Posted by: tootingtrumpet | February 28, 2011

England vs India – The Final Over of the England Innings

Billy might need more of an escort if he keeps making bizarre decisions.

Ball One 1.26pm – There’s much criticism of England’s late decision to open with KP in this World Cup, but the left / right combo looks good, as does the man sitting on his back foot (Strauss) in partnership with the man advancing down the track (KP). It’s not easy for a bowler to settle into a line or a length, particularly on a subcontinental track which offers little margin for error.

Ball Two 1.30m – “That’s out,” says I, as ZK induces Strauss to edge the ball to Dhoni. Inexplicably, nobody appeals. With reviews, especially Hotspot and the tight camera on the bat, it’s become clear that players are not good at spotting the inside-edge on to the pad, however, the outside edge is usually heard and seen. It’s a bit unedifying to see a big appeal for a ball that misses the edge with clear daylight visible, but it’s better to ask the question than stay silent, especially with noise bouncing around the stadium.

Ball Three 1.45pm – David Barry has commented on this very blog that KP is the fastest runner in the England side. Backing up a quick single, I counted eight strides for him to make his ground. Usain Bolt – eat your heart out.

Ball Four 2.01pm – Like Ricky Ponting, KP is finding interesting ways to get out – never a good sign. Munaf Patel did well to parry the ball, but, sitting down on the wicket, the ball had to drop perfectly into the palm of his hand and it did. KP won’t hit many straight drives as hard as that and be caught by the bowler, but that’s how it’s going in ODIs for KP at the moment.

Ball Five 2.34pm – Piyush Chawla suddenly looks, if not unplayable, then certainly unreadable. Whether the video analysts haven’t been able to do their work and brief the batsmen or it may be that the googly is particularly well-disguised. Dhoni has a tricky choice now, since, if Chawla is deceiving top order batsmen, there is no way that the lower order will cope. Should he hold him back to dismiss Bresnan, Swann and Shahzad, all of whom will fancy hitting the seamers for a few in a frantic last chase.

Ball Six 3.05pm – So will the 2.5m mark on a Hawkeye replay give batsmen a free pass when the projection shows a plumb LBW? Billy Bowden gave Bell not out for that reason, so surely it must apply to all such reviews? Or only Billy’s? Or only spinners? Or only top order batsmen? Or only in ODIs? And if it’s 2.5m on the subcontinent, what’s the mark at the WACA? If Hawkeye is used for referrals, it should be used – and within strict, not arbitrary, parameters. This needs thinking through because a repeat of that call against India in the semi-final or final will provoke rather more crowd reaction than today’s decision.

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999

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Responses

  1. Bloody hell. What an utterly bewildering game…
    Good call regarding the front foot/back foot nature of England’s opening pair. I disagreed with the decision to open with KP. But I have a feeling I’m going to be proved wrong. There’s another reason why they’ll open well together; namely that Strauss is a much cooler head and probably the one guy in the team KP feels he has to defer to. I fancy he’ll help KP’s decision-making which hasn’t always been the best recently.

    • Good points The Harry. Getting the best out of KP may be a bit like the teacher who stands very close to the naughty, but talented, kid and keeps them concentrating on their work.

  2. KP has only made 30 or so on each of his innings so far so I guess the jury is still out, but you can’t blame him for today’s dismissal.

    But who cares about trifling matters like the balance of England’s batting order after a match like that ? That was an epic match, really entertaining and exactly what the tournament needed, especially since India were involved. England will probably feel like they screwed it up but they were a little fortunate with the Bell referral and Strauss being dropped early on. Since both teams are almost certain to qualify for the quarters I can’t really giove a damn about the point dropped, I’m just glad the World Cup has finally seen a match worthy of the occasion.

    • Right you are, Sir! Just the game a World Cup deserves!

      • Yes – sod the result, feel the thrills! Well done to the 22 players who never gave up.

  3. Exceptionally calm and clinical innings by Strauss. You know, I think the KP move is benefiting Strauss too…it just seems to have taken a bit of the scoring pressure (in the initial overs) off him. And the bowling team is also more worried about KP rather than Strauss. So even if KP hasn’t lived up to expectations in these 2 games, England’s starts from the Strauss-KP partnership have been excellent in both games.

    Lastly, the 1st 2 games by India and England have put them both below SA and Australia (as potential Champs) for me…just not enough penetration in the bowling attacks to contain good batting line-ups. So i think the omens in these initial games should worry both sets of supporters.

    • Well I don’t think England’s supporters really expected much from this tournament anyway, so worry is basically just our default position. I agree that India’s bowling is something of a concern though, not to mention their fielding.

      I’d be wary of lauding Australia too much at this point though. They’ve only had to bowl against Zimbabwe and New Zealand after all. let’s judge them when they’ve faced a decent batting lineup.

      • True about Australia’s bowling not being fully tested yet. But they were really good against India in the warm-up game too (although that didn’t feature Tendulkar, and Gambhir was just back after an injury break)

        • My high expectations for England disappeared after the 6-1 defeat in Aus. I agree that it’s an open tournament, but I have SA edging ahead as Imran Tahir looks comfortable in the team,

  4. I think KP’s ticking. He looked really good today and was unlucky with his dismissal. A big one’s just around the corner, I reckon.

    BP: Bowling wise, I think India have got more to worry about than England. Anderson’s a problem but Broad will strengthen them and Swann should improve through the tournament after his break. India will just have to hope their batting doesn’t fall over in a knock-out game (in fairness, it seems unlikely but funnier things have happened). Having said that, Chawla was loose but he also looks a decent middle-overs wicket-taking prospect. And Zaheer was sensational in his second spell. But they’ll need him to keep being sensational…

    • Yup…India do have far bigger bowling (and fielding) worries than England. In fact, my head tells me India won’t even make it past the S/F on account of the bowling and fielding. (Most likely exit…Dhoni loses the toss and has to bowl first…opposition makes ~300, which is too much for a crunch game…and the Indian batting falls short depsite a fighting performance. Sigh!)

  5. Not sure I’d go quite that far BP! That’s some batting line-up India have. They’re still far likelier winners than England.

  6. Can India win via any other route than sensational batting? They look unlikely to pull off great run outs or catches, nor do thgey look likely to take wickets in bunches (the splendid ZK excepted). If (say) Yusuf Pathan were Dale Steyn or Mitchell Johnson, India would look more balanced, losing a batting matchwinner they don’t need, but gaining a bowling one.

    • Right you are, Gary. In fact, I’m sure MSD and Kirsten will have to give a serious thought to leaving out a batsman (Pathan or Kohli) and playing 5 genuine bowlers (5th one being either Nehra or Sreesanth) going forward. But Indian captains have always preferred 7 batsmen + 4 bowlers…and I fear Dhoni will eventually decide to continue that and just hope that the bowlers bowl with more intent and more control.

      Anyway, England have given Team India, and all of India, a welcome reality check.

    • I think the combination yesterday was alright, Toots. Just that some very ordinary fielding and lazy captaincy, made the bowlers look worse than usual.

      The fielders stand almost on the edge of the circle and most of them are not fast enough to prevent the quick single. And once the power play is done with, the fielders spread back (irrespective of match situation), and allow those easy singles and twos.

      Dhoni’s captaincy is being shown up here, and that is a big worry ahead of the knock outs.Bell was so premeditated at times about the fine sweeps, but neither Dhoni nor the bowlers seemed willing to do any thing about it.Dhoni also was so low on energy that he did not even appeal for a clear catch off an outside edge, as you mentioned.

      The team can still turn it around, because the flaws are now more obvious than they were before. But why are Eng almost treating this as victory? Why is no one talking about the collapse in the power play? And what of Swann and Anderson going for so many runs in both the matches? Not a worry?

      • England chasing and getting up to, but not beyond, so big a score feels like a win.

  7. Yes, great game but neither team deserved to win. So, a tie is the best result !

    I think a significant section of the Indian public is more than aware of the team’s limitations – bowling consistency and fitness. I am not sure they trained enough during the 1 week break between games. To call this a reality check for the team or for the public is a bit unfair, I guess. We know our cricket. Please do not go by what they show on the TV channels.Media in India goes overboard just like they do in England. But the knowledgeable cricket fan, and there are many among us, know better than to believe in the team’s invincibility at home.

    Having said that, still, what happened last night has never happened before.After scoring 300+, India, at home, has always defended well, and I don’t remember losing any home game after such a massive score.

    Full credit must go to Strauss and Bell.The Indian bowling lacked bite, and the fielders were listless, but the way Strauss&Bell batted was sublime.As sublime as Sachin’s aggression against Swann. But this is typical of India’s performance in any tournament.India are slow starters.This is the first world cup I have seen where the batting is clicking from the 1st match onwards. The bowling will sort it self out over the next 2-3 matches. The fielding is still a huge worry.No shortcuts there. The team’s training has to be focused. And Dhoni’s captaincy leaves much to be desired.I hope he has learnt that the ‘waiting game’ will no longer work in ODIs.

    On current form, it is easy to predict an Aus-SA final. But stranger things have happened.I will wait till the Aus-Pak league match and the SA-Bangladesh league match before calling any one favorites. Also, Eng may have a very tricky match ahead with Bangladesh as well. Their spinners are more accurate than any one else’s.

    • Kumar, the reality check I was referring to was that India’s current bowling + fielding limitations can even fully negate their batting might. While most composed + reasonably knowledgeable Indian supporters recognized this, there are a vast number of Indian followers & ex-Indian players who believed (till yesterday) that India’s sheer batting dominance made them hot favourites for this WC. And remember that this was despite the scoreboard pressure assisting India…what happens if India have to bowl first in the Q/F or S/F?

      This sort of match was needed for many Indian fans and the Indian media…it tones down expectations, and may help reduce the intensity of any backlash if India lose in the knockouts.

      Having said that, I agree that India have traditionally been slow starters, and one can expect the bowling intensity (at least) to improve going forward…so a 7+4 strategy isn’t necessarily going to doom India. I also completely agree that Pakistan and SL are capable of beating SA and Aus…so a subcontinent team winning is very much possible.

  8. India and England will not be outright favorites after this game, thanks to their bowling woes…but once they reach the knockout stages, it is a matter of three consecutive good games…hopefully, the bowlers can gather their act together for those three days…

    as for the 2.5m rule, I agree with Dhoni…if technology can be trusted to ascertain that the ball pitched in line and hits the stumps, surely it can be trusted to indicate that the ball will hit the stumps despite pitching 2.5 m away…either give technology the whole task or leave it to the umpires….can’t see India embracing UDRS after this..

  9. no doubt match was really full of excitement but no result makes us little dissappointment as on other hand so far Pakistan shows thier best performance n came back in cricket but very much lake in feildind section if they contineu with giving more attation on feilding part no doubt Pakistan will play its 2011 world cup final Aust………………………….

  10. I thought it was a nice touch by Bell to walk off and be told to come back, as if to make to point clear to everyone that the 2.5m rule should be the 2.5m exception. However my dad tells me such a rule is not without precedent. He said something similar existed during the period Bill Lawry opened for Australia.

    • Javed Miandad also had a rule like that one Jim.

  11. The thing that stood out for me between the two innings was that England played good controlled drives and cuts usually along the ground. They found the gaps with precision and played risk free cricket (the top order anyway).

    India relied on going over the top, most of the runs coming from big slogs rather than piercing the field. Tendulkar and Gambhir in particular looked very ‘bash or nothing’. One day against better bowling, those slogs will turn into miscues.

  12. WOW. What a game it was! Kept me on the edge. Loved this post about the last over.


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