England were supposed to be happy – but Vijay and Pujara may be happier

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2 minute read

Jos Buttler

Media coverage has led us to believe that England will be happy with 400 in their first innings. Judging by how they’ve set about their own run-scoring, India will also be happy with England’s total.

Everybody’s happy. Everybody wins. At least until after the second innings when only one of them will win. Probably India.

India’s batsmen went a bit Misbah at Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid early on. Dispassionately, you might view this as a conscious tactic that betrays an Indian perception that England’s spinners will pose a greater threat than their seamers. Viewed as an England fan, it felt like they were able to wade in with impunity. Only one wicket fell.

Murali Vijay remains. He’s supposed to be weak against the short ball – although as Sunil Gavaskar points out, people are quicker to pin a short ball weakness to a player than any other kind of shortcoming. Batsmen generally get out to something or other and openers get more than their fair share of short stuff.

If Cheteshwar Pujara has a weakness, it’s seeming a bit limp for being the subject of diktats from his captain. We find it odd that a batsman should accept being lectured by someone with an inferior batting average, but this deference doesn’t extend to his batting. Submission is something Pujara’s heard about, but at some point he concluded that it isn’t really for him.

Day three could go either way. Or maybe it’s obvious which way it’ll go and we haven’t really thought about it properly.


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  1. So do you think India are in a good position?India only need to get 255 more to match England’s total and India have lost only 1 wicket.But the average last innings score at Wankhede is around 145 runs .So India could be in big trouble .

  2. I am happy that Ashwin has managed to break the TCM Curse by taking 6 wickets.

    The Mumbai pitch usually favors SLA spinner such as Jadeja/Panesar, because the straight ball is the biggest threat on a turning pitch. So I am also happy that England don’t have a left arm spinner for this match.

  3. “Who is happier?” is basically pundits way of posing the same question my wife asks. When David Gower says “England will be slightly happier at the end of the day”, I stroke my chin and nod thoughtfully. When my wife says “Who is winning?”, my nephew laughs at her. But they are the same thing aren’t they?

    1. With the benefit of hindsight, it is always possible to say who is winning, but in the middle of the match, the situation is fuzzy and somewhat like the wave function in quantum mechanics. The particle can be present anywhere and in any state that is allowed by the wave function that describes it.
      It is only at the time of the measurement, the wave function collapses and we get a defined result.

      In the same manner we get a defined result only when the match collapses (that is when the match completes) Till then we can only assign probabilities for all the 4 outcomes.

      So to answer your question, asking, ‘who is more happier’ is probably similar to asking whose probability of achieving their desired outcome is higher.

      1. To summarise, I can say match is described by the Mood Function of the two teams, each of whose fate is entangled with the fate of the other team and at the end of the match the 2 functions collapse to result in the fate of the 2 teams.

      2. This is exactly what we’re going to say the next time someone asks us who’s winning.

  4. For now, I’d suggest that England are in the slightly better position by virtue of still being 250+ runs ahead and not having to bat last on that pitch.

    But India seem to be significantly better at playing cricket in Indian conditions (funny that), so that slight advantage could easily be eroded and overcome.

    England’s poor first innings batting in the second and third tests made the eventual outcome likely, if not obvious/inevitable too early in the piece.

    This one is a good test match so far and should be good for at least another couple of days.

  5. Guys do you think Ashwin can have success overseas especially England?

    England is a spinners paradise, it’s a bit of a myth that it’s not. It’s obviously different to the sub continent, spinners don’t play as bigger role on day one or two but in the second half of the test match they become as important as anyone.

    Because the seamers play a big role they naturally create rough areas for the spinner to aim for. That, alongside the pace and bounce you get from an English wicket is a delicious prospect for a spinner. It’s sometimes masked in England because there’s plenty in it for the seamers & often they steal the headlines, but a good spinner has the chance to play a big part in the series.

    Another myth is the English weather. A stat few people probably know is that England lose less time for rain than any other test playing nation. Towards the second half of the English summer pitches are very dry & cracked.

    If Ashwin is a good spinner, he’ll have success in England.Don’t you agree?

  6. What do you mean either way? Why this penchant for things binary? It could go seventeen different ways. At least.

    1. List of Ways Things Can Go:

      Tits up
      Pear shaped
      Like a dream
      Any which way
      Not loose

      In cricket terms, this means that this match could end in a win, a loss, a draw, a tie, or a direct hit from an extinction-event asteroid. England should be pinning their hopes on the last one.

      1. From an England perspective, we’d remove ‘like a dream’ and blend ‘well’ and ‘badly’ into ‘well badly’.

  7. The wee problem with this piece is after today’s efforts, Kohli’s average is in fact above Pujara’s.

    1. That’s not a problem with the piece. It’s a problem with when you’re reading it.

      Also refers to a situation in the past. Maybe Pujara gave Kohli some tips that have helped him improve.

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