India vs. England, 4th Test, Day 1

If you’d had offered most England fans the opportunity to win the toss on a turning pitch in Mumbai and then finish 288-5 before play, then I’m sure most of us would have snatched your hand off; however the prevailing feeling amongst most fans is one of mild disappointment and thinking about what might have been today. England whilst not in cruise control at 220-2 were certainly laying down a good platform for what could have been a match winning innings, but one daft shot and one decent delivery in an Ashwin over changed the course of the innings on a pitch where it seems increasingly difficult to start on. The old adage that one brings two was perfectly highlighted in that last session and means England, from being firmly in the box seat, are now only slight favourites to win this Test.

As for the batsmen, Keaton Jennings had a day that he is unlikely to forget, scoring a magnificent hundred in his debut innings. Things could have been very different had he not been dropped on 0; however you have to make the most of any good fortune you get at international level and he looked far and away the best of the English batsmen. As I mentioned in yesterday’s preview, I haven’t seen much of Jennings during the last season and from memory he used to be a bit of a stodgy batsman by all accounts; however there was no hint of stodginess during this innings with the ability to play shots on both sides of the wicket and a highly effective traditional and reverse sweep able to keep the scoreboard ticking. He may well have had a few nerves coming into the game but you can certainly tell that he is in prime knick and high in confidence. The fact that he reached his hundred with a reverse sweep for four only highlights where he is with his game at the moment and the selectors should be praised for bringing him to open at the top of the order. I’m not going to go overboard with the praise after one great innings (I’ll leave that to the hacks who are always happy to build someone up and then knock them down); however if he continues to perform well over the next 3 innings then England are going to have some searching questions at the top of the order with Hameed returning from injury, come the first Test against South Africa. My guess is that one of Hameed or Jennings may well end up batting at number 3 but it certainly heaps a bit of pressure on Cook to start scoring some consistent runs.

As for Cook himself, he looked in better knick than he has done in the past few innings with both him and Jennings both scoring at 3.5 runs per over in the first session to lay an impressive platform for the innings. The thing with Cook in this series compared to 2014 is that his technique hasn’t looked all over the shop as it did in 2014. Yes his technique is fairly ugly with a number of moving parts and it of course only takes one of these to become out of sync to affect his balance but I haven’t seen too much wrong with his trigger movement in this series, it’s just that he keeps missing straight balls that haven’t turned or played down the wrong line to the fast bowlers. Perhaps it’s more mental than physical with the effects of the captaincy debate and being away from his newborn playing on his mind, certainly the ugly heave that got him out stumped seemed to suggest a slightly frazzled mind. Moeen played as Moeen does, playing and missing at a number of deliveries, playing the odd shot of beauty and then playing an ungainly heave across the line to get out after scoring a half century. This is Moeen in a nutshell I’m afraid, there will always be some breathtaking shots and there will always be some fairly loose dismissals as part of his modus operandi, as a bowler and a captain, he is someone who always keeps you interested in the field as a dismissal could always be around the corner. The fact that Moeen copped a load of flack for his dismissal (especially from Boycott) whilst the captain hardly got a mention for his equally ugly dismissal, speaks loads about our commentator’s and media’s mindset. Cook the captain might be fair game to have a gentle pop at but don’t ever have a pop at Cook the batsman. Ca plus change. As for the rest of the batsmen, Bairstow got out to an over ambitious sweep shot and Stokes and Buttler with some skill and a large amount of luck got us to the close without any other damage being down on a wicket where the ball is already starting to turn square.

With regards to the wicket, it was obviously vital to win the toss first and have first go on this surface; however I think the fact that the ball is going through the surface on Day 1 has really surprised the English team. I did mention last night that England may have to counter their initial thoughts about playing 4 seamers if the pitch looked like it was going to turn; however they still stuck with their initial plan of picking 4 quicks. Now whether this is simply a misreading of the pitch or a stubborn insistence that they go with their original plan, I’m simply not sure about; however I believe they have put themselves at a disadvantage bowling at India as the match goes on. You would think that Moeen, Rashid and probably Joe Root are now going to have to get through a lot of overs when India get their turn to bat.

So where does this leave us after Day 1, well the game is certainly delicately poised and England will know that they will need to bat well in the first session tomorrow to win this game. England as a minimum need to score 350+ and will probably be aiming at 400, but with Ashwin and Jadeja bowling superbly added to the fact that the pitch will continue to turn square throughout the game, this will be no easy task. England had a good day today but they will also need to have a good day with the bat tomorrow to have a chance, as put it this way, I certainly wouldn’t fancy England’s chances if they end up with a first innings deficit.

On a final note, it was again heartening to see the full allocation of overs being used with an added bonus of 4 extra overs for those watching the game. It really shouldn’t be that difficult for a Test team to bowl 90 overs in a day and it is something I believe that the ICC should be clamping down on more.

Thoughts and comments on Day 2 below:


39 thoughts on “India vs. England, 4th Test, Day 1

  1. Andy Dec 8, 2016 / 8:11 pm

    One thing that bugged me a bit was a commentator (tms I think – don’t think I read it), saying Jennings was playing trick shots with the reverse sweep.

    It just felt a bit demeaning to good / skillful / aggressive batting, making it sound like he wasn’t playing properly or something.

    Re over rates – I believe the icc / mcc have come out with some new rules/laws (not sure of the exact status atm), but over rates were not included (what was included were important items such as bat sizes and Ejecting Players for violent behaviour) – has all that been discussed here yet?


    • Sean B Dec 8, 2016 / 8:22 pm

      I haven’t paid too much notice to the ICC rulings if I’m honest. I’ve seen that umpires can now use red and yellow cards for players at lower levels who are violent and/or abusive but guess this won’t apply to the county or Test arenas? The bat size thing looks a fudge job to me, not really worthy of comment.

      The one thing I’m amazed at, which was touched on by Ali Martin was the lack of clarity around ball shining. It seems that using sweets or gum is fine as long as you don’t get caught, which frankly is absurd.

      Not surprised over rates didn’t get bought up, after all it’s the fans that get it in the shorts and we know the ICC/MCC view us as a necessary evil…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. man in a barrel Dec 8, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    We should use it to shame Cook and Co. Cook’s over-rates have always been appalling but only once sanctioned. A fine to the extent of the ticket sales that have not been honoured might mean something to the half wits who play high – level cricket these days. Not many of them will get elected to Parliament

    Liked by 1 person

  3. "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 8, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    They are cheating themselves as well as the paying public! So be it!!


  4. man in a barrel Dec 8, 2016 / 11:40 pm

    Just imagine if your MP were one of Cook, Anderson, Broad, Root, Stokes…. The life experience there is less than zero


    • Escort Dec 9, 2016 / 5:00 pm

      well suited to modern politics then. If parliament allows the likes of Keith Vaz through the door then the bar is not very far from the ground though is it?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. man in a barrel Dec 9, 2016 / 12:02 am

    I saw Jack Hampshire’s debut century at Lords against the West Indies, and he looked like a Prince. He never recaptured that mood, sadly. But Jennings’s innings had that same commanding air. Let’s wait for the next match before he becomes the great hope….. Please


  6. man in a barrel Dec 9, 2016 / 12:32 am

    Thinking about it, the excitement of that century followed by nothing might have started to condition me to always be disappointed by my cricketing heroes unless they were Gary Sobers


  7. SimonH Dec 9, 2016 / 10:45 am

    So the four seamer strategy is going well….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. d'Arthez Dec 9, 2016 / 11:05 am

    India have reached 146/1 at stumps, and took the last 5 wickets of England for 112 runs. India will be quite happy with their progress on Day 2, but they will still need to bat the entire day tomorrow to reach England’s total.

    England have mostly looked unthreatening, with Moeen picking up the wicket of Rahul.


    • man in a barrel Dec 9, 2016 / 12:33 pm

      I don’t think the English seamers got a single ball off the straight but at least Anderson was bowling more at the stumps, which led to a few runs getting scored off him. Woakes and Stokes both bowled wide and back of a length with Vijay and Pujara mostly content to watch the ball pass by. At least Ball bowled straight and pitched it up.


  9. SimonH Dec 9, 2016 / 11:10 am


  10. SimonH Dec 9, 2016 / 11:16 am

    Apart from siding with the rich and powerful against an old lady, getting in a gratuitous dig at Pietersen and not offering any cricket analysis all day when you self-style yourself TheAnalyst, I can’t see anything wrong with this…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 9, 2016 / 12:05 pm

      You frigging moron Hughes. That is supposed to be the whole point of capitalism and consumer choice. The service provider better provide and deliver good service or customers walk elsewhere. Look at BHS. Or the ticket sales at Northern cricket test matches?

      In reality many service providers operate on a monopoly crony basis where competition is kept to the minimum. (Cricket journalism for example.) Where a small group of insiders rigg the system with idiotic opinions that are constantly wrong, but any other opinion is kept out of the system. As they get booted out of their various service providers they get taken on by other crony institutions to peddle their stupidity.

      Are all service providers being slagged off? Or is just ones who don’t deliver?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. SimonH Dec 9, 2016 / 11:35 am

    So, who’s going to get the blame here?

    “the successors to Swann and Panesar were found to be innocuous in comparison in conditions that were made for them…. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali were an acute disappointment…. India reached 146 for one by the close by defending against England’s four seamers and going after the two men who had a golden chance to bowl their side to victory in conditions they should dream of encountering…. Rashid has finally looked like a Test bowler in this series and went into this Test as the leading wicket-taker on either side with 18 victims but this was a test of his mettle as much as his talent and it was one he has so far failed to pass…. India went after a leg-spinner with a fragile temperament and never allowed him to settle…. Unless Rashid and Moeen get it right on the third day then England are going to face another uphill battle and the search for a world-class spinner that Trevor Bayliss believes is essential for England’s long-term ambitions.
    The irony of this tour is that England appear to be moving in the right Test direction and locating more pieces of their Ashes jigsaw for this time next year without it being reflected so far in results”.


    Could we entertain the possibility that with class acts Ashwin and Jadeja having to bowl a lot of overs and concede quite a few runs to take their wickets, Jayant Yadav looking very innocuous and England scoring 400 that the pitch is not the ragging bunsen that Newman (and others) think it is?

    I won’t copy in what he has to say about Buttler’s innings. Suffice it to say Newman feels vindicated and that’s never a pretty sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 9, 2016 / 12:16 pm

      So we are back to ” fragile temperament ” again? This is going to haunt this guy for ever. The person who started this slur needs a punch in the face. And it must have come from within the team seeing as all the lackeys of the media trot it out.

      As you say Simon, the fact ENGLAND managed to make 400 on this pitch, despite tossing away many of their wickets with rushes of blood by the captain and other top orders players they still managed to post a reasonable score. Didn’t Boycott say ENGLAND should make 550 on this pitch yesterday?

      If India are still batting at close of play tomorrow then England will only have themselves to blame. By the way, the so called experts don’t seem to be very good at reading pithces out there at the moment. In every test match we were told the pitch would be deteriorating by lunch time on day 2.


    • nonoxcol Dec 9, 2016 / 12:20 pm

      Still, at least we can enjoy the responses to this….


      • Mark Dec 9, 2016 / 12:55 pm

        Careful Mr Newman. If you keep criticising the machine those nice free tickets for next summers Lords test won’t arrive on your editors desk. Can’t have that.


      • SimonH Dec 9, 2016 / 1:08 pm

        “Lack of red-ball cricket” is “a myth”?

        I’m sure we can all recall one case where it wasn’t….

        Liked by 2 people

      • thebogfather Dec 9, 2016 / 1:42 pm

        I presume newman has picked up the job of scrawling Buttler’s first autobiography…


      • Mark Dec 9, 2016 / 3:07 pm

        Perhaps this is why Newman has been calling for Cooks head. He has now found another true love. Butler can bat, and dare I say it……..captain the side as well. No wonder Cook didn’t have him in the team. The whole TINA argument goes up in flames.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 9, 2016 / 3:55 pm

          Not sure what’s going on. He’s bigging up Bayliss. He’s after the selectors. He’s not going after Cook really. He’s basically saying there isn’t a lot he can do with poor spin options. It’s all a bit random.


      • Escort Dec 9, 2016 / 5:05 pm

        Because St Alistair very publicly said he doubted whether he was ready for Test Cricket.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 9, 2016 / 1:29 pm

      There is so much fun for all the family in this one. The mention of Mumbai 2012 and only for one reason. Not going to compare the batting, are you Paul? The I told you so about Buttler (for a 70 odd ) is hilarious. Craig White and Chris Lewis both have tons in India, Paul…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marees Dec 9, 2016 / 1:57 pm

      Actually on a pitch which spins so well like Mumbai, the threat of the ball which goes straight makes left arm spinners such as Murali Karthik, Michael Clarke, Monty Panesar & Ravi Jadeja very dangerous.

      England should have kept above factor in mind when picking the team for this test and the squad for this series


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 9, 2016 / 2:06 pm

        I’d also like to add that the man currently 70 not out was, in the last test, the subject of a prominent pundit who said he had been “found out”.

        Hardly Duckett or Ballance is he?


      • Marees Dec 9, 2016 / 4:29 pm

        Murali Vijay can be thought of as Alastair Cook of India. (Both will do anything to survive)

        As part of his survival strategy Vijay decided to eschew back foot shots to fast bowlers such as Cut and Pull . Doesn’t mean that he is vulnerable to short balls. He is a very good leaver of bouncers, unlike other Indian batsmen. But he is no Sehwag, he can’t dictate terms to fast bowlers but like a boxer who does the rope-a-dope he just hangs in there(primarily on the front foot) till he gets a ball he can drive of the pacers.

        So it is more of a percentage play to offer no shot to short balls in test matches. As long as he doesn’t get committed on front foot to balls short of length, he will be fine.

        Of course the commentators have to say something because they want to have the satisfaction of saying I told you so. They don’t wait for things to happen and then analyze.


  12. man in a barrel Dec 9, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    I just checked Hawkeye and my impression that the English seamers were threatening the stumps more was quite wrong. Only 1 delivery so far pitched on the stumps and a lot of stuff rather wide of off stump. Ball was not at all as consistent as I thought. The camera angle must be slightly out of line with the stumps…. Or Hawkeye is telling porkies


  13. @pktroll Dec 9, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    I was worried England wouldn’t get 350, yet the lavish turn present yesterday evening wasn’t present today. Buttler was well received by the home fans and Ball’s knock was a pleasant surprise. However the lack of threat by England’s bowlers has been telling. Yes the balance of the attack is wrong but don’t tell me the so called spinning alternatives would have likely been more successful. I fear a long couple of days.


  14. AB Dec 9, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    I fear an innings defeat


  15. man in a barrel Dec 9, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    It was odd that Anderson had 5 on the leg side, including 2 on the drive, but was bowling wide outside off stump and often too short for the drive. Were captain and bowler working together?


  16. SimonH Dec 9, 2016 / 4:56 pm

    Hopes rose seeing Mark Butcher on ‘The Verdict’ – but it’s absolutely awful (again).

    Can’t blame the seamers – nothing in the pitch for them.
    Can’t blame the captain – his spinners are letting him down.
    Can’t blame the strategy – everyone else in the squad was unselectable.

    Blame Rashid over and over and over again.

    Take one point – they castigated him for not bowling maidens. Ashwin bowled 4 maidens in 44 overs.


    • SimonH Dec 9, 2016 / 4:58 pm

      Colvile said he “choked” by the way.


  17. man in a barrel Dec 9, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    I agree SimonH, the Verdict was dreadful. Willis opened by saying the pitch was a raging turner. Someone pointed out a few minutes later, maybe Bob himself, that it took Ashwin 44 overs to get his 6 wickets so raging turner it certainly was not. In interview, Ashwin said it was a batting pitch and that it was tough for him to get the right length and pace to bowl at. Buttler in interview said it was a good pitch to bat on. It didn’t stop the judges wading in against Moeen and Rashid. I remember thaat Swann found it hard work to bowl in Mumbai – his 4-70 in 2012 came from 34 overs and Panesar had to bowl 47 overs for his 5 wickets, Not that anyone seems to remember that.


    • metatone Dec 9, 2016 / 5:40 pm

      I’ll add that (as has happened in some games in the past at Mumbai) the ball basically only grips and spins when it hits the deck quite hard. This is not the normal action for most spinners and it’s only natural that the Indian spinners are better at it, having had more practice. (Also note it relates to the state of the ball as well, which might explain why the spin was not consistent for the Indian spinners either.)


      • man in a barrel Dec 9, 2016 / 5:57 pm

        The Indians seem to use more top spin than their counterparts, which gets the ball to dip. Even when Jadeja fires it in flat, he still gets that loop, which lets the ball settle on the surface and, sometimes, turn.


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