By David Green
Following is Team India’s marksheet (out of ten) in the third Test against England at Edgbaston:
Gautam Gambhir – 4: Started well on the first morning before somewhat unluckily playing on to Tim Bresnan. Outdone by the superlative Anderson second time around.
Virender Sehwag – 0: A King Pair means the great one fails to trouble the scorers here, too. Lackadaisical performance in the field epitomised India’s malaise. It was a huge gamble to pick him and it failed badly, but at 0-2 down did India have any other choice?
Rahul Dravid – 5: No hundred this time, but it took the ball of the match from Bresnan to get through The Wall in the first innings. Failure to refer his second innings dismissal confirmed the state of India’s shellshock.
Sachin Tendulkar – 5: Tentative in the first innings when he was tormented by a tremendous over from James Anderson. On the receiving end of the unluckiest dismissal in cricket when in full flow second time around just as that elusive 100th hundred looked a distinct possibility.
VVS Laxman – 4: Terrible shot to be dismissed when well set on day one before enduring a torrid time at the hands of Anderson when India batted a second time.
Suresh Raina – 2: He clearly has talent, but his Test career will be brief unless he learns to play the short ball. Looked mentally shot after being dismissed by Graeme Swann in the 2nd innings.
MS Dhoni – 6: Sloppy with the gloves again and some of his captaincy decisions were frankly baffling, but at least found some belated form with the bat in the shape of two defiant fifties.
Amit Mishra – 5: Bowled tidily enough and got plenty of turn, but lacked the guile, nous and variation necessary to trouble the England batsmen. Where was the googly? An improvement on the Harbhajan Singh of Lord’s and Trent Bridge though.
Praveen Kumar – 7: Bowled his heart out and kept throwing himself around in the field. Put the top order batsmen to shame with two entertaining innings. The only one who can hold his head up high after this performance. If only India had eleven Kumars!
Ishant Sharma – 3: Like Raina, Ishant clearly has talent – his pre-lunch spell at Lord’s on Day Four provided ample evidence of that. However, here it looked like he was simply going through the motions and bowling on a different surface to England’s impressive pace trio.
Shantakumaran Sreesanth – 2: If the eccentric Sreesanth is a Test quality bowler than I am the King of England! Lacks pace, control and brains even if his effort cannot be faulted.
(David Green is the brain behind the irreverent The Reverse Sweep blog and also writes for a number of cricket publications and sites such as World Cricket Watch. You can follow him on Twitter also @TheReverseSweep.. David was a decent schoolboy and club cricketer (and scored his maiden 100 the same week that Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test ton) but not good enough to fulfil his childhood dream of emulating Douglas Jardine by winning the Ashes in Australia and annoying the locals into the bargain. He now lives with his wife and two young children in the South of France and will one day write the definitive biography of Hedley Verity)