India vs. England, 1st Test, Day 5 – A Deserved Victory

It may only be one Test in a 4 Test series, but victory for England in the first Test will feel extremely sweet this evening for the tourists. Let’s not forget that India had only lost once at home in the last 8 years prior to today’s result, so it is quite right to saviour this victory no matter what the final series score turns out to be.

Chasing an unlikely 420 to win the game, India never really got close if truth be told. They lost Pujara early to an outstanding delivery from Jack Leach and despite both Gill and Kohli looking comfortable in trying to bat out the draw, you always felt that one wicket would lead to two or three on this pitch. The fact that the breakthrough came from Jimmy Anderson should surprise nobody given how he has performed over the past few years. In the 27th over of the innings, Anderson bowled one of the best overs in Test match cricket i’ve seen in a long time, indeed evoking memories of ‘that Flintoff over’ in 2005. It was an over that had everything that has made Anderson the leading wicket taker for a pace bowler in Test cricket, a masterclass in how to bowl reverse swing in the sub-continent. Both Gill and Rahane were beaten all ends up by a delivery that reversed back through the batsmen’s defences and took out the off stump. He then also added the wicket of the dangerous Pant to in essence, seal India’s demise.

I genuinely don’t understand the disrespect Anderson gets away from these shores. Yes he is grumpy, spikey and downright gobby on the pitch, but to say he only performs in helpful conditions has been a nonsense for years. It may have been true in his early years in the team, but since then he has matured into the complete bowler, with the nous and skill to perform in any conditions. I’m not sure that I can say anymore that hasn’t been said before but it is testament to his desire to keep playing at a high level that even at 38 years old, he is still the leader of England’s attack.

Once Stokes had got rid of Kohli with a ball that kept low, it then fell to Jack Leach to ultimately finish the Indian tail off, especially with Bess having one of those frustrating days that a young spinner will encounter as he grows into International cricket. It would have been easy for Leach to have lost confidence and become downhearted after being smashed all over Chennai in the 1st innings by Pant; however Leach showed that he has got some internal fortitude and he bowled with control and skill on Day 5 and deserved his 4 wicket haul at the end of the game. For as much credit should that should go to Leach, equal credit should be given to his captain who persevered with him after the Pant show. It would have been easy for Root to tell Leach to have a breather for the rest of the innings after going for 10 an over and I remember a certain former captain with a history of doing just that; however Root immediately bought Leach back on after Pant’s dismissal and ultimately showed his belief in his spin bowler. It might not seem a huge thing, but Root seems to have matured as a captain, even if he does remain ultra-cautious at times, and by backing his spin bowler he ultimately reaped the reward as Leach came to the fore in the 4th innings. Naturally the fact that Root is scoring runs for fun right now, has no doubt aided his captaincy, but it is still heartening to see that he understands the players under his tutelage.

As for India, there will be disappointment that they ultimately were unable to bat out the day. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that they looked a little ring rusty in their home conditions after coming into this series straight off a victory in Australia. It wouldn’t surprise me either if they tinker with their bowling line up in the next game, with Nadeem looking a little out of his depth and Kuldeep, a spinner who does go for runs but does also take wickets, waiting in the wings. That being said, a wounded India is always a dangerous animal, as their performance in Australia showed. Kohli in the 2nd innings looked like he was getting back into the groove and with Ashwin yet again showing why he is so highly regarded in world cricket, India are still rightly favourites for the series. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the pitch in Chennai for the 2nd Test turns from the off, negating the impact of the coin toss.

That however is for another day. It might only be on Test match, but England can feel very proud of their performance in this Test. Tougher times are likely ahead in this series, but for now the pressure is firmly on the shoulders of the hosts.

As ever thoughts on the game are very much welcome below.


45 thoughts on “India vs. England, 1st Test, Day 5 – A Deserved Victory

  1. Marees Feb 9, 2021 / 4:55 pm

    There were 4 pitches of two types prepared for the Tests in Chennai

    One type has more red soil & the other is a mix of black & red.
    This one played like it had black soil in it.

    I’ve seen first class matches that finished in 2 days in the same stadium, but I doubt such pitches would be approved for the 2nd Test of a 4 match series. Maybe the final Test in Ahmedabad if it comes to that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean Feb 9, 2021 / 5:04 pm

      I didn’t know that. Thanks for the insight.


  2. BobW Feb 9, 2021 / 5:01 pm

    Great win. The main concern for me is how reliant England are on Joe Roots runs. The other batsmen need to step up.
    It’ll be interesting to see if they rotate Anderson in the next test.
    I felt sorry for Ashwin who got a brutal going over from Archer in the last over before lunch. Three times the physio came in in one over!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. man in a barrel Feb 9, 2021 / 7:08 pm

    For India, Gill, Pujara, Pant, Sundar and Kohli look in good touch versus Sibley, Root and Stokes. Anderson bowled 30 overs or so; you would imagine he could play the next match. He is needed. I don’t recall Broad ever doing anything much in India. As for Archer, isn’t it about time that bowlers started to get warned and banned for peppering Ashwin’s head? It doesn’t seem very effective but it is certainly dangerous. I wonder if Bumrah is good to go for another match. He did quite a lot of work out there. Should be a good series but England need another batter or 2 to find some form

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean Feb 9, 2021 / 7:11 pm

      I do agree with the bouncer view. Danny wrote an article about it before the Test about the umpires enforcing a fair use of the bouncer commensurate to the batsman’s ability, though Archer would argue that Ashwin has more first class tons than Tim Paine.


      • BobW Feb 9, 2021 / 7:16 pm

        I don’t have an issue with it. Wicket was pretty slow albeit top coming off. There was only one ball that hit Ashwin on the head and he ducked into that I think. The other stuff was more rib height. That can be harder to play at times.

        Liked by 2 people

        • dannycricket Feb 9, 2021 / 10:41 pm

          I would argue that rib-high bouncers are more dangerous than head-high ones, as they are harder to avoid. It also bears saying that the laws of cricket don’t actually say that the ball has to be above the shoulders to be considered dangerous. I think Ashwin might have needed a physio three times in an over, which has to be a clear sign to the umpires that the batsman was unable to handle Archer’s bouncers even remotely safely.

          Of course injuries can’t be entirely avoided, especially on fifth day pitches with variable bounce, but surely when they can be avoided, they should be?

          Liked by 1 person

          • BobW Feb 9, 2021 / 10:56 pm

            But if the injury is to the hands that’s a tricky one. Batsmen have so much padding now. Helmets. The lot.
            To be fair Archer is an NBC awkward bowler. A lot of decent batsmen have trouble picking his length and his high delivery action generates more bounce.


          • dannycricket Feb 10, 2021 / 9:31 am

            Hand and arm injuries are probably the most common injury from bouncers, because people instinctively use them to protect their upper body. Not only that, but cricket gloves are clearly not as good at preventing injury as other pads, for two reasons. First, that they are limited in size, depth and material by the fact that they have to be flexible enough to grip and manipulate the bat freely. Second, the injury is often caused by the fingers being pressed against the bat, as finger bones are pretty fragile.

            In my opinion, if a batsman is unable to defend themselves from head or rib injuries without being hit on the hands then that seems a pretty clear indication that bowling at their body might be too dangerous for the umpires to allow.

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Feb 10, 2021 / 1:25 pm

            I think I’d say if you aren’t capable of managing in Test cricket, then you shouldn’t be in Test cricket. I have very little sympathy for the idea that someone in that arena should be gone easy on.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicholas Clark Feb 9, 2021 / 10:34 pm

    A great win. Batting first always helps and England did the hard work by getting a big first innings total.
    But…. Sorry to sound a negative note but Bess is nowhere near a Test Match bowler, I’ve seen better and more consistent off spinners bowling in top class club cricket. He may have a future but for the sake of the team he should be dropped, if he continues to be selected in this series he will be murdered at some point and it will cost a game.


    • dannycricket Feb 9, 2021 / 10:55 pm

      The choice of off spinner for this series is between Bess, Ali and Virdi. I’m not sure I’d expect any of the three to be rock solid in a Test match. Or, if you want a leg spinner instead, there’s Parkinson and Crane.

      Moeen Ali obviously has the most experience, but I don’t think he’s bowled in a competitive red ball match since 2019. He didn’t even play in the intra squad match in Sri Lanka due to having COVID-19. It’d be a big ask for him to come in and outperform Bess.


  5. ravroberts062c07a5d7 Feb 9, 2021 / 11:01 pm

    Interesting that Root is now the most successful captain in England Test history, but hardly anyone is talking abut that?
    Seemingly mild mannered and a very nice empathetic person, he gets the best out of a old and new players alike with vastly different personalities.
    Nice to see.


    • Sean Feb 10, 2021 / 12:48 am

      That’s a very good point. He’s equalled a certain MV with this Test victory. I personally think his captaincy has improved, but even better, I think his understanding of how to treat those under him has improved dramatically.

      Genuinely impressed about how he worked with Leach In this Test?

      Liked by 1 person

        • dannycricket Feb 10, 2021 / 9:42 am

          Bayliss was a white ball coach who always struggled in Test cricket. His instinct when the team was struggling was to try and attack. That’s a great attitude in T20s, less so over five days. Silverwood is arguably the opposite, a red ball coach. He’s happy for players like Sibley to bat out a day. Of course that might negatively impact the white ball teams, although I wouldn’t expect to see a decline until after Morgan retires as captain.


    • Mark Feb 10, 2021 / 10:07 am

      Hmm, not sure I put that all down to Roots captaincy. I would take his runs as more important than his leadership skills. It’s an English obsession that any success must be mostly down to the captain, and coach rather than the talent of the available players.

      Also, I just can’t accept the standard of test cricket across the board right now is of a high order. If you look at the bowling attacks of teams from the 1990s the WI, Pakistan, SA, Australia, SL. Compared with today, Root has nothing like the quality and depth of opposition the likes of Atherton and Nasser were facing.

      Root, as all sportsman……can only play against the opposition of his era. And records are there to be broken. I’m not blaming him at all, but I don’t buy into the modern media narrative that everything right now is the “greatest ever.”


      • man in a barrel Feb 10, 2021 / 12:22 pm

        The natural comparison is with the last Test England played at Chennai! Something has changed for the better. I suspect the fact entire management team plus captain are different must be an important factor. The players are not obviously better. Root, Buttler and Stokes survive from that team but contributed rather more on this occasion.


  6. dlpthomas Feb 12, 2021 / 10:57 am

    Am I the only one who is a bit nervous after hearing that Archer has an injured right elbow? I should probably be re-assured by the medical staff saying it is a different injury from last time (so not a fracture) and, that after having an “injection”, he should be right for the 3rd test. On the other hand, given that it was probably a steroid injection, I’m still pretty nervous.


    • Miami Dad's Six Feb 12, 2021 / 11:34 am

      You’re not alone. He only bowled 30 overs in the Test – you’d imagine it’s an injury borne more from inactivity (i.e. being “rested” and out of rhythm) rather than stemming from overuse.

      England have announced they’re making 4 changes:

      Archer as above can’t be helped now, and without Wood around for the 90mph+ omg-ers, Broad is certainly the best replacement.

      They are looking to rest Anderson (after 27 overs?!) for the day-nighter in the 3rd Test. I can see the wisdom in that, but also with Archer out I can see the wisdom in maybe trying to pick the strongest bowling attack in a Test that looks pretty vital. So that leaves us with Stones or Woakes coming in.

      Bess is unlucky. Moeen is back – perhaps we’re looking to bat down to 10 – although I think Mo’s batting average took a shellacking in his last year or so in the side.

      Buttler going home at this point seems ludicrous. Foakes is able with bat and gloves, but has played 2 (two) FC games since Sept 2019. He’ll be undercooked and has been dealt an unfair hand – hopefully he still makes a decent fist of it. Sending Buttler off so he can play in the IPL…I am a bit peeved that the T20 World Cup and the IPL are taking any sort of precedence over one of the game’s greatest challenges. There’s a reason Sidebottom, Lumb and Kieswetter of 2010 aren’t remembered in the same way as Cook, KP, Swann and Monty in 2013. The reason – they were playing the crap, easy version of the sport.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas Feb 12, 2021 / 12:22 pm

        “I can see the wisdom in maybe trying to pick the strongest bowling attack in a Test that looks pretty vital.” My thoughts exactly.

        George Dobell has suggested that both Broad and Anderson may play. Not for the first time, I’m glad I’m not a selector. Of course I could be stressing over nothing – at the end of the day the most important thing may be winning the toss.


      • dArthez Feb 13, 2021 / 9:08 am

        Bit rich to complain about IPL and T20 WC taking precedence. Has been like that for 10 years for sides like West Indies, and England have taken great advantage of opposition being decimated by the desire to actually make money out of cricket.


        • Miami Dad's Six Feb 14, 2021 / 5:27 am

          Certainly. It’s part of the reason why I don’t particularly regard myself as an England “fan”. Watching them play SA whilst so many have taken the Kolpak or the t20 dollar provokes nothing but mixed disappointments. Watching them tour India or Australia is the closest thing they get to a fair challenge. Not that their incompetence doesn’t often even things up.

          However it still and always will irk that leading 1 nil in probably the hardest place to tour we’ve decided on a rotation policy that sees Dan Lawrence shunted in at 3 and a keeper in who hasn’t played for 2 years.


          • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 5:44 am

            Fully agreed there.

            But I think this rotation policy is more for mental health reasons (bio-bubbles are hard on players, especially the more extroverted ones), than necessarily physical ones. Obviously an almost complete lack of time in the middle increases the risk of physical injury as well.

            Also the rotation policy does not really work with bio-bubbles and all that. Because once you leave the bubble, you are pretty much unselectable. So it is more like a staggered dropping policy.


  7. dlpthomas Feb 13, 2021 / 4:13 am

    “What your seeing now is Ollie Stone’s ability to bowl accurately and fast” says Nick Knight as the speed gun shows 79 mph. (T’was a lovely LBW, it must be said)


  8. dlpthomas Feb 13, 2021 / 5:47 am

    Mo can ball quite a few loose balls but he also produces a lot of jaffa’s. Just ask Kholi – bowled middle stump and stands his ground in disbelief.


  9. Tom Kerr Feb 13, 2021 / 7:19 am

    This is the first time I’ve seen Olly Stone bowl. I have to admit I’m quite impressed. One thing struck me though and it took a long time to figure out, but there’s something in his run-up, action or release-point that reminds me of Allan Donald. Perhaps I’m just imagining this and I’m not saying Stone is in Donald’s class. Anyone else see the similarity or am I just nuts?


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Feb 13, 2021 / 9:13 am

      I don’t think your nuts but I can’t say that I quite see that. He’s bowled well though. His action reminds me a little of Flintoff weirdly.

      This looks like a Bunsen and that India are doing rather well far.


      • Tom Kerr Feb 13, 2021 / 9:28 am

        Thanks, PK. I’m watching Stone bowl right now and he still reminds me of Donald rather than Flintoff, but he does have his arm at 12 o’clock like Flintoff. Thinking about it more, it may be just his run-up and the sweat-band on his bowling arm that triggered a memory. He definitely has some talent though.


        • dlpthomas Feb 13, 2021 / 12:13 pm

          I kinda see the similarity as well. I think it’s the hair. And maybe some-thing similar in the way he releases the ball. But mainly the hair.


        • Marek Feb 13, 2021 / 12:29 pm

          “…those people from warwickshire, they all look the same…:-)

          Liked by 1 person

  10. man in a barrel Feb 13, 2021 / 9:38 am

    So far there have been no extras. So good discipline from the bowlers and tidy keeping. How many byes per innings did Buttler average? The way the ball is bouncing and turning for the spinners, it is great to have a proper keeper in place


  11. Tom Kerr Feb 13, 2021 / 10:28 am

    Superb innings by Rohit Sharma. That was brilliant.


  12. man in a barrel Feb 13, 2021 / 10:41 am

    This is looking like it will be over on day 3. The pitch is already looking really worn and it’s playing like a day 5 pitch


  13. Tom Kerr Feb 13, 2021 / 10:44 am

    A bit of Karma. Rahane should have been given out on review but the umpires didn’t review the right bit. Ali bowls him a few balls later, so justice is done in some respect. But England loses the review.


    • Tom Kerr Feb 13, 2021 / 10:52 am

      And the commentators on the feed via Hotstar are saying England retain the review. Now I’m really confused.


    • dArthez Feb 13, 2021 / 11:07 am

      England have been given the review back. Luckily for them though. I can remember an instance from 2012 where umpiring incompetence by Rod Tucker gifted them 2 free wickets like that, and nearly won them a Test.

      Third umpiring has seen quite a few howlers like that through the years, despite all the protocols in place. Clearly unacceptable, and yet not much seems to be done about that..


      • Tom Kerr Feb 13, 2021 / 11:14 am

        Thanks, but why was England given the review back? Because of the third umpire’s incompetence or it was umpire’s call? I can’t blame the on-field umpire for giving it not-out in the first place, but after Root apparently asked him to get the third umpire to review things after the ball hit the pad they refused to do that.


      • dArthez Feb 13, 2021 / 11:35 am

        Third umpire’s incompetence.

        I have pointed out before that ‘umpire’s call’ is a bit of a ridiculous concept, since the original decision will apply to everything that is being checked for. So if the umpire thought there was a nick (and it is caught), but there was no nick you can be out lbw on umpire’s call, even if the umpire may well have thought it was pitching outside of the line. But if there was a nick that would not have been relevant of course.


  14. man in a barrel Feb 13, 2021 / 12:24 pm

    George Dobell writes “It is unclear if Sharma informed Chaudhary of England’s clarifications or if Chaudhary was provided the footage he requested from the broadcasters.

    A few moments later, however, the review was reinstated. By that time the match referee, Javagal Srinath, had been shown replays of the full incident and been able to use Snicko to see there had been contact between ball and glove.

    On what grounds that review was reinstated remains, at the time of writing, unclear. The ICC’s protocols on the matter state that “an unsuccessful review may be re-instated by the Match Referee at his sole discretion (if appropriate after consultation with the ICC Technical Official and/or the television broadcast director), if the review could not properly be concluded due to a failure of the technology.”

    That would suggest that Srinath felt the error was due to a technological failure rather than human error.”


    • Tom Kerr Feb 13, 2021 / 12:32 pm

      Thanks. That does answer my earlier question about why the review was reinstated. I remain unconvinced it was a technological failure though since there were replays that showed the ball hit the glove. I assume the third umpire had access to those.


    • Marek Feb 13, 2021 / 12:46 pm

      Or possibly Srinath was using common sense even though the laws don’t allow him to, by extending the idea of technological failure to include the match officials’ brains…:-)


    • dArthez Feb 13, 2021 / 12:59 pm

      I thought the third umpire was supposed to talk through his decision making process on microphone? If that is the case, then it should be quite obvious what happened.

      Liked by 1 person

    • dArthez Feb 13, 2021 / 1:07 pm

      Also to me, “technological failure” is for instance Snicko not available due to a burnt wire. Or footage not available due to a misaligned camera or something of the sort. Here clearly the footage WAS available, so it can’t be a technological failure.


  15. man in a barrel Feb 13, 2021 / 2:09 pm

    I think it is fortunate for England that Srinath was a bowler! In real time, it looked as if the on pitch umpire did not understand what Root was asking. I imagine people in studio heard the exchange and reviewed it again without invoking the official mumbo jumbo, quite possibly Srinath himself asked the 3rd umpire to check. So the protocol was ignored but a kind of justice was done. If Rahane had added another 20 runs or so, then England would have grounds for an official complaint, surely


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