India unveil a new breed of collapse

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Sometimes the bowling’s good and the ball’s moving around and the fall of wickets seems inevitable. At other times, relentless pressure causes a side to break. Then there are those other days when it seems like you need to take every opportunity presented to you. Day three at Old Trafford was one of those days – only it was the batting side who took the opportunities.

One nose-broken bowler was off the field, another had the shits (it’s uncertain how wild they were) and two more were bowling a fair amount of filth – yet India contrived to be bowled out for 161. That is no mean feat.

If there were any opportunity to lose a wicket, India grasped it. They barely let a single chance go unclaimed. It was very, very impressive.


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


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  1. Clearly they were desperate to get out of Manchester before the tail-end of Hurricane Bertha hits.

    1. They’d need to travel quite a long way, APW, to avoid the deluge.

      We’ve started building an ark here in West London this morning – it is almost pitch dark and teeming it down.

  2. Any suggestion that external influences/large wads of cash were involved are entirely without substance or foundation, of course.

  3. ‘If there were any opportunity to lose a wicket, India grasped it. They barely let a single chance go unclaimed. It was very, very impressive.’

    Advert to the right of that statement: ‘Betting. Cricket betting. England cricket betting.’

    Sorry, as Sir Geoffrey would say, but my view of this sort of thing has been tainted forever.

    1. Perhaps I am naive, Sam, or perhaps in some ways yet more cynical than you.

      I believe that the Indian players are so well paid now that there simply wouldn’t be enough money in betting corruption to buy such players off. The risks would simply outweigh the rewards available.

      There are sound cricketing and psychological reasons behind a series going seriously south, especially for an inexperienced touring side in alien conditions.

    2. Sam, Rutilus – exactly how much money would you need to give MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli to buy a crap shot off them? They’re not exactly short of a bob or two.

    3. My view of Geoffrey Boycott has been tainted forever. His moral opinions hold no sway in our house.

    4. I absolutely take your point (although I also doubt that there’s any limit to anyone’s desire for even more cash), which is one reason why I also included ‘external influences’ as a possible factor. Indian cricketers have increasingly little incentive to be good at the long form of the game; indeed, it must seem like a bit of a drag when there’s all that stardom and adulation at home. Given the utter contempt that the BCCI seems to have for the rest of the world’s cricketing authorities, it’s hard to think of a reason why India will be playing Test cricket at all beyond the end of the decade. In that context, it’s not hard to see how an otherwise talented side might not be performing at its best; or that there might be outside forces at work encouraging them to not do so.

    5. In re Geoffrey Boycott and his moral opinions, in support of the case for the defence, I would direct you to his twitter feed today and his choice of greatest Yorkshireman of all time. Marvellous effort that.

  4. I hope you had a really enjoyable day at Old Trafford yesterday, KC. It was, no doubt, one of those few “truly memorable ones” for those who were there to experience it.

    I wouldn’t underestimate the quality of Moeen’s bowling though. He really has come on leaps and bounds. His extra bit of pace and the bouncier track meant that this was spin bowling rather different from that normally experienced by sub-continental batsmen who are supposedly expert at playing spin.

    Pujara was unlucky to have been given out (need I even say that DRS would have saved him?) and several of the others were still in “hit Moeen out of the attack” mode about a game -and-a-half after that tactic had proven somewhat self-destructive in the conditions.

    By the time we got to the crazy run out and Jordan bowling straight, the game was all-but-over anyway.

    Jimmy getting of his sick bed (or off the potty if the lurgy-description is to be believed) to get Kohli out was a superb piece of stamina/heart as well as a superb piece of bowling.

    Old Trafford will surely be unplayable all day today and possibly would have been beyond mopping up to get much/any play in between showers on Monday. Finishing that game off in two-and-a-half days was almost as necessary as it was astonishing.

    1. No, we’re not underestimating Moeen’s bowling. We just didn’t want to dilute our main point which was that India managed to collapse against what was basically just a fraction of a bowling attack.

      The bounce of Old Trafford is a wonderful thing though. Great for fast bowlers and great for spinners.

    2. Would you agree with Vaughn then, KC, in saying that OT is the best cricket pitch in the country? When it’s not raining, of course.

    3. You can still get duff ones there and it’s the players that make the match, but Old Trafford probably has as strong a claim as anywhere.

  5. This may upset his Maj and some of his Maj’s faithful, but the more I follow cricket (and I’m a recent convert to the game), the more I can see the sense behind the terms “momentum” and “unit”, often interlinked.

    England definitely has the momentum now. Which is to say, their morale is on the up following two dramatic wins, while India’s is down. It’s difficult to see India reversing the trend at this stage in the series, because they seem mentally broken and England are jubilant. It would be very much like turning around a heavy fast-moving object – i.e., a one with a lot of momentum.

    And while players like Rahane and Dhoni may be fine enough on their own, even in these conditions, they too seem to have been affected by SSS – Stupid Shot Syndrome. It’s less indicative of their personal skills and form, I feel, and indicative of the malaise that has spread through the Indian batting line-up. They are playing like one person, like a unit. In this case, that one person happens to be Chris Martin.

    “X-factor” is still a stupid term though.

    1. Equally, the momentum was well and truly against England two Tests ago. Beaten in Australia, beaten by Sri Lanka and then humiliated by India, turning it around was like turning around a heavy, fast-moving object.

    2. And hasn’t it taken a while to swing that truck back around? New coach, new players, new staff, and even then they were still struggling against Sri Lanka and at first against India.

      Of course, nothing helps with swinging a truck around that it running out of fuel (Dhoni’s defensive approach to Southampton) or one of the wheels (Ishant) coming off.

  6. Oh dear, I made the mistake of clicking on ‘wild’ above.

    Were you the one in the Cookie Monster suit yesterday?

    1. Let’s just hope that, whoever it was in the Cookie Monster suit yesterday, he/she/it did not have the wild shits.

    1. I am cynical. Surely there was some money exchanged for their poor performance. Surely?

    2. That would certainly explain some of the agricultural hoiks and the 16 wides they sent down in 17 overs.

    3. Just before the match started, a stranger tapped the St Neot’s captain on the shoulder and said, gently, “kid, this ain’t your match”.

      After all these years I’ve finally found out where Palooka-ville is – Cornwall.

  7. They’ve just given up after the first innings of the third test. They can’t take 20 wickets and hence can’t win. It can’t be easy starting a test with the a draw being the best you can hope for. The next test is going to be exactly the same.
    At the beginning of the series, I thought a 3-0 with some fight shown would have been an acceptable result. Lord’s win was a bonus, but the lack of fight since then is extremely disappointing. Nobody would have been surprised with these performances if they had come in the first two tests.

    1. They could have taken 20 wickets in this match. England’s innings lasted 105 overs, less than a quarter of the allotted time.

      India were undone in this instance by their utterly inept batting. If they had been capable of compiling an innings they would have at the very least drawn and possibly been able to push for victory if there were any play on the theoretical 5th day.

    1. Bad luck Mahinda.

      As an aside, a 3rd test against Sri Lanka would have really hit the spot and would have spared India from any more of this humiliation (although judging from their reactions it really feels like the Indian team couldn’t give monkey’s arse about test cricket)

    2. Why would they? They’re practically nostril-filled with money from the IPL. Concentrate on a longer lower-paying form of the game, just because it’s more highly thought of outside their country? Pah!

    3. Zimbabwe are currently taking Test cricket more seriously than India, and getting results to show for it too.

    4. @Balladeer granted the money is nowhere near IPL standards but these guys were all brought up in an era where proving yourself in test cricket was the litmus test for cricketing prowess.

      Btw does blue go with naiveté?

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