Cricket: India v England - 2nd Test
Friday November 23,
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai,
Sky Sports 1 3.30am
After the optimism, a reality check. England are not the first visiting team to get mauled by India, but the manner in which they capitulated in the First Test, especially in the first innings, has left new captain Alastair Cook with plenty to ponder.
Cook himself was one of the few to emerge blameless, along with the admirable Matt Prior, who has shown himself to be one of England’s better batsmen in the past year. Between them they scored 356 of England’s 597 runs in the match.
True, India were allowed to race to 521-8 declared in the first innings, with Cheteshwar Pujara showing that his reputation as a run machine is well-founded.
His 206 not out, supported by a ton from Virender Sehwag, took the match away from England. Graeme Swann (below) bowled well to snare five wickets, but the quick triumvirate of Broad, Anderson and Bresnan posed very little threat.
The Wankhede Stadium offers little for the medium-fast brigade, apart from the odd bit of swing, but India’s Umesh Yadav showed in the First Test that quicks can be rewarded if they bowl fast and straight on a good length. Steve Finn – still injured – would have been very useful here. Ultimately, this Test will boil down the same as the first: which side can turn the screw? Despite Swann’s best efforts, he needs some support, and England’s batsmen must show they can actually play spin. If those two things happen, England have a glimmer of a chance.