Harbhajan criticises 'slow' England

Harbhajan Singh has criticised England for being "defensive" in their approach after India limited them to a modest total on the opening day of the first Test.





India's premier spinner finished with two for 62 at the Chepauk Stadium as England were restricted to 229 for five despite winning the toss on a wicket which is expected to deteriorate as the match progresses.



Despite a 118-run opening stand and opener Andrew Strauss claiming his 13th Test century, England lost four wickets in the final session and now face a major battle to reach the competitive total they had set there sights on.



"We bowled really well and to restrict them to 229 for five was a really good effort," said Harbhajan.



"England were not really looking to dominate or looking to score runs, they were happy just collecting singles or twos.



"This was probably the best day to bat on this kind of wicket and if we had been batting we'd have got more than 300. They didn't dominate the first two sessions, in the first session they set up the game and they went into defensive mode scoring only 63 runs in the first session.



"They played very defensively because they could easily have scored 300 today, they didn't look to score runs which is good for us. England helped us by not playing their shots and blocking a lot of balls.



"I don't know whether they have respect for my bowling but they played very slowly. Normally this is the kind of wicket where people go after the bowling and even if you don't do that and just play your strokes you should still get 300 runs in a day on this wicket."



Leg-spinner Amit Mishra also claimed a crucial victim shortly before the close to dismiss Strauss for a determined 123, to underline the growing belief that spin could play an influential role.



But Harbhajan has dismissed England's own spin threat of off-spinner Graeme Swann and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who he believes will struggle to dominate India's powerful batting line-up.



"We have very good batsmen who can bat against the top spinners," he explained.



"We've done well against Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan and everyone so Monty and the other spinners are not a threat to us.



"I think Freddie (Flintoff) is the kind of bowler who can hit the deck really hard and he can get wickets on any kind of wicket because he has the quality in his bowling. I'm not saying that Monty and the other spinners can't get us out, but it will be hard work for them.



"Their bowling line-up will have a tough time because it's quite hot out there and they're not used to these sort of conditions. Apart from Freddie I don't think they have any other bowler who can definitely get people out. They have spinners but we have quality batsmen."



England ended the day disappointed at their own position after losing Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Strauss in the space of 26 overs after tea to undermine their earlier efforts.



"I'm still seething about getting out just before the end because I felt pretty comfortable out there and I really wanted to go big," admitted Strauss.



"There was some good bowling and Zaheer Khan was excellent, as was Ishant Sharma.



"We didn't have all the luck there either and we'd have liked to have been two wickets less than we are but we still have some pretty good batters to come - we need to get up to 350 or 400 really and if we do that we're in a good position in the game."



But despite his disappointment, Strauss admitted scoring a century in the first Test after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai was "special", adding: "This is an important Test match for the game of cricket.



"It was very important we came out here and played and showed the game of cricket will continue so to get a hundred first up is very special.



"I don't want to over-play my role in things but just the fact the game is taking place is fantastic and the game of cricket is better for it."



Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project