England and India played out a predictable draw in the first test of the five-test series, with India batting out the final day’s play at Trent Bridge despite an early scare.
Starting the day on 167-3, India looked a little shaky in the opening exchanges, losing three quick-fire wickets to some sensational England bowling.
However, Stuart Binny and Bhuvneshwar Kumar managed to ease the sinking Indian ship, chalking up a half-century apiece, as the match finished with India on 391-9, 352 in front of England.
Here’s a look at the overall scorecard from an exciting opening test:
|India 1st Innings||457|
|England 1st Innings||496|
|India 2nd Innings||391-9 (d)|
England Will Take Key Lessons into 2nd Test
As is always the case with England, there’s big room for improvement.
Though a first-test draw is far from a disaster, captain Alastair Cook’s tactics will seriously need reassessing—chiefly to include a full-time spinner.
Fast bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad performed well throughout the course of the test, but a spin bowler is absolutely essential at Lord’s next time around.
Cook proved as much, taking his first-ever Test wicket in the late stages of the match by catching Ishant Sharma out down the leg side, as Sky Sports Cricket reported:
Seamers will be worked into the ground in the second test unless Cook deploys a spinner against the Indians, and former England spinner Graeme Swann agrees, per BBC Test Match Special, via BBC Sport:
At the start of the summer, they were thinking perhaps we don't really need a spinner, but that's been shown to be a ludicrous idea. He needs to bowl 30-40 overs in the second innings, and part-time spinners are not good enough to do that. I would be shocked if a full-time spinner is not picked for the next game.
Gareth Batty may be the man to come in and do the job for England, easing the workload of the pacers, and if his county form is anything to go by, then he’ll be a good selection.
I would pick a left-field choice and agree with Alec Stewart, who said earlier this week they should turn to the most experienced and in-form spinner in county cricket. At the moment that is Gareth Batty. The selectors will fear being ridiculed for picking a 36-year-old who has not played for England in Test cricket for nearly 10 years. But picking him buys England time.
Whether or not the selectors have the courage to call Batty up remains to be seen, but his experience in the field will help Cook at his time of need.
Something also needs to be done about England middle-order batsmen, who simply fell apart during their innings.
Were it not for Joe Root and Anderson’s record-breaking 10th-wicket partnership of 198, the English may well have come unstuck and lost the first test.
While many people think the solution is sacking Cook, who contributed just five runs to the cause, it’s small errors that need to be taken out of England’s batting play to seal victories.
Posting 496 is incredibly encouraging, though, and Cook will likely be looking to bat first at Lord’s to make full use of the generous surface.
Here’s a look at the schedule:
Watching England can be frustrating at times, but they’re just a few tactical tweaks away from once again being the best Test side in the business.
How captain Cook sets his men up next time around will give us a big hint of whether or not he’s willing to change. If he is, the second test could prove a successful one for England.