The present Test Series has been one of the most one sided in recent history. England have been impressive and India have been woeful. India were described by Geoffrey Boycott as worse than Bangladesh as one point. There are numerous reasons why England have been so dominant, but here are the main five whilst trying not to mention the IPL.
The difference in quality and pace of the two-seam bowling attacks is astonishing. England’s seam attack has bowled with aggression and accuracy. There is the perfect combination of height, pace and swing. Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad stand at 6ft 8 and 6ft 7 respectively and hit the 90 mile per hour mark with regularity. James Anderson’s swing bowling in the mid to high 80s with the ability to duck it both ways is an impressive weapon in the England attack. Tim Bresnan's nibbling accuracy and bustling style at a fast medium pace have provided a constant threat to all.
In contrast, the Indian attack has looked nothing more than a second division county attack. Praveen Kumar has bowled steady swinging medium pace and achieved a certain degree of success, but he will never trouble high-class batsman around the world. Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth have been poor and erratic and unable to exert pressure on the English batting order. The corridor of uncertainty has not been the line of choice combined with a lack of pace to rush players of England’s quality has produced a recipe for disaster.
In the spin department neither Swann nor Harbajhan shone and both looked out of form. The English summer has not provided Swann with the dry pitches he desired and Harbajhan could not the hit the areas we have been accustomed to him hitting.
The Indian fielding has been abysmal. The Indian players look chubby, unathletic, lazy and disinterested. It is incredible to see Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar jog with such disdain around the boundary. Sharma even had the good grace to step over the ball and let it run for four because he could not be bothered to bend down and save the boundary.
India's batsmen have shown a lack of application and an inability outside of Rahul Dravid to ride out spells of high-quality fast bowling on bouncing pitches. Except Abinhav Mukund and Suresh Raina, they have all achieved much success at the Test level which raises the question as to why there has been such a lack of runs.
The media slaps the ‘much vaunted’ label on the Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulker and Laxman, but they have not played like their reputations and averages suggest. Sehwag's king pair after taking a wild swish in Jimmy Andersons first over, who is one of the best swing bowlers in the world, was indicative of the lack of application they have shown. England bowled superbly and the conditions were perfect for a seam unit of England’s caliber.
MS Dhoni has been out classed as a captain by Strauss and out classed as a Wicket Keeper-Batsman by Prior. His team seem to be out of shape, unmotivated and out of form. Clearly, Duncan Fletcher will change this and the longer he is in charge the more Dhoni will improve as a cricketer. Dhoni has not given his bowlers direction and his field placements have been poor and mistimed. His decision to bowl himself with his ghastly medium pace after Zaheer went down is a decision straight from the Village Green.
His performance as a wicket keeper has been poor and makes one wonder how he has achieved such success in the one day game. He is devoid of athleticism and has dropped catches whilst taking absolutely no responsibility with the bat. In comparison Matt Prior, who averages 44 in test cricket compared to Dhoni’s 38, has proved himself a vastly superior cricketer and unless Sangakkara starts wicket keeping again, is certainly the best Keeper Batsman in World Cricket at present.
Within two years, Andy Flower and Strauss have combined to turn England into debatably the best team in the world. They have demanded excellence and success by removing underperforming players such as Ravi Bopara, Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar and replaced them with Eoin Morgan, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan. They have turned Swann and Prior into world beaters, instilling a confidence and discipline not seen by England since 2005. Flower as a former top-class batsman and a hard nosed Zimbabwean with a higher batting average than any present England player has the respect of the dressing room. Something his predecessor Peter Moores did not, especially from then captain Kevin Pietersen, who showed disdain for his lack of success as a cricketer and his sports science coaching methods.
Strauss’s mild manner and the organized fashion he goes about captaining clearly resonates with his team. He often runs up from first slip to have a word in his bowler’s ear so they know what he wants. Finally he has the respect of Pietersen, someone who has caused disharmony in the past.