Indian batsmen decide to take a national holiday at the Oval

First innings could not have gone worse for the tourists

Kia Oval

Considering that the 15th August is Indian Independence Day, then if ever there was a time for India to turn this series around, it was today.

Unfortunately for their fans, the players’ efforts to honour the auspicious occasion could scarcely have gone any worse – their entire top order deciding to join their countrymen back home in taking a national holiday.

If there was a sense that India had india begun to lose the plot after comprehensive defeats in Southampton and Manchester, then the selection of Stuart Binny for this Test did nothing to dispel it.

His fans, if that is not a misuse of the word, point to the fact that India are yet to lose a Test in which Binny has played, leading one to draw the conclusion that his selection was primarily to fulfil the role of lucky mascot. 

Whether Binny has no more luck to rub off or whether MS Dhoni has been spending his days off smashing up mirror shops, before 40 overs had even be played it seemed perfectly clear that the fates were not on the side of the tourists.

Not that this performance can be in anyway attributed to bad luck, rather a ruthless bowling performance, albeit in very favourable conditions, from an England attack that never gave their opponents the slightest whiff of an opportunity. 

This is the first time that any of this Indian side have ever played in a five Test series and as they played the first day of this final match it certainly showed. 

In unfamiliar conditions, India’s top order have been worked out by England’s bowlers and the results could scarcely be more obvious if their recent humiliating scorecards were written in giant lettering. 

It was a day when a persistent pigeon literally spent more time on The Oval square than Gautam Gambhir – the slightly surprisingly recalled opening batsman registering a golden duck that leaves his series average in single figures and his Test match career all but over.

This was supposed to be the series when India’s young guns showed that they had broken free of the shackles of the previous generation and announced themselves on the world stage. 

Instead Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have made a combined 325 runs in their 18 innings, averaging 23.44 and 12.66 respectively – still someway to go then if they are to get close to being the new Dravid and Tendulkar. 

However this was not a day simply of Indian ineptitude, but rather a day when England’s support bowlers truly joined in the party. 

Much has been made of the home side’s over-reliance on James Anderson and Stuart Broad, but England’s success on day one truly came thanks to Chris’s Jordan and Woakes, who not so much walked through the door opened by their more illustrious bowling partners as blew it off its hinges.

They finished with three wickets each, a reward for unluckier spells earlier in the series, and a promising sign for England’s ‘new era’. 

In the end it was only another tenth-wicket partnership and a bloody-minded, if not totally convincing, captain’s knock from Dhoni that saved India from total embarrassment. 

However even after only one day it seems they’ll need a combination of bad weather and every single one of Stuart Binny’s four-leaf clover collection if they are to get anything from this match.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'