India vs England: Fifth Test, Day Three

If England spent the day not really trying to win the game, they did so in a manner that left them the only team likely to lose. 

On a surface that is exceptionally placid, but beyond criticism – circumstances in the run up to the match meant that producing any kind of pitch amounts to a triumph, – the team tactics appeared to amount to trying to maintain control and little more.  Taking wickets certainly didn’t appear to be the aim. 

It is hard to understand the decision to start the day with Liam Dawson, and from the less profitable end to boot, unless the intention was simple to try to stifle the Indian batsmen. He’s an honest trier, but not even his most ardent fans would consider him the saviour of English spin bowling. The adage for all eternity in Tests has been to start every session with the best bowlers, the ones most likely to take a wicket, and by no stretch of the imagination has Dawson ever been in that bracket. 

Certainly, the surface makes wicket taking difficult – England’s 477, only achieved thanks to the lower order bailing out the team from another sub-par performance, is if anything light on runs. But it’s still a sizeable total, and provided at least some opportunity to exert pressure, of which the best way to achieve it is by trying to take wickets. 

Yet it was nearly an hour before Adil Rashid was used, while Ben Stokes was barely bowled all day. It may be he’s carrying an injury, which would excuse it, though there’s been no hint of that. 

As a result, Rahul and Patel could gently play themselves in, against an attack focused on damage limitation from the off, even with a lead of nearly 400 at the start of play. By the time Moeen Ali, another made to wait to bowl, came on, the first wicket partnership has heading towards 150. 

Light duties for the seamers overall is understandable. The pitch is slow to the point of being turgid, but to use the third of the three spinners rather than either the one who has taken the most wickets, or the one who has been England’s senior spinner for two years, was simply baffling. To then choose the less efficacious end even more so. 

If there was a plan, it can only be to attempt to bore the Indian batsmen out and bowl dry. Both Moeen and Rashid were more expensive, in the former case that’s a known issue, in the latter it’s entirely within the usual parameters of a leg spinner. Cook has never managed spinners not called Swann well, and here the same reluctance to concede runs, even if it means taking wickets, was in full force, a negative and all too often entirely self-defeating strategic approach. Perhaps it is not the fact they are spinners who cause this, for Cook has long had a reluctance to trust Steven Finn too, a bowler who even when bowling well can be expensive, but who takes wickets.  The lack of trust is apparent to the spectator, it must be blindingly obvious to the players themselves, who will rarely give their best in such circumstances, and in the case of Rashid, means his performances, which have been good, are actually rather impressive. 

It may well be that irrespective of what England did, wickets were going to be extremely hard to come by. Given the surface, that’s probably true. But not trying to find out remains the biggest tactical problem with Cook’s style of captaincy. 

With an Indian line up intent on accumulation, and an England team apparently content to let them, play simply drifted. It wasn’t a riveting watch, but it was remorseless, and with no attempt to try to change the direction of travel it became apparent fairly early on that this day was going to be a grind. 
Further evidence of England being uninterested in trying to force the issue, or try a different approach came from the over rate. In a series dominated by spin, where India have frequently bowled more than the mandated 90 in a day, England failed to meet the requirement, even with the extra half hour. 

This blog has long complained about short changing paying spectators and the ICC have shown no inclination to do anything about it, constantly excusing failure to meet obligations, but there are simply no excuses here whatever. Enough is enough. 

Lokesh Rahul dominated the day, falling one short of a double century. The manner of his dismissal will rankle, chasing after a wide one from Rashid, which as much as anything emphasises the point about leg spinners; they take wickets, even with bad balls. Indeed, even though England took only four in the day, they all went to the ones most likely to get them, emphasising the peculiarity of the tactics, most notably with the removal from the attack of Stokes and reluctance to bowl him thereafter. 

India are now a mere 86 behind, with KK Nair and Murali Vijay well established. Unless England take rapid wickets tomorrow morning, and given both pitch and the approach to bowling, there’s no reason to think they will, then at best they’re going to be facing a deficit. To some extent the size of that doesn’t matter, for with only two days to go, England are going to be batting to save the match, the third innings challenges fully on show. In the final session, there was evidence that it’s now starting to turn, and that means trouble. 

From a position where England chose not to try and put India under any pressure, they are now under pressure themselves. When it is time to bat they’ll need to do so for at least a day, irrespective of how India go tomorrow. Losing this series was always likely, and is no disgrace. How they do so is the key. 

Cook has had worse days as captain, but today was the day where he just went through the motions. England under him look a side who have given up. And that’s the worst thing of all. Perhaps tomorrow will be different, as there is no reason for England to fail. But the problem is that it will be no surprise if they do. The Cook captaincy era has the smell of death about it. 

Day Four Comments Below

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160 thoughts on “India vs England: Fifth Test, Day Three

  1. Rooto December 18, 2016 / 2:32 pm

    Cook’s method seems so aimed at pleasing his mates/ those in power that even should he leave, I can see two possible paths, neither of them very positive. First possibility is that Root – so schooled in the ways of Cook – carries on in a similar fashion. Second, the break is swift and definitive, which so changes the atmosphere in the dressing room that Cook the opener and Broad call it a day sooner than they otherwise would. That would be a shame, but the lesser of two evils at this rate.

    Like

  2. Deep Purple Fred December 18, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    Here’s my two cents.
    England wasn’t a really wonderful team to watch for a long time, because they abandonded their comic mishap phase, and became all professional and winning under Flower, but they did it with boring and cynical cricket, with a fair degree of knobish behaviour.

    Then that all came unstuck after the Ashes debacle and the KP scapegoating, Downton etc, but then suddenly they started to get their shit together. Moeen Ali was both pretty handy and generally sunny in disposition, Root emerged, Stokes started to both entertain and perform, and guys like Hales, Bairstow and Buttler popped up to show a new way of doing things. They got all inspired by NZ and McCallum, and their ODI team started to hit runs.

    However, it all seems to be wobbling a bit now. Results have been pretty average recently, there’s grumbling about selection, Root can’t get to 100, the captain is under pressure (heresy!), Anderson is doing an impersonation of a sick 1980’s USSR President being propped up on the balcony, Broad is injured again, and there’s routinely three or four positions in the team up for grabs. They’ve made a horlicks of this Indian tour. (On the plus side, they’ve only been beaten, and not humiliated like Aus was in SL recently).

    Interesting to see which way they go from here but it seems like they’ve lost some momentum. The Leg Glance’s “smell of death” is a bit harsh, but it could well be that serious. (Another great piece too BTW, why can’t mainstream journalists reflect on things instead of just writing about what happened?)

    If both SA and Aus continue their upward trend, (only very early days for Aus), then England may have a few challenging days ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance December 18, 2016 / 4:04 pm

      Thanks Fred – I’ve edited it to make it obvious I was referring to his captaincy rather than as a player. That would be very bad news.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy December 18, 2016 / 8:06 pm

      I actually preferred be “smell of death” reference as it was and watching today was bloody hard work.

      I think the wheels, once they come off Cook the captain, will come off Cook the player very quickly. The charade of the last 3yrs will then, finally, be over. The “body count” to maintain the charade will then be fully calculable.

      It’s hard living a lie but Cook went with it so I have little sympathy and, personally, I’ll be glad to see the back of him and someone with some fresh ideas and, hopefully, a backbone (and a normal one will be just fine with me).

      Liked by 2 people

      • jomesy December 18, 2016 / 8:09 pm

        Nice piece btw TLG. I had started to paste some pieces to comment on then gave up as it’s all there but I particularly liked the opening sentence – which says it all really.

        Like

      • Deep Purple Fred December 18, 2016 / 9:50 pm

        Yes, hard to imagine Cook continuing just as a batsman. He’s had so much built up around him, I don’t think the “I’m just one of the lads” line would work. Too much baggage, and I doubt Root would enjoy him hanging around.
        Ponting tried it, but he wasn’t surrounded by the mythology that Cook is, quite the opposite, and even he struggled a bit with Clarke I think. Although it was his deteriorating batting that got him in the end, not politics.
        Once the imperative to prop up Cook goes, it might crumble very quickly. Especially since he seems to be on a downward trend now, run-wise.
        It could be a real shot in the arm for England.

        Like

      • MM December 19, 2016 / 1:51 pm

        >>>The “body count” to maintain the charade will then be fully calculable.<<<

        I both love and endorse this statement.

        Like

  3. d'Arthez December 18, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    Minor correction: the deficit is 86 runs, not 98. Of course, for the state of the game at close, day 3, that makes little difference.

    I have been watching online cricket for quite some time, and even the Indian friends I have made (and who do not follow England that closely) are baffled by Cook’s captaincy decisions, selection, and the schizophrenic batting approaches.

    First a snail-like pace to setup a declaration (1st Test), then a failed blockathon, when a bit of intent would have eased the pressure and the crowding around the bat, and then a high run-scoring effort, when slightly more circumspect batting might have been a better option (4th Test) – it is not like the additional runs would have saved England, unless they would have batted 100+ overs anyway.

    And now, not even being able to get all the overs in, when the majority of the overs were bowled by spinners. For comparison’s sake: on the day that Reiffel got injured through a fielding error, causing a delay, India still managed to get 94 overs in, despite just a few wickets falling, and a draw being enough to clinch the series.

    Like

  4. LordCanisLupus December 18, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    He’ll be whistling next…..

    “Not even the cheap dismissal of a disengaged Virat Kohli, who knew his job was done before he arrived in Chennai, could stop India piling up 391 for four by the close of the third day, 86 behind and with potential to add plenty more.”

    Peak Newman, and I’m just a quarter of the way in.

    Like

    • SimonH December 18, 2016 / 6:53 pm

      Pity Downton isn’t the Chairman of the BCCI…..

      Like

    • oreston December 19, 2016 / 12:06 am

      There’s even a photo of him staring out of a window.

      Like

  5. LordCanisLupus December 18, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    Watch out Joe! Newman’s gonna getcha…

    “It may have been Root’s response to a similar throw from Kohli on Saturday that was close to Dawson’s head but it was still an unnecessary show of petulance from the England vice-captain as England’s frustration grew.”

    Next, how he does on management training courses.

    Like

  6. Silk December 18, 2016 / 6:42 pm

    I just hope they lose. Steely will doubtless spin the draw as evidence they are improving and have bags of “character”.

    Also, “It’s a young side”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM December 19, 2016 / 1:55 pm

      How many years have they been flogging that “young side” scheisse? They must be middle aged by now.

      Like

  7. "IronBalls" McGinty December 18, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    Just watching the opening sequence of SPOTY….snapshots of evry sport imaginable, except….yes, you’ve guessed it, cricket!
    Keep growing the game lads, you’re doing an amazing job! :-/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rooto December 18, 2016 / 8:15 pm

      Northants just got a mention! Yay! Slightly less screen time than the wheelchair tennis, or a Welsh castle.

      Like

      • "IronBalls" McGinty December 18, 2016 / 9:02 pm

        Damn…I must have blinked!!

        Like

  8. Mark December 18, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    Just watching the highlights. The Nasser I once liked, and respected would never have tolerated such mediocre crap as a captain or in his early years as a pundit. Who knew that he has become so tolerant of such hum drum efforts?

    I guess Cook just drags even Nasser down to his level eventually. Can you imagine if this last 3 years of nonsense had been served up by any other England captain? The media would have torn him apart.

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  9. northernlight71 December 18, 2016 / 9:10 pm

    It’s official. Triathalons and Show Jumping are more popular than cricket.
    Well done the ECB. Trebles all round.

    Like

    • Ian December 18, 2016 / 10:14 pm

      Lets be honest though even if cricket was more visible would any cricketers be close to winning it this year with all the success other sports have had?

      Even when cricket was fta cricketers rarely won it and often the cricketers were laughed at.

      Like

      • thelegglance December 18, 2016 / 10:16 pm

        Not this year no. But remember that Joe Root finished last year as the number one Test batsman in the world and wasn’t nominated. As striking an illustration of how far the visibility of cricket has fallen as you could wish for.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 6:06 am

        I had to look up who Hannah Cockroft was. I had no idea. She got 4 times the number of votes Ian Bell mustered, for wheelchair racing. That is not exactly a mainstream sport, and would have been utterly invisible 20 years ago.

        Sure the Olympics may have helped Cockroft’s cause. But Olympics status only go that far, and ought to be less relevant than 130+ years of institutionalized existence as England’s summer game.

        Like

    • Mark December 18, 2016 / 10:28 pm

      Just as well for Jonathan Agnew that Show jumping is his other journalistic sports avenue. Looks like he could be spending more time with his horses. To be fair, he will probably get more sense out of a horse than the people who sit on top of English cricket these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM December 19, 2016 / 1:58 pm

        I agree, but what if the ECB actually do appoint a high functioning horse?

        Like

    • THA December 19, 2016 / 9:57 am

      It’s true, to an extent, but also has to be taken in the context of the BBC pimping sports they broadcast, and desperately glossing over the ones they don’t.

      The end result is SPOTY gives the impression paralympians are the most prominent sportsmen in the land and the guy who won the Masters rates somewhere below the man who does the wheel alignment on my car.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM December 19, 2016 / 2:00 pm

        BBC pimping? How I love that.

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 18, 2016 / 10:52 pm

      Wow. Just wow.

      This is less to do with Rashid, who bowled some rubbish at times, and more to do with Cook. In full protect mode. Basically calling Rashid a captain-killer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol December 18, 2016 / 11:05 pm

      They should cut to the chase and just put the horse’s head in Rashid’s hotel bed. It would save time.

      Nauseating stuff, this entire winter.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 18, 2016 / 11:12 pm

        It’s not exactly a surprise the likes of Schofield and Salisbury hardly prospered as leg spinners with an attitude like Hussain shows here. Sure, they weren’t much cop, but way to build up a bowler’s confidence.

        “Couldn’t bowl a hoop downhill”

        Like

    • "IronBalls" McGinty December 18, 2016 / 11:45 pm

      On second thoughts…take two!!

      Like

    • Mark December 18, 2016 / 11:48 pm

      It doesn’t matter who takes over from Cook if they allow this poison to continue. Who is sitting in a lab with test tubes mixing these crack pot potions? I couldn’t possibly comment!

      Rashid has done something to upset people behind the scenes. What that is is I don’t know. I think there is a power struggle between the official selectors and a clique in English cricket who believe they should pick the team. And those people don’t want Rashid in the squad,let alone the team.

      Selvey told us “his card has been marked.” Think about that for a moment. Someone told a useful idiot like Selvey that the player was under scrutiny. Of course Selvey never told us why that was. Instead we got this catch all phrase “fragile.”

      I remember the good old days when our top man told us that “trust” in a dressing room was paramount. Those were the days!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark December 19, 2016 / 12:26 am

      “Adil Rashid has been England’s leading wicket-taker here in India by some distance, and that reflects well both on his improvement as a leg-spinner and on Alastair Cook’s management of him.”

      Has there ever been a stupider opening paragraph about English cricket penned by a former England captain? Let’s just dissect this for a minute…….Rashid is Englands “LEADING WICKET TAKER HERE IN INDIA.”……. Got that? …..This is our…….LEADING WICKET TAKER ON THIS TOUR. So Nasser is going to write a hit piece on him! Genius!!

      (I remember when our LEADING run scorer of the 2013/14 Ashes tour got the boot because he looked out of the window. England are becoming Olympic gold medal champions of taking their leading players, and then flushing them down the bog.

      Back to the article……..Notice how Nasser slyly gives the credit to Cook when Rashid is taking wickets, by claiming its the way he is managed. But when he is not taking wickets, it’s all on the bowler. The England hierarchy model in all its glory. The upstairs downstairs of world cricket. Cook is above stairs, so is beyond reproach. Rashid is the poor little scullery maid below stairs doing all the shit jobs. So she gets blamed for EVERYTHING.

      The Nasser I once followed, and admired wouldn’t have sunk this low. He had some standards, he had some integrity. What a shame to piss it all away to protect a Cricket captain charlatan.
      This is taking the Essex Mafia to absurd levels. Give it up Nasser, you have become a laughing stock.

      Liked by 4 people

      • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 3:30 am

        I can’t claim to know Nasser’s reasons for his views but what i do find surprising, is that no one is trying to defend Rashid’s inexperience at the international stage. Even Warne went for plenty in his debut series against India. Warne came into his own only in his first ashes and his record till then was nothing to write home about, even if he was already recognized as a big turner of the ball.
        Rashid has more wickets than Warne had after the first 10 games.

        Indians are decent players of spin who will be aggressive against spinners and may be yes, Rashid probably should be able to bowl a bit tighter after playing first class cricket for a long time, but conditions in UK and the quality of spin players in country cricket are nowhere close to what they are in India.

        Not everyone can be as accurate as a Kumble or mesmerizing as a Warne. I would put Rashid in the category of Stuart Macgill who was expensive while still taking wickets fairly quickly. He too, found it hard against the Indians.

        I have no doubt that Rashid will be be wiser for the experience of this tour but the way his card has been marked, it would seem that he may not get to play another game for a while.
        What does it say about the team when the proposed ffirst choice spinner is in the squad mainly for his batting. A shortened career for Rashid will probably be the worst indictment for Cook’s captaincy skills because it takes an aggressive skipper to manage a leg spinner. We know that Cook is anything but aggressive with his captaincy.

        Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 5:28 am

      I am tempted to rewrite that piece, and make every reference with regards to Rashid’s bowling, about Cook’s batting and brilliant captaincy. Surely, it can’t be worse than the original?

      “Cheteshwar Pujara had just come in, and Cook’s field clearly wasn’t attacking enough.”

      Blame the bowler who is not allowed to set the fields.

      Early on, with Rashid bowling well, the ball popped to short leg, where there was no fielder, so Cook tried to rectify the oversight by plugging the gap.

      Good captaincy after the event is useless. But I suppose, playing a good shot for the previous ball (which spins) is genius, when the actual ball you’re playing is just going straight on. See Cook, Alastair, batting masterclass against Jadeja.

      Also nice of Hussain to expect a leg spin bowler to bowl like a metronome. How many of those have there been in the history of Test cricket?

      “A pattern has developed on this tour. Whenever something is expected of Rashid, he falls short of expectations. ”

      Let me fix that for Nasser: A pattern has developed on this tour. Whenever some quality batting is expected of Cook, he falls short of expectations. That basically has happened in all the innings Cook has batted on this tour so far. Getting out lazily. Wasting reviews on plumb lbws. And the one time he actually made a ton, he deprived England of a chance of winning by taking too much time out of the game to compile his runs.

      But of course we’re going to blame the leggie for not taking half a dozen wickets in two overs, rather than a captain consuming 20 overs needlessly as he is trying to protect his personal record. Which was supposedly a massive offense when Pietersen was accused of the same.

      “In a sense, Cook has been selfless in looking after Rashid, possibly to the detriment of his own standing as a captain — because cricketing logic says you should start a session with your best two bowlers.”

      So selfless that England lost by an innings, because Cook had to selflessly refer a ludicrous lbw from Anderson in the last Test, and an equally ludicrous lbw appeal from Moeen this Test (and just as I type that Dawson gets Vijay, so the damage was at least less substantial). And utterly selflessly make certain that he’d bowl Rashid in the ground in the last Test by bowling him 28 overs unchanged.

      Liked by 2 people

      • jomesy December 19, 2016 / 9:22 am

        Yes – l liked the “selfless” para in particular. You couldn’t make it up…

        Like

    • MM December 19, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      Seriously, Nasser is such a big under-bridge-dwelling troll that he’ll sooo be the lead troll when they make Trollhunter 2.

      Like

  10. SimonH December 19, 2016 / 3:25 am

    C’mon Pakistan!

    Like

    • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 3:33 am

      This is evolving into a real nail biter. Wonder when doubts will start to seep in for the aussies.

      Like

      • quebecer December 19, 2016 / 3:54 am

        Smith has lost it a bit, for sure.

        Like

    • quebecer December 19, 2016 / 3:53 am

      Pakistan, eh? Bloody hell.

      Like

  11. quebecer December 19, 2016 / 3:45 am

    Had to share because I’m sure nearly all of you missed this. A bit of commentary gold from Ian Healey and Ian Chappell as they talk about the ’95-’96 Aus Pakistan test.
    Healey: Yeah, I was not out overnight in that second innings. I was thinking about how much batting I was going ot do the next day so didn’t sleep much. First over, Wasim bounced me three times, outswinger, inswinger, and I didn’t hit any of them. And I nicked the 6th. I walked off thinking, I should have slept better.
    Chappell: You should have batted better.
    Healey: I did ok.
    Chappell, 1st innings, Ian Healey, caught Rashid Latif, bowled Mushtaq Ahmed, 6.
    Healey: Yeah, Mustaq cause us problems.
    Chappell: 2nd innings, Ian Healey, caught Rashid Latif, bowled Wasim, 7.
    Healey: I was on the up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 5:14 am

      Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  12. SimonH December 19, 2016 / 4:01 am

    Under 50.

    Thank heavens for DRS reversing that awful decision by Illingworth (gave Yasir LBW to a ball going way over the stumps).

    Like

    • quebecer December 19, 2016 / 4:07 am

      Looks like just you and me, Simon. Glade Wade dropped that. Heckuva game. Reverse for Hazelwood though. And Starc is a machine. Still…

      Like

  13. quebecer December 19, 2016 / 4:12 am

    Bugger. Poor old Shafiq. What a knock from that little fella though!

    Like

  14. quebecer December 19, 2016 / 4:18 am

    Oh Pakistan. Just a wonderful effort. And to lose your last wicket in that way? YOU ARE PAKISTAN. And without any hint of condescension I promise, impossible not to love.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. oreston December 19, 2016 / 4:36 am

    This Pakistan team never knows its beaten, and even in glorious defeat they’ve scored a huge moral victory and showed how the game should be played.

    Now (yawn) how are the ECB Eleven doing? Captain still clueless and risk averse? Attack still toothless? Time for bed I think…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 5:01 am

    Brilliant effort from Pakistan, even if they ended up short.

    There have only been three higher fourth innings totals. One was in the timeless Test in Durban (1939), another was New Zealand’s 451 against England in Christchurch in 2002, and the last was South Africa’s 451/7 against India in 2013.

    Other than that drawn Test against India (by SA), and the successful chases of 400+, this is the closest a team have come to chasing a 450+ target since New Zealand in 1973 against England (where New Zealand made 440, chasing 479).

    They may have lost the game, but they lost it in a manner to give confidence for the rest of the series that they can bat on these wickets.

    Like

  17. d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 5:11 am

    India 430/4 now after 121 overs; it seems like Cook has remained clueless. He opened the bowling with Broad and … Dawson.

    Oh, and because Cook wasted his reviews, a caught behind decision could not be reviewed against Vijay. Seems to have nicked it (Ultraedge suggested as much), but Broad did not get the wicket, as umpire Fry did not give it.

    Dawson caused some threat, but that is partly also due to the wicket is starting to act up. India won’t really mind it that much, given that they’re in the slightly better position now. But is he really the second biggest wicket taking threat?

    Like

    • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 5:48 am

      Nah, he’s on outfield duties today. His card has indeed been marked as England are unlikely to bowl again in the game.

      Like

    • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 7:51 am

      Oh, and Rashid should have gotten Nair – he edged one through in the 151st over to Bairstow, but since England did not have any reviews left, they could not review (mind you only Bairstow was appealing).

      Of course it is Rashid’s fault that Cook wasted his reviews.

      Like

  18. d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 6:12 am

    So, England bowl 27 overs in the opening session. Dawson bowled unchanged. The last over before lunch (from the end Broad and Stokes bowled) was the only over Rashid got.

    I suppose Nasser is already busy blaming Rashid for making certain that England have to bowl post-lunch on the basis of this morning’s efforts …

    Like

    • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 6:19 am

      Funnily enough, Nasser has pointed out that dropped catches from Cook have contributed heavily. Still goes on and about Cook not having confidence in Rashid though.

      I suppose what he really wanted to say was “Cook neither has the confidence in his own ability to manage a leg spinner nor is willing to cede control to the bowler and let him set his own fields, as he probably does in FC cricket.”
      I loved Ravi Shastri trying to tease the English commentators though with his “Dawson would’ve been very useful in the series” assertive pitch.
      Comical.

      Like

      • SimonH December 19, 2016 / 9:07 am

        Like

  19. nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 8:20 am

    6 bowlers in your side…

    …bring on Keaton Jennings!

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    • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 8:47 am

      Bear in mind that Ball has bowled all of 4 overs today in 2 sessions.

      Like

      • BobW December 19, 2016 / 5:45 pm

        He’ll be heading home with soreness soon.

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  20. SimonH December 19, 2016 / 8:56 am

    Like

    • Mark December 19, 2016 / 9:34 am

      Ah yes …….”containing.” The old favourate! But Cook starts “containing” from the first ball of the innings? even though he started with 450 plus.

      And as I speak Butler has pulled off a brilliant catch when the batsman was NOT being “contained.” If you want wickets you need to encourage batsman to play their shots. I guess Etheridge thinks a loss of 3-0 is a fantastic result. At 3-0 down…….. go for the draw.

      Like

  21. nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 9:07 am

    DROPPED CATCH OFF NAIR – CURRENT COST 161 RUNS.

    Can’t remember who dropped him though. Probably that fragile bloke, was it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 9:33 am

      That sir, would be classified by journalists as a stinger, if recognized at all. They all count the same though, except if you are Rashid.

      Like

      • nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 9:40 am

        I’m paraphrasing a Tweet from Tregaskis really, but pushing slightly harder on the anger pedal.

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    • nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 9:57 am

      200 up for the Cook drop!

      Cost of Rashid’s re Kohli: 179 runs.

      Column inch comparison to follow…

      Like

    • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 10:06 am

      I don’t know, but I don’t think this guy is remembering the brilliant gameplan the England captain had after the last Test (the not dropping catches bit).

      Like

    • Mark December 19, 2016 / 9:35 am

      I wonderered who would be the first on here to spot that. Lol

      Like

  22. SimonH December 19, 2016 / 9:32 am

    Jennings opens the bowling after tea. Received wisdom says you start with your strongest bowlers after an interval so no-one can say Cook isn’t innovative.

    New ball then taken and being ploughed into the middle of the wicket. Nair pulls Ball twice through mid-on (there isn’t one). Root desperately signalling Cook to put a fielder there. Wheels well and truly off.

    Superb catch by Buttler then gets Ashwin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BobW December 19, 2016 / 10:00 am

      To be fair Jennings was denied an lbw first ball. Not that excuses the rest of the crap that has gone on today. I see Atherton at tea was criticising Cooks negativity from the start of play today. Said it then leaves you with nowhere to go.

      Like

      • SimonH December 19, 2016 / 10:10 am

        To be fair he was denied because it was missing the stumps by quite a distance!

        100% agree with Atherton (whose commentary has been like a beacon in the darkness). Of course it doesn’t make much difference who opens after an interval at this stage but my point is that Cook has opened with the wrong bowlers after every interval.

        Ball’s just been hit for 14 off an over (although he also had Nair dropped by Root just before). With three men back for hook, Jadeja hooked one six and then puller another through the gap.

        Hussain finally finds something wrong with Cook’s captaincy here – taking the third new ball! .

        Like

      • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 10:43 am

        Think you got the wrong replay there. It was clipping a substantial proportion of the stumps / bails. I am guessing about 40%, but umpire’s call.

        Like

      • SimonH December 19, 2016 / 11:44 am

        Must be muddling up my Jennings’ LBW shouts – I have been up since 3am (with a short nap)!

        Like

      • BobW December 19, 2016 / 5:46 pm

        SimonH, Jennings didn’t have that many LBW shouts you know! Lol.

        Like

      • man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 6:04 pm

        The only review of a Jennings lbw shout that I saw was against Ashwin. The ball was clearly missing the stumps.

        Like

  23. amit garg December 19, 2016 / 9:35 am

    At least one result has now been taken out of the equation….

    Like

    • Silk December 19, 2016 / 10:00 am

      The tie was always unlikely…

      Like

  24. man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 10:01 am

    The English team looks totally demoralised now. Jadeja toying with the new ball bowlers. Thankfully I am not a fanboy

    Like

  25. man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 10:10 am

    Nasser incredulous that Cook took the new ball! Cracks showing in the Essex Mafia

    Like

  26. Tom December 19, 2016 / 10:14 am

    Enough. I really enjoyed having the opportunity, after many years, to watch England play a test series live, but I can’t take this anymore. I enjoyed Butler’s catch, it was superb, but the way the team has been led and played today has been too depressing. I might tune in later to watch a collapse, but have to watch my mental health. How do you guys keep watching year after year? This can’t be a one-off, can it?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. SimonH December 19, 2016 / 10:14 am

    India passed their highest Test score against England (beating 2007 in South London).

    Five scores against other teams ahead of it (three, including the highest, against SL).

    Like

    • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 10:52 am

      They have passed those as well. 747/6, after 188 overs. Lead is already a healthy 270.

      Like

  28. thelegglance December 19, 2016 / 10:25 am

    BT Sport and Channel 5 have done a deal for the latter to show 5 BBL matches live this time around. First live cricket on terrestrial TV since 2005, unless the IPL on ITV4 is counted.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Mark December 19, 2016 / 10:37 am

    If this is Cooks last test in charge perhaps he has decided to go out with a bang showing everyone his full range of captaincy skills, and to show the world what he really thinks of Rashid. (As if there was any doubt.)

    This is Cooks Frank Sinatra moment…..

    And now the time is near…………
    I have travelled each and every highway…….
    I lived a life ……….
    I did it my way!!!

    Like

    • oreston December 19, 2016 / 11:13 am

      You think he can’t survive even this? He shouldn’t and he may not, but sadly we all know deep down that it’s perfectly possible.

      Like

  30. nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 10:45 am

    Is this for the all-time India Test record or Nair’s 300?

    Or both…

    Like

    • fred December 19, 2016 / 10:49 am

      “The wheels have fallen off” says the commentator, Cook’s doing the double teapot, misfields, Rashid’s bowling long hops, exciting stuff.

      Like

      • nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 10:52 am

        Five runs from being England’s highest ever score conceded in a Test innings

        Like

      • nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 10:57 am

        and there it is. Past the Lara 400* innings from 2004.

        Like

    • jomesy December 19, 2016 / 10:50 am

      Must be the 300 then England in

      Like

  31. Zephirine December 19, 2016 / 11:01 am

    Do you ever have times when you wonder whether cricket has actually become WWE and everything we watch is scripted?

    Like

  32. d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 11:05 am

    England have to survive 15 minutes and almost the whole of Day 5 to escape with a draw.

    Like

  33. amit December 19, 2016 / 11:06 am

    Been out of home for the last hour or so. Seem to have missed a lot!
    Karun Nair, take a bow!

    Like

  34. man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 11:10 am

    Fantastic use by England of the “control” provided by Dawson

    Like

  35. man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 11:12 am

    Wasn’t it Cook who misfielded for those last runs? Poetic justice, perhaps.

    Like

    • nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 11:16 am

      His drop cost 269 in itself. Lead is 282.

      Like

      • BobW December 19, 2016 / 11:59 am

        Lol.

        Like

  36. northernlight71 December 19, 2016 / 11:13 am

    If Cook doesn’t get out before the close, he’ll have done pretty well. Surely he just can’t be bothered anymore?

    Like

  37. Mark December 19, 2016 / 11:13 am

    Watch the English media attack the Indians for putting personal milestones ahead of the team. These the same people who never criticise the England captain and who eulogise his own personal milestones ahead of everyone else’s achievements.

    And as I speak he has made his 300, and Nasser says….”Even Cook who has a lot on his mind, went to shake his hand”…….Well that all right then, well done Cook, and well done Nasser for pointing out for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Rooto December 19, 2016 / 11:33 am

    Well done India. They’ve done their bit, as much as they reasonably could to push Cook out the door. Now we only have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.
    Great stuff from Nair. 200 to 300 in 75 balls. hashtag control…

    Like

  39. northernlight71 December 19, 2016 / 11:37 am

    He made it. What a stunning victory for the doughty England Captain. Not out overnight and ready to score a double hundred tomorrow. Stout fellow!

    So I make that two humiliations now – Australia in 2013/2014 and India now.
    And remember, Al. It’s not the shame of losing to the best team ever in the whole world (*sic) but the way in which none of your team look particularly interested in being there. Last time you managed to scapegoat KP and, to a lesser extent, Swann. This time you might try the same trick with Rashid. But if you can’t take responsibility for this as the captain, you’re as pathetic a human being as I may have always suspected.

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol December 19, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Sri Lanka at home was a humiliation in my book, regardless of MS & his “s** i***** o* c****”.

      Like

  40. Zephirine December 19, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Doublethink 101, Exercise 23. Consider and discuss the unacknowledged contradictions in the following from Trevor Bayliss:

    It was just one of those days. India played extremely well. I’ll just put it down to one of those days that hopefully don’t come around many times in your career. The main thing is, if you set a field you’ve got to be able to bowl for it. It’s probably a little bit skill and a little bit concentration – it’s something we’re working towards and time will tell.

    Rashid’s someone who has made some strides this winter, but there’s a long way to go. When he’s bowled well he’s landed the ball on the spot, the last couple of games not so much. He’s not the only one. There’s a few players that need to take a long, hard look at themselves. Tomorrow will be a test of their character. I like the way that Dawson went today. He showed great control today, when we needed someone to bowl to a field he was the one that stood up.

    I’m sure we’ve made some mistakes but we’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. The India team have been absolutely superb. We’ve played some good cricket here, but not as good as the India team. The last three catches we’ve dropped probably haven’t cost us a lot. Aout 500 runs. When you score 300 you need a little bit of luck along the way, and he took full advantage of that.

    On flat decks, it’s something we’ve got to work on. How to take wickets on flat decks. Some of their batters have been superb. Their concentration, their fitness, is something we can learn from. And the consistency of their spinners is something we’ve got to work towards.

    We’ve had a tough day today, but we’ll wake up tomorrow and we’re still breathing. We’re still looking for a complete XI. We’re not there yet. The good teams are teams that have good players across the board.

    On the captaincy: After this Test match I’m sure Cooky will sit down. If he wants to continue we’re more than happy for him to continue, but after a long stint as captain that’s a decision only he can make. I’m not going to get involved in that.

    Like

    • Silk December 19, 2016 / 12:59 pm

      If the coach doesn’t pick the captain, what does the coach do? I can’t see it.

      Like

    • Andy December 19, 2016 / 1:20 pm

      “The last three catches we’ve dropped probably haven’t cost us a lot. Aout 500 runs. ”

      is that really the quote… ‘about 500 runs’ is more than England have scored this series!!!

      I assume he was asked about rashid so name him as one of the bad bowlers, but if you name him, you name the others who make up those who need to “look at themselves”. How about some support for Rashid by saying he is Englands highest wicket taker this tour (is that still the case?). Either way, constructive criticism is better than a slagging off.

      Like

      • fred December 19, 2016 / 1:28 pm

        I saw that interview, I think he was being sarcastic about the catches. Or ironic.
        The interviewer started two questions with the fact that Rashid was the leading wicket taker in the series. Bayliss didn’t take the hint to priase him, but it was probably a bit hard to praise anyone after a day like that.
        I’m just mystified by this “it’s his decision” in regard to the captaincy. Surely this position is decided by the player himself and the selection committee, not just by whatever the player wants. No one ever seems to acknowlege that the position is given, not taken, and someone else might have a say in it.
        The coach says “I’m not going to get involved in that”! I suspect by “that” he doesn’t just mean the captaincy decision, but all the politics swirling around it. Smart move Trev. He’s learning about the ECB.

        Like

    • Mark December 19, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      One bloke made 300 another made 199 and he is talking about control…..

      ” I like the way that Dawson went today. He showed great control today, when we needed someone to bowl to a field he was the one that stood up.

      “Their concentration, their fitness, is something we can learn from.” Really? England have more backroom staff and back up team than any other side in the world. I thought we mixed with the army down at Sandhurst? Why are the players not as fit? This can’t be right.

      Like

      • d'Arthez December 19, 2016 / 2:43 pm

        Of course it had nothing to do with the lines Dawson bowled throughout the day. Surprised he was not no-balled for negative bowling at some point. As noted earlier, if Cook was not as moronic with his reviews he could have had Nair for about 150 of Rashid’s bowling. But no, blame Rashid for the mistakes of the brilliant captain …

        Dawson hardly bowled when the Nair-Jadeja onslaught started. It is easy to not worsen your figures when you don’t get to bowl. Likewise the wicket that he picked up (Jadeja) was not because of some brilliant bowling. India were slogging for runs quite successfully then, scoring at 7.20 / over, in a 138-run partnership, and the only thing left for them to do was the 300* for Nair. That is real pressure bowling then …

        Like

      • SimonH December 19, 2016 / 2:53 pm

        The emphasis on fitness is straight out of the Moores-Flower-Cook handbook. Remember how Cook wanted a 10km run to play Mitchell Johnson better – and the falling out with KP who wanted practice against left-armers? It’s clever self-protecting by Bayliss and exactly what the ‘yes man’ culture post 2013/14 was going to produce.

        By the way, Rahul isn’t a model of fitness – he’s actually quite prone to muscle injuries.

        On a related, but slightly different, point – has there been any explanation why England don’t have a fielding coach? Bayliss thinks fielding is crucial and the ECB have Sky mega-bucks – so why no fielding coach? Perhaps they should hire one just to throw under the bus during the post-tour carnage, also following the 2013/14 playbook.

        Like

    • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      Desire for control over wicket taking ability will continue to hold this team back. They would’ve even picked Giles if he were available. It should also confirm that Rashid will not be playing the next game in these colors any time soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • metatone December 19, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      I’m happy that he’s noticed we’re crap at bowling on flat decks. I’ve only been raging about it for the best part of 5 years now.

      Like

      • metatone December 19, 2016 / 2:50 pm

        Of course, as Amit Garg says, the addiction to bowling dry is a huge obstacle to making the most of current personnel on flat wickets.

        Mind you, we shouldn’t just focus on the bowling. I’ve seen Sri Lanka play well against India on pitches like this and 477 doesn’t cut it. It’s a 550 pitch if you want to put pressure on the opposition after winning the toss.

        Like

      • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 3:04 pm

        Against the batsmen (in form) brought up on these pitches and against decent spin bowlers, England were always going to struggle a bit having picked up part timer spinners and debutantes to lead the attack. That the difference in performance would be so great, has probably been a surprise even to most Indian fans. We expected to win, but truly handing out such punishment to this English team was probably not high on agenda.

        None of this, however, excuses the atrocious field placements to bizarre bowling changes and just insipid leadership. One only had to look at an animated Root to know the difference between an engaged cricketer and a disinterested player.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus December 19, 2016 / 6:53 pm

          England handed out plenty of punishment in 2011, also delaying a declaration so someone might get to 300 (he didn’t). Had no problem with that then, have no problem now. I am not at all bothered that Kohli is ruthless. Bang on I’d say.

          Like

      • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 3:11 pm

        Isn’t the mantra of “Bowling Dry” another gem from Flower’s manual? It doesn’t matter where you play – if you are not bowling at the stumps, you are taking a few modes of dismissals away. So play your wicket takers… Isn’t that common sense?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Miami Dad's Six December 19, 2016 / 6:48 pm

        the ‘bowling dry’ stuff is practically an admission that you don’t think you are very good, and you’re hoping that the opposition are lulled into overconfidence and make an error. I can see why Flower, with his background of playing in the 90s for Zimbabwe, would be an advocate.

        I was considering the other day about Selvey’s ‘play to your strengths’ call regarding 4 seamers, and thinking back to times when England weren’t great in India, but were at least competitive. It was based on hard toil and excellent bowling from people like Gough and Caddick, who didn’t waste the new ball and had tricks with the old one. England’s seamers have been a weakness this tour in comparison.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus December 19, 2016 / 6:51 pm

          Remember Hoggard taking seven on a dull surface at Nagpur? Did it at Adelaide. Always had that in him.

          Liked by 1 person

    • BobW December 19, 2016 / 3:24 pm

      I saw that at the time and thought he could have been a bit more gracious.

      Like

  41. SimonH December 19, 2016 / 1:17 pm

    I hope Trevor remembered that when Cook asked him for ideas the correct reply wasn’t “I’ve got nothing”.

    And that if Cook is asked for a post-tour review of the coach, he doesn’t make the mistake of thinking that what they want is an honest appraisal that the rest of the players agree with, but the senior ones aren’t willing to say.

    Like

  42. fred December 19, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    It was a very strange delay of declaration. I know timing is always highly debatable, and armchair critics always want a more aggressive approach, but it seems clear the 300 was more important than the game position. He should have given himself an hour at England, not 15 mins.

    Perhaps it’s just surpreme confidence that they can do the job tomorrow, or he saw value in grinding England further. Or perhaps he’s just a sadist.

    Judging by the look on Cook’s face in that photo Zephirine linked above, maybe it was worth it after all. He’s really quite graceless when things aren’t going his way.

    Like

    • northernlight71 December 19, 2016 / 1:50 pm

      The thing is, those of us that wish Cook would relinquish the captaincy, and are aware of his many moments of gracelessness, can still see that the photo Zeph has linked to was chosen especially for the impression it gives, and that a few seconds before the poses would probably have looked a lot less damning for the England captain.
      That’s why we annoy people. We’re usually right, and what’s more we’re usually quite fair minded. That kind of thing really irritates certain people 🙂

      Like

    • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 2:16 pm

      I think it is a combination of both – a bit of thumbing the nose with the host of records that have been broken along with the English spirits, as well as a confidence that the bowlers will probably do it for him tomorrow. If the fast bowlers can get a few in early tomorrow, it will set up the game quite nicely for the afternoon.

      Like

    • MM December 19, 2016 / 2:21 pm

      I wanted them to score a nice round 1000. If England bat out I’m sure 3-0 will be spun as acceptable by the board/journos.

      Like

    • Zephirine December 19, 2016 / 2:27 pm

      The 300 was more important psychologically, it said ‘Look, you’re so crap even our debutant can get a triple against you. And we can afford to just wait around until he does.’

      It’ll probably work, too. England will still be humiliated tomorrow and Cook sulky, batting collapse very likely.

      Unless Root, Stokes and YJB get together in a corner and decide that theyre going to ignore all instructions and hang on like grim death for the draw.

      Like

  43. SimonH December 19, 2016 / 2:04 pm

    Newman:

    “England were always likely to lose heavily in this series, just as South Africa and New Zealand have in recent times and just as Australia assuredly will in the New Year. And anyone thinking otherwise was being totally unrealistic.
    But it has been more painful than could possibly have been envisaged and by the end of the fourth day this final Test had the feel of Sydney about it when England’s Ashes humiliation three years ago reached a crushing conclusion.
    The big difference now is that this is a united England team with its best days ahead of them rather than one riven with divisions and unravelling fast after reaching the giddy heights of becoming the best Test side in the world”.

    And:

    “that is what Cook will have to consider, whatever happens on the final day, when he retreats to the calm of his family farm to lick his wounds ahead of meeting Andrew Strauss next month for the de-briefing that will decide his destiny”.

    There’s a minor Sociology essay to be written about the attitude of English cricket journalists to farms. They appear to regard them as somewhere between health spas and care homes – not exactly the experience of modern agri-business I’ve had.

    Liked by 2 people

    • northernlight71 December 19, 2016 / 2:17 pm

      I’m sure Alistair and Alice have a very idyllic farm. I can’t imagine either of them being the ones trudging out at 4am in the snow or sticking their arms where the rest of us would rather not think about.
      They’ll have “people” for all of that kind of thing.

      Like

      • Rooto December 19, 2016 / 2:21 pm

        Nominative determinism gives us the name ‘Andy Bull’ at this point in the conversation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • MM December 19, 2016 / 2:24 pm

        Oh yeah, and it’ll be mimimum wage people without rubber gloves that go beyond the elbow. Too right.

        Like

      • Zephirine December 19, 2016 / 2:33 pm

        Doesn’t the farm belong to her parents? Or has he actually bought his own place now?

        I agree, it is quite odd how it’s used as a signifier of trustworthiness and depth.

        Class, too, of course. Monty Panesar used to help out in his wife’s family’s shop, but it wasn’t viewed in quite the same light, somehow.

        Liked by 1 person

    • amit garg December 19, 2016 / 3:07 pm

      Newman has this fantasy of a Utopian order where every player in the English team loved each other and that it was in perfect harmony with perfect results, till the wheels came off in Australia and KP was to blame for that bubble to burst. If only it weren’t a dream.

      Like

    • Mark December 19, 2016 / 3:10 pm

      Newman…..”The de-briefing that will decide his destiny” ….Oh for goodness sake ,it’s A Cook, not The Duke of Wellington. And why is it that Cook gets to decide his “destiny?” Since when was The England captains job self selecting?

      Having said that, you know it’s bad if Newman is bringing out Sydney.

      Like

      • SimonH December 19, 2016 / 7:06 pm

        Part of the reference to Sydney (Stocks had been doing it as well) is to create the impression there haven’t been any “that bad” results in the ‘new era’.

        I must have dreamt losing by 400+ runs to Australia at Lord’s. Or 200 runs at home to NZ. Or 10 wickets against Pakistan.

        Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      On the contrary, a proper study of how such people as Stocks and Etheridge construct what constitutes “good journalism” in the cricketing context and how that compares with their colleagues on news, politics, business etc would be fascinating. My take is that Etheridge is equivalent to a fashion correspondent, who has to praise a collection or risk being excluded from next year’s event. Even film correspondents are allowed to express opinions without too many reprisals.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. BoredInAustria December 19, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    Cricinfo headlines:

    “Morgan ‘comfortable’ over Bangladesh pullout”
    and
    “England fan finds security plans on public computer”

    You cannot make these things up – Is there any truth in the rumour that DirectorComma is hiding in the Venezuela Embassy?

    Liked by 1 person

  45. man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    There was a time when it was commonplace for a team on a flat pitch to be able to bat out a day for a draw – Hell, England managed it a few times against Clive Lloyd’s West Indies in 1980 and on the 80/81 tour, thanks to efforts by Willey, Boycott and Gower. However, particularly since a certain match in Adelaide, this seems much harder nowadays. When England have managed it, it took efforts of great self-denial by Colly or Bell. To be honest, I am racking my brains to think of a case when Cook has played a major part in what, you would think, would seem to be a situation tailor-made for his brand of cricket. His record of heroic reargurd actions is quite modest, I think.

    However, looking forward, most people are rightly looking forward to seeing m,re of Haseeb but is anybody slightly worried that he has suffered major hand damage to the Indian quicks on these rather flat pitches? I know that Shami and Yadav have been around the 90 mph mark but they didn’t bowl too much short stuff. Surely, this is going to be investigated with great aggression by the visiting teams this summer.

    Like

      • man in a barrel December 19, 2016 / 6:18 pm

        Good shout, my Lord, but the England 2nd innings began on day 3 facing a deficit of 220 and Strauss set the tone with his 110 out of 188, taking the pressure off Cook, so I would not class that as a “backs to the wall” effort. In this current Test, the English team have nothing to play for apart from pride.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus December 19, 2016 / 6:41 pm

          I’d say that sticking it out for the best part of two days was a backs to the wall effort. I’d also say that his 4th innings ton in Perth, though nowhere near successful, shouldn’t be discounted.

          But the perception he plays well in rearguards many times has little foundation.

          Like

      • SimonH December 19, 2016 / 6:47 pm

        I haven’t time to look them up again right now, but I’m pretty certain that the stats show Cook has a good record in third innings when England have a deficit but a poor record in fourth innings when England have won or drawn the match (he’s scored just one century in the latter category, against Bangladesh, and most of his 50s are against WI).

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 19, 2016 / 6:44 pm

      We had to do it last time around to win the series in India on a pudding in Nagpur. Did it easily.

      If we don’t tomorrow it will be Rashid’s fault. Some way. Somehow.

      Like

  46. Deep Purple Fred December 19, 2016 / 6:24 pm

    Oh the rotten blighters! Not only did they mightily disrespect England’s finest, they named the local sewerage canal after the Queens palace. is there no end to the indignity?

    Dobell:
    As India’s batsmen flogged a tired attack around Chennai, as they accumulated record after record, with the foul smell of sewage wafting from the Buckingham Canal, just behind the Anna Pavilion in Chennai, adding to the agony, it became painfully obvious that England had no answers to the questions posed of them this tour. At least it isn’t a timeless Test; England could have been out there for weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH December 19, 2016 / 6:59 pm

      That article’s got its heart in the right place, but it also is based on some ingrained English attitudes to spin that are part of the problem IMO:

      1) T20 is killing spin – in fact, spin is often much more effective than seam in T20 (well over half the top twenty ranked bowlers in T20I are spinners).
      2) The only way to be an effective T20 spinner is to bowl darts – in fact, the types of spinners successful at T20 contain a variety of styles. A spinner who is predictable in pace and where the ball is going to pitch can be vulnerable to pre-meditated shots.
      3) Spinners can’t be effective in early season – leaving aside whether April/May in England are always that damp, a damp pitch can help spinners as much as a dry one.

      For me, it’s the assumptions of English captains and coaches that are most to blame. Swann said he had to spend the whole early part of his career fighting attempts to get him to spin the ball less. It’s absolutely no coincidence that England’s best recent spinners (Swann, Panesar, Ali, Rashid) all developed outside the regular coaching system.

      Like

    • "IronBalls" McGinty December 19, 2016 / 7:07 pm

      He’s doing commentary on the BBL apparently? Trust his throat doesn’t grt sore as well!!

      Liked by 2 people

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