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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

England Tour 2014 - First match drawn - sign to come?

The first test match ended in a draw with England not being able to get 20 Indian wickets while the Indian bowlers got 10 in the one innings that they bowled! Not without both teams giving each other a tenth wicket stand of more than 100 runs. It was a mediocre match with the teams putting up performances that were mediocre, at the best. True, Bhuvi scored two fifties and took a fiver but there was nothing much to separate the two teams. That in itself is a sign to come up in this series. Of course, the pitches will be better in the following tests but neither team has shown the right skill and application to step up and grab the mantle.

With both captains being under pressure for different reasons, the match had a number of interesting sidelights but overall tended to be a bit like the dull and drab soap operas that appear on the telly. India will feel good that they did not lose their first test of the tour - something that they have been used to, every tour. The grounds seem to be in favor of the Indians more than the hosts (for commercial reasons - grounds having spent money on getting drainage systems fixed have to earn back the money quickly and for that, they need matches to go for five days)! The weather is also good with less interruptions from cloud or ground. All this means that the Indian team feels more at home on these pitches.

As I had suggested in my previous post, Stuart Binny was picked in the playing eleven as a batting allrounder but his captain was not sure about his bowling talent. He was given 10 overs of a total of 145, not something that he would have hoped for, when given the cap on the opening day. On the final day, his knock with Jadeja showed his temperament and ensured that he will live on for another test for sure. He seemed comfortable at the crease and definitely deserved more with the ball. MSD too mentioned at the end that he wouldn't change his bowling attack - that means there will not be any changes to the playing eleven for Lords test (not a bad idea though).

Murali Vijay and Pujara (in the second innings) continued the good work they had put in on the tours to SAF and NZ while Virat Kohli will try to forget this match quickly. Rahane and Dhawan got starts but could not capitalise much. Vijay was the batting highlight for India and he will do well to remember his good knock for all his moments in future where he will get into trouble. He is one batsman who seems to be comfortable in test matches and T20s, not ODIs. Strange! Rahane looked pretty while on song but could not convert his knocks to a bigger one.

Dhoni and Binny played one innings of significance which augured well for a team that went in with five regular batsmen. MSD has come up with a new plan to counter the swing on this tour and it seems to be working so far. The English bowlers seem to have found a defect in full areas to him - that might be a critical flaw in his game now. The tailenders contributed to the team total which meant that twice this series already, India went past 350. The last tour, they managed to touch 300 once only! Not a bad start for a team that had the batting legend, Rahul Dravid, as the batting consultant before the first test.

The bowlers did well till they met Root, Broad and Anderson. Bhuvi was always expected to do well because of the swing he obtained but Ishant continued the good work from NZ series. Ishant seems to have taken over the mantle left vacant by Zaheer but he needs more wickets under his belt. Shami was a bit disappointing but he is a good bowler who will learn from his mistakes soon. All in all, a good outing for a bowling unit that was not expected to take 20 wickets. They still havent but the hope has been revived in this test. This bodes well for Dhoni and his team for Lords.

Everything to play for in London and the Indian team will be keen to go forward quickly in the series.
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