The current fashion seems to be to denigrate India, but that’s only half the story. The other half most revolves around Alastair Cook, but England’s bowlers contributed significantly as well.
The attack’s come a long way from the first Test and it just shows that if you’re picking four bowlers, you should select four wicket-takers. Lower order runs from Bresnan and Broad would never have made up for their bowling, while Finn and Panesar are in credit despite being wazzocks of the willow.
But there is a worry here for England. Conditions weren’t helpful, but neither Bresnan nor Broad has looked like much of a bowler of late. The former’s lost pace since an elbow operation and the brutal truth is that he may never be Test standard again. Broad just looks spent.
Maybe a rest and one of those ‘strength and conditioning programmes’ will help Broad (although with him that sounds more like a description of his hair care regime). If so, could this be the modern fast-bowling cycle: ‘Build ’em up, use ’em up, repeat’.
It might be too late to rebuild Zaheer Khan. Seam bowlers who are dropped at 34 years of age are rarely seen again. We’ve a degree of sympathy for Zaheer, however. He seems to have been bowling at a decent lick in this series so talk of his lack of fitness for once seems slightly wide of the mark.
We’re also not so sure his form’s all that bad. 1-23 and 2-59 in Ahmedabad seems respectable enough and 0-37 off 15 overs in Mumbai isn’t disgraceful when you consider that England took 19 wickets with spin in that match. 1-94 in Kolkata is pretty dire, but is it damning enough that the bin bag handles should be tied with knotty finality?
Or maybe he’s just being rested. That’s the other thing they (have to) do with fast bowlers these days.