This was another magnificent victory and performance from England at Trent Bridge. Too win a test match by 319 runs when you were 88/6 and 124/8 back on Day 1 and effectively already beaten is a major achievement in my view. England really had no right to win this match from there, they were dead and buried.
The turnaround in fortunes was amazing. India were in total control of the test match at tea on Day 2, and they then got absolutely hammered out of site from that moment onwards in a manner usually reserved for teams like West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
I know that injuries have crippled India, but they surely aren’t the sole reason why the team capitulated in such a spectacular way over 7 sessions. It has been written and said a million times before, but the bowling really is carried by Zaheer Khan – and Sunday just proved it with over 400 runs conceded.
I hope I don’t upset any Indian readers by writing this (and I’d say the same about England if it were true), but India’s performance since tea on Saturday was utterly pathetic. They just rolled over.
Their performance seemed to smack a bit off ‘After the Lord Mayor’s show.’ Winning the world cup was the main event and this series is all a touch inconsequential, with Dhoni in particular looking like a man who has really ran out of gas. All the responsibilities he carries with him must take their toll eventually.
I really hope Zaheer and Gambhir both play at Edgbaston so that England can test themselves against a stronger India team.
While India struggle to replace Zaheer, England have no such problems with the seam department. At the moment all three front line seamers (Anderson, Broad and Tremlett) could get injured and be replaced with Bresnan, Finn and Onions – that’s some strength in depth England now have.
With regard to Tremlett’s possible return at Edgbaston, I think he will have his work cut out. Tremlett is very similar to Broad and the selectors might go down the route of sticking with Bresnan for a touch more variety. To take 5 wickets, score 90 runs and get dropped would be seriously unlucky.
I heard it said on TMS earlier today that with Trott unlikely to play in Birmingham, England should just bring Tremlett back for Trott and play 5 batsmen. I can’t believe for a minute that Strauss and Flower will do that, the 6 batsmen policy has worked and there is absolutely no need to change it.
Andy Flower also isn’t sentimental, he is ruthless and will do what is best for the team and I believe that means that one of Tremlett or Bresnan will miss out, whoever it is, is desperately unlucky. But that is the strength of England at the moment and what a luxurious position Flower finds himself in.
An example of how together and supportive of each other this team is was shown with Alastair Cook going to console 12th man Scott Elstone after he dropped Harbhajan in the deep. The irony of the situation was that at least it was an England player who could emphasis with the feeling of dropping catches who went too him.
But on a more serious note, I have heard England criticised in plenty of different quarters (mainly Australia last winter) over this touching of gloves and running 50 yards across the outfield to pat someone on the back for simply ‘doing his job’ and fielding the ball. Why though?
Why do the likes of Ian Chappell have to say that they don’t see the point too it all? Look at the team spirit, something is clearly working. They are all clearly together – unlike the Aussie team last winter.
Going back to India and despite the fact that they now can’t win this series, there is still plenty to play for. For a start they can obviously still draw the series and even if the 3rd test ends in a draw they would still have the incentive of remaining the world’s No.1 side by winning the final test at the Oval.
One last point to make. The way England turned this game around reminded me of the way recent Australian sides used too. Self belief, attacking intent and aggression. All the hallmarks of those great Aussie teams.