India vs. England, 2nd Test – Day 1

After the rightful celebration of after an English victory on Indian soil in the First Test, England came crashing down to earth with a large bump today. On a pitch where winning the toss became vitally important, India won the toss, duly elected to bat and Rohit in particular put England to the sword.

There were a number of discussions on the BOC Twitter feed about what type of pitch we would see for this Test, and to the surprise of not many, the ball spun and spat from the off. There had been rumours that the Indian camp were far from happy with the surface for the First Test and even some who reported that the head groundsman had been replaced, so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that this is the pitch that we have. This by the way isn’t a criticism of the Indian team, as it is no different from England preparing a green seamer up at Headingley in the early summer, but some also might argue that preparing a pitch so suited to the home side doesn’t exactly help the integrity of Test cricket. That discussion is probably for another day mind.

Today belonged to Rohit Sharma, who bullied the English bowlers from the off and now has a remarkable record of averaging nearly 88 in Tests in India. Perhaps seeing the wear and tear on the pitch and also seeing his opening partner inadvisably shouldering arms to Ollie Stone early in the piece, Rohit played with aggression throughout his innings knowing that he could he easily cop an unplayable one. Naturally he had a little bit of luck throughout his innings, as you need to playing on a Bunsen of a pitch, but it would be churlish to begrudge him any such luck, such was the quality of his innings. By the time he was caught in the deep attempting to slog sweep Leach for 161, the damage had been done and this could very well be a match winning innings.

The ironic thing was that England made some early inroads with Gill, Pujara and Kohli all falling cheaply. Naturally Kohli’s dismissal and refusal to walk after being bowled being the highlight. One did wonder if he was going to go to do a W.G Grace and calmly put the bails back on before taking guard. I have a lot of respect for Kohli the batsman, but it is episodes like this that give his critics plenty of ammo. After this slapstick moment, Rahane joined Rohit in the middle and took the game away from England in the afternoon session. After Rahane was finally given out after a howler of a DRS decision from the Third umpire had previously reprieved him, Pant came in with plenty of positivity and remains a threat being unbeaten at the close of play. The sight of Joe Root getting the ball to rip late in the day, probably won’t help the mindset of the English batsmen either.

As for England, they manfully toiled in the field with Leach and Stone being the pick of the bowlers. Broad was pretty ineffective as has often been the case in Indian conditions, and Moeen’s bowling performance perfectly encapsulated his Test career so far in that he can take wickets with brilliant deliveries but is completely unable to offer any control in helping to restrict the scoring. Ca Plus Change.

It could be argued that the game is already beyond England; however they are going to need to get these last 4 Indian wickets cheaply and then hope someone plays an innings of a lifetime for them. If not, then this could be over in 3 days. Let’s just hope Star Sports don’t manage to fix their camera’s for any stumpings when it’s England’s turn to bat!

As ever thoughts on the day’s play received gratefully below.

33 thoughts on “India vs. England, 2nd Test – Day 1

  1. man in a barrel Feb 13, 2021 / 6:35 pm

    To repeat a comment I made on the previous post, there were no extras. On this track, every run counts. The bowlers were disciplined and gave away no extras. And, at long last, we have a proper wicketkeeper, one who doesn’t give away byes. When was the last time an English scorecard showed zero byes? Foakes was a real threat behind the stumps and probably should have been given that stumping of Rohit.

    This is the kind of pitch that that brings back memories of Derek Underwood. For him it would be a 7-35 kind of innings, as long as Alan Knott were there. Slightly surprised that Broad didn’t cut his pace and bowl cutters as at Headingley v the Aussies in 2009.

    The other memory is of the Manchester Test of 1956. The Aussies were amazed at the pitch. England won the toss and set out to pile on as many runs as possible on the first day. 307-3 at the end of day 1:Peter Richardson scored a rapid 104 and Cowdrey 80. They got to 459 on day 2 and Laker ran amuck.

    The omens are ominous. Rohit played a supreme innings. 80 runs before lunch. It’s early but he might well have won the match.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 4:49 am

    The Indian tail was quite useless this morning. Moeen picking up two wickets to give his figures some credibility, while Stone picked up the last two to end with a well deserved 3-wicket haul.

    329 is also the highest total ever without a single extra. 328 by Pakistan vs India, more than 65 years ago was the only other total over 250 without an extra.

    Like

    • dannycricket Feb 14, 2021 / 4:55 am

      Not a great start by the England openers either, or at least Burns. If the example of India’s batting is anything to go by, England need to get through the new ball.

      Like

    • dlpthomas Feb 14, 2021 / 4:56 am

      Good first over from Ishant – might be an eventful day

      Like

    • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 5:39 am

      23/3, Root has yet another repair job on his hands. Oh wait …

      Obviously can’t expect Root to keep churning out 40% of the team’s total every innings. Chance for a few others to step up.

      Like

  3. Miami Dad's Six Feb 14, 2021 / 5:38 am

    Root out. This could get ugly…

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    • Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 5:55 am

      It’s hard enough to play spin on this surface without Lawrence and Stokes trying to run each other out.

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      • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 6:08 am

        Problem resolved, but not in a way England will be happy with. Lawrence dismissed last ball before lunch, off the bowling of Ashwin.

        39/4 – just 10 more runs than India added earlier today, but at the cost of four specialist batsmen, rather than 4 bowlers. Really hard to see, barring a massive Stokes – Foakes stand (or one involving Pope), how England get back into the game from here. Can’t expect Moeen and the tail to do much with the bat.

        Notice that 4 sessions of the Test have been played without any extra being conceded by either side.

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  4. Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 7:00 am

    This could be over today…

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    • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 7:52 am

      India won’t follow on, even if they do get the opportunity to enforce it. Pitch is only going to get worse, so they’ll aim to bat as long as possible.

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      • Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 8:38 am

        Yes, that’s the modern view. However, if England can’t make the follow-on target, if I were the India captain I’d enforce the follow-on. I really can’t see how England would make over 200 runs in their second innings, and by batting again on this pitch, you do risk a bit of a rout. I’d just go for it and put England out of its misery.

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        • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 8:41 am

          And that is exactly why not to enforce the follow on. Nothing as dispiriting as certain doom. So might as well prolong England’s misery.

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          • Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 9:12 am

            Maybe I was more of a humanitarian captain than you! 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 9:23 am

            That I can’t deny. Not that I am particularly a fan of grinding opposition into the dirt, but there is two more Tests after this – and thus there are considerations beyond this game.

            If England plan on bowling with containment in the mind, that will just mean extra workload for the bowlers. That is a win too, from India’s perspective. Routing England here may lead to clarity of thought, and that is something you’d like to avoid as the opposition as well. I guess when India suffered 36 all out, it at least provided them with clarity of thought, and more unity of purpose.

            But it looks like Leach and Foakes are going to make discussions about the follow on meaningless.

            Bit strange that Stone got to bat ahead of Leach and Broad to be honest.

            Like

          • Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 9:48 am

            So yes, the follow-on hasn’t come into play. There is no point England playing for containment, they have to bowl India out for a very low score. Foakes batted well by the way.

            Can you tell I’m tired? I’m trying my best to watch until stumps.

            Like

          • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 9:57 am

            Agreed – there is no point in containment bowling. But it is very hard / difficult to actually bowl all out attacking when the lead conceded is already close to 200. And if it does not come off, being carted all around the field is not exactly good for confidence either.

            As the fielding side in this situation, you can’t win, unless you bowl the opposition out for 50-100 runs. And even if that does happen, you will still have to combat the impression that the run chase will be beyond the team.

            Test cricket can be really soul crushing in situations like these.

            Good effort to keep following the Test. Sleep and all other obligations one may have can make it really challenging to do so.

            Like

  5. dlpthomas Feb 14, 2021 / 7:17 am

    I’d be enjoying watching Ashwin bowl a lot more if it wasn’t England batting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dlpthomas Feb 14, 2021 / 9:31 am

    Foakes would have gone out to dinner and a movie and still had time to step across and take that catch in 2 hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. man in a barrel Feb 14, 2021 / 9:35 am

    The performance of Foakes in this match certainly makes you wonder what the selectors were thinking when they picked Buttler ahead of him.

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  8. Mark Feb 14, 2021 / 9:46 am

    So is this a 134 first innings pitch or poor batting? If it’s a 134 pitch on the second day, it just makes a mockery of test cricket.

    And yes, England have been making friendly pitches for their bowling attack in England for years. Cheered on by many English pundits I might add. But this is what you get if you follow that logic. Groundsman being sacked and pitches manufactured for home results.

    It pains me to say it, but Australia these days, of the so called big three nations, now have the most even contest type pitches of bat and ball.

    Like

    • Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 9:53 am

      One or two shots were bad, but I think 150 was a par score on this pitch so England wasn’t too far off. I don’t think England batted badly, it was just too difficult for them. It would be like asking India to score 300 on a seaming and swinging Headingly pitch in late spring.

      Like

      • Mark Feb 14, 2021 / 10:15 am

        Interesting, thanks. So would you say India have batted well above par in the first innings or has the pitch deteriorated hugely in one day?

        India 35 for 0 so it looks like India have little problem batting on this surface.

        Like

        • Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 10:38 am

          I would say Rohit’s innings was exceptional and without his innings the match would be much more even. I would compare it to Gooch when he scored 150-odd on a seaming pitch at Headingly against the West Indies when they still had very good fast bowlers.

          And yes, India are batting well in their second innings, but England doesn’t have the same quality of spin bowlers compared to India. And just perhaps batsmen are figuring out how to play, but no, I don’t think the pitch has deteriorated that much, it’s playing very similar to day one, but it’s definitely a spinner’s pitch.

          Liked by 1 person

        • man in a barrel Feb 14, 2021 / 10:41 am

          India got off to a blinding start with Rohit getting to 80 in the morning session before anyone realised quite how poor the pitch was. He didn’t let the bowlers settle. On commentary, Butcher made a number of comments about puffs of dust and the occasional ball going through the top. England must have noticed but just couldn’t get the initiative back. In the afternoon session, Rohit and Rehane batted beautifully. But all the time the pitch was deteriorating. It is crazy to have so much rough outside the offstump when there were no left arm quicks bowling. India probably got 50 to 75 runs over what would be the par score. Today, I would set par around 200 as the pitch has continued to wear

          Like

    • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 10:38 am

      Pitch is really not great. Should lead to a sanction, ideally speaking.

      So winning the toss is very important. Mind you Kohli trails 2-10 to England in Tests in that department, so blaming the toss is happily ignoring how England won several Tests against Kohli’s India in England.

      Like

    • dlpthomas Feb 14, 2021 / 12:48 pm

      The wickets in Australia are all flat (“corporate pitches”) now. Back in the day, you had pace and bounce in Perth, seam in Brisbane, spin in Sydney (eg Border bowling out the Windies), a road in Adelaide and luck of the draw in Melbourne (more often than not it was slow and low).

      Like

  9. dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 10:43 am

    Next umpiring controversy: Was Rohit playing a shot? And why can’t that aspect of the decision not be reviewed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas Feb 14, 2021 / 12:49 pm

      Surely the third umpire should be able to over-rule the on-field umpire about whether or not a shot was played? That was just taking the piss.

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  10. dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 10:46 am

    Meanwhile West Indies will win the series in Bangladesh 2-0 (barring a 43+run stand for the last wicket). Some atrocious batting by Bangladesh, so no one can really argue that it was not deserved, even if the loss in the first Test probably came on the back of Shakib’s unfortunate injury, leaving them a man down in the second half of the game.

    Like

  11. man in a barrel Feb 14, 2021 / 10:47 am

    It looked dodgy to me. Is something wrong with Broad? Why doesn’t he try bowling medium pace cutters? They could be unplayable on this dustbowl

    Like

  12. Tom Kerr Feb 14, 2021 / 11:02 am

    Just one thing to add – I have never watched Foakes keep wicket live until this match, but he is an exceptional keeper. I grew up watching Alan Knott and Bob Taylor and they were brilliant and then things went downhill, although Jack Russell was very good and kind of revived England’s reputation of having great wicket keepers. From what I’ve seen in the last couple of days, he’s at that standard I remember, and he can bat.

    Like

    • dlpthomas Feb 14, 2021 / 12:54 pm

      So for me the question is will Buttler score enough more runs than Foakes to make up for the odd missed chance and additional extras (that’s a shit sentence but you know what I mean). I’m not convinced that he does though, to be fair, he has improved a lot.

      Like

      • dArthez Feb 14, 2021 / 1:04 pm

        If Buttler does score more runs, would be harsh on Foakes, who yet again has top scored in the England innings. Might be a decent case for dropping one of the batsmen and allow Buttler to play as a specialist bat then.

        Foakes is no mug with the bat, and statistically every chance dropped must be worth (on average) about 12 runs – could be wrong on that, and obviously not all drops that batsmen benefit from are by the keeper. So if Foakes averages in the high thirties, Buttler would have to average roughly 50 per innings (assuming the fielding differential is one catch per innings). Given that specialist batsmen other than Root and Stokes struggle to average 40, surely Foakes ought to be playing.

        Liked by 1 person

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