Where would India be given another half-revolution of the coin?

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Coin tossing (CC licensed by Gerwin Sturm via Flickr)
Coin tossing (CC licensed by Gerwin Sturm via Flickr)

When trying to assess the state of play after the first day’s play, it’s often tempting to imagine a parallel world where the toss-winning captain has opted for heads instead of tails, tails instead of heads, or just totally gone off on one and gone for arms or thoraxes or some other body part not commonly associated with a coin.

Had that happened in this match, most people would reckon that India would most likely be more for fewer. We conclude from this that it was “India’s day.”

It’s worth pointing out at this point that India have a very good attack. Not so many years ago, England might have been facing one seamer, one makeweight seamer and two spinners. Virat Kohli’s India field two excellent seamers and three spinners.

That is quite a difference. There is no drifty afternoon lull. There is no part-time dob.

That is perhaps why so many of the batsmen’s contributions – from Chris Woakes’ 25 to Jonny Bairstow’s 89 – fitted somewhere on the good-effort-but-probably-not-of-any-enormous-consequence-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things scale. Amid talk of whether Jos Buttler would prove to be a success or a failure, his effort was neither, falling pretty much bang in the middle of this range.

If there’s one thing that might encourage the mandatory taking of positives in English quarters, it’s that India managed to get some reverse swing. England are unlikely to outspin or outbat their opponents, so this represents as good an area as any in which to gain an advantage.

That said, India found some reverse swing in the first Test and England pretty much didn’t. There’s a chance that the toss might be the only thing England win in Mohali.


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    1. Well for a start we wouldn’t base it on today’s play. We’d base it on a broader view.

      His strategy seems good. His tactics can be a bit shonky. ‘Tis often thus with young captains. He’ll get better at the latter.

  1. I’m hoping (almost to the point of expectation) that this wicket will suit Adil Rashid and that his bowling might prove decisive in the match.

    But for that to happen, England will need to bowl well across the board in the first innings and bat far better with the remaining 12 wickets than it did with the initial 8.

    It was the manner of so many of the dismissals that was disappointing. I just can’t see 4 or 5 Indian batsmen more or less gifting their wickets in the way the England guys did today.

    To answer Rohan’s question on Kohli’s captaincy – hard to tell given the frequent gifts of wickets. My gut feel – ordinary.

    1. It wasn’t the wild shits. Mild to moderate at worst. You wouldn’t score as many as Bairstow did while still feeling the effects of a bout of the wild shits.

  2. IMO a lot of the English batsmen got out trying to force the pace once they started feeling comfortable. Root, Moeen, Stokes and Buttler all followed a similar pattern in that they got their eye in, reached a level of fluency where they started playing some nice shots, and perished shortly thereafter playing one shot too many.

    Wonder if it was a team instruction thing. Like a “take the game by the scruff of the neck if your’e in” kind of memo.

    1. Wouldn’t have thought so, just because they tend to let people go about things their own way for the most part.

      Stokes made three off 31 deliveries from Jadeja so there was probably a different impulse at work there.

      Cook Root and Moeen all fell within three deliveries from a bowler they were facing for the first time, so that seems more like premature carelessness rather than the kind borne of feeling like you’re in.

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