One-nil down and three to go, England will be in serious dilemma going into the third Test starting at Southampton on July 27 (Sunday). India’s 95-run win at Lord’s on Sunday will have sent the England team management in a tizzy. Apart from Alastair Cook’s form, England will ponder over the nature of wicket they want for the remainder of the series.
India have surely broken a myth about enjoying ‘home’ conditions. This new generation Indian team can look the opposition in the eye. Effectively, it loves to hook, pull and young men like Ravindra Jadeja won’t hesitate to ‘give it back’ to the opposition. Aggression is the middle name of Team India.
When positive attitude mixes with skill, it becomes a heady mix. Nature of wickets and quality of bowlers do not matter. Then battle between bat and ball becomes an encounter in the mind. You don’t throw in the towel before you step out of the dressing room and walk up to take guard or etch your bowling mark with the spikes. This team under Mahendra Singh Dhoni is doing just that. The boys are wearing their attitude on their sleeves.
Sunil Gavaskar says the Lord’s victory can be the start of many good things to come. Sourav Ganguly feels the “roles have reversed” and India “can bounce out opposition too.” Sachin Tendulkar is saying the “team is playing like a unit” and it is the signature of a happy dressing room. The challenge will be to protect this brilliant start. Consolidation is always the bigger job and England will be gunning for revenge.
Even though Indian batsmen have shown the courage and ability to bat on green-top wickets, England will probably go for seaming tracks. That’s their best bet. England’s batting has been their biggest worry. Except for Joe Root and Gary Ballance, the batting has crumbled. Cook and Ian Bell’s repeated failures have hurt the home team. Rescue acts by ‘batsmen’ James Anderson, Liam Plunkett or Stuart Broad can be the exception, not the norm. The odds are clearly against England.