Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 26, 2011

England vs India First Test – England Report Card

Same strut - different hairdo. Thank God.

Andrew Strauss (22, 32) – It’s often said that a captain is as good as his bowlers – Andrew Strauss is in danger of becoming a batsman who is as good as his bowlers. Led his team to another great win, getting the declaration just about right, but betrayed his own anxiety about getting two starts and not going on by uncharacteristically shelling a couple of catches. Did his best work before the match began in losing the toss.

Alastair Cook (12,1) – The Cricketing Gods, of whom he spoke after the Sri Lanka ODI at Lord’s, forsook their recent favourite consigning the Essex man to a couple of failures. Will work hard in the nets over the next couple of days to recapture the positive foot movement that is the hallmark of his best form.

Jonathan Trott (70, 22) – So reliable has he become at first drop that this match feels like a bit of a failure, yet he scored more runs than every Indian except Rahul Dravid, a version of which he is becoming. Not a clever shot to be dismissed on the walk to turn a second innings collapse into a mini-crisis, but who remembers that now?

KP (202*, 1) – Had a bit of luck with a referred catch on 49, but had worked hard enough to deserve it and then slowly imposed himself, before leading the charge to the declaration. Man of the Match and strutting like the KP of old, he’ll bask in the adulation – and hope he doesn’t get another ball as good as Ishant Sharma found for him in the second innings, come the first dig at Trent Bridge. As is so often the case, when the challenge was presented, KP rose to it.

Ian Bell (45, 0) – Outscored KP in the stand that built the platform for England’s scoreboard pressure – the key to winning matches at Lord’s these days. Played an average shot in the second innings to fall to a snick behind again. His growing fanbase will look for more in Nottingham.

Eoin Morgan (0, 19) – Strangely subdued for such an exuberant ODI player, he failed to call for the referral that might have saved him first time round, then fell to his first aggressive stroke in the second knock. Cruised to a ton last time out at Nottingham and would enjoy a repeat over the weekend.

Matt Prior (71, 103*) – How he has changed since the last time India came across him in England. Gone is the boorish sledger intent on getting under the skin of the opposition, and in his place is a grown-up much too happy in his own skin to bother with anyone else’s. Did what was required behind the stumps and played two utterly unselfish, initiative-seizing innings in front of the stumps. He has achieved the modern mark of a top class keeper – he would be picked for his batting alone.

Stuart Broad (0, 22-8-37-4, 74*, 20.3-4-57-3) – Who saw that coming? After the selectors did what they do and backed their man (I wanted Bresnan and I wasn’t alone), he put a golden duck behind him to bowl beautifully throughout the match, getting through his action, developing the pace that comes from rhythm and the hostility that comes from a snapping wrist at the point of release. Batted initially with more restraint than is usually the case, but was soon hitting it hard and riding the luck that so often accompanies attacking batsmanship. Being dropped from England’s last match (the fifth, and deciding ODI vs SL) must have hurt, but some first class county cricket has done him a power of good. England can seldom have had two players as good as Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn who can be so certain of not being first picks. Unlucky them – lucky England.

Graeme Swann (24, 19-3-50-1, DNB, 23-4-64-1) – India’s master batsmen were not going to let Swanny just bowl and were positive as soon as he had the ball in his hand, but Swanny won’t be phased by that. Will have enjoyed Duncan Fletcher looking on as he produced another classy, mature display in support of the big quicks.

Chris Tremlett (4*, 24-5-80-3, DNB, 21-4-44-1) – It’s been a long time coming, but the quiet man has developed a way of sledging batsmen – by staring down at them from those eyes set so high over those so high cheekbones. Brought back memories of mid-career Glen McGrath at times – batsmen should have been forward, but couldn’t commit because of his lift and were then undone by just enough seam and swing. The next three grounds will suit him more than Lord’s – that’ll have Duncan Fletcher thinking!

Jimmy Anderson (DNB, 23.5-6-87-2, DNB, 28-7-65-5) – There have been times in the past when Jimmy, sans muse, mooched about a bit like a teenager told to be back at midnight. No more. Knowing that his mates can step up if he is having a bad day, he waits for the swing to return and then uses the best release in world cricket to direct it this way and that. He might find two Sri Lankan Tests in the spring a bit tough, but he’s got Swingers’ Paradise, Trent Bridge up next and, weary though he will feel tonight, he’ll be raring to go on Friday.

Gary Naylor, whom you can tweet at @garynaylor999 and find at Cricket On Fivespincricket.com and Testmatchsofa.com

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Responses

  1. A very comprehensive win for England and India have a fair bit to sort out if they are to get anything out of this series.

    Most impressive was how every England player made a contribution under pressure, a sign of an outstanding cricket team.

    Strauss’ poor slipping, usually an indication of a greater malaise, was probably the only downside for the hosts.

    Australia have found England to be very tough to budge when they get their noses in front these last few series and if India are to retain The Mace they’ll need to improve significantly.

    • India have come back into series before, but while I can see them making 500 (though not at Trent Bridge) who is going to take the twenty wickets?

      • They weren’t far from taking 20 wickets, even without ZaK. If they’d punched through Broad or Prior before that partnership they might have been looking at a chaseable target. Nor should we underestimate the ability of England’s batsmen to give India their wickets, at least once.


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