India vs England; Fifth Test, Day Four

If the third day was chastening, bordering on disastrous, then day four was humiliation.  About the only thing that went in England’s favour all day was that they didn’t lose any wickets in the short session following India’s perhaps belated declaration.

Inevitably when a side receives a flogging of the kind that England did today, there will be a search for someone to blame.  Most likely, it will be the spin bowlers who receive most of it from the media, and of those, it will probably be Adil Rashid who gets it most of all.  The word for this is “scapegoating”, though it’s not the first time the most successful player in his discipline has been blamed for all the ills of a disastrous tour.  By way of illustration, in the last Test Rashid dropped a catch. It happens, it’s in the nature of the game.  As is the possibility that the drop may prove expensive.  But the response from some was to single out that spill as the reason for defeat – because that dropped catch “cost” 150 runs.  In the first place this is of course complete nonsense – if a team fails to create another opportunity then the fault is collective; in the second, Cook’s drop of Karun Nair has cost in the region of 270 runs so by the same method, and given England’s deficit, it must be entirely Cook’s fault.  Preposterous.  And fortunately for him, no one is making that case.

But here’s the point.  All those journalists who mentioned the cost of Rashid’s drop, but failed to do so for Cook’s are pushing an agenda.  There is no other reason and no justification whatever.  It would be grossly unfair on Cook to throw the consequences of a dropped catch on him, which is why this place won’t do it.  But it was and is equally grossly unfair to have done so to Rashid.  Those that did once when it suited but not the other time are a disgrace to their profession.  It is nothing but bullying, and many will wonder why they are doing it.

Cook does bear some responsibility for the debacle, but not so much for the fourth day’s play, where the wheels falling off is something that tends to happen to most sides facing such a battering and to far better captains than Cook.  It is as miserable an experience as can happen on the cricket field.  It was more for the third day, where the approach was one of containment and entirely of containment.  Again, this is not a matter of assuming different actions would have caused entirely different outcomes, for the flatness of the surface meant it was always going to be a difficult task to restrict India.  But by prizing economy over penetration England thoroughly played into Indian hands and made the fourth day even more painful.

Liam Dawson has bowled nicely.  He’s done reasonably well.  He’s certainly maintained a degree of control when looked at on an over by over basis.  But when the opposition rack up a record score of 759 against you, one has to ask what value that control brings.  Bowling a foot outside off stump routinely also offers control, but there’s a reason why it’s not a very popular tactic amongst the better teams.  It’s not to belittle someone who toiled manfully all day, but it is to question what the priority is and should be.

Likewise, it’s unlikely Moeen or Rashid will look back on this innings with fondness, but neither of them bowled especially poorly – though not well, that’s for sure.  The surface made spin bowling unprofitable to begin with – and it seems many have forgotten that Ravi Ashwin, the Ravi Ashwin England have had all kinds of problems against, went for 151 in the first innings for a single wicket. The suggestion that ANY of the England spinners should be taken to task for not vastly improving on that is idiotic.

Some years ago, when Shane Warne retired, Australia went through spinner after spinner in a vain attempt to replicate one of the game’s great bowlers.  Each one who failed to measure up to the impossible was summarily discarded, before eventually press, public and selectors woke up to reality and cut their cloth according to what they had.  Nathan Lyon has been in place ever since; he’s nothing exceptional, nothing special, but he is the best they have and a decent enough performer – and for that matter better than anything England have.

That doesn’t mean England should just give up on their spin options, but it does mean railing at the hideous truth is completely pointless.  Whoever had been selected, the outcome would have been fairly similar.  This is why beating up on the one bowler who has shown an ability to take wickets is more than just unreasonable, it is stupid.  When England won here four years ago, they had Graeme Swann, the best England spin bowler in 40 years.  They no longer have him, and that’s just way it is.  But would Rashid have performed better if Swann had been his partner?  Almost certainly.

One of the questions asked of this site is why we get so angry with sections of the media.  This is the reason why.  Rather than a proper analysis of the whole of the England set up – and yes, that does include the spin bowlers – they single out someone to blame who must never be the captain.  It is fundamentally dishonest.  No one believes Cook is responsible for the whole shambles, but balance does include talking about him too, and not excusing every error, every issue with the strategy, and fixating on players who for all their flaws happen to be the best we have, and without whom the England team will not be an improved one.

Ten years ago Ashley Giles was the England slow bowler of choice.  No one thought he was outstanding, no one thought he matched up to the spinners other teams possessed.  But the cupboard was bare and thus an awareness that the role he performed was done as well as could be hoped for took hold.  The recognition of that dearth of options was considered, certainly, but that is a different question, and one that could be talked about now as well.  George Dobell is one of few who have raised the wider issue.

India did delay their declaration until shortly before the close, seemingly primarily to allow Nair to reach his triple century.  Naturally, this did attract some comment, not the least preposterous of which was how much stick Cook would have got for delaying one for someone to get a triple century.  It perhaps was a little favourable towards an individual landmark than the team position, but at 3-0 and with still an outstanding chance of going 4-0 up, it’s rather easier to justify than in normal circumstances.  In either instance, whether it be Cook or Kohli, such criticism is not reasonable unless it actually costs a decisive win.  In any case, that Mike Atherton still receives criticism 20 years on for declaring on Graeme Hick on 98 demonstrates that all too often people want it all ways.  England have a minimum of 90 overs to bat tomorrow, and if they survive that eight wickets down, it’s unlikely too many Indian fans will be losing sleep over it given the series scoreline.

There is naturally some anger about today, but this hasn’t appeared out of the blue.  The problems have been there and growing all series, and attacking the bowlers rather overlooks that England have only managed to score more than Karun Nair three times as a collective all series.  Whether it be batting, bowling, fielding or captaincy, England have been second best – except perhaps ironically in the last instance, given Kohli’s curious approach.  But for the same reason some of Cook’s poor leadership has been excused when England have been winning (indeed, not just excused, wilfully overlooked or even perversely praised), so Kohli will get a free pass this time.  And to some extent, that is fair enough, for criticism of Cook was swatted contemptuously aside all too often as long as England came out of the game on the right side, so why hold Kohli to different standards?  A recognition that with the win the captain’s own leadership needs to develop is a different thing entirely.

No, the abiding feeling from today, and specifically today, is sympathy.  This was awful, and the England players looked like they felt it with every boundary, every misfield.  Any player is familiar with the feelings of complete powerlessness it creates, the desire simply to get off the field and away from the misery.  When it goes this wrong, everything goes wrong, and the captain is at his wits end.  The anger though, is better directed towards the build up to it, to the targeting of individual players by those who ought to know better (yes Nasser Hussain, you should know better), to the excusing of others to the point that they end up receiving more criticism from those outside cricket than is necessarily fair, in direct reaction to the whitewashing of the chosen one.

The pitch may be benign, but it is the fifth day, and there will be some assistance for the bowlers.  England are playing not so much for pride, but for their dignity, for a batting calamity will rightly evoke memories of the last away Ashes series.  They are certainly capable of batting out the day and claiming a draw, which would be a (very) minor triumph if they manage it.  To do so, they will probably need Cook to bat through much of it, as is often the feeling in such circumstances.  Curiously, he doesn’t have as great record in rearguards as might be expected, although his valiant attempt to stave off defeat four years ago in India remains one of his greatest innings – and not truly in vain given what happened subsequently.  Yet, he remains the prize wicket in these situations, and whatever people may think of him as captain, a skipper’s innings tomorrow would be welcome, and perhaps for himself most of all.

Should they manage it, it must not be portrayed as any kind of vindication.  England are now being hammered by India, and there are a whole series of reasons behind that – not the least of which is that in these conditions, India are simply much better.  But gathering the shreds of the self-respect is no reason for approval, nor is revisionism claiming a 3-0 defeat represents as good a result as England could have wished for.  The trouble is, it’s actually hard to see England managing even that.

Day Five Comments Below


124 thoughts on “India vs England; Fifth Test, Day Four

  1. metatone Dec 19, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    To me, holding off the declaration was a smart move. Bolster the confidence of a young player and it could pay off for years to come. Truthfully, no-one will care in 3 months time if it is 3-0 or 4-0 – (there’s no chance of England winning).

    Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy Dec 19, 2016 / 8:19 pm

      Agree – and I’d have done the same…exceptional circumstances and builds you as the leader and builds the team.

      Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel Dec 19, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      Interesting. I think that Atherton, after he retired, expressed regret that he foreclosed on Hick. The negative attitude his action inspired in Hick might have played a part in the latter’s failure to become the influential Test batsman his talent merited.

      Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel Dec 19, 2016 / 9:45 pm

      I am always reminded of Ian Chappell’s distinction between a declaration and a closure. A closure says that your only chance is to avoid defeat. A declaration gives you the chance of winning. This was a closure, plus displaying the confidence that we can get 10 wickets here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rohan Dec 19, 2016 / 10:11 pm

        That’s very neat from Chappell. I like it a lot and that seems to be exactly what I would like to imagine Kohli thought, try and avoid defeat England!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rooto Dec 19, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    England can yet come out with a little credit if they finish the day 300-3. That’s got to be the aim.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. jomesy Dec 19, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    LGL: “to the excusing of others to the point that they end up receiving more criticism from those outside cricket than is necessarily fair”

    Why not just say: to the excusing of Cook?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Dec 19, 2016 / 8:21 pm

      Because over the last few years it hasn’t just been him (Flower, Saker etc), and it’s wrong every time it happens.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy Dec 19, 2016 / 8:41 pm

        Every time. Ok – thanks for informing me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Rpoultz Dec 19, 2016 / 8:25 pm

    I thought it was fascinating that kohli chose to grind England into the dirt as much as he did. To him if it now finishes 3-0 it will mean little to him as the series is wrapped up. Proving indias superiority seemed more important than the actual result. On the flip side if it does now finish three nil then this will be heralded as a corner turned by the MSM

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Dec 19, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      I thought Kohli’s batting on might have been linked to what he said about England’s batting after the last Test i.e. they don’t bat well if runs don’t matter and it’s just a matter of batting time.

      Alternatively, he’s a sadistic so-and-so who really doesn’t like some in this England set-up and wanted to grind them into the dust. Which is understandable.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rpoultz Dec 19, 2016 / 9:26 pm

        It is a good point and a tactic that a lot have missed that. I like to think that it is kohlis sadistic side and that Andersons comments have prompted this.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Rohan Dec 19, 2016 / 9:29 pm

        He (Kohli) may well have taken great joy in grinding England into the dirt because he does not like some in the setup and to be honest, who can blame him. The comments aimed at India and the behaviour towards them over a few series, from some in the England team, have been pretty poor.

        If the ashes in the summer of 2015 was Cook’s redemption, then is this series Kohli’s redemption and Cook’s ruination.

        I cannot hide the fact I have no sympathy for Cook, I cannot take the conciliatory, very balanced and admirable view of our hosts, for me he deserves what he gets. I do however, have great sympathy for Root, Stokes, Bairstow and especially Rashid etc. for the shocking way they have been ‘led from the front’.

        When will this farce of 3 years end? Call the ECB clown car (TM Mark) to collect Coco the clown Cook, as a captain about as much use as a fart in a spacesuit.

        Liked by 2 people

        • thelegglance Dec 20, 2016 / 12:55 am

          For the avoidance of doubt, you know we have no problem whatever with anyone disagreeing with any of us. It should be an obvious thing, but these days I’m never quite sure it is. If you think I’m talking bollocks, come out and say so, I can’t abide the idea people wouldn’t feel they could (not that I think this applies to you!). Disagreement and discussion is one of the pleasures of life, it’s not personal.


      • Rohan Dec 20, 2016 / 6:52 am

        Hey TLG, I don’t disagree with you, as I said it’s an admirable view you take. I wish I could be more balanced with regards Cook and I think it would be fairer to be so, but I can’t because of what he has done and stands for/embodies…..👍😎


  5. Silk Dec 19, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    I can see the stories if they draw… Character. Improvement. Ashes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. man in a barrel Dec 19, 2016 / 9:15 pm

    Was Nasser a good captain of bowlers? From reading Hoggard’s memoir, there was no empathy with bowlers. He viewed them as machines and was pissed off if they could not bowl metronomically. Vaughan, on the other hand, told Hoggard what he expected – bowl tight, don’t experiment, you are the floor sweeper who prepares the stage for the show boys. When Hoggard tried something that failed, Vaughan would mime sweeping the floor. No display of irritation. Just a reminder of Hoggard’s role in the plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 19, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      “He should have used Rashid”…Christ almighty!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 19, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      I’ll say one thing for sure, the only thing this Test team has succeeded in doing is making these pundits look absolute arseholes!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • amit garg Dec 20, 2016 / 5:48 am

      I used to think of Nasser as the voice of reason in the group of former cricketers, along with Atherton. But, of late, he’s certainly been a bit disappointing.

      I don’t know if he struggled coming through the ranks as an Asian in UK cricket setup but when he did make it, he did well as an international cricketer. If he feels that Rashid or by extension any other fellow Asian cricketer plying their trade in England, needs to put in more efforts than their English counterparts to win support, then may be he is right in criticizing Rashid and asking him to do more.

      I just wish that he would do that fairly, without being too harsh and calling him fragile in public. I am sure Nasser means well but not every cricketer can be marshaled like a trooper. People also need a supportive environment to succeed. Are we sure that Cook and this setup is giving Rashid every chance to succeed? Constant sniping is bound to eat into anyone’s confidence. That’s not fragility. I would say that coping up with this constant nuisance is actually a sign of strength.

      The criticism of Rashid has been at odds at his treatment of Cook in recent times. Whether it is because of any misplaced sense of solidarity with an English captain (him being a former occupant of that seat) or because he feels that Cook cops it a lot unnecessarily – i don’t know – he hasn’t been as critical of Cook as I would’ve liked him to be. I won’t call it a free pass of the like that Newman specializes in, but the criticism is certainly tempered.

      It may be that he has just accepted that this is the best Cook is going to be able to do and so unless things change, there’s nothing new to be gained by criticizing his captaincy.
      If that’s the case that then it is a defeatist attitude and certainly symptomatic of the TINA factor at work. That is no longer applicable.

      In Root, Bairstow and even Stokes, there are some real aggressive players in the team and even if they are not experienced in captaincy, should it matter? Was Cook an experienced captain when it was handed over to him? He is certainly experienced now, but has it done him or the team any real good? His captaincy skills were limited to begin with, and they haven’t really changed that much. Add to it the fact that he’s not an instinctive player or captain, he let’s things drift.

      Having been a captain himself, I am sure he knows the challenges in front of the individual in the role. It can’t be about proving people wrong. It can only be about what is right for the team. And as of now, he doesn’t cut it as the captain. England could use Root now. Sooner the better.

      Liked by 3 people

    • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 7:24 am

      If Nasser would be described as a bowler on the basis of his excellent punditry, he’d be described as a scattergun, who can’t even bowl the ball on the field half of the time, never mind the actual pitch …


  7. Rohan Dec 19, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    What really frustrates me is every pundit, the verdict, all these ex pros the MSM all saying we could not have done any better. That it’s a tough place to tour and 3-0 or 4-0 is okay, then comparing it to how SA did in India. It’s rubbish, these pitches have been really fair and actually gave us more of a chance than we all perhaps thought we would have. Not, perhaps, to win the series, admittedly, but with some of the players we have a greater degree of competitiveness should have been a given. 3-0 or whatever it ends up is not acceptable. It stinks of Cook’s choice, of Cook’s decision, of ‘its up to Cook’. Strauss you called KP a See you next Tuesday, find the cajones you used to say that and sack your mate Cooky…..

    Liked by 2 people

  8. man in a barrel Dec 19, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    He should have used Rashid when, yesterday, the exact same pundit told us Rashid could not handle the weight of expectation. No wonder Hoggard regards him as a twat.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. amit garg Dec 20, 2016 / 5:50 am

    England batting well at the moment. A draw certainly looks the most likely outcome.


  10. nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 6:19 am

    I’ve seen it all now:

    “Most runs in a continent by a visiting player”. Cook (Asia) goes to the top ahead of Bradman (Eur), Tendulkar (Aus) and Hammond (Aus).

    Any junior school Maths pupils want to point out why this is a somewhat flawed metric?

    Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 7:22 am

      Well, there are now 4 Test playing countries in Asia. And just one in Europe for starters …

      Then there is the issue that in the time when Hammond started playing, New Zealand did not even have Test status, which can’t have helped him on that particularly idiotic metric.

      Never mind the fact that number of matches played will vary quite significantly between these players, and the metric fails to account for that.

      Everyone has the right to express their idiocy. The scary bit is that when people are too lazy to actually analyse said idiotic statements, and pretend such idiocy is the highest truth …

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 7:35 am

        I knew you and SimonH, among others, could rip it to bits.

        It was a child who pointed out the emperor had no clothes. This one is just as easy. It’s absolute balderdash. And to think I was mocked at the Guardian for citing his rubbish home Ashes record.


      • nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 8:17 am

        I think this would be a more sensible metric. And his performance is undeniably excellent, even allowing for his relatively high number of opportunities in a fairly short space of time. Celebrate that. Don’t use smoke and mirrors to suggest he’s better than Bradman, Tendulkar or Hammond.;continent=2;filter=advanced;orderby=runs;team=1;team=2;team=3;team=4;team=5;team=9;template=results;type=batting


      • nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 8:24 am

        The site won’t let me post the link, but his record as a visiting batsman in Asia is undeniably excellent, standing up against just about everyone on average as well as being way ahead on aggregate. Even allowing for his relatively high number of opportunities over a fairly short space of time (seven more innings in under eleven years than any of the other non-Asian members of the 10k club have had in considerably longer), it is a terrific achievement.

        Celebrate that. It’s compelling enough as it stands. Don’t use smoke and mirrors to suggest he’s somehow superior to Bradman, Tendulkar or Hammond.


  11. Rooto Dec 20, 2016 / 7:13 am

    Just a thought about the ‘Man of the Series’ awards. Is it chosen by the opposition captain/ coach? If so Rashid is nailed on, surely! 😉


  12. Tom Dec 20, 2016 / 7:15 am

    After Cook’s dismissal, Jennings is out for a pretty decent half century. Pretty freakish wicket though. I guess there are times when getting your foot to the pitch of the ball is not such a good idea…


  13. d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 7:53 am

    Now Root is gone, on India’s review. Still at least 43 overs to survive with 7 wickets left. The deficit is still 153, so it is doubtful that India will have to bat again, if they bowl England out.

    The change-over and extremely slow bowling (it is not as if Cook has not has no experience of doing that all series) are unlikely to come into play.


    • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 7:59 am

      Bairstow does not last long – incidentally that means that Vaughan still has scored the most Test runs in a calendar year for England, as both Root and Bairstow just fell a few runs short.

      42 overs and a bit left, with just 6 wickets remaining …


      • amit garg Dec 20, 2016 / 8:01 am

        Shades of Kapil’s catch in the 83 final. Jadeja made this look much simpler than it was.


  14. nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 7:56 am

    Mirpur anyone….?


    • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 10:30 am

      On the bright side, England at least doubled their score after the fall of the first wicket …


  15. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 8:22 am

    Fabulous catch by Jadeja to get Bairstow (pretty weird shot when you’re trying to save a game, mind).

    Stokes all at sea against Ashwin. Moeen Ali struggling against some short stuff.


  16. rpoultz Dec 20, 2016 / 8:30 am

    Has anyone seen the Leach article on BBC saying that England had doubts about his action?? Seems very convenient timing and probably total bullshit. A player being briefed against before even being selected…is this a new one?

    Liked by 2 people

    • BobW Dec 20, 2016 / 8:46 am

      Agree why now and not at the beginning of the tour, then at least we wouldn’t have been sat here wondering why England haven’t taken their supposedly best spinner. Instead he was called immature! Nice…


    • nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 8:57 am

      Not called by a single umpire all summer.

      With the Lions squad but for “remedial work”.

      “Spotted in post-season testing at the ECB National Performance Centre”.

      Article uses helpful word “unselectable” in second paragraph.

      Former umpire David Lloyd “watching far worse” and says he’s “fine”.


      • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 9:02 am

        Here’s some film of him bowling (taking wickets against Surrey 🙂 ) –

        The better footage of his action is near the end. I can’t see anything with the naked eye – but whatever, the timing stinks.


      • rpoultz Dec 20, 2016 / 9:04 am

        It was my assessment when watching him bowl and wouldn’t have said he was ‘chucking’. However, computers/cameras etc have deemed it more than 15 degrees so cant really argue if that is true. Just the timing of this article rankles and as you say no umpire has called or even suggested calling him last summer.


      • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 9:42 am

        Neither can I.

        But if there are concerns, surely, one of the umpires in the domestic games he played would have notified Leach / the ECB, so that assessment and remedial action could be undertaken?

        Or is it perfectly acceptable to let him tour with the Lions when there are grave doubts about his action? Again, that does not say much about the umpires in those games, nor about the ECB dealing with supposedly questionable actions.

        This seems an effort to absolve certain people from any and all blame.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Silk Dec 20, 2016 / 9:29 am

    Is there a more despair inducing sentence in the English language that “With the Lions squad for ‘remedial work'”?

    Kent fans know all about this. Ask them how Adam Riley is bowling these days…

    The English goal-keeper in “Escape to victory” got off lightly, I reckon.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Silk Dec 20, 2016 / 9:30 am

    I wonder if Buttler has the technique and temperament for a day five rearguard action?


  19. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 9:33 am

    Moeen Ali heaves a catch to mid-on and Stokes flips one to mid-wicket.

    When you have a session to bat to save a game. Seriously.

    Buttler was dropped at short-leg second ball.


    • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 9:39 am

      Dawson bowled by a peach of a googly by Mishra.



  20. rpoultz Dec 20, 2016 / 9:38 am

    But Dawson bowled with control so……..


    • metatone Dec 20, 2016 / 10:24 am

      Someone earlier was trying to make case on The G OBO that Dawson is a better batting bet than Rashid. Seemed a bit premature…


  21. Tom Dec 20, 2016 / 9:40 am

    I think some people were saying the wheels came off earlier in the match, but now the axles are broken and the transmission is a smoking wreck in the middle of the road.


  22. d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 9:48 am

    And here it is demonstrated why it is handy that India batted on for “too long” – if they had batted 10 overs less (in which they made 78 runs), England would be close to taking the lead at this stage of the innings, resulting in the loss of another 2 overs.

    It is not like England have a reputation for bowling their overs quickly when the captain does not know what to do …

    Liked by 2 people

  23. d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 9:55 am

    66 minutes to survive between Buttler, Broad and Ball.


  24. nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 9:56 am

    IDIOTIC SHOT! BLAME RASHID! I haven’t even seen it, but BLAME HIM ANYWAY!

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 10:02 am

      He somehow lobbed an attempted leg-side flip to cover. They’ve found some ways to get out.

      Broad has 14 overs to hold out. Scene set for some epic gamesmanship.


      • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 10:43 am

        He did get a quick equipment change in which pee’d off the umpires. Yadav seemed more interested in knocking his block off. Broad tried to take a leg-bye but Erasmus ruled (harshly) he wasn’t playing a shot. Broad argued and argued but had to go back down and face.

        Buttler, to his eternal credit, seemed to find it absolutely hilarious.


  25. d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 10:24 am

    Broad does not last long against Jadeja, so about 35 minutes for Ball and Buttler to survive.

    Mind you some idiotic shots this innings, considering the game situation…


    • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 10:25 am

      Surprised that Broad did not review it, since England have two reviews left for 1 wicket now. Could have eaten some time …


    • Silk Dec 20, 2016 / 10:26 am

      Which begs the conspiracy question, are they batting for Cook, or against him?


  26. d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 10:27 am

    Not that a Broad review would have helped. Ball just lasts 3 balls against Jadeja, who ends with 7/48. Ashwin, strange enough wicketless in this innings.


  27. Escort Dec 20, 2016 / 10:27 am

    O dear😢😢


  28. "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 20, 2016 / 10:28 am

    FFS!….ia all I can say!!


  29. nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 10:28 am

    Well, the end came swiftly, and with style.

    (The reference to a comedy undertaker seemed rather apt)

    Liked by 1 person

  30. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 10:30 am

    “It’s an absolute hammering. The score fully reflects the cricket both teams have played”. (Atherton)


  31. Rooto Dec 20, 2016 / 10:30 am

    “A match they had no right to lose. … Calamitous … A crusher”
    That was Agnew on TMS. Heaping opprobrium on Moeen as he goes.

    And yet, and yet the fact that we never really expected any better today – the collapse was inevitable as it was in Mumbai, and even in Dhaka; the fact that the team has no fight or backbone, always seems to pass without comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Dec 20, 2016 / 10:36 am

      What does “no right to lose” even mean?


  32. nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 10:32 am

    It’s lucky England’s only first innings century-maker and third top scorer in the second innings should play a daft shot to trigger a collapse, isn’t it?

    Makes the agenda so much easier to set.

    Liked by 2 people

    • metatone Dec 20, 2016 / 10:38 am

      It’s an English cricket tradition – pick on those who actually performed, to excuse the media favourites.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 10:45 am

        I used to think Moeen was one of them, but he will be so easily thrown under the bus to protect the anointed one, who scored all of five more runs in the innings, 131 runs fewer in the match and dropped a catch that cost 269 runs.


  33. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 10:36 am

    An innings’ defeat despite:

    Kohli scoring 15
    Pujara scoring 16
    AShwin taking 1/207.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 10:39 am

    “Maybe it’s not how many batsmen you have, but how good your batsmen are”. (Manjrekar).


    Liked by 1 person

  35. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 10:47 am


  36. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 10:51 am

    Will other follow?…


    • amit garg Dec 20, 2016 / 11:03 am

      No it won’t… GD should be at the Guardian not cricinfo…


    • dlpthomas Dec 20, 2016 / 11:09 am

      Dobell has made no secret of the fact that he does not think Bayliss is the right man for the job. I’m not saying I disagree but how much say does he have in team selection, field placings, bowling changes, the choice to not have a fielding coach or spin bowling coach etc.


    • MM Dec 20, 2016 / 11:39 am

      Huzzah! I said Bayliss was a charlatan. Maybe one person in the media is tending to feel the same way.

      Whoever called Cook(y) a zombie captain a few days ago gets my vote too. He’s post-zombie!


  37. Tom Dec 20, 2016 / 10:53 am

    I’m not great at using Cricinfo stats, but are there any matches in the past that are comparable to a team scoring 477 runs in the first innings and losing by an innings and 70+ runs? I can’t think of anything off-hand.


    • Rooto Dec 20, 2016 / 11:05 am

      The previous record for the first innings by a team that subsequently lost by an innings was 405. This from the TMS scorer.
      So, another one falls in England’s record-breaking tour!


    • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 11:11 am

      That is because England have just set a new record. All other higher first innings scores resulting in a loss, had all 4 innings being played.

      It is not that easy to look up in Statsguru.


  38. Tom Dec 20, 2016 / 11:02 am

    Boycott’s view on the TMS live commentary web page:

    “Every time we go to Bangladesh, here or the UAE, we’re all at sea on slow turners. Unless we have a player of Pietersen’s ability who won Test matches for us like he did in Sri Lanka and Mumbai, or spinners like Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, we’re going to keep losing.

    Normally, they sack losing generals. You’ve got to do something about it.”

    Fair point, I think.


  39. Mark Dec 20, 2016 / 11:05 am

    Really looked like the team was playing for the captain today!! I think not.

    After all the guff on the verdict last night from Harmison about why Cook should stay as captain. According to Harmy you should take seriously the fact that Root, Broad and others came out and said they wanted Cook to stay. As if they are going to say anything else?

    Can you imagine them giving interviews saying Cook is a shit captain and he should be sacked? Honestly, when did anyone take seriously things sportsmen say publicly about a dressing room they want to stay in?

    I come back to the point I keep making ……Are we getting the best out of what we have? Cook has had four years, and he has not improved one jot despite what the pundits say. To hear Bob Willis last night saying ” there is no reason why he shouldn’t carry is on” makes me want to hurl heavy objects at my TV. Ffs open your eyes man. We can do so much better.

    Oh, and just don’t start on the pitches, and “we can’t play in India” The pitches were much better than those served up against SA, and Cook won 4 tosses (the only one thing he got right all tour.” And yet we still couldn’t do better than 4-0.

    Quite shocking that dear old sheep can now meander back down the country lanes to his farm to re-group, and decide if he feels like he can bring himself to continue. Enough already. Time for Strauss to step up, and put an end to this pantomime. If he doesn’t, then he is not worth the salary he is getting paid, and should be sacked instead.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 11:14 am

    Ian Ward asked him about carrying on as captain; reply was that he shouldn’t be asking the question.

    He should ask the question – Cook can not answer it (as he did). Just unfortunate phrasing on his part? There’s a lot of that from him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 11:23 am

      “Cooky always does the right thing by England, he always has and he always will”. (Farbsy)

      “Nothing” he’s seen has changed Farbrace’s mind that Cook is the right man to lead England in the Ashes.

      He claimed the team were not confused about “positivity” despite four batsmen just having been caught in ring or the deep on the last afternoon with a Test that could only been saved.


      • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 11:34 am

        None of them will say Cook should be sacked if he won’t stand down. Atherton thinks he will stand down.

        I can’t bring myself to repeat what Hussain’s been coming out with.


      • rpoultz Dec 20, 2016 / 11:36 am

        Working currently. What has Hussain been coming out with….obviously I am eager to annoy myself this morning


      • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 11:56 am

        You underestimate Cook at your peril…. he’s made mistakes but then he always has…. but, like his batting, he makes mistakes and at the end you look at his stats and think how good they are… he should carry on if he has the hunger and only he knows that….. no guarantee that Root would be better…. how traumatised would Root be by this defeat?….

        Ward asked him what about if he stays and they lose to SA – the reply was you don’t base your planning on assumptions that things will go wrong.

        Atherton (who I felt really thinks he should go but can’t/won’t say it) made a very good point that India’s batsmen like Rahul and Nair went on with their innings because there’s so much competition for places.

        On one’s mentioned who has England’s lowest average of the specialist batsmen who played more than two games.


      • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 11:59 am

        Forgot to say I think he called Cook the mentally-toughest player in world cricket at one point (there may have been a “one of the….” in there but I’m not sure there was).


      • rpoultz Dec 20, 2016 / 12:57 pm

        Yep. That has annoyed me. Thanks for filling me in on events. The thing is no one can look at his captaincy as and thinks how good it is and how good can it become. After 130 odd tests or whatever it is he isn’t going to get better. I don’t see how, as a supposed competitor and winner that Hussain is meant to be, he can stand there an not call into question Cook’s position after drawing with Pakistan and Bangladesh and getting battered now by India. Then to say Root will be too traumatised by this. Hussain was smashed by the Aussies, so was Vaughan and so was Strauss but they didnt do too badly as captains. His credibility as a commentator has long since past. Unfortunately, it seems a trend now with former favourite of the blog GD ignoring the obvious in his recent articles. Enough is enough.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Andy Dec 20, 2016 / 11:38 am

      The sceptic in me ponders if someone at teh ECB was supposed to brief the press not to ask about the captaincy….

      Liked by 1 person

  41. nonoxcol Dec 20, 2016 / 11:28 am

    More BTL nonsense from the turd that won’t flush:

    “It’s pretty simple: there’s a group of KP sycophants who believe that Cook was responsible for KP getting chucked out, even though KP himself has said in his own rage-filled book that Cook had basically nothing to do with it. It’s all comic book stuff to them with an evil ECB representing cartoon English snobbery as seen on low grade melodramas and KP as the wronged hero.
    On the basis of that grudge they endlessly propagate the idea that England could conquer the world if only they would throw off the shackles of Cook’s captaincy.
    It is, of course, utter bollocks. However, this is a comment section on the internet so is legally required to be at least 80% complete bollocks, and so those guys really are just doing their duty as internet commenters.”


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 20, 2016 / 11:50 am

      I haven’t said anything this morning as I’ve had a bloody asthma attack and spent most of the morning recovering from it. Thankfully they are very rare and now I’m more concerned working out what the trigger might be. Had to admit I was in pure panic mode.

      Yesterday I saw a woman collapse at my local station. I was one of a few who helped. Most just walked by. I thought to myself “how can they do that? “. I see things like that and think it makes a difference to be kind. To be helpful. I’d want those people to help me when I can’t breathe.

      Then I read this. This person is two bob rent-a-gob with his little pulpit and he can misrepresent all people like us stand for. I don’t wish ill on people. Cook isn’t up to it. KP plays no part in my thinking. The ECB’S actions today over Jack Leach rather back one side of the bad guy/ good guy ledger.

      I feel rotten. Might be all you hear from me today. I’ll leave you in Chris’s capable hands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • northernlight71 Dec 20, 2016 / 11:55 am

      He’s such a one-track wonder, that one. And clearly has no idea how ridiculous he looks when he throws around accusations about everyone else being “obsessed” with one player.
      How do people so foolish end up liking cricket? Genuine question.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Dec 20, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      The funny think is that we’ve moved on, and they haven’t.

      The only thing they have left to defend Cook is that the people who want him out are still bitter about KP. Rather than the obvious facts about his shambolic on the field captaincy and the lack of leadership off the pitch.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. Adam H Dec 20, 2016 / 11:30 am

    Wow Cook is saying he’s not stepping down. How shameless and selfish can a player get? If losing 5-0 to Australia and 4-0 to India doesn’t warrant a captain to step down, then I don’t know what will.


    • MM Dec 20, 2016 / 11:50 am

      5-0, 4-0 (and that 4-0 is surely worthy of a 6-0) plus he murdered Bambi last year. As an animal lover and a cricket fan I see no redeeming features in Cook(y). Haven’t seen any for 40% of a decade. Sorry, I over-statisticized there. If he doesn’t dive or get pushed you know he’s got naughty photos of Strauss and Colin Graves in the Lords’ sex dungeon.


      • Adam H Dec 20, 2016 / 11:55 am

        I will never watch another England test in which Cook is captain. It’s time for England cricket fans to vote with their wallet.


    • jomesy Dec 20, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      He might not have as much choice as he believes. Sky have already replaced him with Root for sky+ soft images and at the wrap just now showing highlights of the tour, far more of Root than Cook. Tells me all I need to know (I think!).


  43. man in a barrel Dec 20, 2016 / 11:59 am

    Nasser was very keen to make the point that Cook is good at proving people wrong. For some reason I thought back to his review of the first Test, where Nasser said that when Cook gets runs early in a series he goes big. Cook certainly proved Nasser wrong there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 20, 2016 / 12:18 pm

      Nasser is a pod person. The real Nasser was replaced years ago.


  44. Silk Dec 20, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    Cook won’t step down.

    Will Strauss sack him? And if Strauss sacks him, will he quit Tests?


  45. Mark Dec 20, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Quite extraordinary events this morning. A piss poor performance, and then the captain telling the interviewer what questions he should not ask. Talk about a sense of entitlement. He then informs us that he will not be standing down. So no post tour de brief then? no reflection? No recharging of the batteries? Just blind self interest. He is going to cling on like a limpet to the hull of the ECBs version of Titanic.

    All the shit about putting the team firsts is revealed to be a crock. I always knew all those stories about how he came very close to resigning were total bollocks. He was never going to resign. Never had any intention.

    Has there ever been a sport where the governing body has so much power over the media? As for the coach, he is a coach in name only. He has no power. Cooks captaincy is decided higher up the food chain. His platitudes on the subject are all he can say. Not his decsion.

    So it’s all on Strauss and maybe Flower. They seem to run English cricket. And right now they are running it over a cliff.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 20, 2016 / 1:05 pm

      I have been paying out on Strauss and Flower for most of the series, Mark. They are the ones whom for me, at any rate, have had it in their hands to see that the squad at least had been equipped with players who had some experience of playing before being parachuted into the team. Sean’s superb post about a month ago or so about “Where are the Lions” laid it bare. I have no real interest in defending Cook, but the squad selection and lack of change of squad going into this series with 2 unselected passengers in Ballance and Finn told you of the lack of focus for this series. Sure this is down to the selectors but Strauss had a contretemps with them in the summer, but only because they didn’t select Anderson when they rightly thought he wasn’t fit. Yet, S & F the so-called strategists and unofficial selectors have done no favours to Bayliss and Cook this last few months. An apology of a short tour to the UAE and a fullish tour to Sri Lanka months after the final full tour to Asia for some time. Well done lads, lovely planning.

      By the way, I must thank my local electricity providers here in Maharashtra. The power went out from 12pm local time until around 5pm, meaning I missed the afternoon & evening sessions. I guess I’ve had a bit of luck…………….


  46. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    This “very good” team outside of Asia won the last series in one of the four venues outside the continent.

    As for blaming “the schedule”, who came up with it and who never, ever found fault with them?

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Cricketjon Dec 20, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    Sorry to hear about your asthma attack. Rest easy and get well soon.

    Nearly had a seizure myself this morning. Not when England lost but when Cook questioned what questions should be asked. This is outrageous.


  48. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    Simon Wilde reckons January 9th is the earliest there might be an announcement.

    Is anyone clear how exactly the Jack Leach story got into the public domain? Lawrence Booth has been busy denying it’s a strategic leak.


    • rpoultz Dec 20, 2016 / 1:29 pm

      Sure it will be put down to ‘good journalism’ again


  49. Escort Dec 20, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Any news from the match referee about England’s slow over rate?


  50. Silk Dec 20, 2016 / 1:46 pm

    Ah, feck it. The Saffers are coming. I can wait until then.


  51. Deep Purple Fred Dec 20, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    I only saw the lunch score when England had 10 wickets in hand, so a draw was pretty inevitable, then I had to go do something. Imagine my surprise…
    England, you really are the Kings of Collapse!
    I love the way you always make such a solid start before all hell breaks loose.


  52. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    Harmison and Willis both say they think Cook will stand down – but that they want him to stay. Butcher said it shouldn’t just be his decision but didn’t clearly say if he thinks Cook should go.

    Lots of anger directed at some batsman (“almost cowardly” from Butcher) but Cook again gets a free pass. Get to the 40s and flick it to leg-slip, and you get “he’s found some ways to get out this serious ho ho”; get to the 40s and flick it to mid-on and you’re a coward. Go figure…..

    Stokes and Bairstow pretty much given free passes as well but Willis couldn’t wait to get into Root.

    Look at the stats and one of the biggest differences is between the second spinner. The difference between the first spinners is only 7 (Ashwin 30, Rashid 37); the difference between the second spinners is 30 (Jadeja 30, Moeen Ali 60). I haven’t heard or read any focus on Ali’s bowling although he’s played 30 odd Tests and had taken nearly 100 wickets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 4:03 pm

      “Series”, not “serious” of course.

      Jadeja ended up with a 25 average – so the difference is even bigger than I said above.


  53. SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    Dobell’s article develops his unhappiness on Bayliss:

    He says he’s developed the one-day side – although that’s true it does need to be remember they beat up two awful one-day sides last summer and had lost to SA and Australia in ODI series before that.

    Butcher’s just said on ‘The Verdict’ that the testing on Leach was after the India squad was selected and that they’ve found a 30 degree of flexion on some deliveries (i.e. he’s massively over the permitted 15 degrees).


    • d'Arthez Dec 20, 2016 / 4:30 pm

      So, he was allowed to bowl, despite a flexion of 30 degrees? Despite none of the umpires reporting him? Something is fishy …


      • SimonH Dec 20, 2016 / 5:12 pm

        Sh, you’re not allowed to ask such questions! It doesn’t make any sense.


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 20, 2016 / 6:07 pm

        Just put that question in the file, right behind the one on Jennings’ dates of entry and eligibility to play for England. No need to go poking in to that stuff.


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