England vs India: 4th Test, Day Three: Same Old (Strangely)

England finish the third day in a fairly handy position all told, a lead well over 200, two wickets still intact, Indian bowlers struggling for penetration (a mild warning note there), and with a pitch that should be starting to deteriorate towards the back end of the match. Naturally, this being England, it’s been done the wrong way around – the top order struggling and the middle and lower order scoring the bulk of the runs.

If England’s defeats over the last 18 months are taken as a whole, it is generally when the middle and lower order fail to bail out the batsmen. Nor can they be expected to on a regular basis, for the normal way cricket works is that the top order score most of them, and the all rounders chip in some of the time. Trust England to develop an entirely different manner of playing. It isn’t a sustainable method for a team to generate continual success, and England’s problems at the top are something that they are going to have to resolve one way or another if they wish to make progress.

Cook failed again, and whether or not he is backed from within, his lean run goes on, and even by the modest returns of the last few years (yes, yes, two double centuries and not much else) he is struggling badly. There remains little evidence against the supposition that he’s coming towards the end, and what he decides will be interesting to observe, for while the Cook of his best years would be a loss, it’s much harder to make a case for him more recently. Whatever the returns in terms of runs scored, he doesn’t look like he’s going to make a big score currently either, and that, perhaps, is the biggest indicator of his plight.

Keaton Jennings in contrast looked rather good today, comfortable against both seam and spin, only to then be palpably lbw when well set. There’s a degree of sympathy for him, for it does show the fine margins at this level, and for all his problems this series, his record isn’t particularly different to Cook’s – the problem for England is two-fold, not just Jennings. He may well join the list of openers tried and discarded permanently.

A surprise was sprung with Moeen Ali coming out at number three. Plenty of speculation ensued about Root dropping a place, with a consensus (which doesn’t mean it’s true) that Root had put his foot down in terms of his desire to bat at four. If so, he’s right to as well, for Root is England’s best batsman, and it is peculiar to use him elsewhere to attempt to cover up for the weaknesses of the team that way. If he scores most runs at four, bat him at four. The roles are slightly different, and if that means another is a slight sacrifical lamb to get the best out of him, so be it – it can’t be said that the current top order is working well at present after all.

Moeen may not be good enough to bat at three, but then who is? It’s not so many years past that plenty were complaining that Trott scored too slowly, even in Tests, but what England would give for that now is immeasurable. It’s also a lesson about those who happily waved off players who they didn’t like assuming that they were easily replaceable. As one selector memorably said of Graham Thorpe, “what does he bring to the side apart from runs?”. More runs. Runs England are consistently short of at the top, and the carelessness with which players have been discarded over recent times is a source of constant wry amusement.

The loss of Jennings just before lunch was compounded by the first ball dismissal of Bairstow immediately after. It can be a mistake to assume a causation that isn’t necessarly there, but it can’t be said that playing Bairstow with a broken finger has been an unqualified success. Perhaps it’s just one of things, perhaps not.

Root and Stokes batted patiently before Root was run out needlessly, and at 122-5 India were on top, and England wobbling. That they recovered is partly down to Stokes batting well within himself (again) but mostly Jos Buttler doing likewise. Buttler this summer can be put down as a success, and whether he truly makes a go of his Test career is rather beside the point right now – he’s doing well. He also found an able ally in Sam Curran. His dropping for the last Test was harsh at the time, but it is delightful to see a young player ramming the error down the selectors’ throats as he is doing presently.

For India, Mohammed Shami was the pick of the bowlers, but it was hard work throughout. They will feel the pitch has slowed and died somewhat, making taking wickets hard work. If they are correct, then a run chase is more than possible as long as they don’t try to force things, and that too should be at the back of England minds.

There’s every chance the day four crowd will be in for a treat tomorrow, for while England are now ahead in the game, it’s not so far that anyone will be feeling comfortable.

Game on.


112 thoughts on “England vs India: 4th Test, Day Three: Same Old (Strangely)

  1. Rohan Sep 1, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    Yes game on!

    I would love India to chase the runs down, but once the lead crept above 200 I started to feel they might struggle. Then again, it only takes Kohli or a n other to get a century and 200+ is achievable.

    I hope they chase it down 2-2 into the oval would be truly mouthwatering!


  2. Mark Sep 1, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    They say you make your own luck. England don’t, they are just unbelievably lucky. In fact they must be the luckiest country to play against in International cricket. (At home anyway) They have no top three batsman (even though one of them boasts over 10,000 runs)

    They almost always now are about 100/5. Doesn’t matter what the pitch is like. Yet they always seem to manage to escape with a score. (That’s because in England 450- 500 is not needed when you have a Duke ball in seaming conditions) Once again the lower order bailed them out, and got them up to a good score.

    So ludicrous is the England cricket teams arrogance that they came into this match with one of their batsman nursing a broken finger. (That went well) They even decided to try bringing in a new number three for the second innings. Mo Ali plays now batting order bingo. He needs 10 and 11 to be able to shout “House.” The captain even managed to run himself out batting in his preferred position.

    Yet, and this is what their defenders will say…. they are in the prime seats. Quite how? Nobody knows. India have so far bottled this match. They have shown little ruthlessness. In both innings they had England dead for all money, and they let them escape. They threw away a chance to bat England out of the game. Losing five wickets to a part time off spinner. You do wonder about the standard if they are one of the best teams in world test cricket.

    Tomorrow India may prove me wrong, but I doubt it. England still have runs to add, and India will bat under huge pressure. They may pull it off, but I will be surprised if they do.


  3. BoredInAustria Sep 1, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    Being set up a for a cracker.

    PS – Jennings just before lunch – surely?


    • thelegglance Sep 1, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      God knows what I was thinking there! Corrected, and thanks.


      • BoredInAustria Sep 1, 2018 / 7:51 pm

        Moeen batting at 2 & 3


  4. Rooto Sep 1, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    Good summary of the day (they all have been for this match – the best place for match reviews). Just a couple of quibbles, if I may.
    One – very pedantically – it was the captain and coach who dropped Curran, not the selectors, which actually makes it a little more awkward when Curran picks up his ‘player of the series’ award.
    Two, can NonOxCol pop in to analyse the “two Trott” phenomenon? I’m not sure if the criticism of Trott’s slow scoring was during his peak period, or only the fallow, 2011-2013 period.
    But, overall, great work.


    • thelegglance Sep 1, 2018 / 8:25 pm

      Quibble away!! It’s what the comments are for!

      (I would say the Trott comment was laced with sarcasm, mind).


    • nonoxcol Sep 1, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      My main memory is of him being criticised for slow scoring in ODIs more than Tests. My only strong memory of criticism for his slow Test batting was during that New Zealand match in 2013 when rain was forecast. I don’t think his epic innings of 2009-11 were especially slow, except by comparison to Pietersen or Prior.


      • thelegglance Sep 1, 2018 / 8:36 pm

        Guys, a throwaway gag shouldn’t be analysed too deeply! 😂


  5. Silk Sep 1, 2018 / 8:43 pm

    Absolutely no way India will win from here. The middle/lower-middle order have really saved England.

    Curran is, surely, man of the series. Match-winning 63 at Edgbaston, almost certainly match-winning scores in both innings of this match. Plus wickets. No doubt he’ll pick up a few more tomorrow.

    I don’t understand Moeen Ali, the bowler. He goes from the sublime to the not so sublime. In his 4 best series (this one included) he took 60 wickets at ~20-21. 3 of those series were in England.

    In his worst 11 (count them!) series, he took 72 wickets, at 50 ish. But 6 of those series were in England.

    There’s only one series (England in WI 2015) when he’s had a ‘normal’ return of 6 wickets at 35 a piece.

    And it’s not obviously a confidence thing. Last summer he destroyed SA, then a few weeks later was rubbish against the West Indies. And it’s not as if he plays well against poor players of spin. He’s destroyed India, twice, and did well against Bangladesh.

    He’s doing my nut.


    • Tony Bennett Sep 1, 2018 / 9:42 pm

      I have a feeling (I don’t like it much) that Moeen Ali’s good bowling performances are flukes, caused by batting ineptitude (India, yesterday) and panics. I don’t by any stretch of the imagination see him as the number one spinner. He’ll probably take 8 for 51 tomorrow.


      • metatone Sep 2, 2018 / 12:32 pm

        I suspect it’s actually about conditions. Unfortunately I’ve never kept track properly, but I think it’s about the amount of bounce in the wicket and of course, the Duke ball seems to be a factor.


  6. Silk Sep 1, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    OK. So England will win tomorrow, or early Monday. So they don’t need to change the team.

    But let’s imagine India, through a brilliant run a ball century from Ishant Sharma, win the game.

    What changes would you make? Me, I’d drop Bairstow, bring Burns in @ 3 and bat Mo @ 5, Stokes @ 6 and Buttler @ 7. Bowling unchanged, assuming all fit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Sep 2, 2018 / 12:34 pm

      Makes sense to me. India already 3 down, not really seeing how they can win – but Bairstow isn’t fit, so he shouldn’t be playing and we should be trying out top order players not middle order. Can’t really think of anyone who should come into the bowling for a competitive last match either.

      (If England win, Oval is a place they should be trying out bowlers who may prosper on flat wickets for the next series.)


  7. oreston Sep 1, 2018 / 9:49 pm

    Another low scoring game between two brittle teams, another intriguing situation as we near the final innings of the match. If Curran could somehow eke out another 20 or 30 runs with Broad and Jimmy in the morning then England might be safe. There are many questions though. For example, how will the surface deteriorate? Will Root trust Adil with more than a few token overs? There’s another big “if” too. Records are there to be broken. If India have no more than 250-ish to chase and five sessions to get them, with no need to do anything much except defend as solidly as they can and keep the scoreboard ticking over, then anything’s possible. One decent partnership and the rest chipping in could get them very close. (I bet they crumple like a cheap suit now I’ve written that!)


  8. Benny Sep 2, 2018 / 12:29 am

    Simple. Drop Cook and announce we finally have a new era – as we were promised in 2014 and never got.


  9. dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 2:15 am

    “Cook of his best years would be a loss”
    I think that is an important observation. People argue that “you’ll miss Cook when he is gone” but ignore the fact that Cook at his best is gone (and we do miss him). I suspect that, win or lose tomorrow, he will play the last test (and perhaps his last test).

    I don’t know what a winning score is on this pitch. It depends, rather obviously, on whether or not we can get Kohli cheaply and also where good-Jimmy or bad-Jimmy turns up tomorrow.


    • dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 2:30 am

      And speaking of Jimmy, after warning Ishant about running on the pitch will the umpires look a bit closer at where Jimmy puts his feet in his follow through?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Riverman21 Sep 2, 2018 / 9:39 am

    Looking forward to a day 4 poem by The Bogfather.


    • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 9:57 am

      I wonder if he has taken his own refreshments. I dont imagine him as an over priced fizzy beer in a plastic cup type of guy. More a nice bottle of claret. Gawd knows how much you would have to pay for that at The Rose bowl?

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:11 am

        You can’t take anything alcoholic into a cricket ground for tests unless it’s Lords….

        So we get the right to pay for this shocking shite…

        Hell on Earth

        Richard Sheldon told us we would get “the finest range of beers” to choose from when the bringing alcohol ban came in. Carling have replaced Fosters. Pour it down the urinal and cut the middle man out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:31 am

          Isn’t it interesting that Lords is the only one that lets you bring in your own. Perhaps the clientele are too posh, and important to be fobbed of with glasses of Carling, and Blue Nun.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:37 am

            They basically, somehow, told the authorities, be it the ICC (who I think did this for all international venues for cricket) or our own beloved Met Police, to Foxtrot Oscar. And got away with it.

            If you’ve ever queued for alcohol at Lord’s, you’ll know how much cricket you’ll miss.


      • thebogfather Sep 3, 2018 / 6:50 am

        I’ll do a full ‘customer experience’ review tomorrow if LCL & Co would like one!


  11. LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 9:50 am

    Vaughan, in the same management company, reportedly, as keeper Jos Buttler, passes comment on the rival to that spot who has had to give it up for this test….


    “I’m not sure where Jonny’s mentality is,” Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special.

    “It looks like he’s got the ‘poor old me’s’ because he wants to be keeping.”


    “If he’s going to be a batsman he is going to have to bat up the order. You can’t just be a batsman but bat in the middle order where he wants to.

    “He’s just got to have a look in the mirror, ask himself a couple of questions and get his mentality back on track.”

    (None of these bat up the order applied to Buttler, you might note.)

    Of course Bairstow (FitMG) is not managed by Fairbrother’s company. So off you go.

    Can he not see this looks like a conflict?


    • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:08 am

      The BBC make such a fuss about impartiality (usually stressing the backgrounds of people they disagree with) yet they allow him on to spout this self serving drivel without pointing out who he works for, and the conflicts of interest.

      Also note that it’s always the mentality of players who are judged harshly, who are out of favour. It does explain why Bairstow is so keen to hold onto the gloves. Perhaps he feels he is being eased out by the usual suspects.

      Having said that he shouldn’t have played this game if he has a major injury.


      • Badger Sep 2, 2018 / 8:06 pm

        Makes a bit of a mockery of sacking michel roux jr for putting his name to a sack of potatoes if you ask me. Especially as that ad is long gone.


  12. thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 10:04 am

    The acceptance of Stuart Broad’s batting decline is, to me, symptomatic of England’s approach the last few years. Sure, he got hit, but it doesn’t seem to bother them and now he’s just a bowler.

    If it’s someone on the village green, fine, but it isn’t. He’s a professional. Why hasn’t he been forced into the nets with cricket balls fired at his head until he gets used to it and bats properly? His whole batting technique is one of terror. Why is that acceptable to any set of coaches?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:12 am

      But he is one of the special chosenpeople. . He is high up on the totem pole. St Jimmy, St Alasdair, St Stuart,St Ben, and now St Josh.

      They get a pass, whatever.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Grenville Sep 2, 2018 / 10:25 am

      Interestingly when KP was in the team and coaching the tail, Anderson looked a solid enough bat. Bloody good for a 10/11. He is a totally rabbit now.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:30 am

        You don’t get the feeling this is a team at the moment, all pulling in the same direction. It looks quite rudderless. No-one thinks Root has any control over his senior bowlers, that Cook has an emperor emeritus role, who can go when he pleases, that Bairstow is a sulker, and that the younger players feel that you can get dropped even if you play well, and if you have media friends you are more likely to get a longer go.

        And yet 4-1 is eminently possible. wow.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:33 am

          THIS!! Many times over.


  13. Grenville Sep 2, 2018 / 10:08 am

    I guess I have finally understood why Ian Chappel is right about batting first. It is a huge advantage. As long as you can get parity on the first innings, you are in the driving seat. 250 is not a big ask in the third innings, but massive in the fourth. Probably obvious to the rest of you.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:16 am

      I think one of the best examples of this was Durban in 2004. England got skittled on the first day, coughed up a lead of 200 ish when Kallis played like a God, and then, by the end, had South Africa begging for bad light to avoid defeat as we pulled out a massive third innings.

      These 250 plays 250 plays 270 plays 250 tests are usually the good ones. Usually means the batting sides ain’t all that either.


  14. "IronBalls" McGinty Sep 2, 2018 / 10:08 am

    Just listened to the Analist on the pre start guff. Utter self serving carbage. It’s the grass, it’s round the wicket, it’s T20 bowlers. Rashid’s shit, the No2 spinner to Moeen who will win the match!!


    • oreston Sep 2, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      “Analist” ?! I suppose if anyone asks you can claim that’s a typo 😉


  15. Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:16 am

    That was funny….. Ian Botham just said……

    “One thing I have noticed is that India have chased down a score of over 200 outside of India on only three occasions in so many Tests.

    Yea right Ian! Ha ha ha

    Like you just happened to notice that. More like the stats guy past over a piece of paper with it written on.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:21 am

      To be fair, on screen, he just called Sam Curran in before the third umpire. Just about a yard short!

      That said, the square leg umpire didn’t give it!


  16. Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:21 am

    245 to win then. Where’s your money folks?

    England for me. I’m not sure India will even make two hundred,


    • dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 10:34 am

      I think India can win it (or I could be just saying that to jinx them.) We need Jimmy to have a good day.


  17. LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:22 am

    Assuming he got there in time, The Bogfather’s first ball at a test match was an England wicket.

    Witch. Burn him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:25 am

      An omen perhaps! There’s a lot of empty seats mind. Perhaps people will come in later.


    • thebogfather Sep 3, 2018 / 6:57 am

      But, but, but… I thought us bilious inadequates always want Team ECB/Sky to fail?


  18. LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:25 am

    I’ll bet the oppo were thrilled.


    I played a cup match against opponents with many more resources than us – we could choose from 50 people, them around 10000! Their opener was a prolific scorer in the Devon League. Made 189 not out in the 40 overs. Such fun running around Southgate looking for the last boundary he blasted. Hope he enjoyed smashing muppets around.


    • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 10:28 am

      Lots of leagues don’t allow that. Unless a young player is assigned to a club as part of their development, professionals aren’t allowed to rock up and smash the bowling around, it wrecks the integrity of the competition.


  19. LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:39 am

    Meanwhile, Selvey’s remembered his script


    • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 10:40 am

      Well, he’s actually right about that, albeit coming from the wrong direction. Rashid SHOULD be important today.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:42 am

        We both know what direction, and what he means by this! This isn’t “come on Adil” like it’s “COME ON MO!”.

        Kohli is going to have to play a blinder for them to have a shout, I believe. Now, who gets Kohli out?


    • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 10:47 am

      Is Alsatiar Cook playing in this whole series? If he’s worth playing he has to be a big part of the first innings top order and score runs.

      Woops, look how easy it is…..

      Funny he doesn’t tweet about his mate does he?

      Liked by 1 person

  20. LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:44 am

    I know I’m a curmudgeon, but a 4th day wicket, which hasn’t been under blazing hot temperatures, should not be doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Sep 2, 2018 / 12:38 pm

      I know I’ve sounded a bit out there with some of my statements this series, but I really don’t think the pitches have been up to scratch. Yes, the batting being terrible has led to a lot of early finishes, but these are not the Test wickets of even a year or two ago, overall.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dannycricket Sep 2, 2018 / 12:48 pm

        It’s been unusual weather for England this year though, so it isn’t surprising that pitches have been poor.


        • Rohan Sep 2, 2018 / 3:11 pm

          Yes it’s been a dry summer and very hot, but I think that’s an easy excuse to use. These pitches have been prepared for one reason and that is to suit England’s medium pace seam/ swing attack. If the pitches were flatter or more batsman friendly, less swing that is, England would not be able to win; Mark called it the other day and I firmly agree. It’s been getting worse year on year as England’s batting has declined.


          • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 3:16 pm

            Also part (but by no means all) of the reason why they’re so clueless when they come up against a flat track abroad.


          • Rohan Sep 2, 2018 / 3:23 pm

            Yes agree completely. I would be more impressed by England victories on flat wickets abroad, than these manufactured wins on swing/bowler friendly surfaces, doesn’t do it for me. It was like Broads 8 for against Australia at Trent Brideg in The Ashes, yes he undoubtedly put it in the right areas, but I couldn’t get into it the way others did as the deck was so stacked in his favour?

            Can’t remember who it was, but someone posted a very telling comment on here about how Mark Waugh said he preferred English wickets as they were the most fair, in terms of the contest between bat and ball. I bet he wouldn’t say that now!


  21. LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 10:45 am

    What’s his average against 4th day shooters?

    Have you ever thought that they could just be making this stuff up? Who can check it? Who determines what moves in, moves away, or what is straight? I love stats, trends etc. I just get the feeling these guys are winging it!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 11:04 am

    The one thing in India’s favour is if they get these runs they should get them in eighty overs. England shouldn’t get a second new ball.

    Having said that, the way things a going England won’t need a second new ball.


    • BoredInAustria Sep 2, 2018 / 11:13 am

      Or Rashid


  23. d'Arthez Sep 2, 2018 / 11:40 am

    4 Tests, no fifty by an opener on either side. Quality stuff there.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. d'Arthez Sep 2, 2018 / 11:54 am

    Time for yet another DRS howler by the third umpire. Kohli getting a life.


    • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 12:01 pm

      Things like that are why batsmen go for a review that’s seemingly hopeless.


    • dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 12:16 pm

      When did they stop using “hot-pot”?


      • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 12:19 pm

        Good question. It wasn’t terribly reliable though, was it?


        • dannycricket Sep 2, 2018 / 12:21 pm

          Also quite expensive, I think. ‘Ultra-Edge’ uses the stump mics which are already installed, so is presumably quite cheap.


        • Sophie Sep 2, 2018 / 12:48 pm

          I heard it costs either 2000 or 6000 pounds per day, I don’t remember which.


  25. thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    The stuff about Moeen Ali making a technical change with his bowling is quite interesting on several levels:

    It does reinforce the perception that he’s extremely keen to learn and develop. That’s been a constant throughout his career and reflects well on him.

    There’s a determination to praise him where possible. I kind of get that, he’s likeable and most want him to succeed. But I’m not sure he’s really earned that faith.

    The silence in comparison to Adil Rashid is startling. But not startling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rohan Sep 2, 2018 / 3:17 pm

      It’s sad that there is something stopping certain memebers of the media praising Adil. I don’t have a problem with the positiveness surrounding Moeen, but it must be consistent. When Rashid was top wicket taker in India and bowled some very long and effective spells, he should have been praised, but he wasn’t, it’s very poor. Actually its worse than that, it’s bullying and abuse of power.


      • oreston Sep 2, 2018 / 3:59 pm

        In this innings so far Moeen has bowled 24 overs (and made the most of his opportunity – I’m not denying that) while Adil has once again had only 7. Curran has bowled only 2 overs and Stokes 11. It’s almost like the old guard, the cliquiest clique that ever there was, are circling the wagons. Expect Adil to be seemed surplus to requirement at the Oval.

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston Sep 2, 2018 / 4:26 pm



  26. dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 3:13 pm

    I don’t want to brag but with India only 3 down and looking like they were going to cruise to victory, I went for a walk despite the fact that it was well after midnight and fucking freezing. When I got back they were 5 down. Your welcome.


    • Rohan Sep 2, 2018 / 3:25 pm

      Where are you if it’s after midnight and cold? Please don’t go for a walk again…..😉


      • dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 3:59 pm

        Sydney. (My dogs can’t tell time and they are very spoilt)


  27. dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks that Root doesn’t rate Rashid?


  28. dlpthomas Sep 2, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    England 3, Kholi 1 and I will never doubt Mark again.


    • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 4:58 pm

      Oh I think you will. And you would be very wise to doubt me.

      This wasn’t a very amazing prediction. India are a joke away from home. This series could end 4-1 with an England team who have no batsman. It takes some skill as the number one side in the world to lose to a team with no batsman.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. d'Arthez Sep 2, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Is it me or is this the crappiest 5-Test series (excluding the one in the West Indies in 2009, since that was actually a 4-Test series) ever played by both sides?


    • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 4:25 pm

      Nah. The 2013 Ashes were bloody awful as a spectacle.


          • Rohan Sep 2, 2018 / 4:52 pm

            I thought you might have meant 2015 and I agree, I wasn’t even ambivalent towards it, I actively avoided watching it at times.

            Liked by 1 person

          • d'Arthez Sep 2, 2018 / 6:48 pm

            The 2015 Ashes were not great either, but at least there was a bit of a semblance of batting in both sides in that from the openers, even Cook made 2 fifties in that one. At least a specialist batsman made 2 tons for England (Root), and the series averages (with the bat) are even lower than the 2015 Ashes, and they’re heavily boosted by lower order runs.
            Sure the games were pretty much decided by the end of day 2 (or even 1), unlike this series, but that is partly due to India’s batting being just a 3-man act. A slightly less Kohli-dependent batting side would have put England away in this Test as well as in the first. The openers, and everyone below 5 have hardly contributed more than 1 useful cameo between them, in all of 4 Tests. We can’t say the same of Australia in 2015


          • d'Arthez Sep 2, 2018 / 6:49 pm

            I mean the series averages for the current series against India are lower than for the 2015 Ashes.


    • nonoxcol Sep 2, 2018 / 7:50 pm

      I thought the last England v India series was worse. The quality of the last two and a half Tests was effing dreadful. At least this one had a close game at the start.

      And I agree with others on the 2015 Ashes.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 8:10 pm

        Sky constantly, aided and abetted by TMS, pumped that this was a great test match. It wasn’t. It wasn’t an awful game, but it’s the sort of track that those in the comms box love saying is great but none, unless they spun it, would want to play on it. That a ball shot for the first wicket on the 4th day of an English test when it hasn’t been super hot for a month is a joke. That said, these aren’t over bowler friendly, but the standard of batting is atrocious so that a very good performance like Kohli’s is being venerated to an extreme. He’s so much better than anyone else out there, it’s funny.

        Once England got 200 in front we knew this would be some task to get it. Once Kohli went, well, it was all over. India have been better than 2014 and yet they could end up with a worse result.

        Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Sep 2, 2018 / 8:25 pm

          60 runs is really quite a lot when the highest innings is 270 odd. The 31 run game, I’m happy to give them that. It would still rank 4th best match and quite some way behind the top three in 2005, though. I feel a need to state that because some berks were comparing Edgbaston 2018 to Edgbaston 2005 a few weeks ago.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 8:34 pm

            It was a good win, won by grinding out a score in the 3rd innings having blown batting first, but sticking at it in the second despite a superb hundred by Pujara. Today seemed comfortable to me. If Kohli was still there with 80 left, I might have been more concerned. Pandya and Pant at 6 and 7 isn’t scaring anyone in English conditions.


  30. Zephirine Sep 2, 2018 / 4:25 pm

    So apparently now you can win a Test match series without a top order. Who knew?


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 4:33 pm

      England could win this series 4-1, against the world number 1, and all will be right with the world. It’s a great tactic, getting bailed out by your lower order on iffy wickets and then capitalising. It can go wrong if you stuff it up and the oppo score runs in the first dig, but it will work out well if you make anywhere near a competitive total.

      I feel utterly underwhelmed. It has not been a cracking series, sorry. I hope the silly triumphalism that has greeted the previous wins is not there this time. I’ve not really seen it, to be honest. Maybe because I’ve muted most of those who have done it in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Deep Purple Fred Sep 2, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      You’ve muted them? You’ve blocked them from posting on this site?


    • Deep Purple Fred Sep 2, 2018 / 4:45 pm

      Pretty underwhelming cricket. A few individual performances aside, it was mostly an exercise in who can cock it up the least badly. India will have to feel bad they let a real opportunity get away from them. England will not doubt feel great, introspection not being their strong suit.

      Facing Anderson and Broad in England remains one of the biggest challenges.
      Not sure what the story is with Ali.


  31. Rooto Sep 2, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    Big announcement from Cook coming in 5…4… ? (Now’s the time, Ali. Big send off…)


    • Rooto Sep 2, 2018 / 5:15 pm

      Oh well, never mind. He just talked about wanting a flat track now the series has been decided. (Conspiracy theorists have plenty to go on there!)


      • Zephirine Sep 2, 2018 / 5:56 pm

        My prediction: Jimmy Anderson will make the decision. Eventually. Once he decides to go, Cook will go too, but he won’t decide till then. When he was captain he mostly did what Jimmy told him, why change a habit?

        Broad might have to retire sooner when bits of him start falling off.


        • Sophie Sep 2, 2018 / 7:24 pm

          I’ve heard rumours that there are rumours in Chelmsford about him not wanting to go to Sri Lanka, but god knows where I got that from.


    • oreston Sep 2, 2018 / 5:23 pm

      Perhaps there won’t be an announcement and it’s business as usual – with hotel rooms in Galle, Colombo etc already booked. The Redemption Tour Redux…


  32. Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    Good news for England. Man U have beaten Burnley so tomorrow’s day of national emergency can be called off. Therefore The cricket team will get some coverage.


    • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 4:55 pm

      It’ll all be about wonderboy number 453 getting sent off.


  33. Rohan Sep 2, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    Just read this on TMS feed from Root:

    “Credit to he group – they were outstanding throughout. The strength of character has always been a massive strength of the team. I couldn’t be more proud of the team.

    “The way we went about it as a team and how we trusted our process was exceptional. If we can harness that and take it forward that will stand us in good stead.”

    Now I do like Joe, but really, what a load of guff, translation please?


    • thelegglance Sep 2, 2018 / 4:58 pm

      I’ll say to that what I always do. The media pounce on anyone saying anything remotely interesting, so media training consists of teaching them meaningless platitudes.


    • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      He emphasises the team. When in reality they are a disparate group of individuals.This is more a mercenary outfit.


      • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 5:07 pm

        He can’t really say…..”I would like to thank the ECB for once again preparing a pitch that plays to our one and only tactic. Namely pitches where 300 is a good very score.”


        • Rohan Sep 2, 2018 / 5:18 pm

          Could he not say “some very good individual performances in this match made the difference. If, however, we are to be consistent and a good test team we need to play better as a unit and us batsman need to score more runs and help out the lower order and bowlers”


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 2, 2018 / 8:18 pm

        It’s just a sense, but someone pointed out Stokes and Ali were given plenty of overs, and Rashid and Curran weren’t. Root clearly trusts who he knows. If Rashid is going to be a passenger, then we might as well pick someone else.


        • Mark Sep 2, 2018 / 9:41 pm

          It’s almost self fulfilling!


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