England vs India: England come up short after faith in the bowlers proves wide of the mark

India 290-9 v England; second Test, day one

Lord's

All summer England have craved the comfort of the familiar. Give us the tools, the lads have been indicating, and we will do the job. It turns out they were being economical with the truth or a bit too full of themselves, or both.

How their lips must have smacked on Thursday morning when they rolled up on a smashing morning at Lord’s and saw that grass was not only on the square. At last they had a Test pitch worthy of the name and the occasion, a pitch where the ball carried and moved and where batsmen could not simply drop anchor to survive.

This was the big chance. The hue of the business area resembled mouldy Wensleydale and it was the right side of sporting. If the wickets had not been there it would have been difficult to be sure where play was to take place.

But how England’s bowlers squandered it on the opening day of the second Investec Test. They were short and wide when they ought to have been full and straight. Indiscipline seems to be affecting them in many areas.

Perhaps it was their way of peacekeeping with India in a series that threatens to be spicier than phall. Give them some innocuous stuff they could leave at will and we can all be pals together again. 

Yet it seemed to matter not initially. Wickets fell intermittently enough. Maybe, reciprocally, that was India’s idea of rapprochement before the preliminary hearings of charges against Jimmy Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja are held next Tuesday.

England’s penalty for their miscreant behaviour came later. An admirable eighth-wicket stand of 90 between Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took India out of deep trouble if not to certain safety.

Rahane played serenely, left well alone when he could and declined to be overawed by the occasion, the second half of his second Test hundred coming at a run a ball. His first name in Sanskrit means incapable of being defeated and when he struck Anderson back over his head for six into the pavilion as he dashed to three figures in the evening, it seemed to fit perfectly.

The day closed with the tourists on 290 for 9, which is not riches but was more than England would have wanted or expected. Rahane went three overs from the end to a sharp return catch taken by Anderson and given the history of the 10th wicket in this series, England can expect to be batting by mid-afternoon today.

The recovery from 145 for 7 might have been averted if more damage had been inflicted in the morning when there was the rare sight of a seaming ball and four slips, all of whom felt that they would shortly be in business.

Somewhere deep in their memory banks, England’s pace quartet - the three long-in-the-tooth merchants, Anderson, Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett and even the tyro Ben Stokes - should have located the image that this was an English type of surface for the ages. More Derby in May than Lord’s in July, though there similarities ended.

The tone was set in the morning by Anderson and his long-time new ball partner, Broad. They have been together in 66 Test matches during which they have taken 491 wickets between them. Yet they produced what amounted to unintelligent dross.

Anderson broke a plethora of records. He became the leading Test wicket-taker in several categories: in England, eclipsing Fred Trueman after 50 years, for England against India, passing Bob Willis and Derek Underwood after 32 and at Lord’s, overhauling Ian Botham after 22. But only in spasms was he at his best. Broad never achieved those heights, even without a level three ICC charge hanging over his head.

This was hardly the first occasion in 2014 that this most durable of pairings has failed to deliver what was expected. At Headingley, in both innings against Sri Lanka they were profligate with the new ball.  The other worrying fallibility was Matt Prior’s wicketkeeping. He could be forgiven most of the 17 byes he conceded, with the ball often starting wide and seaming and swinging prodigiously, but his lapses mount. The two dropped catches in the morning brought to seven his misses this summer so far.

He shelled Murali Vijay before the batsman had scored in the fourth over, failing to move alertly enough to his right, which immediately suggested that his various ailments are restricting his agility. Then he could not close his gloves to a thin edge from Virat Kohli from the last ball before lunch by Moeen Ali, who for some reason had been brought on to bowl. Neither was expensive individually but a wicketkeeper influences a side’s well-being and self-esteem. Prior has been a wonderful Test cricketer, he may be again but he is on borrowed time.

When Anderson seared one across Shikhar Djawan in the third over, the edge being taken with cool judgment by Gary Ballance at third slip, there was a prospect of a rapid demise. But instead of being forced to play and hang on for grim life the batsmen were allowed to leave.

Vijay was removed by Plunkett, bowling well in this spell, with another catch flying to Ballance. It might have been a celebratory moment for taking your shirt and waving it above your head but Ballance has been doing enough of that in a Nottingham nightclub with photos to prove it and been warned by management about his future behaviour.

Kohli, either side of his reprieve, batted like a genius before Anderson unfurled a perfect away swinger.

Cheteshwar Pujara was effective in a different way and over three hours batted with rare skill and orthodoxy, building an innings in difficult circumstances. It took a fast, full seaming ball from Stokes to pierce his defences.

MS Dhoni and Jadeja, the main protagonists in Anderson’s charge, came and went without Anderson having a sniff at either of them. Moeen bowled his best and longest spell and removed Jadeja, but England are groping forlornly for some proper rhythm.

News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
Ministry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Richard Dawkins is known for his outspoken views
people
Life and Style
L’Auberge du pont de Collonges (AFP)
food + drinkFury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Arts and Entertainment
Bourne's New Adventures dance company worked with 27 young Londoners to devise a curtain-raiser staged before New Adventures' performance of Edward Scissorhands
theatreStar choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links