An outstanding test match. Both sides played high quality cricket, including India, despite losing by a significant margin in the end, and failing to bowl England out in either innings. The latter was in large part due to the absence of Zaheer Khan, who had started brilliantly before his hamstring went. Whether that means they can come back as the series progresses depends in large part on whether the remaining bowlers turn up Sreesanth and Sharma are both erratic, Kumar is a dangerous player, and accurate, but English batsmen are better equipped than most to play swing.
The greater problem for India is that they were bowled out twice - something tey ought to be immune to in interrupted games. Having Tendulkar sick and Gambhir injured was another problem on that front, but more than one batsman was guilty of ugly wafts outside off stump. It is a shameless one-day stroke, suitable for true fast pitches with no slips, not a fifth day test pitch in England. That indicates the problems with preparation highlighted by numerous people before.
India, traditionally, have come back strong from poor starts. England certainly gave them hope that they could do so. Their batting was very good in the first innings, but almost let India back into the game in the second. Their bowling was superb, particularly Tremlett who was unlucky yet still took four wickets, yet India still made 550 runs for the game. Some terrible catching in the slips helped. It will be very hard for India to win from here, but there is much cricket to be played.
Kenya are undergoing a long overdue transition, having moved on the last vestiges of the great side of 2003. UAE will need to go through that process themselves soon enough, but will hope to make one more tilt at the top before doing so. The ODI series was split 1-1 with some uneven batting performances from both sides. Expect the cup match to be low scoring and close. The UAE ought to prevail, but Kenya have been a good side for a long time; at home that self-belief might tip the balance in their favour.
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 28th July, 2011 00:40:42 [#]