Southampton: India may have overcome their drought of winning a Test outside the sub-continent last week, but they are still some distance away from repeating such feats on a regular basis.
And the reason for this is well known: they simply cannot take 20 wickets. Firstly, Indian pacers struggle to take wickets on pitches that are only receptive to bounce but offer no deviation or natural swing. Secondly, despite been the land of spinners, they have struggled to find a quality spinner who can take wickets abroad.
The lone ranger
In the past decade, Ishant Sharma is the only Indian bowler who has possessed the ability to hit the deck hard. Bowlers who have partnered Ishant since his debut include Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, RP Singh, Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav. Apart from the lethargic Munaf and to a small extent Umesh, none of them have had the style of the lanky paceman.
While Shami at times looks promising and capable of taking advantage of the seam movement, his pace is ideal for batsmen on pitches that have lost venom.
Bhuveshwar Kumar, as evident in this match, needs the ball to swing and is impotent once the ball loses its shine. The other members on tour, Pankaj Singh and Ishwar Panday might be well built but their strengths are moving the ball through the air.
Over the past three years the most successful bowlers in the Ranji Trophy have been Sandeep Sharma, Rishi Dhawan and Mohit Sharma. None of them ideally fit into the category of Ishant. The likes of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron will continue to emerge but ideally India needs bowlers who can emulate the style of Ishant Sharma.