Home > Features >

Bhuvneshwar Kumar-Mohammed Shami’s partnership highlights England’s inability to clean up tail

Alastair Cook (left) was left frustrated by the Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami's 10th wicket stand © Getty Images
Alastair Cook (left) was left frustrated by the Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami’s 10th wicket stand © Getty Images

Indian tailenders Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami added 111 runs for the last wicket to put their side from a position of trouble to a commanding one. Their partnership could prove to be the differentiating factor between the two sides in the ongoing match, but that is to be seen. Certainly, yet another stubborn lower-order stand once again highlights England’s persistent failure in Test matches to get rid of the tail, says Devarchit Varma.

Remember the Ashes 2013-14 Down Under, wherein the English side was pummelled 5-0 by a rejuvenating Australian side that had suddenly found their lost mojo? There were reasons were aplenty for the thrashing that they got, but among them was the fact that England let go every single opportunity to make Australia pay dearly for their mistakes.

It wasn’t that Australia did not err, they made them aplenty. But the fact that every single time the hosts were able to pull themselves out of trouble was the biggest factor in their win. During the five Tests, England managed to get rid of the Australian top-order cheaply, for as many as five times – especially in first innings. But never once they were able to run through the tail quickly and ended up on the losing side.

Even in the series against Sri Lanka, England toiled hard to get rid of the tail on the final day of the opening Test but could not pull off a win. In the second Test, the stubborn 149-run stand for the eighth wicket in the second essay between Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath proved to be fatal for the hosts, which they lost as well as the series.

Resistance by lower-order batsmen is always frustrating, and when a team is made to toil for these wickets, it doesn’t look good. It wears down the side mentally and physically after having spending a long time on the field. This is where the negativity sneaks in; this is where teams lose their composure.

What Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami did was beneficial for the Indians on more than one count. The Indians have certainly taken a leaf out of Australia and Sri Lanka’s book, as their tail-end batsmen, notorious for not falling in line when it comes to the team’s cause, batted with lot of sensibility and responsibility. During the second session’s play at the Trent Bridge on the second day of the first Test, England had done well to wrestle back command with quick wickets, which included a needless run-out of  opposition captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was all set for his first Test century outside the subcontinent.

Bhuvneshwar and Shami came together at the crease when Ishant Sharma left a ball off Stuart Broad that jabbed back in, and India were tottering at 346 for nine. All that England needed was one good delivery that would have removed either Shami or Bhuvneshwar.  But it took England another 229 balls to get the breakthrough. In fact, the dismissal of Bhuvneshwar off Moeen Ali was not because to good bowling, but was of the tail-end batsman making a mistake for which they are known of.

What was surprising to see that despite bowling their hearts out on a flat which was termed an Indian one on the opening day of this marathon Test series, England bowlers failed to get a breakthrough. They sent down as many as 38.1 overs, and Bhuvneshwar and Shami batted at Nottingham as if they were playing in India.

The 100-odd runs that Bhuvneshwar and Shami added has put India in a position of command, and the situation looks a lot similar for England after stumps on Day Two. Rookies Sam Robson and Gary Ballance have a monumental task ahead of them, as the cheap dismissal of Alastair Cook has added only to their woes. England certainly had a bad day on the field with India making all right moves so far in the contest.

Had England managed to get rid of Bhuvneshwar or Shami, they wouldn’t be feeling the pressure of the additional 100 runs. The records at Nottingham suggest that a team has lost only once time after scoring more than 400 runs in the first innings in past couple of years. England have a lot to ponder.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

Catch all the stories from India’s tour of England 2014 here

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Ind vs Aus: Dhoni analyses the 4-wicket loss at Brisbane

Live Cricket Score Ranji Trophy 2014-15, Round 3, Day 1 — All matches

India’s collapse against Australia on 2nd Test at Brisbane: Did the visitors really bat badly on Day 4?

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Marks out of 10 for the hosts

India vs Australia 2014-15, Brisbane: India marks out of 10

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane: India’s tail tales

Anil Kumble Australia India Moments in history Ricky Ponting South Africa

Shahid Afridi retirement: Twitter reaction

Shahid Afridi to retire from ODIs after 2015 World Cup: Report

Kevin Pietersen determined to make comeback despite selectors’ reluctance

Alastair Cook sacked in ‘hugely disrespectful’ manner: Andrew Strauss

India vs Australia 2014-15, 3rd Test at Melbourne: Joe Burns says dream come true to play for Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand ODI series 2014: A look back at the series

Murali Vijay’s 144 among most runs scored by an Indian on Day 1 of overseas Test

Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and others scoring century on their Captaincy Debut in Test cricket

Batsman given hit wicket after mobile phone falls on stumps

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Highlights

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

683 Posts | 6 Fans

Mitchell Johnson's 37 wickets against England in Ashes 2013-14

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here