England v India: Four talking points as Broad stars on day one
England v India: Four talking points as Stuart Broad stars to help the hosts finish 39 runs behind the tourists
Confidence flowing as England dominate
What a difference a win makes. England came into this match off the back of one of the most complete performances from a side in years, on the back of one of their worst runs of form in years. But with the confidence of victory and favourable English conditions, Stuart Broad (6-25) and James Anderson (3-46) ripped through the Indian top order, taking four wickets for no runs in 12 deliveries as the tourists slipped to 8-4. A lot was said before the Southampton Test match about the experienced players stepping up and doing their jobs, and it has transferred up the M6 to Manchester where Anderson moved to within nine wickets of being England’s record wicket taker in Test matches. It was Nottinghamshire’s Broad who stole the show, though, with a disciplined performance to put India to the sword.
Question marks remain over Robson
It is one thing being a player out of nick in a losing team because there is always some degree of blame being shared amongst all involved, but it is a very different matter when you are the out-of-form player in a side playing well. Sam Robson is experiencing this currently and while there is no doubt to his potential, his issues on or around the off stump is worrying to all. While he may be relieved that he wasn’t out edging to slip this time, his dismissal showed that he too is concerned by his technical deficiencies. Having been so disciplined in the corridor, Robson misjudged a ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar which decked back and hit the top of off for just six runs. Whether it is a case of going back to Middlesex and getting some runs under his belt, or whether time with the England coaches will do the trick remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though, the clock is ticking for Robson and he will undoubtedly get less chances than his opening partner Alastair Cook.
Personnel changes can’t change Indian fortunes
While all the talk before the fourth Test was whether or not England would play Steven Finn in favourable for the big paceman. MS Dhoni though had three changes for his side with Ravi Ashwin finally getting his chance in the middle-order, and Gautam Gambhir and Varun Aaron also getting a first chance on the tour. While Ashwin gave a good account of himself with a battling 40, Gambhir struggled against the moving ball and Aaron struggled with the bat but made an impact with the ball. Having been ahead in this series, the problems seem to stacking for Dhoni and India as England look to ride their momentum to a series victory.
Ballance and Bell lay foundation for England as openers fluff their lines
If you have said to England they would be 40-2 on day one having lost the toss and been asked to bowl, they would have bit both hands off. Unfortunately for England, the struggles of both openers continued, although Cook can be forgiven after his performance in Southampton. Once again the hosts have had to rely on Gary Ballance and Ian Bell to lead the resistance and take the attack to the Indian bowlers. Knowing they had only a small deficit to overturn, the pair counter-attacked brilliantly to leave England in control when a couple more wickets could have left honours nearly even on day one. The plan will be to kick on and build a sizable lead before declaring and bowling the visitors out a second time. Advantage England after day one.