Every week Geoff Boycott updates his site with fresh views on the world of cricket. Don't miss it.
Posted on | July 27, 2011 | 2 Comments
The England team are in a very healthy situation. They should polish India off in the second Test and press home the advantage they gained at Lord’s, which marked the beginning of the end for India as the world’s No 1 Test team.
There is not much to choose between both sides’ batting. There is strength in depth in both teams and we expect India to improve but their bowling is not good enough to worry .
Zaheer Khan is a quality bowler but even before the series started I never expected him to survive bowling in four Test matches in five weeks. His ability has never been in doubt but his fitness has always been a worry.
It looks as if they can’t risk him again now until the third Test at Edgbaston. If they do and he breaks down again they will look stupid.
Harbhajan Singh may have 400 Test match wickets but all the batsmen played him with ease. I think he is too slow through the air. So he is going to have to change his trajectory to make any impression.
Praveen Kumar swings the ball beautifully both ways but unless it is a very helpful pitch he should not bother good batsmen at military medium pace.
Ishant Sharma is their best prospect. Tall with bounce and movement he is going to have spells when he causes all the England batsmen problems. The back-up seamers are Munaf Patel, who is again military medium swing bowler, and Sreesanth who is ruled by the moon.
He is an exasperating seamer who even many of the public in India did not want picked for the World Cup. He is too expensive.
The next three Test match pitches will have to be very helpful to seam bowling or England will have to bat very badly to get out cheaply to this attack. In the end batsmen put you in a position to win by making good totals but you need bowlers to take 20 wickets reasonably cheaply.
I know the batting had problems with Sachin Tendulkar weighed down by weight of expectation at Lord’s and a viral infection in the second innings.
Gautam Gambhir had a badly bruised elbow but even so, if the ball swings or seams a bit off the pitch the Indian batting will come under more intense pressure due to the pace and consistency of the England attack. That is where the match will be won — the seam bowling.
If pitches are flat Indian batsmen will make lots of runs and so should England. England are all fired up. Confidence is high, they believe they can beat India and they are hungry to be number one in the world. I can’t see India stopping them and it would be an amazing turnaround if they beat England.
The good thing for England is they also know they can get better as well because at Lord’s they dropped three straight-forward slip catches. Normally they are a very reliable slip cordon. We gave India chances and that won’t happen again.
James Anderson is now a top-class bowler. His movement of the ball is the key strength. If you keep swinging and seaming at a pretty good pace and put it in difficult areas for batsmen often enough you will get wickets, and that is what he does. It is very rare you see him bowl straight up and down. The ball is always doing something.
Chris Tremlett has been a revelation since he came into the Test side. He is coming down from that high action like Joel Garner and Curtly Ambrose. It is disconcerting for the batsman.
At Lord’s Stuart Broad was unrecognisable from the guy who bowled all over the place against Sri Lanka. It floated out of his hand and went everywhere.
The key at Lord’s was he bowled with pace and pitched it up around off stump. He has never been a big swinger or seamer of the ball. But if you bowl at a rapid pace on a fullish length around off stump you will get wickets. That is what he did at the Oval against Australia two years ago.
He should get it into his head he is not fast enough to be a bouncer bowler. If he was as fast as Michael Holding he could do that but he isn’t. Just hit corridor of uncertainty as often as you can at pace. That is the key.
The great thing for England is they have two good back up seamers queuing up to take their place. Tim Bresnan has done wonders when he has played. He has surprised me and probably deserved to play at Lord’s. And then there is Graham Onions who is back bowling for Durham and was a raving success against Australia in England. India do not have back up seamers like that and that is where England’s advantage lies.
Now they all have self belief as well. They have confidence in each other and they also know if they don’t perform somebody else will get their place
Article reproduced with kind permission from the Daily Telegraph