Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad for the first Test between India and England

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Right now, the cricket world is concerned with the Champions’ League and whether or not Stuart Broad really would deign to drink one single beer with Kevin Pietersen, so we thought we’d move ahead to something that actually interests us. We thought we might do some half-arsed previews ahead of the Test series between India and England.

It’s a series to look forward to, even if at least one cricket writer has already suggested that it represents a good opportunity to play some batsman or other before the Ashes WHICH MISSES THE WHOLE POINT OF CRICKET.

England touring India is not a Farokh-ing warm-up. It is cricket at its best: seeing players facing unfamiliar conditions and scenarios and either adapting or being torn apart like a warm bread roll.

Recent Tests at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad

The first Test will take place in Ahmedabad. What’s the ground like and is there any way England could secure a win?

Well, bizarrely, India haven’t actually won a Test in Ahmedabad since 2005 when Harbhajan Singh minced Sri Lanka. Since then, they’ve lost by an innings against South Africa and drawn against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

The South Africa match was something of an oddity. It was played in April and it had been so hot that the groundsman left grass on the pitch because the roots were the only thing keeping the soil from blowing away. Steyn, Ntini and Morkel rather enjoyed this and bowled India out for 76 on the first day, after which the pitch started behaving, allowing the tourists to make 494-7.

England can take no lessons from this. They will not get a green pitch.

So what happened in the two more recent Tests, both of which were played in November?

In 2009, Sri Lanka responded to India’s 426 with 760-7 before India made 412-4. In 2010, India and New Zealand both made 400-and-odd before Chris Martin reduced the home team to 65-6. India then recovered via VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh, who somewhat unexpectedly made a hundred.


It’s interesting that it was Martin who caused problems. We’ve said before that only the home team wins Tests in India via spin. You need spinners, yes, but don’t bank on them being match-winners.

For example, in the high-scoring draw involving Sri Lanka, the only bowler to return half-decent figures in any innings was Chanaka Welegedara, a fast-medium bowler. He and Dhammika Prasad reduced India to 32-4 after eight overs on the first morning.

Our prediction is that spinners will keep things ticking over, but that quicker bowlers represent the best chance of a win for England. Helpful conditions at any stage and they have a chance, but if there’s minimal assistance then they will certainly crack before India.



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  1. How does a bread roll adapt to avoid being torn apart? Does it disguise itself as a pepper pot or something? If you’re going to offer advice to England on their tour of India, you could at least provide the details.

  2. India would almost certainly go with two spinners. In conditions that don’t assist swing, I don’t see much difference between Broad, Anderson, and Onions. I’d pick Monty, Swann, Broad, Jimmy, and Finn/Bresnan.

    1. We agree with picking Monty and Swann to do the bulk of the work, but can’t see either being instrumental were England to win.

      Onions is interesting. He’s not really a swing bowler and might be better value than many expect in unhelpful conditions.

    2. If England win, and Monty and Swann bowled a hundred overs between them, it stands to reason they were instrumental for the win. Sure, they might not be the ones who would finish off the tail in under five overs in fading light, but they would’ve been instrumental nevertheless. As the blind guy said, “They also serve who don’t run in to bowl”.

    3. Well, that’s kind of what we’re driving at. We see the spinners as being the foundation but feel it will need a more eye-catching contribution from at least one quick bowler to secure an England win.

  3. India will get a huge score whatever we do. So I’d pick 11 batsmen for every single test and play for the draw.

    1. My other plan is to write the whole tour off as “meh, it’s a tour to India, of course we’ll lose”, and then ignore the results totally and focus on the next series back in England.

    2. “South Africans? No, these guys are Brits. Let me introduce you to, er, Jack Castle, Hamish Hamilton, ABD Willis and Alan Peterson.”

  4. Harbhajan wont make the team for this test, so England don’t need to worry about India making a big score

  5. Finn will be the bowler of the tournament. Remember his first tour in Bangladesh? Got wickets on dead dry wickets. OK, that was Bangladesh, but it was also a younger, less good Finn. Mark my words. Finn. Steven Finn.

    By the way Yooooooorkshah, Yooooooorkshah, Yooooooorkshah.

  6. Anderson, Finn, Broad, Swann & Monty

    Finn bowled like a champ on the dead wickets in lanka during the t20 thingy. He could be the best bowler for England. Got good lift/bounce & was making the batsmen jump around

    I reckon Broad, with his current apathy, could be a liability. Especially if E-Kohli or Pujara dig in for a long one.

    England bats need to attack the fast bowlers early on & not go into turtle mode against Ashwin & spinners. The demons of the pak test series in the UAE should be wiped from memory.

    Bell had better play properly & Eeyore Morgan better realise that this is his last chance.

    Wow! After writing all that, I realise how bleak England’s chances are.

    p.s. what’s this farokhing nonsense? His highness planning a Caliphate style war on the indian subcontinent?

  7. If England leave out Broad, he can go off for that beer with KP.

    They’ll need to put some effort into their beer quest, though, as Gujarat is a dry state.

    But England won’t drop Broad, because he’d have a tantrum if they were to drop him. No-one wants to see Stuart Broad have a tantrum.

    1. Diu. A union territory within Gujarat where alcohol is legal and also extremely cheap. It’s also a nice place. Or maybe that’s just how we remember it.

      1. We have to say that Gujarat is the only place we have ever been where we haven’t looked forward to meals.

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