England’s victory in Mumbai was as unexpected as it was remarkable. A biffing of India in their own manor like we’ve not seen for quite some time, and on the back of the usual English subcontinental contrituration in the First Test…who’d have thunked it?!
However, the issues which have left England all at sea in Asia remain. We all knew Alistair Cook was capable of long, patient hundreds (across all conditions). We’ve seen KP step up and obliterate all reasoning with breathtaking innings few are capable of before too (gallivanting in Galle). We re-learnt that Monty Panesar really ought to play alongside Swann when the conditions suit (surely that was obvious?). We also knew that Matt Prior is genuinely good keeper (catches win matches).
However, for all the plaudits Compton received for the manner in which he wrapped up the game – he is yet to pass 50. Jonathan Trott is a real worry at number three, averaging just 5 so far in the series and with just one century in his last 32 innings. Neither Samit Patel nor Jonathan Bairstow showed any signs that they might displace the returning Ian Bell, who himself isn’t in the best nick. The trio of Anderson, Broad and Bresnan are still struggling to make any impact at all, all three a few mph below their usual pace.
So England have effectively become a 4 man team. If either Cook or KP fail, the batting as a whole fails. If the spinners don’t do much, the opposition has an almost free-ride to accumulate runs. In an attempt to combat this for the 3rd Test, England have recalled Bell and Finn for Bairstow and Broad. Finn’s height and pace became more and more fearsome with every game he doesn’t play and Broad does. Bell just about has credit in the bank, although he could do with a score.
Just after tea on Day One, India sit on 205-4 having won the toss. The worry for England is Graeme Swann has managed just 10 overs and looks as though he is ill, and again the quicks (Finn and Anderson) have combined figures of 1-109. Another couple of wickets this evening will still see England feel as though they’ve had a decent day; if Sachin Tendulkar can build his current score (67*) into something approaching 3 figures, then it could be a long Day Two. Either way, England need others to step up.