England vs India comment: Quick changes in fortune should perhaps not come as such a surprise

England secured the series with victory on day three of the Fifth Test

When you schedule five Test matches into a 42-day window, perhaps it is no surprise that you get a series dominated by quick turnarounds. 

There have been the pitches, from one so lifeless in the first Test at Trent Bridge that the ICC decided to investigate it, to a pitch so green at Lord’s it looked like the world’s most half-hearted entry into the Chelsea Flower Show.  

Then there was Gary Ballance, one minute a shirtless, self-styled ‘drunken b*****d’, the next a centurion at Lord’s and Southampton and looking like the natural successor to Jonathan Trott, albeit with a greater penchant for Nottingham’s nightclubs.

The reputation of India’s batsmen has undergone its own mini volte-face as well, with Virat Kohli suffering even more than the rest. He arrived being lauded as the only man who could challenge AB de Villiers for the title of best batsman in all formats of the game, he ends the series with an average of 13.40 and only 22 runs more than James Anderson, who batted five innings less – nobody’s calling him the new Tendulkar any more.

Moeen Ali has seen a reversal of a very different kind, each one of his 19 wickets silencing more and more doubters as the series progressed, but his form with the bat trailing off badly. 

However by far the greatest and most surprising turnaround of all has been the form of both these sides.

Two Tests into this series, England’s prospects were looking very dismal. They had turned a glorious opportunity for victory into a humiliating defeat at Lord’s, stretching their winless run to ten Test matches. Like a newly-hatched turtle desperately scrabbling its way towards the sea, Peter Moores’ new era was looking under threat before it had even really got going. 

India on the other hand seemed to be on the verge of a great series, they had even managed to do it without selecting their best team. And with Ishant Sharma recording career-best figures, it seemed the cricketing gods really were on their side.

Less than a month later though things could not look more different. India’s loss at The Oval is their third worst in history, and the first time they have ever lost consecutive Tests in just three days. 

Their batting has become woeful, their final capitulation of the series so diabolical you imagine Geoffrey Boycott could chunter on about its ineptitude for the remaining two and a half days that this match was scheduled to go on for.

England meanwhile have done the reverse, senior players finding form just when it was needed and driving away the vultures that were circling ever closer to Alastair Cook. Suddenly this is a team that mixes exciting young talent with a few seasoned veterans and that could start to dream of an exciting Test future.

But then perhaps the quick turnaround is really at the heart of what makes Test cricket so intriguing, from the sleepy afternoon session transformed by a quick burst of wickets, to the out of form batsmen gritting out a career-saving century, as both sides have learnt this summer the picture in this game can change very quickly.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor