Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 26, 2011

England vs India First Test – India Report Card

Rahul Dravid going well at Lord's - fifteen years ago. I know - I was there.

Abhinav Mukund (49, 12) – Laid his claim to one of the batting slots soon to be become available with some pleasing strokeplay and a good temperament. That he was bowled twice off an inside edge by a rampant Broad will not have gone unnoticed and he can expect a lot of technical work with the best technical batting coach in world cricket in order to put that right.

Gautam Gambhir (15, 22) – Like many of his colleagues, very undercooked and, in the second innings, incapacitated somewhat after taking a fierce blow on the elbow when fielding at short leg. Needs time in the middle, especially as this was his first Test match in England.

Rahul Dravid (103*, 36) – Batted like the master batsman he is to get his team to respectability in the first innings with a wonderful innings spread over nearly 6 hours. Then he fielded, then he kept wicket a bit and then he was asked to open… all at the age of 38. Unsurprisingly even his renowned powers of concentration struggled a bit and he was out fencing at a wide one from Jimmy Anderson, which had the double impact of India losing a vital wicket and Jimmy waking up and getting going. Deserved much, much more support from his captain and team-mates – not that you’ll hear him complaining.

Sachin Tendulkar (34, 12 ) – Came into the Test having faced just 50 balls in First Class cricket since January 6 and then got ill. Even he cannot cope with that, and England’s not great, but nevertheless very good, bowlers got to work on him and the great batsman left Lord’s for the last time in a Test with a defeat against his name. Was wonderfully applauded by a knowledgeable and generous crowd on his way to the crease and on his way back to the pavilion – there’ll be more of that to come.

VVS Laxman (10, 56) – Out to the pull in both innings! Was it really him? It must have been, because there were little glimpses of that timing that only he possesses, but this was the great stylist’s first match of any kind in England since signing off for Lancashire with a typical century almost two years ago. Why he did not play the warm-up match is beyond me.

Suresh Raina (2.4-1-25-1, 0, 6-1-43-0, 78) – Backed up his ton at Taunton by looking in touch in the second innings, after joining the long list of lefties in Swanny’s bag first time round. England will fancy getting him out with the short ball at Edgbaston and The Oval, but he looks to have a technique well suited to Trent Bridge. Won’t thank his skipper for introducing him to the attack just as KP and Prior were on the way to declarations.

MS Dhoni (28, 16) – You can’t argue with his record, but plenty would argue with his actions as captain in this match, from the decision to give first go to England on a good, if not totally flat, track to his own bowling, which can be handy, but was too rusty and must have hurt a bit in the morning. I’m sure the Indian media will have a number of opinions on his work and they might have a lot more if England go two-up and into the provisional Number One slot in the world rankings. Dhoni is a man under pressure – but he’s shown he can deal with it in the past.

Harbhajan Singh (35-3-152-0, 0, 21-1-66-1, 12) – From a man playing his 97th Test match and with plenty of experience in England, that’s not good enough. Anybody can have a bad match, but that’s a really bad match and he can’t argue that he didn’t deserve it. Might be fortunate to avoid being dropped, as Zaheer Khan looks unlikely to play the Second Test and India won’t want too callow an attack.

Praveen Kumar (40.3-10-106-5, 17, 20-2-70-1, 2) – An old-fashioned cricketer who wobbled in and wobbled it around at military medium, then  gave it a whack down the order. He’s on the Honours Board (not far from the slightly quicker Shane Watson who wobbled it around in similar style to get five at Lord’s vs Pakistan last year). It’s hard to believe that England won’t build further on their approach of batting well out of the crease to him and will then biff him out of the attack – otherwise, wouldn’t everybody just jog in and move it a bit this way and that?

Zaheer Khan (13.3-8-18-2, 0, DNB, 0*) – Was he fit for a five day Test in which he could have expected to bowl 52 overs (like his English counterpart, Jimmy Anderson)? Only he can tell, but it was a hammer blow to India’s chances when he left the field with a tweaked hamstring after bowling a magnificent opening spell. I was happy to claim last week that this series turned on the fitness of Zaheer Khan and this match showed why.

Ishant Sharma (32-5-128-0, 0, 22-6-59-4, 1) – After finding his length in the first innings, bowled with wit and hostility in the second innings to rip the heart out of the England middle-order, getting the prize wicket of KP with the kind of lifter that made Ricky Ponting his bunny in Sharma’s first few Tests. Still not 23 and learning the game, he’s in for a helluva’n education if ZK isn’t back soon.

Gary Naylor, whom you can tweet at @garynaylor999 and find at Cricket On and



  1. Sachin spent the whole of the last tour to Australia getting standing ovations and he’s now dared to come back again and score more tons this summer! I suggest no ovations this time around!

  2. I hope Sachin does more than walk to and from the pavilion all summer. That must be the worst I’ve ever seen him bat. Was playing around the ball in both innings, and wafting ungainly. A virus doesn’t help, and maybe he just doesn’t like Lord’s (the slope?), but it felt like a mercy kill when Anderson finally got him.

  3. We all want to see great players at their best, but SRT was a long way off that. There were reasons, but this time next week, the series could be gone for India.

  4. India are notoriously slow starters in series. But the fitness of Zaheer could well cripple them. Their batsmen will find their feet, but the bowlers may not be able to get the 20 wickets they need.
    To that, I’m glad Ishant has his hair back to it’s rightful length. I’m sure some batsmen are taken aback by his hostility having been mesmerised by the bouncy black locks running in towards them.

  5. I would be wary of underestimating the Indian attack, even sans Zaheer. Harbhajan inevitably turns in a good performance whenever he’s on the verge of being dropped. Praveen Kumar, as we’ve all seen, is a threat when the ball is swinging. Sreesanth and Ishant, when they find their lines, can be deadly. If they all click at the same time you have an attack that can bowl out a lot of sides.

  6. Oh I hope Bhajji doesnt come up with a back-to-wall performance at Trent Bridge. Annoying prick – selfish b&^%%#d, obnoxious weed. He has been surviving on Just-in-time performances and then dining off it for another 10 tests.
    Even if it means India lose this series, and lose the #1 ranking, it is in their long term interest that Harbhajan is thoroughly exposed as the pretender that he is; an apology of a member of the 400-wicket club.

  7. India have the potential to bounce back at trent bridge not because they do so everytime in the 2nd test of a series, its just that they were under-prepared and ragged would be in tune with the conditions by Friday. Sreesanth can well replace Zak.

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