25 July 2007

First Test Blues?

India's famous middle order kneeled before the rawest of swing bowling attacks. Not for the first time. On India'a last tour here, only Ajit Agarkar had the courage to stick his bat out between India and defeat at Lords in an attack that was missing Gough and Caddick. Much like this time, where the unheralded had to bat India out of trouble - namely Kaartick, Jaffer and Dhoni.
After being worked over by Anderson in the first innings, like he were a toddler, Dhoni needs to be congragulated in the manner in which he recovered from such humiliation.
Several things went wrong with the batting, not least among them the reluctance to go down the wicket to spin. Monty Panesar is a beautifully balanced bowler, but his threat is compounded by playing him from the crease. Also, a certain nervousness with the footwork against the swingers - never completely forward, never completely back.
Anyway, let us hope that the lessons of the first Test are imbibed well. If they do, a few cracking batting displays similar to 2002 cannot be ruled out. The 2002 series started an (all-too-short) golden run for Indian cricket. But make no mistake. This is a batting line-up in decay, and a more than Herculean mental effort would be required to revive the glory days of Edbagston and Adelaide.