Thursday, November 22, 2012

Preview, India versus England, 2nd Test Mumbai

 'Mumbai always has good bounce and urban legend has it that early morning moisture and a final-session sea breeze often keep the seamers interested'

You have to love the connotation in this observation and the irony you can attach to it. On face value a pitch that is viewed as being seam friendly with bounce will be music to the English ears giving them a great chance to find a way back into this series with victory.

But this is where the lovely irony enters the fray........

With the 1st Test showing that the Indian fast men were far superior to the English with them providing a constant threat. Supported here by the pitch, the sad reality for the English is that their pace men might get propped up, but the advantage lost with their batsmen facing a battle on two fronts with the Indian quicks being provided with a canvas to be more penetrative.
To add to the English batting concerns, show me a spinner who is not made more lethal by extra bounce?

Mmmmmm Intriguing!

Likely Teams


The Indians have been delivered a blow by young pace man Umesh Yadav, who was very impressive in the 1st Test with his pace and skill being cut down by a back ailment. He will be an unspoken huge loss to the Team. It seems the Indian brains trust is going to give yet another chance to Ishant Sharma, which will bring smiles to English faces and be matched with Indian heads in hands. Greater sense would be seen in giving young Ashok Dinda a first Test here.

But that is unlikely- leaving the Team as follows 

1,Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Ishant Sharma


The English have had to replace Ian Bell in this match with him back home to welcome a newcomer to the family. It seems certain that Johnny Bairstow will take his place, but backing Eoin Morgans skill and unorthodox nature against spin might be a better choice.

In the bowling, it will be interesting whether they include Monty Panesar on a pitch that will support pace as well as spin or stick with Swann as the sole spinner. Panesar seems certain to play meaning a 2 spinner/2 pacemen attack.

Truthfully, this match would offer England a perfect opportunity to show some balls and bat Matt Prior at 6 and include 5 bowlers, but England are testicularly challenged in courage in Selections meaning it will never happen

Leaving this to be the 11

Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Nick Compton, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Samit Patel, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Monty Panesar

The Keys to Win 


The key to this game will be how the Indian batting stands up on a pitch that is more supportive of the seamers and significantly with a bit of bounce. Most of them looked peerless in the 1st Test on a pitch that was like a bed for them to lie in and duly they cashed in.

The reality of this offering two points of view with the first being that it provided them with a huge confidence boost that is of such a precious value in the game from an intangible sense. On the flip side, it could set them up for a huge fall here on a more willing pitch.

Virender Sehwag is the key in everything for with how he blazed in the 1st test making his Team mates walk taller in his presence.

In truth he was the decisive factor in the 1st Test victory for India 

How he goes here will again have a huge bearing on India's performance

For if he is dismissed cheaply it brings a focus more firmly on his out of form partner Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar. As well as meaning Cheteshwar Pujara, who was masterful in the first Test aided by batting will little focus on him because of Sehwag's antics will not have that benefit.

It is amazing how Sehwag sends shock waves through a match and positively for his prospects here is he a Cricketing freak of Nature that is fuelled by confidence....

So you can expect him to continue to blaze........

Away from the concerns of the batting, the bowling unit in the 1st Test was very accomplished.

It is sad from a spectators point of view that Umesh Yadav will miss here for on this pitch you could see him being a wrecking ball with his skill and fire.

Beware the wily old fox Zaheer Khan though........

Who I think will make the English batsmen understand that spin is not their only concern

On the topic of spin........

With the aide of bounce here, my word will the Indian spin duo be bouncing out of bed this morn for bounce is arguably a spinners greatest weapons in a complimentary sense of their other skills

Crucially for the Indians Ravichandran Ashwin needs to have a 'check up from the neck up'. He lacked any temperament in the 1st Test with him trying to bowl a different delivery every ball rather than being relentless in his stock ball and understanding patience is a virtue.

He needs to lift, and if he does in partnership with the magic of Pragyan Ojha's old style puristic spin- England are likely to be humiliated again....


Where do you start?

There batting bar Cook and Prior was absolute rubbish with them showing they have not learnt one thing in their travails in Asia in 2012

Matched by their bowling outside of Graeme Swann who was embarrassingly bad with their pace trio having match figures of 255/1!

Lastly a fielding effort that would have embarrassed Pakistan with the amount of drops!

Pure a simple a few of the 'big heads' need to lift or fuck off back to the ignominity of County Cricket!

Starting with the batting, two names stand out in Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen. Trott has been the rock which England's ascent to number 1 in the Test game has been built with him dominating every where and any where until he landed in Asia. In the case of most English batsmen, you can buy into the belief that they are bunnies against spin, but not Trott. Who has shown glimpses that he is quite able against it

Trott needs to turn those glimpses into runs in this game for England to have a chance of a fight back....

Then there is KP............

What can you say about him?

At his best he is Lara-ish and sad at his worse he is a source of huge angst will little in between.

He could turn this match and series on its head by a master class that all know is always bubbling under the surface with him

And he owes the Team BIG after his ridiculous antics in the recent past that frankly should have seen his name marked with a big line through it

Onto the bowling......

James Anderson needs to prove that he is not akin to Guinness in regards to he never travels well and Stuart Broad needs to turn potential into performance. Their performances with the new ball is crucial with them needing to get early wickets to pave the way for the spinners to bowl with things in their favour.
Crucially they need to take out Sehwag

If they can perform to their reputations suggest it will be a huge fillip for England

With the emphasis falling on whether the spin duo of Swann/Panesar can roll through an Indian line up that eats spin for breakfast....

That is a huge maybe


Call me crazy ( which I am ), but I just have a feeling that England might win this one

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