India vs. England - Test Series - Review
Published: Saturday, December 22, 2012
Updated: Saturday, December 22, 2012 19:12
What was hailed as the “Revenge Series” became a case of revenge gone wrong. The team that was expected to lose to India 4-0 ended up winning the series 2-1. It was ironical that the series was decided at Nagpur, the place where India last lost a home series, against Australia. It was not a typical Indian series. The English team was the dominant force in all the matches barring the first test.
Here are the individual team reviews.
The English team as a whole was up to the task right from the time they landed on Indian soil. There were very few negatives for the English team. One of the negatives was the lack of a second fast bowler capable of taking wickets. Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad looked completely incapable of taking Indian wickets. Steve Finn was good when he played, but he was also not fully fit. The entire onus was on Jimmy Anderson, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar to perform. Also, the form of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott was a cause for concern during the first three tests. Apart from these, the English looked a solid unit and were on the money from the word go.
It was a collective performance from the English. They were led by Alastair cook who led the team by example. He finished as the leading run getter for the series. His timely bowling changes, innovative field placements and the concentration and grit that he showed when facing the Indian spinners not only gave the English team confidence, but he was the pillar on which the entire team revolved. Matt Prior was a revelation behind the stumps. The spin duo of Monty Panesar and Swann were responsible for tormenting the Indian batting. Whenever the captain went to him, Swann managed to get a wicket. James Anderson was reliable always, using his experience to good effect. He was able to reverse swing the old ball and got many an important wicket when the Indians looked to threaten. Kevin Pietersen showed why he is the best batsman in world cricket with a stunning 186* in Mumbai. Overall, it was a great English performance.
Considering that this was the series they were supposed to step up and perform, they hardly did their reputation any good. Sachin Tendulkar was absolutely poor throughout the series. When does he retire and is he holding back anyone else’s position in the squad is something that will be debated upon in the coming weeks. Virender Sehwag is a match winner and he showed it in the first game when his century set the tone for the entire game and India proceeded to win the game. But he contributed nothing significant since that innings. Gautam Gambhir did get off to a few good starts, but he never managed to convert the scores of 30, 40 to any score of importance. He was also responsible for several run-outs when he was batting. Apart from these, the captain MS Dhoni seemed out of ideas when England was on the rise and his batting did not pick up until the last game when he was questioned. The temperament of Yuvraj Singh is in question as to whether he can play Test matches. India also needs a good fast bowler to replace Zaheer Khan. R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha were good in patches, but did not adapt to the conditions very well. Overall, it was torrid watching India play and just brought back memories of the English and Australian tours. The fielding in general was also very poor, dropping catches at crucial times.
The positives were very few for the team. The only plus point was Cheteshwar Pujara’s batting. He seemed to adapt to the conditions well and was undone by some poor umpiring decisions and bad calls. But his batting stood out from the rest of the team. It has given everyone a hope that something bright is there in the future. Also, Ashwin’s batting was exceptional. Some of his shots were a feast to watch and reminded us of a certain VVS Laxman. He showed he could bat under any circumstance and could also rotate the strike with the main batsmen and hog the strike with the tail. Also, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma bowled very well when given the chance. But they need to be consistent in the future.
Overall, India needed to lose this series to introspect. Let’s hope that something will come out of this series. And for England, they just showed why they are one of the bets test teams in world cricket. Kudos to them!