Hopefully, England won't carry scars of Mumbai Test to Chennai

Updated: Dec 16, 2016, 11:58 IST | Shishir Hattangadi

England need to get up from their deep slumber. Playing away from home on turning pitches is not a walk in the park

England need to get up from their deep slumber. Playing away from home on turning pitches is not a walk in the park. To end their somnambulism they need to take a hard look at where their strengths are because their weak links cannot bail them out.

The Rajkot Test match is a template they need to incorporate to compete in Chennai. Their batting in the first innings is their only strength. Their bowling, barring a few breakthroughs on these pitches can, at best, be restrictive unless the Indian batsmen play stupid. The Indian batsmen have given every indication they are in no mood to take opportunities for granted.

Eng batting not so brittle
At Wankhede it was evident that wickets fell in clusters. England, sadly, were unable to bowl miserly enough to throttle the runs and produce the toxic delivery to make inroads. They need to accept their spinners may not have the guile to produce the magic.

Keaton Jennings had a good debut at Mumbai where he played admirably. Joe Root is a class act who thrives on challenges. Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler can bat and very well at that. To play around captain Alastair Cook, the batting can be termed as anything but brittle.

If the bowling seems powerless in these conditions then the batting has been deficient in numbers, not in quality. England would do well to bat long and deep to dilute the bowling insufficiencies. But they will have to acknowledge, albeit within the confines of the dressing room, the reality of it all. To lose a Test match in four days and a bit after scoring 400 is enough of a clue that that their batsmen have flattered to deceive and deceive they cannot.

Fear of failure against Ash
India on the other hand, have Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Virat Kohli in Bradmanesque form. The lower order of Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja have been contributing like pedigreed batsmen, a bit of a culture shock from what we as Indian fans witnessed in the past (70s and 80s). The bowling particularly Ashwin seemingly has cast a spell on the opposition. There is fear of failure, a feeling of insecurity and an inability to identify what is up his sleeve or in his fingers. I just hope the scars of Mumbai are not carried to Chennai by the England batsmen.

The Chidambaram Stadium will be a pitch Ashwin and Jadeja know like the back of their hands (one’s home turf and other’s former IPL team). It may just be a few long hours on the field, in the scorching humidity of Chennai!

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