Home > News >

Struggling India take on rejuvenated England in 5th Test at Oval

Mahendra-Singh-Dhoni-of-India-leaves-the-field2
MS Dhoni was badly let down by his batsmen, who fell like nine pins in Old Trafford © Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

London: Aug 14, 2014

Had India, who’ve now won just one of their last 18 Tests on foreign soil, been offered the chance to arrive at The Oval 2-1 down with one to play in this five-match series before their tour started, they might have taken up the offer. A tightly-packed schedule of five Tests in the space of 42 days has done India few favours as they head to south London for the start of the series finale on Friday.

Just a few weeks ago, India beat England by 95 runs in the second Test at Lord’s to go 1-0 up in the series. But that success was sealed by fast bowler Ishant Sharma exploiting England’s vulnerability against the short ball with a Test-best return of seven for 74. Since then Sharma has missed both India’s 266-run defeat in the third Test at Southampton and their even more crushing innings and 54-run loss in the fourth Test at Old Trafford last week with a leg injury.

However, India are increasingly optimistic he could return to action in the fifth Test. Despite losing inside three days in Manchester, India did again make England’s batsmen look decidedly jumpy when confronted with the short ball to the extent that all-rounder Stuart Broad suffered a broken nose trying to hook Varun Aaron when the ball found its way between the peak of his helmet and the grille.

But the Oval is not the fast pitch it once was or indeed Old Trafford currently is. If it stays true to recent type, a slow low surface should remind India of home but will also make the job of ‘bouncing out’ England that much more difficult.

The biggest recent problem for an India side coached by former England boss Duncan Fletcher has been their batting, as exemplified by the team’s struggles to barely get beyond 150 in both innings at Old Trafford. No one has exemplified their batting difficulties better than the talented Virat Kohli, who has so far scored only 108 runs this series at an average of 13.5.

But it was the manner of India’s collapse, which saw nine wickets lost after tea on Saturday that was perhaps the most concerning aspect of the Old Trafford debacle.

“There were was no backbone shown by India,” former Indian opening great Sunil Gavaskar told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special as he reflected on the humbling loss.

“They showed no determination, the dismissals were soft, there were no great deliveries, England were just persistent,” added Gavaskar, whose famed resilience and concentration the current-day team could do with now.

Yet his point about England not being made to play the kind of cricket that ought to secure such a crushing win remains valid too.

Alastair Cook’s men still have problems to address as well as their bouncer issues, particularly the extent of the gap between the threat of the new-ball pairing of Broad and James Anderson and back-up seamers Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan.

Anderson now needs just eight wickets to surpass Ian Botham’s England Test record of 383 and Broad, who could play in a face mask, will be keen to follow up his man-of-the-match effort in taking six for 25 in India’s first innings in Manchester.

If Broad is not fit, or England decide to drop either Woakes or Jordan, then rejuvenated Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn is waiting in the wings.

Someone who has proved a thorn in India’s side throughout the series is spin-bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali, who has taken 19 wickets at under 23 apiece.

That England, who had gone 10 Tests without a win before their Southampton success, now have to worry about complacency is a welcome change.

“We know India are going to come very hard at us, and we’ll have to make sure we’ve got all bases covered and not be caught off guard,” said England batsman Joe Root.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

Photos

CSK vs KKR, Match 1 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Sourav Ganguly: Hope India-Pakistan cricket starts soon

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 Match 3: Cape Cobras’ likely XI

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Herbert Chang: The Jamaican of Chinese origin who wasted his life in South Africa

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) in CLT20 2014 – Highlights

Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes KKR vs CSK Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Pakistan West Indies

Marvan Atapattu confident of becoming Sri Lanka’s full time coach

Curtly Ambrose autobiography to be published in 2015

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights Live Cricket Score CLT20 2014 3rd Match at Raipur

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights Live Scorecard CLT20 2014 3rd Match at Raipur

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights Live Streaming CLT20 2014 3rd Match at Raipur

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 3: Northern Knights’ likely XI

Sourav Ganguly: Hope India-Pakistan cricket starts soon

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 Match 3: Cape Cobras’ likely XI

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

iCloud for Windows update brings iCloud Drive to PCs before Macs

Funny Fashion Phonetics: How do you pronounce ‘Brassiere’ or ‘Haute Couture’?

World Alzheimer’s day 2014: 10 early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

GTL Infrastructure shares rose by 5 percent on tower deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm

Will India’s new plan to reduce child mortality work?

Asian Games 2014: Wrestler Amit Kumar believes Arjuna Award would’ve inspired him at Incheon

Farhan Akthar, AR Rahman, Sonu Nigam mourn Mandolin Srinivas’ death!

When Chunky Pandey meets Bappi Lahiri, you get a Ranveer Singh!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here