FB Group

Share the Passion

To exchange links with me, please send mail to madhusudan (dot) gr (at) gmail.com.
Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
Tracking T20 run-chases in an innovative manner - See here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

India face England in 3-test series

After the initial set of ODIs have been completed, the Indians face off with the home-side in a 3-test series, starting from the headquarters of cricket - Lords. It is not clear who the favorites for this test series are - both sides look evenly matched. The last test series in England also ended even 1-1. The conditions in the various cities seem to be neutral as the weather is less chilly compared to the earlier series (against West Indies). More sunlight means that the spinners come into play - which means Anil Kumble and Monty Panesar will relish the opportunity to play on English soil. The absence of Freddy Flintoff would be felt by the English team very badly. This might tilt the scales in the favor of Indians.

A look at both the sides reveal how they are stacked against each other. The batting of Indians looks better, compared to the English side, on paper. The quartet of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman would be hoping that their last tour to this country would result in a series victory for the Indians. From the way VVS and Sachin have played in the 2 tour-games, looks like they will have a big responsibility to play in the test matches. Rahul and Sourav have been playing well, right from their debuts, in England and would like to continue the run further. It is the opening pair that looks weak from the Indian side - the makeshift pair of Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthick has shown signs of promise in recent days. Wasim Jaffer, despite his failures in the tour game, would get the nod ahead of Gautam Gambhir because of his test record against better opposition. Dinesh Karthick has shown terrific determination and patience needed at the top of the order. Yuvraj Singh would be left, in favor of the more experienced VVS. MS Dhoni would be expected to shore the lower order to add some valuable runs for India.

On the English side, the opening pair is under pressure - Andrew Strauss has been failing more than ever (including the tour game against the Indians) while Alistair Cook would be expected to score runs against the Indian attack (he started with a century against them, remember). Vaughan would be hoping that his form from the last series, where he scored a century against the West Indies, continues - very unlikely against a better attack. Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood would be keen to continue their good run against the Indians - though they look weak compared to the Indian middle-order. Matt Prior is one of the new successes of the English team - capable of giving Dhoni a run for his money. The lower order has shown that they can add a few runs, when required.

The Indian bowling has a mix of the old and new - Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan would be expected to do the bulk of the bowling. Sreesanth would be expected to swing the ball and consolidate his gains from the South African tour. RP Singh would be expected to be the 4th bowler in the Indian lineup, capable of moving the ball into the right-hand batsmen. Sourav Ganguly in pace and Sachin Tendulkar in spin would be the backup options for the Indians. The fielding has to be good, especially the catching (slip-catching to be more precise).

The English bowling is hampered by the absence of Steve Harmison (though his form has not been impressive yet). Hoggard is also coming back from his injury - something that will take some time before he gets into top gear - he is a tough nut to crack though. Sidebottom would be tested against some serious opposition - interesting to see how he would fare. The 3rd paceman would be someone that the Indians would like to target, for some easy runs - one wonders who would be selected for this slot. Monty Panesar has now graduated to be the key bowler of the English attack. Paul Collingwood would be expected to bowl a few overs, as would Pietersen.

Overall, the fact that the pitches would not swing so much, the absence of experience in the English bowling attack, the Indian middle-order strength - points to an Indian victory in the test series. One only hopes that the 1986 series truimph is repeated by the Indians this year.
Post a Comment