India vs. England, 4th Test, Day 3

Well let’s not make any bones about it, that was a complete and utter horror show from England and for all true purposes we are now out of this game and out of the series.

First of all, lets give credit where credit is due. Vijay played a brilliant knock to get to a hundred in a typically understated way and that innings from Kohli was a class apart from anything I’ve seen in a long time. It may be that Kohli hasn’t ever really performed in England, but his last series here was 2 years ago and he looks like he has matured immensely as a batsman since then. This innings reminded me of the KP knock in Mumbai 4 years ago, a difficult pitch, a supreme knock and a batsman that looks a class apart from anyone else on the pitch. Without doubt Kohli has raised his game to reach the echelons of becoming a world class batsman and one can only applaud him for this, his batting has been one of the major differences between the teams in this series.

As for the ugly, well where do you start? It is rare for me these days to actually rage in front of the TV, older age has mellowed me somewhat; however what I saw from England after tea has more than got the blood going. I have rarely seen a team that is supposed to be aiming for the top echelons in cricket, try and play cricket with no clue and no game plan whatsoever. I mean it was just embarrassing and surely heads (or more precisely the captain) need to roll after this game. How do you even try to analyse Cook’s captaincy? Bowling a leg spinner for 28 consecutive overs so that he is completely cooked, not taking the new ball until 42 overs after it was due, refusing to rotate the quick bowlers at one end to see if they could get a breakthrough, employing negative fields whilst letting the game drift and wasting a review on a desperation hunch knowing that it could (and did) come back to haunt you later on in the game. I mean it’s all there, the idiots guide around how not to captain a cricket team. I used to think that Dhoni was the worst captain that I had seen in my lifetime, but his performances don’t have a patch on Cook’s performance in the field today. No doubt the sympathisers and the MSM will absolve Cook of blame and apportion it to others such as the spinners, the Bairstow missed stumping, the Rashid missed catch or whatever else they can find to take the heat off Cook, but that simply doesn’t wash. The blame has to lie at the Captain’s door for the most listless captaincy performance I can remember in a long time.

Ok rant nearly over, the fact that I am so annoyed about today is that we actually dragged ourselves back into the match at one point. The match looked like it was drifting until Root, who had bought himself onto bowl in Cook’s absence (says it all really) took 2 wickets in 2 overs to reduce the Indian team to 307-6. This was our chance, if we could dislodge Jadeja early and who knows, even lull Kohli into a false shot, then we could end up with a small lead and this game could end up as a one innings Test. A challenge on a difficult pitch against a top spin bowling attack; however one that we could give ourselves a chance on, if we managed to set a target of around 250 for India to chase on the last day. The problem though was we had a tiring spin bowling attack, one that had bowled nearly 80 overs between them due to the fantastic selection committee who decided that 4 quick bowlers was the way to go on this pitch. I said on Day 1 that this might come back to bite us on the arse and boy has it done so big time. You may have well as given Chris Woakes a lounger for all the bowling he has done in this Test, but I’m still sure it’s definitely the spinners fault! Anyway I digress, when Jadeja came out to bat, that was the time to take the new ball, give Moeen and Rashid 15 overs out of the attack to rest up and give our fast bowlers (yes we have 4 of them) the opportunity to each have a short spell of hostile bowling at the Indian batsman to see if we could get a wicket; however we didn’t, Cook left a tiring spin bowling attack against 2 good players of spin, and wondered why we didn’t blow them away. It wasn’t until Jadeja eventually whacked one up in the air against a tiring Rashid that we finally got a breakthrough, inspiring captaincy, I think not.

Yet the day somehow managed to get worse, when captain clueless finally took the new ball, we managed to drop Yadav early in his innings and then waste a review off Jimmy’s bowling that any child could’ve seen was nowhere near out. It would have been extremely unwise to use a review on this if you still had two left, but to waste your final review on that was simply criminal. Perhaps Jimmy now tells Cook what he can and can’t review these days in Stuart Broad’s absence. Now we all knew what was going to happen next and lo and behold, Yadav edges Moeen down the leg side, which is subsequently given not out and guess what, we have no reviews left. It was comical. The picture that will stay with me for a long time was the media’s favourite son, asking for a review until the umpires politely told him that he had already burnt them on two spurious appeals. You simply couldn’t make it up.

So where are we now, well the game has gone in my opinion. India are 51 ahead going into Day 4 on a pitch that is starting to resemble a minefield. It would not surprise me if they end up extending their lead to a 100+ before rolling out England for very little. They may have to bat again, but I can’t see them having to chase more than 50 runs if I’m honest. We had a chance, we blew it and I’m sure we can all look forward to a 4-0 defeat now.

As England fans we’ve all experienced pretty horrendous days (as Dmitri’s Adelaide piece particularly highlights, which was obviously the nadir) but today is up there with all of them. Quite simply, if Cook doesn’t resign after this Test, then I may as well cancel my Sky subscription and tickets to the Oval next year. Cook has never had it as a captain, good family or not, and it’s more than time to hand the reigns over to someone else. There is an alternative, even if it means giving the captaincy to the Investec Zebra, as right now, few others would have been able to give a worse example in the art of captaincy as we witnessed today.

Right, I may need a lie down now, comments and thoughts on Day 4 below:


136 thoughts on “India vs. England, 4th Test, Day 3

  1. man in a barrel Dec 10, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    What I find puzzling is that they selected 4 seamers but did not seem to make any plans for how to use them. Selection has become a game of roulette. Next Test, let’s have Ballance keeping wicket, and Buttler opening the bowling. Did they have any tactical plans at all?


    • thelegglance Dec 10, 2016 / 12:34 pm

      Well we did say after the last Test when three spinners proved to be one too many that the crime would be if they selected a side to replay the Third Test rather than play the fourth.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 10, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    Just had a swift look BTL at the graun…Cook’s getting a bit of mild tap, which, in the context of that lot, I guess, is bordering on the mutinous!!

    Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2016 / 4:01 pm

        If you have a spare 15 minutes, the responses to this tweet are just superb. Some familiar faces, some new stars.

        There’s numerous texting the oppo on how to get your team-mates out, copious mentions of his captaincy – he won 1, lost 1, drew 1 as a test captain – and there’s not allowed to say anything despite being sacked by the ECB.

        It’s just a beautiful piece of bile art. Remember those lazy, hazy days when we were the only ones that had bile, vitriol etc….


      • nonoxcol Dec 10, 2016 / 4:18 pm

        “England’s best ever player” and someone referring us to the business section of the BBC website for an article on “toxic employees”.

        That’s just the early highlights.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2016 / 4:41 pm

          Must be imagining it. Me and my fragile imagination.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 5:19 pm

        They have so bought into the cool aide that is given to them by the media that they can’t see the wood for the trees.

        And a KP tweet just sends them insane. They made their choice when the picked Cook over KP. Fine. But if they can’t now see that Cook is hopeless as a captain they are not to be taken seriously. Best to ignore them. They are nuts.


      • SimonH Dec 10, 2016 / 5:52 pm

        “Drop catch that will probably cost England the match”,

        Alternatively, he was the only bowler to create any chances to dismiss Kohli (and Vijay as well – has Etheridge tweeted about the missed stumping costing England the match?).

        Every team misses chances. They get ridiculous emphasis when the bowlers don’t create any more.


      • Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 6:01 pm

        Even if the catch had been taken his beloved Cook would probably have batted on too long to get a result anyway.

        How many catches have been put down in this series? And yet only this one catch would have cost the match? If Etheridge wants to piss away what’s left of his professional reputation then we shouldn’t hold him back.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Dec 10, 2016 / 6:09 pm

        KP trolling on Twitter. Naughty. Too much time on his hands….


      • man in a barrel Dec 10, 2016 / 6:12 pm

        What would Cook’s figures in this series look like if all those catches dropped off Shami had been held? Blaming a drop off Kohli is the act of a halfwit, especially when the anointed one dropped a straightforward chance at second slip and “legs of concrete” Cook was not alert enough to grab the rebound


      • d'Arthez Dec 10, 2016 / 6:59 pm

        Also nice that it is apparently perfectly acceptable to call someone you shared a dressing room with C*NT on air, but it is not acceptable to critique anyone you have shared a dressing room with.

        But then again, you don’t expect people on Twitter to be aware of facts.


      • Simon K Dec 11, 2016 / 12:22 am

        Nothing worse than actual paid cricket correspondents insisting that (what looks to be) comfortable defeat can be attributed to one ‘key moment’ rather than persistent inferiority in skill and tactics. The late Selvey was a master of this too, of course.

        Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol Dec 11, 2016 / 12:47 am

        Be fair Simon K, he also attributed absolute hammerings, in which the winners literally scored just over ten times England’s runs per wicket, to the vagaries of the weather.

        Though his great mates were involved, so that was just standard.


  3. Adam H Dec 10, 2016 / 12:25 pm

    Enough is enough. Cook has to go. I am by no means an anti-Cook or pro-KP folk, but this was one of the worst bits of captaincy I have ever seen.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. d'Arthez Dec 10, 2016 / 12:28 pm

    You pick 4 seamers, and Woakes gets to bowl his seventh over, in the 131st over of the innings?

    You pick 4 seamers, and the spinners (Moeen, Root and Rashid) bowl 66 overs between them on Day 3?

    Are the quicks meant to bowl India out on Day 5 of this Test? I mean, it is not like England lost the toss (and that means, they get to bowl when they want).

    I have no idea what the thinking was, but rolling a die to decide on bowling changes would probably have resulted in more sensible bowling changes.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. thelegglance Dec 10, 2016 / 12:32 pm

    The biggest problem with Cook as captain is the same one it’s always been. It’s not that he’s Mr Teflon, it’s not that he’s less than inspiring, it’s that when things don’t go to plan he has absolutely no idea, no clue, what to do. He doesn’t try things, he doesn’t try to make things happen, it just drifts.

    Every. Single. Time.

    All teams have rough days, it’s an occupational hazard. Cook accepts it, he doesn’t fight it. And that is why he’s a poor captain.

    Liked by 3 people

    • man in a barrel Dec 10, 2016 / 1:02 pm

      But what exactly was the plan? A few overs of Anderson bowling off cutters outside the off stump to a legside field is about the only tactical plan I noticed. Vijay plays in the V, and Pujara tends to play square of the wicket but the fields were identical. If that was the plan, then it was a strange one. Did anyone notice any other plans?


      • oreston Dec 10, 2016 / 7:55 pm

        I can only imagine that the plan must have been to try to bore the Indian batsmen into submission by denying them the bit of mental exercise they would get if they were having to play to a challenging field, or adjust to a change of bowling or a new ball. Either that or the captain was just being a total numpty.

        Seriously, even by Cook’s standard of captaincy this was a level of under performance that should have the ECB management questioning whether he even wants to be there. And if he really doesn’t want to be there…

        Liked by 3 people

  6. Tom Dec 10, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    Despite everything, I agree that Vijay’s innings was superb, but Kohli’s innings was sublime. Credit where credit is due.


  7. SimonH Dec 10, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    Well, the future’s bright because the Lions have beaten Afghanistan in UAE.

    Except…. the spinners took 2/80 (Leach) and 2/51 (Rayner) on a pitch where Rashid Khan’s leg-breaks took 12 wickets. “Next cab off the rank” Joe Clarke made 0 and 1.

    Batting-wise, the stars were Foakes with two fifties and Westley and Gubbins with one each. Want to see a side with three wicket-keepers? Keep watching this space. Bowling-wise , England played to their strengths (TM) and seamers Roland-Jones and the Curran brothers won the game.

    Nice to see England playing UAE and Afghanistan, by the way. I hope this has been arranged to spread the game and not buff up the Lions’ coach record….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B Dec 10, 2016 / 1:03 pm

      It was originally meant to be a 3 day game, but England caved eventually and made it a 4 day game. I may be biased (hint I am), but TRJ surely merits a call up at some point.


  8. Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    Bizarrely, England could still win this game. If they knock over India quickly tomorrow, and then put 300 on the board they might just catch India on the last day with nothing to play for. You know, when the pitch breaks up as it was going to do by lunchtime on day 2? No wonder Nasser put the Aussies in at Brisbane. He is more Monty Python than Monty Don when it comes to understanding horticulture.

    Love to know what Rashid did to upset the inner circle. Did he ever go on a Lions tour under Flower pot man?

    As for the media,……Send in the clowns……..don’t worry they’re here!


    • thelegglance Dec 10, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      Mark, I remember in the last Test you saying how England could still win when the rest of us were awaiting the thrashing. You being the resident Pollyanna is highly disconcerting. Stop it. 😉


      • Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 1:37 pm

        I’m practising for when I become a pundit, and go on TV and talk shite. It seems the only requirement these days.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. SimonH Dec 10, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    You may wish to amuse yourself by looking up who said this when?

    “”Going into the Tests in [blank] with four seamers on subcontinental style slow, dry, turning pitches was unbelievably stupid. I am not saying this with the luxury of hindsight either – I said so at the time. If Cook had read the pitches better and not been so inflexible, England would have picked another spinner to winkle batsmen out and won all three Test matches.”


    • metatone Dec 10, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      From “unbelievably stupid” – I’m guessing Boycott – could it be the WI tour – or is it older than that?

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Dec 10, 2016 / 1:36 pm

        Not Boycott.

        And here’s another short-trip down memory lane with someone else:

        “”I think what that team in 2011 had was a number of players in the top ten in the rankings so if they were in form generally the team will do pretty well. We’ve got that at the moment. I think our team at the moment is better equipped to get to No.1 and stay there. We are a more talented side, I think we are more mentally tough”.


      • nonoxcol Dec 10, 2016 / 1:56 pm

        Googling “Cook spinners inflexible winkle” is pretty conclusive… 🙂


    • d'Arthez Dec 10, 2016 / 1:47 pm

      I would have thought the [blank] gave it away, as he probably (due to age) still called it Bombay.


      • SimonH Dec 10, 2016 / 2:05 pm

        Yes, sorry, of course it was Boycott. Trying to do three things at once and all that….


  10. metatone Dec 10, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    I stayed relatively quiet but I was appalled at the number of people ATL & BTL who were agitating for 4 seamers. It would be like India coming to Trent Bridge and saying “well spinners are our strength so we’ll go with 3 or 4 of them.” Still, I never imagined that having picked them, Cook would use them so badly. I didn’t see play, but Stokes is vauntedly able to get reverse swing, so that seems like a missed opportunity for a start. People tell me Ball has pace, he should have been on periodically bowling a mixed diet of yorkers and bouncers. Anderson was not a good pick for this pitch in my view, but he does know how to keep it tight – put him on one end to build pressure and put a spinner on the other end. Woakes presumably could do a bit of each role.

    Either way, attack bowlers need to be used in shortish spells and in this game the attackers are the spinners, so they needed spelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sean B Dec 10, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    This from Etheridge:

    “Adil Rashid dropped a firmly-struck but relatively straightforward caught and bowled when Kohli was 68”

    Nicely ignoring the fact that it was a pretty difficult chance and that he was likely knackered after bowling so many overs on the spin. No mention about Cook’s captaincy once. Agenda? What agenda?


    • thelegglance Dec 10, 2016 / 1:45 pm

      Bowlers never drop tough caught and bowleds. Doesn’t happen. Therefore it must be his fault it all went wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sean B Dec 10, 2016 / 1:46 pm

        It was Cook’s inspired captaincy to keep him on and create the chance obviously….


      • thelegglance Dec 10, 2016 / 1:48 pm

        You’ve hit on a new plan. Give me enough overs and eventually I will take a wicket.

        I look forward to my England debut.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Deep Purple Fred Dec 10, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    Is it really true that when Cook went off the field, Root took over, put himself on to bowl, and took two wickets? If so that’s just supreme piss-taking.
    I bet they won’t be sharing curries tonight.


    • northernlight71 Dec 10, 2016 / 6:15 pm

      Afterwards, Root said that him bowling was a plan instigated by Cook before he left the field.
      Now you might think that, as a good team man, Root WOULD say that wouldn’t he? But I couldn’t possibly comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Dec 10, 2016 / 6:18 pm

        I noted that Buttler has been thrown under the bus for that nonsensical edge review of Jayant Yadav off Anderson.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 6:25 pm

        “Root said that him bowling was a plan instigated by Cook before he left the field.”

        I think I want to throw up. Their constant attempt to try to big Cook up just makes him look even more incompetent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • oreston Dec 10, 2016 / 8:52 pm

        In that case it’s odd that Cook took Root off soon after returning to the field and didn’t try his “cunning plan” again (apart from a single over at the end of the day, was it?) Funny how he bowled Rashid into the ground when he had a competent part time spinner, who’d actually forced a breakthrough, available to come on for short spells to provide relief and variation. In the space of about three tests he’s gone from under-bowling Rashid and not trusting him to murdering the poor bloke with far too many overs. Like so much else with Team ECB at the moment this is just insanity.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 10, 2016 / 10:41 pm

        Oh that’s just brilliant. Not only a backbone of steel but the cunning of Machiavelli.
        Reminds me of that “great day” that Flower said Cook had when he was back in the hut, after being dismissed the day before. The genius doesn’t even need to be on the field to work his magic.


  13. Rooto Dec 10, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    Cook’s not going to resign now, especially as the wagons are circling. There will be quotes about ‘tough lessons to be learned’, ‘a young group moving forward together’ and the captain’s ‘titanium-plated balls’ or something. However, this throwing away a reasonable, fighting position has Melbourne’13 written all over it. When (probably not ‘if’) Chennai turns into a Sydney-style capitulation, Cook’s position will really be untenable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Escort Dec 10, 2016 / 5:44 pm

      I don’t think It would be a major shock if Cook did bite on the cyanide tablet. He looks like he wants to be somewhere else and I can understand why.


      • SimonH Dec 10, 2016 / 5:55 pm

        If England lose, and he walks at the end of this one, he would avoid holding the lone record of England’s most defeated captain (although he would also be unable to overtake the record of most wins as well).

        Not that that would be a consideration…..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 6:05 pm

        He will go at his own choosing. Strauss hasn’t got the guts to fire him. This is the ECB model. They have created a monster who is more important than the whole team.

        What a way to run a sporting outfit?


      • man in a barrel Dec 10, 2016 / 6:15 pm

        He looked that way in 2014 when India won on a greentop at Lords. It all depends on what Mrs Cook wants. It’s difficult to predict because I know that I would want to keep him out of the house as much as possible


      • d'Arthez Dec 10, 2016 / 7:03 pm

        SimonH, on the “bright side”, if England lose this Test, Cook will have lost the most Tests in a year as an England Test captain (currently he is sharing the record with 6 losses). The other years in which 8 Tests were lost, captains were changed / sacked.


      • Escort Dec 10, 2016 / 8:07 pm

        If he was to go would the selectors follow the Australian policy and not allow a retired captain to continue playing in the team?


      • d'Arthez Dec 10, 2016 / 8:36 pm

        That policy was not adhered to recently, in the case of Ponting. And there have been several others who have played on after giving up the captaincy.


  14. metatone Dec 10, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    I’m a big Rashid fan, not so much because I think that he’s that special in international terms, but because I think it’s vital that England learn to get the best out of bowlers who are different, but maybe not that talented.

    My reasoning is that we’ve perpetually failed away from home pitches and that’s partially b/c we keep picking homogenous attacks of bowlers who are all good on the archetypal English pitch. Learning how to utilise e.g. the imperfect leg spinner & the imperfect truly quick but wild fast bowler is part of the key to being able to compete e.g. at the Gabba, where we haven’t won since 1986.

    So, I’m really fed up of Rashid being bowled like a stock finger spinner and then the media jumping on him when it doesn’t work out. I’m further annoyed that it’s not recognised how few Tests he has played, even now, and we’re surprised that some days he can’t put it all together. I’m even more annoyed when there’s no mention that Saqlain was not retained after Mohali, despite him clearly helping Rashid to a higher level of performance.

    Liked by 6 people

    • d'Arthez Dec 10, 2016 / 7:05 pm

      Yes. And it gets even more annoying when people who have played 30+ Tests are still protected for being “inexperienced” (including a captain who is allowed to be still learning on the job)), while Rashid should be perfection personified after 8 Tests.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 8:48 pm

      I agree with what you say about Rashid. England don’t seem to be able to deal with people who are in any way not…… “one of us.”…..Whatever “one of us means.” It’s the KP business all over again. All leg spin bowlers now have the curse of being compared to Warne. Non of them are going to live up to that ideal.

      What is worse is Rashid has been character assassinated in the gutless media for no reason. No one will say where this fragile tag has come from. But it must of come from within the camp because it is now a constant talking point from the media that likes to regurgitate leaked info. The question is who thinks he is fragile? and has it ever occured to this genius that it might be better to try and encourage him instead?

      Does anyone know which journalist was the first to bring up the fragile business? He should be asked where he got it from.


      • Sean B Dec 10, 2016 / 8:51 pm

        I think they’re referring to the fact that he pulled out of the 2015 Lords Test with a finger injury when he was scheduled to play. Supposedly the medical staff didn’t know about it, hence they have tagged him as mentally fragile ever since. But boy do they all like to trot out that line…


      • Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 8:59 pm

        Defying the medical dept, and taking your own action doesn’t smack of fragility to me. It might be wrong, but it is not weak minded. More like refusal to obey. And we know how big a crime that is in the current England set up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Dec 10, 2016 / 11:37 pm

        The journalists have got it from the England camp, it’s like Cook being steely or Root being a fun-loving prankster. Or Bell lacking leadership qualities. That’s what they’re like because we’re telling you that’s what they’re like.

        Rashid never looks fragile. He looks like a stroppy Yorkshireman with a bit of extra Pakistani stroppiness thrown in. Which should be ideal, with good management.

        It wouldn’t be surprising, though, if he despaired a bit. It must be soul-destroying if you’re a spinner, to have a captain who doesn’t know what to do with you most of the time.

        Liked by 5 people

  15. SimonH Dec 10, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Never correct, never apologise….


    • northernlight71 Dec 10, 2016 / 8:42 pm

      That ALMOST reads as if he might be criticising the captaincy.
      Almost. Then I realised what I was thinking and saying, and it became clear that it couldn’t be what he meant at all.


      • oreston Dec 10, 2016 / 10:06 pm

        All depends if he meant “helps if they GET TO bowl” or “helps if they CAN bowl.” His lack of clarity provides a smoke screen of ambiguity and deniability whichever way he’s challenged. Selfey really should consider a career in politics. He seems to have all the necessary qualities.


    • Deep Purple Fred Dec 10, 2016 / 10:57 pm

      I don’t normally go there but since you pointed it out, I scanned through the tweets. A comment on the Times crossword, a picture of a beer tap captioned “because I can”, and a grumpy comment about batsmen running the MCC.
      Not everything that happened in 2016 was bad.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Mark Dec 10, 2016 / 8:53 pm

    Just watching the Root drop on the highlights. Funny Etheridge is not concerned about that. India where on 407 so the lead was not big.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. amit garg Dec 11, 2016 / 2:23 am

    In terms of tactics or strategy, this tour has been a cluster****.
    Extremely clichéd in approach. Let me try to revisit a few

    1. You need spinners on Indian pitches –
    So ECB get a front line batsmen to double up as one forgetting he takes them at 40 a piece. I will not lay any blame at Rashid who is still learning his trade but Mo just doesn’t cut it as a front line bowler. He is a good trier but that’s about it. If he plays, it has to be as a batsman first, not to bowl 30+ overs in a day.

    2. Indians can’t play bouncers.
    Was there any plan B? Yes. Bowl short against the Indians. They never play it well.
    I don’t think they expected Indian batsmen to duck as often as have, and nullify this but it would help if having picked 4 fast bowlers, you actually use them.

    3. Bowl Dry.
    “Bowling dry” is the other strategy that has been used. Whether it’s for the fear of spoiling averages or just to deny any runs to the batsmen, i don’t know but i think the belief seems to be that the “flamboyant” Indian batsmen lack patience and will get out if denied runs.
    So, English pacers bowl continue to bowl way outside the stumps; taking out bowled, LBW etc. out of equation and depending solely on the batsman’s stupidity.
    I don’t think they expected Indian players to not fall for this. It was a brilliant tactic.

    I am sure, I could go on.

    Cook’s limitations as a skipper have always been known, even to his most ardent supporters in MSM, who refuse to accept it in public because they’ve got their own selfish reasons.
    That’s why the “learning on the job” has been parroted for as long as it has been.

    Cook lets Jimmy and Broad “captain” it for him in England, where they’ve been productive and help win matches. And as a result, throwing the ball to pacers has been his solution for all problems.
    But, this “strategy” comes unstuck on these subcontinental pitches where he has to engage with spinners. On that front, he has been clueless. Always.
    If his default mode is to switch to pacers, he will never learn about the spinners.

    Cook gets the team he wants, so as far as selection is considered, i have no one else to blame. He said at the end of last game that he should’ve played 4 pacers, so he got 4 in this game, never mind that he had little idea of how to use them or that he actually needed to see the surface before determining the right balance. 6 “specialist” bowlers are a luxury if he is not going to use them properly and it has been the batting that has let the team down by not scoring enough and the experienced players like Cook and Root haven’t put their hands up and yet scored when it mattered on a tough tour.

    Likely Post series review:
    1. When nothing works, blame the toss.
    Never mind that England have actually won 3 tosses in the series and yet find them where they are.

    2. If it still doesn’t work, blame it on an inexperienced team.
    Conveniently forgetting that the opposition skipper has played less games than Cook has captained or that several English players have over 100 games under belt.

    3. But if it still, still doesn’t work, exonerate the captain. He has balls of steel, titanium plated back and is from the right family. He can do no wrong and his team lets him down and has not got any support from Bayliss, on selection since he doesn’t know any young English players. He needs to be replaced by Flower.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Zephirine Dec 11, 2016 / 12:14 pm

      The ‘tactics’ you list above definitely have a late-Flower quality. Bowling dry, ah yes. It worked so well before.

      Bayliss was brought in with the understanding that he would give the players more responsibility, encourage them to think for themselves. Especially, one would imagine, the captain.
      But it seems that the complaint is going to be that Bayliss doesn’t give them enough instructions. Perhaps someone’s already been asking Daddy Flower for help?

      Liked by 1 person

  18. amit garg Dec 11, 2016 / 5:09 am

    First hour on Day 4 has been a Kohli and Jayant show.
    India firmly entrenched.


  19. Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 5:53 am

    Listening to TMS as India approach 600. Any criticism from the Sky fanboys?
    TMS have said Rashid bowled badly at the start (I wasn’t up), and Vaughan puts the situation down to dejection in the England team. And the excellence of Kohli. Spine-tingling atmosphere as he got to his double.


    • Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 6:13 am

      What follows is the TMS lunch time discussion about Cook and his captaincy:



  20. amit garg Dec 11, 2016 / 6:33 am

    MV on BBC – “This is the sign that the wheels are off – the captain is at fine leg. It’s official! He’s now moving himself, I think he’s realised. That was the final bolt.”

    Is this a sign of disengagement? LOL


    • d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 6:57 am

      No, the correct term was “disinterestedness”. Downton struggled with the English language in that one.


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 11, 2016 / 7:11 am

        Didn’t get to bed until about 2. Stuff getting up to watch this.


  21. d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 6:50 am

    That was an excellent session for England.

    After all, I have heard so little criticism of the captaincy, that I must conclude the team is doing an excellent job. 128/0 must have been the session England needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 7:16 am

    Some batting records that have gone:

    1) India’s highest Test score against England (beating Kambli).
    2) India’s highest Test score by their captain (beating Dhoni’s 224 – bit surprised it wasn’t higher).
    3) India’s highest Tests core and first century by a No.9 (beating Farok Engineer’s 90).


    • d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 7:32 am

      Also India’s highest partnership for wicket 8 (it was 128 against England, 161 against South Africa as the record against any team). Now it is 241.

      India’s last 4 wickets have added 300+ again, and have outbatted the first 6 wickets again (something similar happened in the third Test). By comparison, England’s last 4 have added just 103.

      Just as I write that, Bhuvi gets out. India have a lead of 231 after the first innings.


  23. d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 7:18 am

    The opening bowlers finally take a wicket. Woakes gets Kohli in the 180th over, for a mere 235. Pity the series is as good as gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 7:21 am

    Rashid has had a couple of drops off his bowling today (Stokes and Cook IIRC). Could have had a five-year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 7:25 am

      Not fair! I saw it autocorrect after I hit send. (And then I pressed like instead of reply,oops!)
      Five-fer not five-year.


  25. Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 7:39 am

    Very good chance of Anderson going wicketless for a second consecutive test (low probability of India batting again).


  26. SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 7:39 am

    Guardian OBO in circle-the-wagons’ mode:

    “Today is the most important day of Alastair Cook’s career since he saved his Test spot back in August 2010, when he set boosters to “GRITTY” and toughed out his most ungainly hundred to book himself on the Ashes tour that winter”.

    The only reason I’m glad I read ‘Driving Ambition’ is the fact I know for sure that’s an outright untruth – however many times they repeat it.

    Followed by an early email:

    “I would be more inclined to praise Vijay and Kohli for excellent batting rather than undermine Cook for his captaincy which has steadily improved over time (perhaps as his batting has somewhat declined). In passing I have not seen very much from Kohli that suggests yet that he will ever amount to more as a captain than the best batsman in the world? Discuss.”

    I’m not sure whether this is worse if it’s a genuine email and someone really is that stupid – or it’s a fake trying to control the debate. The use of the word “undermine” is superb, textbook really. The respect-trolling is admirable too – as if it’s impossible to both admire India and think England have not been close to making it as difficult for them as they could and should have done. I particularly enjoy being told I’m not respecting Kohli enough from the sorts who were the type proclaiming in 2014 that they always knew Kohli was a fraud and that he doesn’t make runs outside India (I lost count of the number of posts I made about his centuries in SA, NZ and Australia – only to be told they were all on roads and didn’t count).

    As for discuss his captaincy, okay I will – it’s not perfect. He can be a bit fidgety with bowling changes and overly defensive in field placings. He also has a phenomenal will-to-win, doesn’t let things drift and hasn’t been doing the job for 50 Tests. He also appears to get on with both his other experienced players and with the newbies. The bottom line is his record is superb (with the caveat he hasn’t captained full tours to his strongest opponents abroad yet).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 8:11 am

      “Discus” “DISCUS?” How about whover wrote this drivel is a prat?……… “I have not seen much of Kohli.” ……..That’s alright, neither have Englands tacticians.

      “when he set boosters to GRITTY” sigh. Next week He will be writing about Toy Story and Woody & Buzz (frigging) Lightyear. FFS

      Just as well old steely won the toss, and we played 18 bowlers.


      • SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 8:58 am

        There are two debates going on about captaincy:

        1) A debate among those really interested in good captaincy and the strategies of the game.
        2) A debate that consists of “wahhhh, you were horrible about our beloved Chef, now I’m going to go on and on about anything Kohli does that doesn’t bring an instant result to get my own back”.

        The UK MSM is entirely a No.2 (in both senses).

        Liked by 1 person

  27. BoredInAustria Dec 11, 2016 / 7:40 am

    Chappel on captaincy. Kohli vs Smith

    “For a captain who understands bowling – and especially in relation to spinners – the original placing of the field and any resultant changes should come fairly naturally. If it doesn’t then the bowler and the team are in trouble.”


  28. d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 7:45 am

    And Jennings gets a first-ball duck, facing Bhuvi. 1/1, and England will really struggle to avoid an innings defeat.


    • SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 8:00 am

      DRS showed it was ‘Umpire’s call’ and there was no edge (sounded at first like there was but it was the ball hitting both pads).

      Kumar is getting quite a bit of new ball swing. England’s strength didn’t, obviously.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 8:34 am

        Cook denied Jennings a review on ‘Umpire’s Call’ then awards himself a review on a ‘Hitting’.


        Liked by 1 person

      • BoredInAustria Dec 11, 2016 / 8:35 am

        Cook reviews – 3 reds


      • Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 8:42 am

        Positively steely!


      • Jomesy Dec 11, 2016 / 8:56 am

        But, but, but Cook just has to be out there.

        (Depending on your POV you can read that how you want!)


  29. nonoxcol Dec 11, 2016 / 8:29 am

    Got up. Switched on. FICJAM the Plagiarist. Switched off.


    • Tregaskis Dec 11, 2016 / 8:42 am

      I’m sure I heard Jonathan Agnew give the identical commentary a week or so ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 8:34 am

    43/2, with Cook getting lbw (all reds) to Jadeja. Review more in hope than conviction.


    • d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 8:40 am

      Moeen does not last long, 49/3 at tea. Moeen does not last long against Jadeja.


  31. Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 8:40 am

    Ed Smith on TMS: “Cook looks at Root for some hope of redemption. Don’t think there’s any forthcoming. Cook reviews anyway, and why not? It’s a crucial wicket…”
    Er, because it was plumb and we’ll lose a review, you twit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Dec 11, 2016 / 8:44 am

      Has there ever been a bigger gap between myth and reality in the recent history of English sport? I thought late period Beckham was unbeatable on this score, but Cook is in a whole new league. Insufferable, selective, cloying guff.


      • Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 9:17 am

        Hans Christian Andersen couldnt have written bigger fairy tales. But he was deliberately writing them. Our media think they have been writing serious cricket journalism.


  32. Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 8:40 am


    Yesterday I may have given the impression I thought England could still win this test match. This was based on the theory that they could remove the last 3 wIckets (on a 4th day pitch) for an Indian lead of less than 100. Then scoring 350 and leaving India 70 overs to survive on the last day wth nothing to play for

    I now realise this was overly optimistic. This was partly brought on by the rosy picture of how great this team is. In addition I was led to believe by the cricket media that England have the greatest captain of all time. It would appear the England cricket media are completely delusional. I’m sorry if this confused anyone.


  33. Tom Dec 11, 2016 / 8:42 am

    Will England make it to stumps this evening?


  34. Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 8:46 am

    Oh good, David Gower is going to review the day. I have only just got up and it’s not looking very good.

    Poor old Dave is stuck in a studio in London. No 5 star hotel out in India.


  35. nonoxcol Dec 11, 2016 / 9:02 am

    Switched back on. Agnew starting some unbelievable nonsense about how England were expected to lose the winter 7-0 (yes, including Bangladesh),

    I can’t see an agenda, can you?


    • Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 9:10 am

      Well they prepared the ground for that before the tour began with mountains of top class manure. So anything other than a whitewash would be seen as a great result.

      How this fits with Englands greatest ever Crcketer I don’t know. But pulling manure out of their arse is their specialty.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 11, 2016 / 10:06 am

      Well this tweet caught my eye as I wake up and catch up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 10:09 am

        See Etheridge.

        Too much hilarity even to try to copy it in here.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 11, 2016 / 10:24 am

          I know. Let me bring it to KP again. He lost a test match in Chennai running into a Viru storm and a Sachin masterpiece and forever he’s labelled as a rubbish captain. It’s always out there. I know, I’m raising KP but let’s also take Freddie, Vaughan (at the end) and back in the day Athers. All subjected to harsh criticism by the press.

          Cook? No. Modern ECB? No. Go back to Blackwash 2 and see how understanding the press were when we got humped by a better team than this. In 2006-7 too.

          Good job noone stuck their head over the parapet and are all good team boys. They might be in trouble if they had.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 10:24 am

        Peter Miller has obviously forgotten England also failed to beat Bangladesh or Paksktan at home.

        Perhaps the reason he is so relaxed is he has become an ECB shrill. The only cricket that matters is green seamers at Nottingham.

        India weren’t quite so awesome in India 4 years ago.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 11, 2016 / 10:29 am

          I’m not daft enough to think we’d win. If we’d lost 5 nil on a continuing succession of viper pits I’d have more understanding. Look at the last few series. India are winning without posting 500 or 600 scores much at home. England are competitive and then have a paralysis.

          I’m not, honestly, one who thinks we should win every game. If I was I’d be appalled with myself and this would just be an online 606 repository. I just don’t accept it. Guess that’s why this caught my eye.


      • dlpthomas Dec 11, 2016 / 10:25 am

        I think it is possible to expect to loose and still be upset by the manner is which you lost.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 10:53 am

        Great point Dmitri. These are not pitches that you can’t bat on. England won the toss in the this match and the last test match and had first use. They scored 400 here. The claim this is unplayable is bullshit.

        Boycott said on the first day they should score 550. He knows a bit more than people like Miller.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 11, 2016 / 11:03 am

          I sort of foreshadowed Moeen’s fate yesterday morning.


  36. nonoxcol Dec 11, 2016 / 10:12 am

    Oh not again Joe for goodness SAKE! This is getting silly.


  37. SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 10:14 am

    Has Root done enough to bat himself out of the captaincy?



  38. d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 10:23 am

    Good thing Root did not review. Saved Bairstow’s arse, since the ICC can’t be bothered to actually insist on protocol (no-ball checks for every wicket taken).


    • Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 10:39 am

      His non-review just consolidates his position as England’s best captain of the match.


    • d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 10:40 am

      And another howler: India get Oxenford to give a pad-catch, Bairstow reviews. No bat involved, but the third umpire refuses to check for the lbw (would probably have been missing anyway, but still).

      Seriously, when will the third umpires start following the protocol for DRS?


  39. "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 11, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I wonder if Cook’s wasted review will be mentioned, as a second review available could be vital, in the context of this innings?

    Liked by 1 person

  40. BoredInAustria Dec 11, 2016 / 11:03 am

    Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special: “Stokes is out late in the day again”

    Blame Stokes, Rashid, pitch. Only not Cook.


    • Escort Dec 11, 2016 / 11:12 am

      Has Stokes left the Vaughan PR company?


  41. northernlight71 Dec 11, 2016 / 11:07 am

    On TMS, Shiny Toy has just said that England deserve credit for how well they’ve “battled” in their second innings. They’ve showed “spirit” and “intent.”
    Seriously, is he watching some completely different VR Test Match Goggles?
    Or is it the justification for saying “Obviously, Cook is still a man they want to play for….”

    I really don’t think Cook wants to be captain anymore. Don’t let him have any chats with Alice in the next few days, that’s all. She appreciates the wage premium now there’s another mouth to feed, I’m sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 11, 2016 / 11:15 am

      Let me just quote what I said to someone on DMs…

      “I think Cook has had a rough go on this tour. I could even feel sorry for him. Bayliss has to have some scrutiny on him. I’ll bet jokey Farby will be fine though.”

      He’s not been right. I don’t actually want him sacked on the back of this. This reminds me a lot of the 1992-3 series in that the selections appear to be made by some sort of strange ritual. It has been a very odd series.


    • Mark Dec 11, 2016 / 11:16 am

      It’s all about Cook as usual. It’s is pathetic to watch the Cook Pravda out in force. It’s chilling as each English player is frog marched out in front of the media to swear an oath to dear leader.

      England are not getting the best out of what they have got. They haven’t for most of Cooks captaincy period. New leadership is required, but the ECB is a spineless organisation that is only interested in jobs for the right sort of people.


    • d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 11:18 am

      Sure, for most of the innings the runrate was above 4. That is intent. Problem is they also kept losing wickets as a result of their intent.

      So, the last 4 pairs will have to bat till tea tomorrow to have a chance of saving the game. Which is roughly the same amount of time they would have to have to bat at 2 runs / over to reach parity – add another 80 minutes of batting and they might have been save.


  42. SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 11:17 am

    “Has a team ever played better while being thrashed than England in this series? It’s probably going to end up as a noble 4-0 defeat.”

    Rob Smyth quoted on the Guardian OBO.

    Do they ever listen to themselves?

    The first two defeats were by 246 runs (or approx 50 overs) and 8 wickets. It’s not “noble”. It’s not competitive. It’s not valiant. It’s not close. It’s comprehensive – after winning three tosses and on very fair pitches.

    (FTR – people like Smyth and Miller could be claiming what they’re claiming if it was 3-1 with only one of the threes a thrashing and the one not a dead rubber. That would be respectable for the second richest team in the ICC with a team “full of talent” and with supposed GOATs in the batting and the bowling).

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Dec 11, 2016 / 11:34 am

      The two most recent Test series in which the scoreline read P5, W4, L0, D1, are England – West Indies (1988) and Australia – India (1991/1992).

      In the former series, England bowled out West Indies cheaply on a few occasions. And it is not exactly an era in which England were renowned to be a great side. Certainly not in comparison to the opposition they faced.

      In the latter series, India lost one of the Tests by just 38 runs (in a Test where they took the lead on first innings).


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 11, 2016 / 11:34 am

      I don’t understand. I really don’t.

      I could get to grips if the rest of the reporting world had changed to be more reasonable, to be more sanguine, but this isn’t the case. When we were getting destroyed by an all-time great Australia team series in, series out, there wasn’t this “understanding” of the captain, the team, the whole shebang. In picking on Peter, which I probably shouldn’t, I was trying to say that this seems to be rather catching. I don’t buy it.

      I’m probably less on Cook’s case here than in the past. Part is feeling a bit of sympathy after the blatant press week he had – someone had been talking. If it subsequently turns out that it is him giving the line then I’ll lose all respect for him. But assuming he isn’t, he’s now seen as sharkbait, albeit in the most deferential terms. I don’t think he’s as mentally at it as I’ve seen before, and his batting is back in the all over the shop mode. If that first innings dismissal isn’t a pointer, I don’t know what is.

      We have been competitive for quite a part of each game. There’s not the horrors of being 150 all out too often. We’ve made four centuries (albeit three in one game). Our spinners need to develop (Rashid) or not be the front line (Ali) and we do need to find someone to be our permanent spin option. Magic isn’t enough. But I don’t blithely accept that we can’t bat on this when we’ve made nearly 600 runs on this track, and a number 9 bat has just made a test hundred. A man making his debut series.


    • amit Dec 11, 2016 / 11:50 am

      The only “intent” shown today from england was to hope that they can make india bat again. Root and bairstow have played decently. Stokes played by the sword and died by it. Jennings and Mo, well didnt bother troubling the scorer. Cook, for his reputation, took a review down with him. The first inning review for Jimmy cost england 200 runs. This one may still come back to haunt again.


      • SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 11:55 am

        On the Cook dismissal, the DRS issue has taken also from what a rubbish shot it was (trying to turn a straight ball through square-leg).

        He’s got out before like that this series to the same bowler so doesn’t seem to be learning. It could be said Kohli scored a lot of runs through square-leg off the spinners but he does it off the back-foot so he has time to adjust to any variations of pace and spin.


  43. man in a barrel Dec 11, 2016 / 11:17 am

    I see the clickbait Twitter guys are starting to diss the umpires. Anything to provoke a reaction


  44. SimonH Dec 11, 2016 / 11:51 am

    Newman’s posted quickly (there’s a Spurs’ game to be watched):

    “Root again fell without going on to the three-figure score that his dominance suggested was guaranteed”.

    “Earlier it was carnage. Humiliation. Wheels well and truly off. England endured one of their worst sessions since the last 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia as Kohli piled on the misery in the fourth Test”.

    “Where there was pure joy for India, though, there was embarrassment for England and a captain in Cook who simply did not know where to turn on”.

    So, at least he’s not trying to say it wasn’t bad. But where does responsibility lie?

    “The bottom line is that, in these conditions against this Indian side, England are being outclassed and joining with those like South Africa and New Zealand who have been heavily beaten during India’s long unbeaten home run”. (SA were not as heavily, beaten, lost every toss and had their opening bowlers both injured)

    “The painful truth, though, is that England, who have won three tosses out of four, have had their chances to stay very much in the series, not least when Rashid dropped a difficult return chance on Saturday when Kohli was on 68”. (Well I never….)

    “There was not a semblance of a chance this morning as England metaphorically threw in the towel and Cook resembled Sisyphus from Greek mythology desperately trying to push his boulder up a giant Mumbai hill”. (And so Cook enters the world of myth, mere reality can no longer hold him within its bounds)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto Dec 11, 2016 / 3:47 pm

      was Sisyphus the one forced to drop slip catches off the spinners for all eternity?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Zephirine Dec 11, 2016 / 5:13 pm

        LOL, Rooto. Also ROFL!


  45. Zephirine Dec 11, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    Vic Marks, #notquitesofragilereally:

    Just to cheer Rashid up let him contemplate a quirky stat, which should not be over-interpreted: Rashid’s 22 wickets in four Tests here at an average of 32 may not have led to any victories but this is way beyond anything achieved by Shane Warne, who took his wickets at 47 apiece, in this country.

    but not to be over-interpreted, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Dec 11, 2016 / 7:55 pm

      Allow me to overinterpret: as a leg spinner in his what is now only his 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Tests Rashid bowled well enough that if the rest of the bowling attack had turned up we would have been competitive. (Of course, it would have needed that batsmen to turn up as well and all at the right time to turn it into wins.)


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