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Historic Test is one to savour

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Tom Fordyce | 23:19 UK time, Monday, 25 July 2011

Lord's, London

Sometimes anniversaries can fall a bit flat. The card arrives late in the post, or the present goes down badly, or some hapless clown forgets the date altogether and ends up sleeping in the spare room.

Not at the 2,000th Test match. After four days of delightful ding-dong between the best two teams in the world came a denouement that was as perfect a commemorative gift as five-day cricket could hope to receive: thrills and spills from first delivery to last, a final-session triumph conjured from bowling excellence and an atmosphere that mixed febrile and fiesta to intoxicating effect.

If Test cricket is dead, as some would have you believe, this was a very strange kind of wake.

From 8am the queues were snaking away from the Grace Gates and up the Wellington Road; by 9.30am Tube drivers on the London Underground were telling passengers as far away as Waterloo that all 20,000 tickets had sold out.

Supporters queuing for tickets

Supporters queue for hours to get tickets - others will be disappointed (Getty)

The first customer had arrived at two in the morning, clutching a restorative can of lager, mindful that 20,000 seats at £20 a pop were never going to last long. Whether he was still awake when Stuart Broad had Ishant Sharma trapped lbw just after 5pm to seal England's 196-run victory is rather less certain.

Supporters sprinted to their seats. Those already in gave a standing, shouting ovation to an England team merely completing their pre-match warm-up jog round the boundary.
This just doesn't happen at Lord's. It only occasionally happens in India, and only then for big one-day matches.

But with Sachin Tendulkar making his final Test appearance at the home of cricket, Hyderabad had come to Headquarters.

There were gripping subplots everywhere you looked - Broad's return to form when on the point of being dropped, the battle between a Wall in Rahul Dravid and wrecking-ball in Chris Tremlett, the series-long series struggle for the world number one ranking - yet at the centre of it all stood Tendulkar, the highest run scorer in Test history, a star name who could have filled the stands twice over on his own.

By the time he trotted down the pavilion steps 20 minutes before lunch, his side were already in deep trouble, denied his stellar assistance by the viral infection that had left him laid up in bed for most of Sunday.

There was an enjoyable irony about it all: in front of thousands of people who were bunking off work on a sickie, here was someone who was genuinely ill but turning up for a long shift. Could he make that anniversary even more memorable by making his 100th international century in the 100th Test between the two sides?

The standing ovation was expected. The fact that he was almost bowled through the gate first ball by James Anderson was not.

On Saturday his arrival at the crease had been so keenly anticipated that half the crowd started mistakenly cheering for a random 12th man who happened to precede him onto the field. Even the sun had offered its own salute, popping out from behind a cloud to spotlight the hero's match to the crease.

On Monday the sun shone bright all day long. The Little Master did not.

Willed on even by some England fans in the crowd, he timed one elegant four away off Anderson but then retreated onto a metaphorical sick-bed, the raucous chants of "IN-DEE-AA! IN-DEE-AA!" failing to shake him from his torpor.

Broad had him trapped plumb lbw on 11, only for umpire Billy Bowden for somehow to reprieve him. Rather than serving as a tonic, it appeared to make him feel even worse.
Badgered incessantly by Graeme Swann's aggressive spin, tormented by Anderson's swing, he went 20 balls without a run, then 30, then 40. Three-quarters of an hour passed without a single scoring shot.

An edgy single finally took him to 12. Celebrations broke out among the Indian fans as if he had moved into the 90s, a Mexican wave breaking out and being cheered round the ground until it failed on the indestructible breakwater of the members' pavilion.

Four balls later he was dropped by Andrew Strauss at first slip. That, you felt, could be the turning-point, the Lazarus moment that would turn the Test on its head.

Cricket has its fairytales, but this would not be one of them. Two deliveries later even Bowden couldn't turn down the lbw. Once again Tendulkar would be denied.

Shane Warne, the best bowler of his generation, never took five wickets at Lord's. Now the best batsman of the era will also retire without his name on the honours board.
For England the day represented another significant hurdle surmounted on their way to the top of the world.

The bowlers were outstanding, complementing each other magnificently, each stepping forward when another flagged.

Broad, close to be being dropped before this match, bowled better than he has since The Oval 2009. Anderson rediscovered his magic at the death to take five second innings wickets. Swann strangled Sachin, and Tremlett has now taken a wicket in every innings he has bowled in for England.

England, let's remember, had been put in to bat by India skipper MS Dhoni. Despite that they scored so many runs that they could declare twice, and dismissed what we thought was the strongest batting line-up in the world twice for less than 300.

A shambles when the Andy Flower/Strauss partnership came together at the start of 2009, they are now unbeaten in a test series since that early defeat in the West Indies. They are also now forcing final day wins in the style of the great Australian teams we all used to fear so much.

The previous best final day crowd at Lord's was the 24,000 who roared Freddie Flintoff on as he demolished the Australian tail in 2009. By the time all the gate receipts on Monday had been counted, 25,227 happy punters had passed through the gates.
It was all rather wonderful to witness.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan talked about it as the best Test match he had seen since retirement. On Test Match Special, Phil Tufnell was wreathed in both smoke and smiles. "It was an unbelievable atmosphere," he marvelled. "I have never heard a forward defensive being met with oohs and aaahs before."

Vaughan also believes this is a bigger series for England than last winter's Ashes. "That was against the fifth best team in the world," he said, with some glee. "This is the number one."

The series is still young. India will come battling back. Whether any of it can top Lord's very own Magic Monday is quite another matter.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    fabulous game, but england cannot rest on their laurels - injury and illness severely hampered this indian side - if they had a fully fit XI it may have been a different result... but good luck in the next one, england!

  • Comment number 2.

    What a great game - but this 'sold out by 9:30' thing is untrue - I arrived at the end of the que at 9:30, bought a ticket by 11. By then they still had thousands of tickets to sell as they hadn't opened all the stands. It sold out at about 11:30.

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    I want to raise something not mentioned in Tom's blog but repeatedly raised by the radio commentators, prompted by the early injury to Zaheer Khan: should substitutes (other than fielders) be allowed when a player is injured?

    This is an appalling idea. It would negate one of the key strategic choices made by selectors. It would also raise all kinds of practical problems and open the door to sharp practice.

    There have been lengthy debates on this and other forums about the respective merits of choosing a team with four bowlers and six batsmen, or five bowlers and five batsmen. Why make it easy, and incidentally discard a fertile source of interest and discussion? Why downgrade the value of "genuine" all-rounders, worth their place for both batting and bowling, and who include some of the game's most iconic figures?

    As for practical issues: who says whether a bowler is injured or unwell? Can you replace a seamer with a spinner, or an off-spinner with a leg-spinner, or a fast bowler who relies on swing with one who relies on pace and bounce? If not, who decides whether a replacement is a genuine equivalent? (Suppose you give this task to the umpires or the referee: what if they have never seen the replacement bowl?) Can you replace a left-hander with a right-hander, or vice versa? Would replacements be allowed to bat, and what if the replacement is a superior batsman? What if a touring party does not include a player who is a like-for-like replacement?

    India struggled in this Test in part because their four-bowler strategy came unstuck. Perhaps that will cause them to rethink their selection for the next Test. Perhaps it will happen to England next time.

    There's an old saying: hard cases make bad law. Even more so here, where the "hard case" is a risk knowingly accepted by the selectors. For cricket's sake, let's hear no more of this nonsense idea.

  • Comment number 5.

    A winning team must not rest on its laurels. I still believe this England team would be more effective with a 5th bowler, say Bresnan. There is enough runs in this England team for Prior to bat at 6. It's nothing personal against Morgan, but Bresnan, Broad and Swann can weigh in aplenty with runs. But the permutations for a captain managing his bowlers, and the variety of an already well balanced attack, would be greatly strengthened. It would also represent an even more positive mindset for the entire squad.

  • Comment number 6.

    I totally agree Jamois and have thought for sometime that England play a dangerous game by having only 4 bowlers. With a top five that is so strong (Strauss probably the weakest on form) then Prior and Broad not sure the 6th batsmen in needed. Everytime I say the 4 bowlers might struggle and everytime I'm proved wrong. Long may that continue. Come on England and take that number 1 spot.

  • Comment number 7.

    Strauss
    Cook
    Trott
    KP
    Bell
    Prior
    Broad
    Bresnan
    Swann
    Tremlett
    Anderson

    Thats a long tail.Broads capable of good knocks but he's too inconsistent with the bat to bat at 7 i think.

    4 bowlers was enough to win down under.Swann can bowl plenty of overs to help rotate the fast bowlers, 4's enough.If a bowler gets injured - like zaheer khan- then thats the chance you take.

  • Comment number 8.

    Great match but India where very unlucky with injury/illness to there best bowler and batsman, hopefully the rest of the series will be as exciting. well done England.

  • Comment number 9.

    Firstly, a great and exciting win.
    However, as a few of you have mentioned illness and injury certainly played their part. I manage a team in Bangalore and everyone over there is speaking of the fact that if Sachin or Zaheer were on top of their game then we would have struggled, but that's the nature of the sport. It isn't often that a team is 100% fit and on form. We didn't have it for years.

    Whilst I am a fan of Morgan in the shorter versions, I still don't think he fits into the current squad. Bresnan is the obvious choice. If one of out top 4 doesn't fire we struggle (as we saw yesterday with Trott and KP) to fill the gap.

    Always nice to see us declare twice. Can't remember when that happened last...

  • Comment number 10.

    let's be honest, India were thoroughly outplayed for just about all of this match. England wobbled in the 2nd innings but that was about it.

    It would be wrong to look at the injury to Khan and Tendulkar's illness as the reason that India didn't put up much of a fight.

    Even without these two issues, India would most likely have been hammered anyway.

    You have to remember that England dropped some simple chances that they would normally have snaffled.

    India got some outrageous luck with the LBWs, something that UDRS would have sorted out.

    Add all the ifs, buts and maybes together and England would still have thumped India.

  • Comment number 11.

    Brilliant brilliant stuff from England again. Why do people keep wanting to tinker with the team. Yes for variety in an ideal world it would be good to have 5 bowlers but why change a winning formula and a winning side? Why do people keep forgetting that the great West Indies side of the 70s & 80s and the Aussies in the 90s & 00s all had 4 bowlers supported by occasional bowlers? All hugely successful teams who didn't have genuine test class all rounders (who are historically few and far between). I for one think the selectors continue to do an exceptional job. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 12.

    Having beaten the worlds No1 test side this England team must surely now be recognised as amongst the best. The Ashes victory and other subsequent performances now stand up on their own surely.

    Some India supporters were going to the old 606 Forums and pointing out, during those ashes games, that England beating the Aussies was an OK performance but that would get thrashed by India

    Well here we are - Its only the start, but India have certainly not thrashed England, and the cheers going round the Indian contingent at Lords was in support of potentially saving the test, not winning it!

    I know that India will get stronger, and there is every chance that India will win the series. But after the last 5 days, even the most ardent India supporter must now conceede that the ashes were not a Flash in the pan, but the progression of an England side becomming truely work class; well able to compete with the best in the world.

  • Comment number 13.

    In reply to RemusOldhack:
    As far as I know, substitutes are not allowed to bat, bowl or keep wicket. They can only field. Zaheer Khan had to bat in both innings even though he was injured. Also, India had to make do with three 'full time' bowlers.

  • Comment number 14.

    Congrats England!
    That was an awesome win. Hopefully this brings India to reality. Never mind injuries - India were outbatted outbowled and outfielded. The series should have preceded by at least two or three practice games. We simply sauntered in with just one match. Looks like we need to rest Zaheer for the next one and take out Harbahajan as well - he seems a mere passenger. Hopefully India would show more spine in their batting in the next match. I thought the most telling aspect of the match was India's first innings - the pitch was good enough to bat but the bowling was great, enough to get them off for below 300.

  • Comment number 15.

    Fantastic game, deservedly won by England, although India were unlucky with injuries & illness.
    But it could have been ruined (for me) by some bad LBW decisions. Why on earth didn't we have reviews for LBWs? The technology's there, it's being used for other types of dismissal. Why did we choose to increase the chances of getting crucial decisions wrong?
    Unlike some sports, cricket had the courage and integrity to implement video replays, so having proved that it works, why stop using it?

  • Comment number 16.

    forget excuses about injury and illness, england continued their current trend of dominating nearly most of every day of the test match. Australia could not resist the force, Sri Lanka were really only saved by ridiculous amounts of rain and India (from what happened in the 1st test only) look like becoming another victim. Had conditions been better on the first day after India won the toss, england could have declared with an even higher amount of runs than they did. India will be weaker without Zaheer Khan...Fair enough but its not like England are missing their star bowler of the same age Flintoff, who missed loads of games to injury and is now retired. India are capable of coming back in this series, I just hope indian fans and players respect the size of the task facing them now.

  • Comment number 17.

    JUst overlooking the fantastic win yesterday, we were informed by Lords staff that the capacity was 28,500. Why on earth was the attendance 3000 short of this given how many people were turned away?

    On the 4 bowler issue. We saw against Sri Lanka that when Anderson got injured we were very short of options. I do believe Morgan has to (unfortunately) be dropped for Bresnan. I think Broad must be pushed into the all rounder role we so desperately need to make that step up to number 1. I also think Swann needs to start contributing more with the bat as well.

    I do agree with the mantra 'you never change a winning formula' but having only 4 bowlers is a risk too far for me

  • Comment number 18.

    I went along and witnessed a fantastic display from England.

    The same cannot be said for the MCC however...

    We arrived at St Johns Wood tube station about 10.15 to see people leaving Lords after seeing the queues, indeed there was an announcement on the station saying don't bother its sold out. Somewhat dissappointed we decided to have a stroll around the ground anyway, more for something to do rather than to hope to get in. However, when we reached the Grace Gates, after walking past the massive queues for the North and East Gate ticket offices, we heard a bloke on a loud hailer announcing tickets were also available there - walked up no queue, £20 and 5 minutes later we were in. Lucky for us :-)

    I appreciate that the staff were just trying to get people in as quickly as possible before the start of play, but rather unfair on the 1000s of people patiently queuing who probably did not get in.

    The ticket staff at Lords need to anticipate demand a bit better and in my opinion on a day like yesterday would be much better having all ticket staff on hand at one location with one queue rather than multiple ticket office locations - especially ones that open well after the queues have formed. Also a one ticket per person (maybe two) would prevent the touts getting hold of too many.

  • Comment number 19.

    India went into this match with only three bowlers and then lost their star man to injury. Risky.

  • Comment number 20.

    England don't have just 4 bowlers as both Pietersen and Trott are more than able to bowl a few overs, heck Pietersen actually offers a decent challenge with his offspin with additional bounce due to his height.

    Keep this England team together and only chop and change when injuries happen, however I do worry we don't seem to have as many batsmen knocking at the door as we do with bowlers (Bresnan & Finn) with test match credentials.

  • Comment number 21.

    Great game and a great day out. However I must also mention the 'mis-information' that was being bandied about in the morning on the tickets and queues. I got there at 10'ish and shocked to see the length of the queues even though the Lords twitter site had already mentioned long queues. Once I located the end of the queue (which just kept on meandering through the streets of residential St Johns Wood), it only took another 30 minutes to get in. Well done to the stewards and everyone that queued patiently but I feel sorry for people who turned back without even trying.

  • Comment number 22.

    Off topic again I'd like to add to my absolute dislike of the cricketing governing bodies in this country. The most northern test match this summer is at Trent Bridge, what an abdolute farce. Are the ECB just made up of southern toffs keeping cricket for their mates down south???

    Regardless of how good the atmosphere was at Lords (granted it sounded great) nothing beats atmosphere for a test match in the North especially when India, Pakistan or Australia are here. No test cricket at Headingly, Old Trafford or Chester-Le-Street is criminal, with the odd one dayers to keep us northerns happy is pathetic.

  • Comment number 23.

    I was there yesterday and like many others thought it was a very good performance. The queue was fine, good natured and self-policing, although a few more stewards wouldn't have gone amis.

    One major problem I had with the days play was the pace though. The over rate was around 12 an hour, which felt shockingly slow. There was little urgency on the field when moving between fielding positions or to the start of run-ups. It's fabulous that so many people wanted to see the game yesterday, but it's very very hard to convince non-cricket fans that it is worth watching when everything happens so slowly.

  • Comment number 24.

    I dont really see why people want to go to a 5 bowler strategy...........we've managed to win against great teams with a four man attack..........even in the 5th test in the 2005 ashes we played with a four man attack (because Jones got injured) and that was with Ashley Giles who wasnt anywhere near the callibre of Swann as the 4th bowler and a holding spinner. Its even more ridiculous now Broad, Tremlett and Anderson have showed how well they bowl in this game and everyone knows what Swann can do. This means that in an innings you would expect atleast one bowler to bowl a good/ great spell and take a good chunk of the wickets and the others would just play a supporting role. The extra batsman is definately needed as England are occassionally prone to a collapse and not every batsman will succeed everytime. But having lower middle order players like Prior and Morgan, even Broad and Swann can mean that England have enough to fall back on to get the runs!

    Also everyone talks about the illness/ injury to the indians. Well in the first innings all the indian batsman were fully fit (maybe not fully prepared) and we still bowled them out for less than 300 on a good batting surface and we still dropped catches.

    Basically another great game by a very good team.........but i wanna see just how good the indians are!!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Great test, although I think there's been much too much said about Tendulkar getting a century at lords. I'm sure he is embarrassed by the hyperbole. He wasn't thinking about getting the century, he was thinking about saving the game. All I heard on TMS, especially the 5th day, was will Tendulkar do it, with an England victory becoming the sub plot.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi Tom, delighted for England and more importantly, delighted for Test Cricket and another 'two fingers' to those who consistently bang on about the 'death of test cricket'. In favour of what? A 20/20 slogathon which the greedy authorities both domestic and international, are milking to death, rather like sprinting to an oil field field with a bucket until it runs dry or even worse a 50 over format which frankly I now find so dull, predictable that I cannot honestly recall the last one I watched right through.

    For me, nothing compares to the tests right from the heritage through to studying the reams of stats. Simply amazes me today how quickly someone can rattle up 100 tests. Something I don't like is the sheer amount crammed into one year and seems no real time available to reflect on a great series or win before the next one comes around.

    The slight disappointment for me (and it is slight!) is that India were so woefully under prepared for the series. I would have liked them to have had three proper four-day games (akin to us down under last winter) and come to the series all guns blazing. One four-day match is frankly ridiculous and doesn't do the battle of two teams going head-to-head for the number one ranking justice. No wonder Zaheer did a hamstring.

    Anyway, well done England, delighted with a great start to the series. Strauss is finally developing a more aggressive captaincy in terms of declarations compared to the ridiculous delaying in the last West Indies away series. If he can translate this to really 'going for it' in the field when attacking, he has the capacity to become a truly great captain. I believe England will stick with four bowlers for this series and then ditch (probably Morgan) for the winter and bring back Panesar to the attack for the dustbowls ahead this winter.

    Terrific five days and no doubt India will come back strongly so all set up for the best series in England since Ashes '05

  • Comment number 27.

    @#22 Wirral18, whilst it may seem that way, I grew up as a kid being constantly frustrated with test matches being rained off at 'Eadingly and Old Trafford when the sun was shining down south. Coupled with the bad behaviour and the racist chants, I for one am glad test matches have moved to Cardiff and Southampton. Lords is..........well Lords, the Mecca of cricket.

  • Comment number 28.

    Firstly Lord's got it spot on and considering the rush for tickets handled it really well. Certainly a day the young cricket fans won't forget in a hurry.

    Secondly, I think Sachin (& Raina) had the right no risk strategy for TEST cricket hit the bad ball and leave as many as possible. As well as England bowled IF players like Harbajan had concentrated on survival this might've been an even tighter finish.

    Thirdly DO we need a 5th bowler for Trent Bridge? We have a perfect one ready. Do India have a replacement for Z Khan? If not we could go more attacking. Should we, well that is upto Mr Flowers he has called it right so far, just look at Broad.

  • Comment number 29.

    #27, didn't the Cardiff & Southampton tests get largely rained off, and poorly attended?

  • Comment number 30.

    OH JOY.What a great team and the whole thing just came together and one thing I hope this will achieve is that it will shut up the likes of Botham(so full of his own importance and old fashioned opinions) and some of the other so called commentators.My husband and I were astounded at the negative comments aimed at the English team,David Gower was almost screaming when that so called catch was not given to India,a comment of 'bad luck' would have done.If our team is not doing well I expect support,not people like these just heaping praise on the opposition.If you listen to commentators from other countries speaking of their countrys form you will rarely hear them praise the opposition,partisan is a good word for our commentators to learn.The best commentator and always on our side is Mikey,who gives good comments and does not make personal attacks on England.We have a team of hard working dedicated young men,who never make the front pages for bad behaviour (Mr Botham take note),so if you can't say something constructive -SHUT UP!

  • Comment number 31.

    @Andyspur37 Never have i heard of racist chants at Old Trafford. I agree the rain has been a problem but did you see the half empty stadiums at Southampton and Cardiff?? It was terrible, it's pretty much a sell out every day at Old Trafford when i've been there and the atmosphere is quality. Some of it is very harsh on some of the players but i've never heard racism EVER there.

    And to be honest when you hear from the players they enjoy the banter 'up North'. It makes from a complete change to the often stale atmosphere and half empty stadiums down south

  • Comment number 32.

    Fantastic to take 20 wickets at Lords, really great effort to the team! Sometimes in sport we talk like all injuries are unlucky. Sachins illness was unlucky, but the injury to Khan was the result of choosing someone thats not match fit and Gambhirs injury is a risk of playing at that position.

    I dont think I have any idea whats going to happen next, but in 30 years of supporting England its never been as much fun as it is now!

  • Comment number 33.

    AndySpur, that's a shocker of a comment, mindless and bigoted. I have attended several test and one-day matches in the North at the 2 grounds you mention and against opposition from various cultures and have never heard any racist chanting. I also used to live in Cardiff and can promise you that it rains a lot more there than at Chester-le-Street (near to where I now live) for example. I was actually frustrated about the rain at the very grounds in the South you mention because, guess what... the sun was shining up here and I managed to crawl out of my cave to witness it!!

  • Comment number 34.

    5 Bowlers!

    I know that some will think this a little strained but England have always had at least 5 bowlers. In this previous test they used 6 - Anderson, Broad, Swann, Tremlett, Trott and KP.

    I know the last two are only part-timers really but both can be effective.

    The difference is whether you feel you routinely need a five man attack - because you four isn't quite good enough - or whether you need a five man attack to secure against injury. Don't think England need the former nor the latter. The attack we have has consistently shown that they should take 20 wickets and in the latter event you have 2 part-timers to offer relief.

    The only thing I feel slip up with is that they don't tend to amend their attack according to the conditions. I would also feel happier with Onions in the side as he's more of a wicket to wicket bowler and sometimes our three current seamers don't make the batsmen play enough - but that's just me.

  • Comment number 35.

    To jamois
    Concerning naming just 4 bolwers

    But surely KP should be counted as a genuine allrounder now!? ;-)

  • Comment number 36.

    A truly wonderful test match worthy of Lords and the 2000th in history , not until 5.30 on the last day was the result known and I take my hat off to all the england lads . I would also like to say was a pleasure it is either watching or listening to cricket in this country , Aggers , Tuffers , Vaughan , Blowers , Sunil , Atherton , Hussain , Botham , Holding and the irrepresible Bumble make it a real pleasure . Can any sport claim to have such wonderful company as these gentlemen ??? nothing comes close and when its an England win it all serves to be a great pleasure on a summers day ))

  • Comment number 37.

    Are you kidding me? This was hardly a classic test match.

    The first session of play, it was criminal how India didn't take more wickets in ridiculously helpful, I might be biased here, but the likes of Asif and Aamir this time last year took plenty of wickets.

    Granted KP's 200 was a classy innings considering the conditions but the ball wasn't swinging overly in the last few days and hardly turned at all.

    Nothing to savour about in terms of quality, but entertaining nonetheless.

    England were much better, and it's going to take someone to bowl more magic spells or a few batsmen for India to really shine for them to come back in the series.

  • Comment number 38.

    I had a great day at Lord's yesterday, but since getting back home last night, I was surprised to hear all the stories going around early yesterday telling people not to bother turning up from the likes of Jonathan Agnew.

    I emerged from St John's Wood Station at about 10.45, and found very long queues snaking round the streets. The queues moved amazingly quickly and I was in my fantastic seat at the front of the top deck of the grandstand, perfectly square of the wicket, by 11.15.

    So were people really being told to go home before I arrived? I also didn't hear announcements on the tube from Waterloo saying all tickets had already gone, as was suggested.
    Perhaps I was lucky, perhaps it's fortunate I don't subscribe to the egos and misinformation put out on the likes of Twitter, or I might have believe that I should head all the way home to the south coast as soon as I arrived in London.

    From my experience yesterday, I would like to thank the MCC for running an slick operation, getting as many people as possible in, quickly and efficiently.

  • Comment number 39.

    A really good test match and great to see a full house for all 5 days. Certainly India will need to look at their bowling, they should have taken more wickets on Thursday when conditions were suitable and all bowlers were available. Not to score over 300 runs on what was a pretty sound wicket would also be of concern to them. England now have this canny ability to dig themselves out of trouble (the thing the Aussies used to do again and again). With the next test on Friday there is not much time for Fletcher and his backroom staff to repair his side and to improve both the bowling and batting elements and put together a team that can rightly represent the best test team of the moment. As for England, 4 bowlers is working at the moment, as others have said we can nudge our way through that 65-80 period before the new ball with Trott and Peteirson. With Broad actually realising again what the best length to bowl is, it is like having an extra bowler at the moment anyway. Should be a cracking series.

  • Comment number 40.

    I wouldn't change anything for now. I think you only go in with an extra bowling option if you have a genuine all rounder. I don't believe Broad fills the criteria for this role. I know some think a combination of Bresnan/Broad/Swann gets enough runs, but I don't think we want to be relying on it. I'd stick with this formula until a certain Ben Stokes develops into the top class all rounder I think he will.

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't believe that India were at all unlucky in this game. For a start, if you don't prepare physically for such an intense Test Series, then you're bound to be undercooked and a number of their players seem overweight. Moreover, they won the toss and put England in under very bowler-friendly conditions and failed to capitalise. Their fielding was lacklustre and their batting benefited from some poor decisions in their favour. For me, England look a far superior Test team.

    However, said that, India do have a very strong batting line up and I would expect them to win at least one of the remaining games, so England need to be vigilant.

  • Comment number 42.

    India were severely disrupted with injury, Zaheer was a huge loss but Broad especially was outstanding. As were the conditions, the pundits and the TV coverage. Botham used to be an embarrasment but now he's rather good.

    Is it me, or do all the best test matches involve England these days?

    And the same was true for one dayers in the last WC.

    I think the poms invented 20-20 so they could distract the rest of the world and then dominate in the longer form of the game.

    crafty poms!

  • Comment number 43.

    Am I alone in thinking that the Sri Lanka series was a bit of a phoney war in the build up to the main event? Flower is a great tactician, and maybe, just maybe, the short pitched bowling employed by the likes of Tremlett and Broad during the Sri Lanka was purely to mislead the Indians that this would be the same tactic thrown at them. A fair proportion of preparation done in the nets would have been aimed at countering this. The lengths seen from Tremlett and Broad in this test were certainly far fuller and more probing and caught many of the Indian batsmen rooted in the crease (with the notable exception of Dravid and Raina perhaps).

  • Comment number 44.

    India's state of preparation for this series reminds me of England's for Australia 2006/7. Not a good omen for them and England must be favourites for Trent Bridge. But after that, probably, Sehwag will make his comeback. VS vs the England pace attack should make for some really fascinating duels.
    Anyone know who is likely to replace Zaheer Khan on Friday. Can't believe they'll risk him breaking down completely.

  • Comment number 45.

    Beating the Aussies was a doddle. Beating India will prove to be a much tougher test as they have definite "bouncebackability", unlike the convicts.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think India missed the trick by not playing Yuvi at least he could have been your fifth bolwer who can for sure bat as well and has history of getting KP out with his pies lol. Anyway stop complaining about injuries BCCI decided to rest the key players when they should have been playing in the WI. The only way is down for India i'm afraid unless something miraculous happens.

  • Comment number 47.

    I don't think we should excuse India's defeat because of injury and some luck element. England are chasing the no.1 spot from India, and no.1 Sports teams are made up of more than just talent, but fitness, character etc. In this game India's fitness failed them, and some of the pundits who have followed India closely said it was not a surprise, especially the injury to Khan. They then spent the rest of the test match with only 3 main bowlers and paid the price. In the first test against Sri Lanka we suffered an injury to one of the bowlers (forgotten which one) and still won the test on the final day.

    As for the rest of the series, i do expect them to be better but England had a couple of failures in this test match too: Cook, Morgan, Strauss batting, dropped catches. Should be a good series

  • Comment number 48.

    Extensive Slip and Batting Practice for Strauss seems to be the order of the Day

  • Comment number 49.

    Any one in their right mind who still insist to claim Test cricket is dead has got to rethink their position.

  • Comment number 50.

    I for one was amazed by the manner in which India folded on day 5. Admittedly, the bowling was good, but it wasn't THAT good.

    Raina and Sachin did well to select the balls to hit, and those to leave well alone. Several other players seemed to have decided that the game was lost and that they needed to go out in a blaze of glory (particularly Bhaji).

    The great Australian teams of recent years, and even the great English teams of recent years, would have had a decent crack at a draw from this one. Panessar/Collingwood, anyone?

  • Comment number 51.

    I don't know what you mean by "a test to savour" and "worth queuing up for". It was after all a pretty one-sided contest. What is so special about an easy victory for one team?

  • Comment number 52.

    Well done England, but I would still not count England as the best. They are good and getting there, but still not there. As everybody has already said, India was depleted and weakened. And many have always argued that India are successful at home and not away. That is false as India has been very successful out of India as much as they were successful in India. England however barring the Ashes, haven't done well outside. So unless they can consistently win outside England, England cannot be termed as number one. They have to get as good as India have become outside India in the past two years.
    Secondly India have always done bad in the first test of almost every series in the past two years, but have come back to win or atleast equal the series. So even if a draw means, England have lost a chance to become number one. If they can't win a series at home and have to settle for just a draw, that tells a lot about a team and the reason they are number three.
    I am not a Eng hater, infact I was pitching for the English against the Aussies. I am saying these points for England fans to understand what more they need to become number one, as India too went through the same a year back, but have done well and justified their spot.
    One info about the Rahul Tandon interview. He knows nothing about Indian cricket. Abhinav Mukund is an awesome fielder and great batsman. He has done a good job, though he can't be expected to fill Shewag's shoes as for the batting is concerned. Shewag is shewag, no one can replace him. If only Mr. Rahul had seen this test match before opening his mouth on the radio, he would have understood how good he performed on the field and how many good stops he made. Mukund was good in WI too. The only time he missed a catch was during the IPL in a Chennai Super Kings match and that was a rare error.
    He along with Kohli, Jadeja, Raina, Vijay, Rohit Sharma are some of the best fielders among the fringe players. I wonder if Indian team would even go above SA and NZ to be termed as the best fielding side of this era from being considered perhaps the worst now, once all these youngsters play together in a few years, when the legends retire.
    All the best for England and India for the next test match. This is going to be one cracking tourny

  • Comment number 53.

    A couple of things need to be made clear here. Much has been made of the Zaheer injury. No one mentions that Chris Tremlett was struggling with injury for most of the last day, but stayed on (save for a couple of exits for treatment) and managed to be menacing. England also had just four bowlers and one of them injured. The second is that Zaheer had come into the Test cold, with almost no match practice all year. I believe that he had only bowled 58 overs in 2011: if you put a quick bowler who is nearing the end of his career (he'll be 33 at the end of the summer), into a Test with so little preparation you accept the consequences and more when you are betting everything on a 4-man attack, half of which is inexperienced in English conditions.

    So, yes, some sympathy for India but, in part, the problem was of their own making.

    Where was the match won and lost? A crucial turning point was when Dhoni put on effectively declaration bowling on the 4th afternoon when it was clear that a declaration was going to happen. Andrew Strauss could not have believed his luck! Rather than make Prior and Broad fight for every run, they were served up a buffet that allowed them to bat at T20 pace and Strauss to bring the declaration forward at least an hour with respect to what had been expected at the start of the day. When the game goes beyond Tea on Day 5, that time saved is critical and more so because it took the game away from India, removing an Indian victory from the equation.

    A second factor was the double failure of the Indian batting. In both innings England were in some difficulty, but fought back. England moved from 270-5 to 474-8d in the first innings and from 62-5 to 269-6d in the second. In contrast, India added 103 and 36 for the last 5 wickets. In the first innings India were 158-2 and cruising, in the second, 131-2, yet in neither innings did they get close to 300 and both times struggled to double the score from that point.

    It all looks like India, who do not really rate England as being worthy opponents, having won 3 of the last 4 series (albeit each by only a single Test), were not really taking the challenge as seriously as the might a series against Australia. The side was underprepared, had serious weaknesses: a spinner who looks increasingly like John Emburey (Indian fans hype Harbhajan, but his 75 wickets in the last two years have come at a cost of 39.7 - well above his career average of 32.1- despite bowling in the more spin-friendly surfaces of Asia in 13 of the%2

  • Comment number 54.

    Let's hope that England can pile on yet more pressure this weekend and seal another win before India has a chance to regroup. Imagine the consternation back in India, if the series win is already beyond them less than a fortnight after it's started! There's every chance this lousy summer of the weather washing out one of the other matches and then it'll be all over. Although an England win by two clear Tests would be perfect :-)

  • Comment number 55.

    With regards to the happy surprise that many commentators greeted the large numbers that turned out yesterday to watch the final day, this was no surprise to me. Why? The cost of tickets are now out of the reach of many. The opportunity for under 16s, on the first day of the summer holidays, to attend a Test match was difficult to resist. A large Indian population centred on London and the South East who wanted to see Sachin bat and a run chase likely. A positive result was always likely given that the game had been compressed into four days. With no live coverage of Test cricket on terrestrial TV the opportunity to watch cricket is now much reduced, for many. And this was a top of the table clash between the best and second best test playing nations. It leaves a real dilemma for the administrators - if you want the next generation of youngsters to be interested enough in cricket, in order to play and watch the game in the test format those youngsters must be allowed the opportunity to watch test cricket in the grounds. Current ticket pricing policy for Test matches works against this.

  • Comment number 56.

    Mr Fordyce: you state that this was a test between the 'best two sides in the world'. Isn't this rather arrogant and disrespectful to South Africa given that they are ranked above England and had the better of the last home/away series between the sides (SA won in England, draw in SA)? Some England fans maintain that SA were lucky to win in England, but given that the drawn series in SA featured England twice hanging on to draw with 9 wickets down it is difficult to conclude that England are a better team. You're not the only one to write this over the last couple of days but it seems strange to just state this as fact without any sort of argument or discussion in relation to the real rankings which show this to be a series between 1 and 3.

  • Comment number 57.

    @56: Annual adjustment in the ratings next week? That is why, instead of having to win all 7 Tests this summer to take over the #1 rating (without the adjustment), England only need to beat India by 2 Tests, having only won 1-0 v Sri Lanka.

  • Comment number 58.

    52. At 14:22 26th Jul 2011, Prashant wrote: (a lot of things)

    Prashant, England will be the best Test side in the World when they top the rankings. Your opinions re: playing away from home etc. are just that- opinions.

    Saying 'India were depleted and weakened' is pretty meaningless in my book. I could just as easily say that Zimbabwe are 'weakened in terms of top-class players'. You either win tests or you lose them.

    The loss of Zaheer and subsequent lack of decent all-round bowling attack was down to bad management and planning as much as bad luck. There was nothing stopping HBS from producing a match-changing performance. He simply didn't, and lots of Indian players simply did not play very well.

    On top of this, India received a number of 'donations' from the umpires regarding LBW decisions. You still lost.

    Your statement that 'India have always done bad in the first test of almost every series in the past two years' could, using the type of logic and thought-process you have used, be evidence that they are not therefore worthy to be number 1 test side! 'the first test' is 20% or 25% of all tests!

  • Comment number 59.

    It was only the 1999th Test match

  • Comment number 60.

    #58, perhaps he is suggesting that it was jolly unsporting of England to take the match seriously? :-)

  • Comment number 61.

    Everyone is always commenting about how good India's batting order is and they fail to realize that England's batting order is far more solid now.

    Strauss or Mukund? Strauss.
    Cook or Sehwag? Cook.
    Trott or Dravid? Trott.
    Pietersen or Tendulkar? Tendulkar. One double hundred doesn't make him king.
    Bell or Laxman? Bell.
    Morgan or Raina? Raina.
    Prior or Dhoni? Prior.
    Broad or Singh? Broad.
    Swann or Kumar? Swann.
    Anderson or Khan? Anderson.
    Tremlett or Sharma? Tremlett.

    When nine out of eleven of the players are superior to the trash like Harbajhan Singh... It's no wonder why England dominated and will continue to dominate.

  • Comment number 62.

    58- Alan Dente

    Agree with HBS. He has been out for form ever since India got to the number one position. He had played a huge part in getting India to number 1 and during that period, he was also the second best spinner out there after murali and now that murali is gone, he is still the second best as Swann had swooped in, played some awesome games and is number one. HBS is still believed that he could get back to his old self and perform the way he did before India got to number 1. But frankly the man has been out of form for more than a year and not even the most lowly rated player could be out of form for that long. HBS has to be removed and Mishra, Ojha or Ashwin (who has not yet played test) has to be given a chance. These three are deadly bowlers and India for some reason hesitate too much. I agree to poor management and administration.
    As for the umpires, they do make mistakes and for most times India have been at the wrong end. This is one of those rare times that India have been benefitted and England have for so many times been helped by wrong LBW decisions. Nobody can claim England to be Noble warriors, we all know the kind of things they do.
    Yeah first game is like 25%, but it is of little significance if the other 75% are won. India have been getting those 75%. There is an old saying said in a newer movie. It does not matter who goes ahead at first, it is who comes first at the end that matters. Wait till the tournament ends. India will justify that they are champions

  • Comment number 63.

    @AndySpur37 (no. 27)

    Unbelievable. This comment smacks of somebody who has never been further north than Luton. I can't ever remember hearing racist chanting at a cricket game in the north. Perhaps you went to a football match in the north in the 80s and you've confused yourself. And while rain is an issue round the Pennines, it is hardly much more of an issue than anywhere else. As others have said, Cardiff and the Rose Bowl were rain-affected and poorly attended, possibly due to having too many matches daarn saaarf in the first place. While I do believe Lord's and the Oval should be guaranteed two or maybe three matches a summer between them, a summer without at least one match at Headers or Old Trafford is a real shame.

    Anyway, the match itself was absolutely fantastic, it had everything you want from a test, and the 2000th match couldn't been on a better occasion. Long live test cricket!

  • Comment number 64.

    61- Andy
    OMG you must be kidding. Raina is far ahead of Morgan in all formats, Shewag and cook? Lol they are completely different players. Shewag is far superior to any player in the English team...of all time...ever... Mukund is a fresher, we really don't know how he is going to perform, but domestic wise, he is a record player in terms of number of centuries, half centuries and runs for his age. So give the number of years Strauss has been out there to Mukund and we can only judge then. So for now Strauss is superior to Mukund I agree. And Gambhir is the man to be compared and Gambhir is far ahead of Strauss. We all know what Strauss is going through and has been going through much of his career. He has been perhaps out of form the longest and most frequent. His sublime innings now and again is what is still keeping him in the team. But even his place is uncertain. How could you even compare Trott to Dravid. That is so so so wrong. Nothing to compare, Dravid is far ahead. He is the second highest scorer of all time, a legend, been so consistent for so long. Has saved the team and got centuries in almost every part of the world against the most powerful of attacks. Trott is a newbie. Give Trott as many years as Dravid has been and then you can judge. Frankly he is not going to get so many years. He is already old. Dhoni or prior, as plain batsmen, Dhoni has not had much chance with so many legends in the team, but then again I will agree with this one and give Prior a slight edge. But as an overall cricketer Dhoni is far ahead of Prior. Sachin is incomparable. Again Laxman and Bell and you give Bell a point? Thats as lame as comparing Dravid and Trott. Dravid and Laxman are never to be even used in the same sentence as Trott and Bell (though Trott and Bell are good players, there is just no comparison with Dravid and Laxman) I agree with the tail however, English low order are in fact better batsmen than their top order and are certainly ahead of Indian lower order. But come on, comparing Laxman and Dravid with Trott and Bell is so so unbelievable. And Shewag with Cook? Man somebody needs to watch cricket that does not involve just England.

  • Comment number 65.

    62. At 16:16 26th Jul 2011, Prashant wrote:

    Good points on the spinners. I'd love to see Mishra have a twirl. Though, if we're honest, it was the much-vaunted Indian batting attack that let you down in the 1st Test. I was very unimpressed with Dhoni especially.

    re: LBW decisions. Notice that the England players, whilst obviously being annoyed by not getting the LBW decisions, will probably not now go out and make cowardly 'anonymous' attacks against the umpires in the media.

    Seems like the lessons that our players are dishing out to yours this week are not confined to the pitch... ha.

  • Comment number 66.

    62 - Prashant

    Good to see you are so passionate and confident about your team. It's a credit to the development of the teams of both nations that we are now seeing a battle for World Number One test side status between them. No-one would have believed that possible a few years ago.

    Whoever prevails will need to play some great and thoughtful cricket, which is what Test cricket is all about.

  • Comment number 67.

    England embarrass their critics again:

    Agnew: 4-man attack can't take 20wkts.

    Pringle: England are dull, cricket is entertainment.

    Various punters: "What's Broad even doing in the squad?" as though he was a net-bowler suddenly elevated to the Test side (well-done Aussie).

    Vaughan/Pringle/etc.: Strauss too negative.

    Any chance of a sense of humility from these wiseacres?

    Thought not.

  • Comment number 68.

    Re: 67.

    The view that cricket is entertainment is too simplistic. I doubt there'd much praise from the journos if, with England at, say, 80/6, Broad moon-danced his way to the crease. Test cricket is more akin to the meaning of life or spirituality. Winning/losing run too deep in the psyches of most of those who follow sport.

    And I don't recall big Derek emptying too many bars when he played for England.

  • Comment number 69.

    Lastly, check out Scyld Berry's piece in the DT for an appreciation of what England accomplished at Lord's.

  • Comment number 70.

    Well played England...although I imagine that India getting into their stride may be a trickier proposition. I imagine that this series will go down to the wire.

    My two observations would be that India, players, fans and pundits seem to be rather like those of Australia a year ago. They seem to underestimate England and expect that the game will play out according to a well rehearsed script of crumbling poms and effortless supremacy.

    To come into a test series with just one warm up match in local conditions is more than a bit presumptuous. They behaved as if turning up alone would be enough. No wonder Zaheer Khan ended up pulling a hamstring when called upon to bowl in "anger!". They won't make that mistake again!

    The second problem that they share with Australia can't be solved so easily. They have a clutch of quality players who are at the effective ends of their playing careers. For Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and Tendulker, read McGrath, Ponting, Waugh and Warne. They have stuck to a winning formula for too long and are faced with ageing stars under huge pressure to "do it again", but uncertainty over who fills the inevitable spaces.

    If England carry on playing as they have done then they will win the series and claim the top-spot in the rankings. India will, no doubt, win a test in this series but will be faced with a rebuilding task at the end...it's not as if they're short of playing resources.

    Sadly of course, England achieving the top spot will spur the efforts of others to knock them off it! In this they will ably assisted by the ECB executives who suffer from tinnitus (ringing of cash tills in the ears) who will flog the boys into the dust for profit. England's tenure at the top will be short lived and marked by a succession of career ending injuries for top players.

    Better enjoy the good times while they last!

  • Comment number 71.

    @65 and 66 AlanDente and Susanna Reid,
    Yeah thanks guys its always fun to debate sports with equally enthusiastic fans. Makes it interesting to watch the actual game so that we can pull each others legs based on the result. Right now my legs are pulled far apart. Dhoni better set my legs right. Thanks for BBC to setting the platform

  • Comment number 72.

    "How could you even compare Trott to Dravid. That is so so so wrong. Nothing to compare, Dravid is far ahead. He is the second highest scorer of all time, a legend, been so consistent for so long."

    This isn't about judging careers though. On recent form, even despite Dravid's century I would choose Trott over Dravid. Of the openers I would have Cook and Sehwag (when fit obviously). I'd agree with Laxman over Bell, simply because of the number of important innings Laxman has made, and still continues to make. Bell has been in great form, but his runs have often come after some brilliant partnerships at the top.

  • Comment number 73.

    62 Prashant

    "Nobody can claim England to be Noble warriors, we all know the kind of things they do."

    I don't think that anyone was granting godlike status...we regard our players as mortals here and like them to get to the crease without being mobbed.

    But what's all this "we know the kind of things they do" stuff. That sounds a bit "needy". Did someone kick Zaheer Khan in the back of the leg when I wasn't watching. Did someone give Tendulker a cold? Can you point to any unsporting act during the game...or indeed any other than Atherton's ball roughing all those years ago? Can India claim to be blameless?

    You should be very careful about flinging around accusations otherwise you'll leave yourself open to having your own words used against you. India have indeed only conceded 25% of the series but who's to say whether those wily old chaps weren't simply doing some old fashioned "lengthening" of the odds for the rest of the series?

  • Comment number 74.

    Sorry (I do go on), as for Agnew's claim that England's 4-man attack can't take 20 wkts, ironically I agree with his conclusion but not his premisses.

    Agnew's view: Eng can't take 20 wkts with a 4-man attack. So they need an extra bowler.

    I agree with the conclusion but think England's 4-man attack will often take 20. My thinking is that we bat so deep we can afford to drop Morgan and add TB.

    Granted, SB isn't a genuine all-rounder (yet). But he's not comparable to, say, J. Gillespie who double-tonned against Bangers. SB plays beautifully off the back foot.

    In any event, SB gets into my world Test XI along with a handful of other England players.

    (Tried posting a single piece with all the previous points in one. Wouldn't post tho.)

  • Comment number 75.

    With Morgan having a test to forget, Cook off-colour and the skipper again poor, we effectively won the game with just three front line batters plus Prior and Broad. The latter, Bresnan and even Swann probably consider themselves all-rounders so I would not be concerned if they decide to drop Morgan and go with 5 bowlers for a test on a flat track where wickets will be at a premium.

  • Comment number 76.

    73- Fallen faith
    I am not saying English players are cheaters or anything. But I am saying that they too have for so many times been benefitted by wrong decisions. Remember Strauss 160 odd runs in the World Cup Tie. He had been caught twice and there were clear noises and ofcourse Bell's LBW decision with the UDRS. These are just the recent incidents I can remember. I am not saying Indian players are Gods, there have been times they have whined a lot or misbehaved, like the recent Dhoni- Harper incident. But you saw Broad acting the way he acted against Bowden after those wrong decisions. Sure they were wrong decisions but no player has the right to question the umpire and act they way he did. Even after a couple overs, he kept talking with Bowden about those decisions. Those are unfair play as well. Traditionally there are so many incidents that have happened. India too has had its share of misbehaviour, but claiming England to be the receivers of injustice and saying they have been pure all the time is utter nonsense. There is nothing needy here, have been accepting all of India's errors and only debating the common things that have been missed or misunderstood like the greatness of Indian batsmen ahead of English batsmen

  • Comment number 77.

    61- andy1005
    U mean cook is better than sehwag?? Trott to dravid?? and Bell to laxman??
    Funny blok.. Can cook thrash an opposition.. Temme an eg. against india.. I'll let ya know abt the 1st test at chennai 2008.. May b u forgot it.. It was the second innings of the test match and incame walkin a man called virender sehwag thrashing the english attack all over the park and scored 80 in a single session.. Can cook do tat? Take it for granted if ZAK plays.. He'll remove cook easily.. Rewind 4 years back to 07 were cook gets out the same way he got out in 1st innings to zak.. If he's around then cook can forget getting a fifty in the matches tat ZAK plays. I can agree tat Trott is Engalnd's best player now, but certainly not ahead f dravid.. Mind u tat trott is yet to face which is arguably the best indian line up of ZAK SREE SHARMA.. I guess he got a glimpse f a proper bowling sharma and he could find his poles rattled. And to LAXMAN v BELL.. Temme how many matches has BELL won for england?? Can he bat on a fourth day on a turning track facing the then best aussie bowling line uo f McGrath, warne etc. and score 281? Can he score a match winning century against Murali in his own backyard? Can he rattle australia lik bread and butter?? And not to forget even dravid's feat were the duo batted a whole day without losing a wicket, Mate jus rethink..

  • Comment number 78.

    @61, @64, @72: I agree with 72, especially with the openers it doesn't work to just compare position v position. India's 8-11 are poor and didn't look up to hanging on (as has been said already, they should have been looking to do a Panesar in Cardiff). My combined 11 for batting:

    1. Sehwag (destructive and a great foil to Cook)
    2. Cook (no better opener in Test cricket for the last 9 months)
    3. Trott (second highest average of all time over a decent period, best no. 3 for last 9 months)
    4. Tendulkar (had a great past year, greatest batsmen for decades)
    5. Pietersen (preferred to Laxman in English conditions and at respective stage of careers)
    6. Dravid (preferred to Bell for mental toughness and to provide balance in the middle order)
    7. Prior (just edges Dhoni on form, Dhoni the classier play overall (so far))
    8. Broad
    9. Swann
    10. Anderson
    11. Tremlett

    So I'd have 3 Indians in the batting line up. This might be very different in India, but in England we have much the stronger batting lineup.

    If the question is who's the number one team (personally I feel SA have marginally stronger batting than both Eng and Ind, marginally stronger seam bowling then Eng and much stronger than India) then in just a year or two India will find it hard to compete, with Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman all retiring and Sehwag following soon after. However talented the replacements, integrating them will prove very difficult, even with Fletcher at the helm. England's players are 'staggered' much better in terms of when they'll retire.

    England also ace the bowling lineup selection. A combined 4 *might* include Zaheer over Broad or Tremlett for left arm variety, but it's either 3-1 or 4-0.

    Marvellous game, even if slightly one sided. This would have been a tonking inside 4 days if we'd taken all our catches in both innings. Having said that, if it had rained less on day 1 we'd have had a much lower first innings total. England to win at Trent Bridge and to take the series 2-0 or 3-0.

  • Comment number 79.

    @78
    I can agree to your entire statement just because you added one line. "In England"... Yeah in England, naturally the English players are to be better. If a team is not good enough in their own turf, then they are not fit to be on the top. I would like people to compare player by player on their home and away performances and overall performance. Clearly Dravid, Laxman, Shewag score over Trott, Bell and Cook. Bowling wise, I can only defend Zak over other English bowlers, as for Ishant, PK, Sreesanth, they are all good can be better than English bowlers on their special day, bu special days dont come often, so consistency wise, English bowlers win. Two years back, I would have HBS over Swann, but in recent times, HBS has gone down, so Swann wins. But I can't agree on Trott being better than Dravid, Bell over Lax and Cook over Shewag

  • Comment number 80.

    Yes indeed India can and may come back and this is going to be a great series. But MS Dhoni's comments about things "going wrong" for India that related to injuries and pitch conditions rather than acknowledging an underprepared Indian team not living up to its billing suggests that England may be only one match away from putting this Indian team away.

    Problems cannot be solved unless they are properly analyzed and India certainly has the coaching staff to see the obvious. However, the injury streak that has hit the Indian team since the World Cup and due to the IPL is clearly beginning to catch up with this team and Duncan Fletcher cannot address that. The Indian spin department led by Harbhajan is now showing its age and unless a dramatic turnaround becomes evident quickly, there is little reason to believe the Indian spin attack can drive this series. And any hamstring injury as serious as the one that caused Zaheer to be unable to participate in this critical match after making such a strong beginning is one that is not going to heal quickly-and if Zaheer does play in the second Test, its only a matter of time before India is down to three front line bowlers again unless they cover with a fifth bowler which is unlikely given the batting failures at Lords.

    All told, India appear to lack the swagger that should appear with the No. 1 Test Team, a swagger that was already noticeaby absent in the West Indies when they made the decision to take a 1-0 series win when a dominant 2-0 win against a weak side was there for any aggresive team to take through a run-chase in the Third Test at Windsor Park in Dominica-with a full paying house in attendance which is itself a rarity in Test Matches outside England and Australia these days.

    Finally, it continues to amaze that all of the TV and match audience has the benefit of a full UDRS system in place but the umpires and players do not. The major lbw decisions that went against England did not fortunately affect the outcome of the match, but its only a matter of time before they do and then the uplifting mood of this series to date is bound to be affected and the on-field player interactions will worsen.

    This is a pity given the tremendous boost this series is giving to Test Cricket. When a country is leading a sport, it has a responsibility to move the sport forward, not just to be the "best team." Its a pity that the last two Number Ones, Australia and India will be remembered for failing that basic test. Australia under Ponting for having demonstrated boorish on field behavior, and India due to the BCCI's power plays failing to improve the quality of the sport--and actually taking it backwards.

    England have a great opportunity to take the No. 1 spot and with it perhaps a greater opportunity to keep improving the sport we all love. Lets hope that opportunity will be taken if it presents itself.

  • Comment number 81.

    the fantastic thing now for england is that whilst in the past people would think "i could do a better job than those stupid selectors" i suspect most people now trust the selectors to make the right decision. Although we all have different opinions it has finally got to the stage where the selectors strauss and flower are doing the best possible job. Five bowlers only really works with a genuine allrounder and as we are 1-0 up the onus is on them to bowl us out twice so we shouldn't make it easy for them

  • Comment number 82.

    On the Trott-Dravid comparison (#72 and refs therein), one is a young, rising player in phenomenal form, the other is a legend nearing the end of his career. The fact that he is second highest scorer of all time is irrelevant. In 1985 Geoff Boycott was still the second highest scorer of all time in Tests (I believe), but Tim Robinson kept him out of the Test side. Why? Robinson was a young gun in superb form and Boycott was nearing retirement! It didn't matter how many Test centuries Boycs had, on the head to head at the time the younger player was the better bet.

    For India the trick is going to be to decide how and when to retire Dravid, Tendulkar, et al. so that they are not discarded to quickly and replaced with lesser talent, but neither are they allowed to go on too long and delay the handover until the side is damaged. Right now I suspect that a few players are too powerful and will not allow the selectors to make the decisions that have to be made.

  • Comment number 83.

    England and India are the best two sides in the world right now but what will happen when sachin,the wall and vvs all retire? India will slide down the rankings just as Aus have done after losing mcgrath, warne, gilchrist et al.

    England have strength in depth in abundance.Theres onions,bresnan,bopara,finn,shazhad,davies,woakes,taylor,patel,dernbach and more all waiting in the wings. Do India have the same talent coming through?

  • Comment number 84.

    @83
    India do however have Virat Kohli, Mukund and Raina to replace them while the great Austrailian side had only Johnson, Hughes and Michael Beer to step into their shoes. I can't see a country with 100's of millions of aspiring cricketers going the same way as Austrailia.

  • Comment number 85.

    It's amazing how similar the two teams are and I think that's what makes the convincing nature of the victory all the more impressive. I've rated the players to see how they match up:

    http://samhopwood.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-test-passed.html

  • Comment number 86.

    It is arrogant of the English not to acknowledge that India being reduced to a three man attack was not the main reason England won this match. Also Peiterson was caught when he was on fifty, take the further 150 he scored out of the total and where would England have been?

    Also why do England have to rely on two South Africans and an Irishman, haven't they got good enough English talent.

  • Comment number 87.

    @86. Your first point: some merit in that, although it is not 'arrogance', the fact is this was a convincing win. There are always twists and turns in test matches, and the mark of a good side, over a period of time, is how they recover from the negatives and take advantage of the positives. KP went on to score a double hundred. Sachin was out LBW but not given and was then dropped in the 2nd innings, but didn't score another run. That sums up the differences in the sides in this test.

    Your second point: dull, dull, dull. Go troll elsewhere.

  • Comment number 88.

    86.At 00:11 27th Jul 2011, Uk-teacher wrote:
    It is arrogant of the English not to acknowledge that India being reduced to a three man attack was not the main reason England won this match. Also Peiterson was caught when he was on fifty, take the further 150 he scored out of the total and where would England have been?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Still winners by 46 runs.

    Also why do England have to rely on two South Africans and an Irishman, haven't they got good enough English talent.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Silly point

  • Comment number 89.

    There is very little chance India can take this series from England. While England are playing beautifully, India's problem is it persists with players who do not train hard enough and are constantly unfit, sick or mentally tired. I can't recall the last time Sehwag made it through a series totally fit. Zaheer Khan is another example of a player who thinks he can waltz into a major arena with a pot belly and a tired attitude and strike it big. While both are extremely talented match winners, they do not belong on a world class team if they can deliver only 50% of the time by virtue of being unfit. They should follow Tendulkar's example of always being there for the team.

    England are an eye opener. They are fit, strong, well trained and hungry to take the number 1 spot. There is no stopping this team and it will be a well deserved victory for them this series.

  • Comment number 90.

    @86, it is arogant of people like you not to acknowledge that England's premier new ball bowler also had a hamstring injury that greatly reduced his pace and effectiveness! The difference was that he showed the gumption to play through the pain. The fact that he had bowled a lot this summer and was properly match fit entering the match helped him in this respect.

    Most of the Indian problems in this match were purely self-inflicted and a result or either poor planning, or not taking the opponent seriously. This will not stop a minority of Indian fans blaming external factors such as the umpires for their failings.

    One side took the match seriously. The other... rather less so.

  • Comment number 91.

    If the great Allan Donald think's England are the best Test side, that's good enough for me. Cheers AD. :-)

  • Comment number 92.

    I snuck into Lords at 11:45. While not expecting an action packed day i was disgusted at the slow over rate. why was there a drinks break after 5pm? .drinks should only be allowed in temperatures over 80F or when humidity is over 80 %. if umpires have light metres why not thermometers? the fines are insufficent and match fees are so a % of players income to be meaningless.players should be forced to divulge their total incomes just as senior civil servants have to?.its this cheating of the public that will destroy test cricket. an empty ground means no tv and no tv means no advertising and no sponsorship means no players

  • Comment number 93.

    I am just wondering.....
    Can't we outsource a couple of bowlers like Bresnan and Finn. They don't seem to get into the team and India can surely use them. Besides we guys pay a lot you know as you will find from IPL. ;)

  • Comment number 94.


    What an all round show by the prosperous Prior ! With five catches, a century and a half in the two innings, the charismatic Prior snatched the initiative and took firm charge of the proceedings at the historic Lords sanctuary.

    For India Rahul, Laxman, Raina, Mukund, Praveen and Ishant played well but their efforts were not enough to tame the English lions in their own den.

    Anderson, Broad, Tremlett, Pietersen and Trott all made telling contributions to England’s cause. Congratulations to Andrew Strauss and his men.

    We missed a fit Zaheer, Sachin and Gambhir. Wishing the Indian trio speedy recoveries and quick return to the playing eleven.

    There is much to play for. We need to bounce back at the earliest and keep the interest alive. All the best to MSD and Team India.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 95.

    I have huge respect for Duncan Fletcher, the turnaround in England's form started on his watch. However, I (sadly) think he his little more than an ornament in the Indian dressing room. You just feel that the BCCI will do with the team what they want, and will continue to force the selection of players who will guarantee punters through the turnstiles.

    It is ironic that a previous poster mentioned English arrogance, when the BCCI decided it did not want to use referrals for LBW, when every other nation has no problem with it. It begs the question why?

    I am of the opinion that the Indians thought they could just turn up and win at a canter (arrogant?), a view shared by many posters on the old 606, who are now very conspicuous by their absence. I do not believe this is the view of DF, but as I said, he's probably not the bloke with the final say....

    The other problem facing India, is strength in depth of the current squad. Yes they have decent prospects coming through the ranks, but they have no experience at test level. To stagger their inclusion would require either Dravid or Tendulkar to carry on for another 2 years, and with them both being 39 is a big ask. Big big task to replace 3-4 top players in a short space to time, ask the Aussies about that one.

  • Comment number 96.

    A great victory for England, but as already mentioned, I can't help but thing we only got it due to the illness of some of the Indian players!
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 97.

    I see we still have not stopped debating the injuries.
    I still maintain what I have stated in No.14.
    We have been outbatted, outbowled, and outfielded.
    No .... now that I think about this add "outcaptained" as well.

    Injuries are part of the territory and it is purely our fault our key players burnt themselves out in IPL when they were very well aware of the tour.

    And talking of injuries.... I recall Greame Smith turning up to bat with a fractured hand in the last of their tour to Australia - I think it was 2009.
    South Africa had already won the series and he came in just to try avoid dropping a game !!

  • Comment number 98.

    @97.

    Now that you mention South Africa, none of us should rule them out of the best-in-the-world debate. Over the long haul it is a three-horse race. E.g. England must beat India in India and SA in SA to really underpin their authority. Cooking up nicely for the World Championship.

    It also provides a motivational spur to fill that 4th spot. Can Australia stop the rot in time? Will Pakistan put a run together? And Sri Lanka, they simply don't play enough Test format cricket and yet they can be competitive (England didn't exactly thrash them in the recent series, altho' the weather makes assessment almost impossible).

    In any event, I hope that other sides improve so that all Test series are meaningful. Else, let's split the difference and have two divisions.

    Incidently, wish I could be as honest and upfront as stazz229.

  • Comment number 99.

    South Africa with Tahir have every right to claim to being the best, it will be another big summer next year.

  • Comment number 100.

    Kapnag, South Africa were the side that de-throned Australia, but then lost the #1 spot and seem to have faded significantly since. It does not help that they have only played 3 Tests in the last 13 months (a 1-1 result against India) and their only series in 2010 was another 3-Test series v the West Indies.

 

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