After heavy fog in the mornings of Day four and Day five, it was inevitable that the game was going to finish up as a draw between the hosts India and the tourist England. Subsequently India sealed the series winning 1-0 after their thrilling comeback in the first Test in Chennai.
All this means that India decrease the points gap between Australia and themselves in the International test cricket rankings. With India enjoying a famous victory over the world number one’s only a few weeks ago, India are now the team to beat in test cricket. One should also add they aren’t bad at ODI cricket either. England remain at number five in the test rankings.
Ultimately, England Kevin Pietersen will look back at the first test in Chennai and know that England should have won that test comfortably. After England opened, Andrew Strauss batted superbly with 123 and 108 in the first and second innings, England found themselves in a great position to go on and win the test. But some aggressive batting by India and lacklustre bowling by England eventually ended up costing the England team.
The second test will be remembered maybe for the weather more than the cricket. Pietersen commented after the game at the presentation ceremony that it had been a tough match due to the conditions.
“We lost 90 overs of this fixture because of the weather but we can take a lot of positives,” he said.
England can indeed take positives from the match. But KP will surely reflect on the test and think of late on the third day in the evening session were any possibility of victory slipped out of England’s hands with the loss of Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff in quick succession. The loss of Pietersen and Flintoff coincided with the loss of imputus in the match for England.
India were decided against declaring earlier in the second innings, preferring to instead to allow Gambhir and Yuvraj reach centuries. But both fell short. And an hour after tea the umpires called a halt to proceedings, with India declared victors of the test series.
During the presentation ceremony, when interviewed ‘KP’ seemed in a positive mood preferring to look at the positives of the test series rather than analyse the negatives. He frequently mentioned how proud he was of his teams effort in the match and during training. He remarked:
“I just think that the way the guys performed, the way the guys trained, the way the guys prepared, the way the guys played and how they got into a position to win that first Test and how we got in a position to try and push for a Test match victory yesterday afternoon – I take my hat off to them.”
Off the pitch there have been rumours that ex-England captain, Michael Vaughan, will get a recall back to the England test side for the tour of the Caribbean coming up in a few weeks. It remains to be seen if there is any truth in the rumour but the performance of Ian Bell throughout the test could suggest that he is a man worried about his position in the team.
So, ultimately, England’s winter tour of India was an unsuccessful one but lessons have been learned and with Kevin Pietersen positive about the future, English cricket can look forward to 2009 and prepare for the Ashes in the summer and reclaiming it from Australia.
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BIOGRAPHY: Eric Bailly