India emerge from this series unscathed, having won the series, and been relatively well placed in the drawn games, without being certain victors. The ICC ratings series bonus explicitly favours the kind of negative draw that marred the finish to what could have been a tight an exciting game. To the extent that anyone cares if India remain number one by a lot or a little leading into their next series, it was the right decision.
That is not the case for Darren Sammy, who, while obviously delighted to take the honourable 0-1 loss, should be ashamed that his response to the offer wasn't to shove four fielders under the batsman's helmet, and force their hand. That said, it was a good series for the West Indies, their bowlers performed well, even though they were unable to dislodge Dravid and Laxman at crucial moments; their batting failed, bar Chanderpaul. The next generation need to lift if they aren't to go further backwards when he retires.
India's next generation need work too. Their opening pair failed badly, and their young players failed to make a hundred. Kumar and Harbajan played well, but didn't look threatening, Sharma played well, but is known for inconsistency. That won't matter for a year or too, by which stage they'll have matured, but theiy might want to enjoy the current ascendancy while they can.
The most keenly anticipated series in some time. Of proper but not full length at four tests, and played between the best two sides in the world. England ought to win, at home, playing well, with batting and bowling capable of using the conditions, and at full strength. India, without Sehwag early on, though if the ball is swinging he can struggle, their key batsman and bowler with recent lay-offs, the rest fresh from different conditions in the West Indies, will be most vulnerable at Lord's.
The weather though, as it has in the series recently concluded, may have its own say on precedings. If one or two games are washed out, the series may be decided by whoever happens to be in front when the sun shines. They are, very similar sides; solid batting capable of playing in all conditions, in good form and experienced in English conditions. Their bowling, comprising a quality swing bowler (Khan, Anderson), a tall seamer (Tremlett, Sharma), an accurate spinner (Harbajan, Swann) and one other, is also much the same. Tremlett and England's fourth bowler would seem to be the keys, being superior to their counterpart in experience, and probably skill.
Both are also highly resilient, India because their top-order protects them from too many losses by finding a way to draw, England because they maintain pressure well and bat reasonably deep. Yet both are prone to the odd massive loss, and the series may be marked as much by played out draws and sudden collapses as closely fought games. Hard to see India winning, unless 1-0, but their recent record is examplary, so I won't write them off.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Idle Summers 21st July, 2011 18:21:07 [#]