the draw!

Enough for now. A decision on whether we play three spinners (Batty would replace Ansari) or another seamer (Jake Ball) will be made tomorrow. Until then, as the good men say… Comments below on Day 1’s play.




21 thoughts on “India v England – 3rd Test, 1st Day

  1. Rooto Nov 26, 2016 / 4:42 am

    Morning. Cook rather streaky so far this morning. He’ll be paying off his ever-increasing debt to Ravi Jadeja for years!


  2. Rooto Nov 26, 2016 / 5:19 am

    Root plays a terrible shot, then Cook plays a terrible shot (more so because of Root just getting out). Be interesting to see what blame gets apportioned.
    Hoping that England can at least see out the day, supposedly the best one for batting.


    • Rooto Nov 26, 2016 / 5:56 am

      The answer to my ‘blame’ question may well be Moeen.
      I’ve realised why the press continue to call England an inexperienced team. It’s because no matter how many tests they’ve played, they never fucking learn! Grrr!


      • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2016 / 6:08 am

        An inexperienced side with all of 452 Tests between them, with roughly half of those caps accumulated in the last 2 years. By comparison, Zimbabwe now have 112 caps between them (the side that lost the second Test to Sri Lanka).


  3. Tom Nov 26, 2016 / 5:23 am

    I’m finally able to watch a test match at a reasonable time! Not sure I should have bothered, though. England 53-3 right now. Hameed was very unfortunate, there was little he could have done. However, both Root and Cook’s dismissals were due to awful shots. India’s catching hasn’t been a lot better…


  4. d'Arthez Nov 26, 2016 / 5:32 am

    England won the toss. So if they lose from here, they can’t blame the toss – it is 2-1 in tosses this series thus far for the tourists.

    Pitch seems a bit better than when India hosted South Africa (India made 201 in the first innings, South Africa ended the day on 28/2). Still early days, and it is not like India are that proficient at playing spin – so the inclusion of Batty over Ansari could prove vital.

    Cook got three lives (2 straightforward drops), played a streaky innings, and just scored 1 single, 1 two and 6 boundaries. Wonder how scathing the media would have been if it was anyone but Cook playing like that, and scoring his runs like that …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. d'Arthez Nov 26, 2016 / 6:33 am

    Meanwhile in New Zealand, Pakistan have scraped to 76/5, after bowling New Zealand out for 271. The only positive from that innings is Babar Azam’s batting (he is not out on 34).


    • SimonH Nov 26, 2016 / 11:14 am

      Asian teams have found NZ an unhappy hunting ground this decade – only Pakistan have won while they plus India and SL have lost seven Tests between them.

      Pakistan haven’t been very lucky in these two Tests getting the king of chilly, dank weather that favours the home team. That said, they’ve played badly in all departments (woeful fielding for example) and the hopes that they might put up a strong showing in Australia are fading.

      Good to see NZ players who’ve been on a trot like Watling and Southee rediscovering some form.


  6. BoredInAustria Nov 26, 2016 / 7:46 am

    I am only following on cricinfo, but would it be incorrect to say that England is mentally shot? I would almost venture saying “fragile”….

    Newman and Etheridge using the word idiotic.


    • Tom Nov 26, 2016 / 8:02 am

      I’m not seeing “mentally shot”. Most of the batsmen have actually looked quite good but played a daft shot at the wrong time. India are bowling really well so one mistake is likely to be your last. Cook and Root were out right after a drinks break and Root’s dismissal, in particular, looked like a loss of concentration. Both their shots were very poor. Stokes looked very good until he charged the bowler who spotted it and Bairstow is looking very good. Moeen looked good as well until his hook shot. I’m not giving up hope just now!


      • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2016 / 8:14 am

        Well, the bowling has been good. The fielding not so much so. Stokes got a life, Cook got two. All straightforward, simple chances, for which any England fielder (other than Cook, naturally) would have been blasted if they shelled them.

        England still have chances. It will all depend on how quickly the innings ends, and whether or not India can put up a good first innings score themselves. They’ll have to go big.


      • Tom Nov 26, 2016 / 8:34 am

        The fist session looked tough for batting, the pitch had variable bounce and the ball was swinging. The bounce seems to have settled down now (it’s low) , but there’s some significant reverse swing which will hopefully help the England seamers. Right now I’m thinking a first innings score of 300-350 might not be too bad.

        Had India batted first, I think Anderson would have had a good time in the fist hour!


      • BoredInAustria Nov 26, 2016 / 9:14 am

        Test cricket – pressure. I understand one mistake could be your last. But it does seem the English batsmen are not dealing with this well. But if this is the way they play.

        Waiting for another heroic 2nd innings rearguard action… or maybe this is some cunning plan to get Anderson really angry.


    • Tom Nov 26, 2016 / 11:25 am

      I think it would be fairer to say the English top order are not dealing with this well. The middle-to-late order looked better and rescued the innings even though it’s still not good. At least they weren’t out to stupid shots.

      In the meantime, I’ve been watching the Aussie vs SA test for the last three days. Despite my being what I’d describe as a bit of a traditionalist, I’ve really enjoyed the evening sessions using the pink ball under the lights. I don’t think the batsmen enjoy it, but it’s wonderful to watch. I think it might catch on.


      • Tom Nov 26, 2016 / 11:30 am

        Apologies – meant that as a reply to boredinaustria, not myself.

        Just curious, are you really in Austria? My mother is Austrian and I have a large extended family there.


      • BoredInAustria Nov 26, 2016 / 6:59 pm

        Vienna 7th district! Servus! 🙂


      • Tom Nov 27, 2016 / 5:26 am

        Servus! I have family in Vienna although I’m not exactly sure where, but the main part of my family lives in Leopoldsdorf, just south of Vienna.


    • General Zod Nov 26, 2016 / 11:30 am

      I don’t think they’ve reached South Africa levels of mental weakness yet….


  7. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Nov 26, 2016 / 11:40 am

    Well, we’ve had worse days of course but not many where we’ve seemingly wilfully thrown away a chance to make a dominant start.

    I think that the attack at all costs mindset of the England camp has led to a mentality of taking the glory when it comes off and shrugging the shoulders and taking no accountability when it doesn’t. Our all-round strength should be the cherry on the cake, not an excuse for the top order to play fast and loose. 5 out of the top 6 out to attacking shots when a display of the concentration and effort seen in the 2nd inns of the 2nd Test could have provided a great platform and tired and demoralised the Indian bowlers. Root’s dismissal, with his bat eventually facing to fine leg to a ball that pitched outside off, was a low point but Cook’s horrible, poking and prodding innings was effectively 27-3 given his reprieves. Buttler played ok after a sticky start but interesting to see how a short period of low-scoring overs induced such panic and loss of composure.

    Really not sure they’ve got the correct mentality to play in Asia and they look more like a bunch of ADHD afflicted teenagers than a properly prepared Test team with a massive back room support.

    India were sloppy in the field but their aggressive and skilled seamers still seem to be the story of the series to date.

    I wonder if Kohli played a nice game of bluff in the last Test when he criticised England’s batting. I suspect the last thing he wants is for England to adapt the batting discipline they exhibited on day four. Reminds me of the Aussies slagging the negativity of the England rugby team in order to alter their style before the WC Final.

    I hope against hope that the England seamers exploit any movement and variable bounce and make this a massive over-reaction, but right now I feel this is hugely disappointing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Nov 26, 2016 / 12:16 pm

      Interesting. You posted this when I was writing the review. Similar themes…


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