Lessons for Trent Bridge: pointers for England and India before third Test

时间:2019-08-08 责任编辑:羊膑 来源:365体育投注 - 首页√ 点击:106 次

India in danger of humiliation of a lifetime

Two weeks ago India were on the cusp of greatness. Already the best team in the world, a win in England would enshrine them as a team for the ages. And they knew that circumstances were in their favour, with the limited-overs series which preceded the Tests allowing their batsmen to acclimatise to unusually sub-continental conditions. Yet, somehow, the opportunity of a lifetime is poised to become the humiliation of a lifetime.

Only one side has ever come from two Tests down to win a series, but it’s barely about that for India anymore. They know that Trent Bridge suits England and also that, if they lose there, they will be in serious danger of a whitewashing. So, something must change.

India cannot improve their technique between now and Saturday but they can certainly change their application of it: as well as England bowled , and helpful though conditions were, India’s total of 237 scored in two innings is inexcusable, so too a series total of 433 from the 40 innings not played by Virat Kohli. This cannot solely be a matter of skill but of preparation, concentration and execution; India are capable of much better than we have seen so far, and in Nottingham they must show it.

Woakes deserves to stay in team

England played well at Lord’s but they will know they have a lot of work to do – not simply to win this series but to re-establish themselves as a force in Test cricket. In home conditions they are not far off unbeatable over a series but overseas is where greatness is cemented. Though Lord’s could barely have been greener or pleasanter, the fundamentals of England’s performance – exemplified by Chris Woakes – are absolutely transferable.

After a disappointing Ashes, it was fair to wonder whether Woakes, now 29, would ever find the pace or variety necessary to make an impression when up against it. But on Friday evening he found pace and rhythm good enough to serve him anywhere in the world, maintaining pressure throughout a spell that peaked with the key wicket of Kohli. Even with , he would be unlucky to make way at Trent Bridge.

Encouraging signs for England

Ed Smith has made a brilliant start in his new role as national selector. Not trusting a talent as extreme as Jos Buttler’s ought to be triable in the Hague, yet there were many prepared to write him off as a limited-overs specialist. So, in recalling him to the Test side, Smith set a tone: he would select the best players and those best players would be brave, attacking players.

Sam Curran also encapsulates this sensibility, likewise Adil Rashid, and here we are: watching England, there is an increasing sense that something is happening. Though they are not yet the finished article, in the last two matches every time they have needed someone to take responsibility, someone has taken responsibility – the sign of a good team and reflection of an attitude which comes from the top.

Kohli’s decisions fail to pay off

is a rarity in world sport: not simply a genius but a symbol, a concept and a way of life. But he is not infallible, and so far in this series has not led as well as he might. For the first Test, India preferred the swashbuckle of Shikhar Dhawan to the solidity of Cheteshwar Pujara and opted for only one spinner; then, for the second, they selected two spinners despite conditions imploring them not to, an error they compounded by gambling on Kuldeep Yadav even though Ravindra Jadeja has previously done well at Lord’s with both bat and ball. Of course, all this is a factor of the bristling aggression and relentless positivity that make Kohli so brilliant, but in the context these decisions were misjudged. If India are to save themselves, he must now get everything right.

Anderson’s brilliance a privilege to watch

Every now and again our lives are elevated by an artist whose brilliance is so consummate that it becomes the norm. Jimmy Anderson is such a person – his skill, control, athleticism and consistency unlike anything English cricket has ever seen.

At the age of 36, people have started planning his future for him, suggesting that one more tour this winter and one more Ashes next summer will see his retirement. Except watching Anderson play, nothing seems more absurd; he is now as good as he has ever been because, absolute freak of nature that he is, he is still improving and still nurturing the frankly ludicrous desire to compete that underpins everything that he has accomplished. We are privileged to be living in his time.

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