India v England: Lessons as the tourists pay for poor first innings
India v England: Matt Cansick takes a look at the talking points after the hosts wrap up victory in the first Test
Too little too late
England finally succumbed to defeat in the first Test as India knocked off the 77 runs required for the loss of only one wicket. Cheteshwar Pujara added another 41 unbeaten runs to his 206 from India’s first innings and was rightly named man of the match, and England will have to work on a plan to get him out between now and the start of the second test on Friday. From England’s perspective, it was an admirable attempt to salvage a draw, and despite losing by nine wickets, an innings defeat could have been far more damaging. This match was lost in England’s first innings, and the performances of Matt Prior and Alastair Cook after following on showed their fellow batsman that runs are not as hard to come by as they may have thought. Indeed, 406 is a respectable second innings score in India, and similar totals will be required on a regular basis in the next three Tests.
Changes to come
There is guaranteed to be at least one change to the England side for the second Test as Ian Bell returns home for his child’s birth, as was planned before the series started. Either Eoin Morgan or Jonny Bairstow would be a natural replacement, however, they may both be recalled to the side if Samit Patel is judged to have underperformed, and thus failing to do enough to retain his place. Having contributed just ten runs and one wicket, he does not appear to warrant a spot as an all-rounder, and assuming Monty Panesar comes back in then Kevin Pietersen could provide a capable third option in the spin department. Subject to proving his fitness, Steven Finn could also replace either Tim Bresnan or Stuart Broad, and the longer tail that this would result in enhances the argument for a recognised batsman to take Patel’s place in the middle order.
Winning toss vital
Realistically, England will need to win the toss in Mumbai to have a chance of levelling the series. If they show suitable application and rack up a big score, the bowlers will have license to be more aggressive with their bowling, which would suit Graeme Swann in particular. Much of the success that England have had over the past few years has been down to a tried and tested formula, however it was this very plan of batting first and scoring 500 plus that they fell victim to in Ahmedabad. Having gone 1-0 down, there is now more emphasis on the bowlers restricting India to low totals, and it is down to the batsmen to give them an opportunity to do this. It is hard to see England coming back from 2-0 down, and if they have genuine aspirations to win the series then a draw is the least they can afford to come away with in the second Test.