India nearly got whacked

Posted by
< 1 minute read
The Sopranos Pine Barrens episode (via YouTube)
The Sopranos Pine Barrens episode (via YouTube)

People often talk of Test cricket as being a battle. A match can at times be like two medieval knights hacking away at each other, inflicting a whole series of ghastly wounds until one or the other finally succumbs.

It doesn’t always work like that in India. Rather than a protracted battle, it can be more akin to a Mob execution of someone from within the family. The decisive moment of violence can’t come about until you get your quarry to the correct location.

In this Test, England fulfilled the Silvio/Paulie/Christopher role pretty well. They spent four and a bit days calmly driving India to the woods, making idle chit-chat and doing nothing to sabotage their chances.

If they didn’t actually manage to finish the job, then it’s worth reflecting on feelings before the Test. They were widely expected to arrive at their destination in the boot of the car.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. Would a more aggressive captain have finished off the job? Was it really necessary to bat after lunch? 260 off 61 overs was not likely to be chased, those extra 10-12 overs could have been useful.

  2. What was the reason for the English spinners comprehensively out performing their Indian counterparts?
    English spinners – 13/428
    Indian spinners – 9/521

    Are the Indian spinners far too reliant on rank turners to get wickets? Perhaps the English spinners have more guile and experience on pitches that aren’t raging.

    English batsmen better players of spin than India? The Indian spinners aren’t used to being attacked and lost control when they were under pressure.

    Maybe it’s a mixture of the two. From what we have seen in this Test, square turners will benefit England.

    1. England did win the toss and bat first.

      I think we should entertain the possibility that the Indian spinners figures might have looked a lot better and the English spinners figures a lot worse had India batted first.

      But we’ll never know.

      What we do know is that the English spinners looked more impressive in this match than they did in either of the Bangladesh matches, which is a good sign if they can translate that improvement to the raging bunsens expected for at least three of the remaining four matches.

    2. I think there is a lot of truth to the idea that the Indian batsmen of this generation don’t actually have playing spin as their strength. Kohli and Rahane have both had their best series away from home in Australia and England respectively while being far more merciful to touring spinners than an Indian middle order is supposed to be.

  3. Ged ,India might have been fortunate to bat second in this match. It looked like they would be bowled out for 220 in their second innings which would have left England a very chasable 170. That’s how we almost won in Abu Dhabi batting second but hampered by bad light. All ifs and buts, we’ll never know.

  4. If the pitches are similar to the SA series, the toss almost becomes less important – if it starts off looking like the surface of Mars, it probably won’t get much worse.

    England were entirely right today, with the possible exception that they maybe could have opened their shoulders 5 overs earlier. Either way, caution was correct – they may have pulled it off and got a win, but if they had lost this one after playing so well for 13 sessions, it would be hard to see how they could dig themselves out of a 5-0 trashing.

    India still ought to win this series fairly comfortably, but the feeling England have some sort of weird hypnotic hold over them hasn’t gone away in this game. And 4-0 is still better than most people predicted for England.

  5. I’m a sucker for analogies KC. Although India saw ‘the ominous shadow of a probable late afternoon whacking’ coming from a mile. That is probably why their skipper suddenly had the urge to have long drawn-out pretend chats with his ‘chucker-in-chief’ in between the overs.

  6. I don’t want to be picky but…

    Hold on a sec, if I didn’t want to be picky I could just not write this comment. I could carry on my evening as planned, ignoring the glaring error in your analogy as if it didn’t happen. So in that sense, the very fact of me still being here writing proves that I do want to be picky. Let’s start again:

    I really, really, really want to be picky, so here goes. For this test to be like the Pine Barrens episode from the Sopranos, the Indian team would need to have turned up at the final location duct taped in the boot, unconscious and assumed to be dead. Then they’d have been given a spade and made to dig their own grave. And at the end, they’d have quite clearly been shot in the head while running away.

    Oh yeh, god that felt good.

    1. As the hover caption says, it wasn’t really the Pine Barrens episode we were thinking of. That’s just illustrative of a *similar* hit.

      1. Spoilsport. I can’t do hover captions on my iPhone. I did toy with the idea of complimenting you on a brilliant analogy, but as soon as I remembered what happened in that episode I changed my mind. Now you’ve gone and spoiled it all by proving you were right all along and that your analogy was indeed brilliant.

        The only thing I can do now is help you out and see if I can grab some of the credit. How about Michael Corleone arranging a trip to Las Vegas for his brother-in-law Carlo.

        No Carlo, d’you think I make my sister a widow?

  7. …and there was me thinking I was watching a cricket match, rather than ultra-violent crime drama.

    Silly me.

    1. It wasn’t one of those matches where chances weren’t being created though. India dropped a whole bunch of catches on the first day and if the turn wasn’t ferocious early on, there was at least something to work with.

      Would have been a bit different if it had been the fifth Test, but a draw can actually be pretty intriguing when there are still four matches to come.

      1. Hm, I guess you’re right that it should probably be measured in ‘chances per day’. It was exciting to see Hameed’s development if nothing else.

  8. After the running debate on correct use of commas, I thought I’d mention a book my wife has just bought me for my birthday. It’s called Fucking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin.
    Chapters include:
    A quick history of Fucking Apostrophes
    Possessive Fucking Apostrophes
    Attributive Fucking Apostrophes
    Pronouns and Fucking Apostrophes

    You get the drift.

    Not sure how angry Griffin is about the whole thing, but it might appeal to KC grammarians

    1. Is it a How-To Guide? Because I’m just thinking that apostrophes are very small. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I think they’d be too small for me.

      Anyway, Santa is already bringing me a book on grammar this Christmas, called How to Tell an Adjectival Expletive from a Noun Phrase.

      1. There’s a sweary and alliterative title for a book on commas but, of course, that will forever remain on the slush pile.

Comments are closed.