India vs England: 2nd Test, Day Three: Oh, I Wept

This match was over long ago, we are merely playing out the details. India ground England into the dirt, setting them a preposterous target, while England lost wickets in their vain pursuit of the impossible. It is distinctly possible this will be done and dusted by lunch tomorrow, so outplayed have the tourists been, so unable to compete with India this match. Today was all about a Ravi Ashwin century, as both he and Virat Kohli pummelled the England attack after a bright start.

England did take early wickets, most notable for some fine wicketkeeping from Ben Foakes, but the match situation removes the pressure entirely – quite simply, it didn’t overly matter if India lost wickets, because they probably had enough runs before even starting their second innings. India had earned the right to play with England like a cat with a mouse, and did just that. So much has been said about the pitch being played on, and in truth it probably has deteriorated too quickly to be satisfactory – the chunks being taken out of it on the first day didn’t bode well for a long game. But that’s a matter of degree rather than anything else. The home team has the right to prepare surfaces that suit them, and everyone does it – yes, including you Australia. That England are incapable of coping as well is neither here nor there. Would England really have made a good total had they batted first? They probably would have been much more in the game, but it’s hard not to conclude that India would still have come out on top. England have said nothing negative about the conditions, it’s all come from outside. It was a slight gamble from India certainly, but far from an outrageous one given they were one down in the series. Fundamentally, they’ve not just played better, they’ve absolutely hammered England. The second innings is important not in the sense of England getting anything out of the game but to try to find a method of combating the Indian spinners, who are just far better than their English counterparts. This is a relative matter – on this pitch England are just not going to get 350 and walk off with their heads held high, they are going to lose by a lot. But an hour at the crease to learn and develop will have benefits later in the series.

1-1 is far from a disaster for England, it’s a better state of affairs than many expected half way through. It’s a challenge undoubtedly, and one that will have indicated to the hosts what kind of surfaces will do the job required, but it doesn’t mean England didn’t play superbly in the first Test, nor does it mean that India are only dominant here because of the pitch. There is a break after this match for England to reassess, but they are well in the series and that’s very much a positive.

Some other items from this game so far include the third umpire having something of a stinker and Virat Kohli berating the on field umpire for failing to give Joe Root out. In the latter case, there’s not a shred of doubt that he was extremely lucky to avoid being given lbw to one that looked extremely out, but the decision was (somehow) backed up by DRS, and arguing about it merely made him look a bit of an idiot, particularly given some of what has gone on this match. He can probably expect a fine to come his way.

Of the England batsmen, Rory Burns has looked most at sea, but he only joined the winter series in India, and his 25 in the second innings was a significant improvement. His form has tailed away considerably to the point that rather than looking like the answer as he did a year ago, his place will be coming under scrutiny. But it’s far from easy for him to arrive and look good, his partner Sibley struggled in Sri Lanka, only to come good in the first Test here. It’s always possible Burns will do the same. But he needs runs sooner rather than later.

There’s little more of substance to say. This one is done, let’s move on to Ahmedabad to a Test under lights and see how that one goes.

9 thoughts on “India vs England: 2nd Test, Day Three: Oh, I Wept

  1. Rohan Feb 15, 2021 / 1:08 pm

    I would argue that the dusting, ball going through the top, did, at times, make the pitch look worse than it is. Visually the dusting, ball going through the top, is quite dramatic, but the resulting bounce and spin was often nowhere near as striking.

    As you say, however, England have simply been outplayed…..

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  2. @pktroll Feb 15, 2021 / 5:51 pm

    The period for me where the game was lost was the second session of day 1 when Rohit Sharma and Rahane piled on the runs. There was of course some brilliant batting, but for me, the spinners were neither consistent enough to stem the flow of runs or dangerous enough to knock over good players without them doing damage in their own backyard.

    It shouldn’t have been a surprise really but we got spoiled by the success of the first test and a brilliant double ton and questionable spin selection from India.

    On to the day night test…..

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  3. dArthez Feb 16, 2021 / 6:03 am

    England made it to lunch, but could easily have lost 5 wickets. Root just taking advantage of some sloppy catching by Siraj. But 63/4 is still a horror session, and other than Root, who probably least needed it, no one really stuck around. Stokes did to some extent, but he really struggled to score runs.

    Guess this result will mean Australia have someone to root for in the fourth Test.

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    • dArthez Feb 16, 2021 / 6:47 am

      For all the criticism of the pitch, England are now 250/18 for the match (Root just got out after lunch), but India made 286 in the third innings.

      Thus it can’t be just the pitch.

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      • Tom Kerr Feb 16, 2021 / 7:29 am

        I agree, and I think it’s quite simple. India have better spin bowlers than England and the batsmen are also much better than England’s on a turning pitch. I did enjoy the last stand from Ali and Broad though and also missed Root getting out, so have no idea what happened.

        Anyway, onto the day/night game. I am really curious to see how that goes.

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        • thelegglance Feb 16, 2021 / 7:32 am

          Root’s was pretty much unplayable. Spat off a length. He batted pretty well today.

          Yes, that day/night game is an interesting one. I’ve no clue how the ball behaves under lights in India, so any insights anyone has would be good!

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          • Tom Kerr Feb 16, 2021 / 7:36 am

            Thanks. I can’t offer anything about playing under lights in India I’m afraid. One of the commentators today said there would be dew on the pitch after sunset, but I don’t know if that was an informed opinion or bullsh*t.

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  4. dArthez Feb 16, 2021 / 7:04 am

    Moeen’s biffing has resulted in England finally overtaking (for the cost of 19 wickets) India’s third innings total. Might even get one of the quickest Test 50s too. And possibly give the England selectors more of a headache.

    Obviously, given the game situation, they’re utterly meaningless runs though.

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  5. Miami Dad's Six Feb 16, 2021 / 8:54 am

    I just couldn’t justify setting an alarm to watch it this morning. Glad I didn’t bother.

    Like

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