Indian batting was in shambles. It was pathetic. It was boys against the men. Everything mediocre was associated to the Indian batting by the broadcasters, pundits and keyboard warriors alike. Everything un-fancy was associated to the Indian batting which slumped to an innings defeat at the Lord’s in the second test against the mighty English team.
What followed the gloomy, lousy weather in the iconic North London stadium was a lousier start to the Indian batting. The first day’s play was washed out due to steady rain. England won the toss on the second day and rightfully chose to bat. In conditions tailor made for charging-in, swinging bowlers, the Anderson-Broad-Woakes trio made full use of it.
The Barmy army were in their flow.
Jimmy Anderson, Jimmy Anderson,
When he makes it swing
The Barmy Army sing
for Jimmy Anderson
And sing they did. In full force. In perfect sync. And Jimmy Anderson responded. He got Murali Vijay out in the first over. A perfect outswinger, ball going away. If it was left, it would’ve probably got to the right of the keeper or the first slip. Vijay, who has not been in the best of forms chose the most imperfect shot to a perfect delivery. He played across the line towards and away going delivery was the beginning of the bad decisions the Indian batters were going to take in their quest for self-destruction. Jimmy Anderson ended with a 5-for and India were sent packing for 107.
India got the English top order out soon but a colossal 189 run Bairstow-Woakes partnership saw the match slip out of India’s reach. Woakes scored an unbeaten 137 striking at almost 80. England lead by 289 runs and it was always a case of when. When will the inevitable happen? When will India be trailing 2-0 in the 5 match series? When will the Indian media blame the India’s (under prepared, over reliant on Virat Kohli) batting? When will the pundits blame the team selection for the loss?
India came out to bat in the second innings and there wasn’t much change in the script of the Indian batting. The top order was as clueless as they were in the first innings. Pujara looked spirited but got out bowled after 87 balls. There was a little change in the script as far as the bowling was concerned. Broad came to the fore this time and ended with figures of 4 for 44. India all out for 130 and England leading the series by 2-0.
You can talk, blame, write, analyse all day about the shortcomings, about the lack of confidence of Indian batters in English conditions. You can do it all night long with a gun in your mouth for someone to persuade you out of the obvious. The only recourse is by pulling the trigger and resigning to your fate that they are just not good enough. It will take a lot more than just the charm and (always) oozing self-confidence of the coach and the captain to get the ship back on its course. For it is only in stormy waters that the captain is most scrutinised.