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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

England's Report Card, India vs England, Nagpur 2012

By on 7:54 PM

A 28 year old dream realized!
England have ended a 28 year old wait with a 2-1 win over India making sure that England have a Christmas to remember. Cook has put this series win par with an Ashes victory and the win is a huge achievement for the English team and one that they will proudly be telling their grand children many years from now. Yesterday I took a look at India's performance in the Nagpur test which ended in a draw and today I take a look at the English team.

England report card - read as name: TWP performance score (1st innings; 2nd innings) 
(pass = 4/10; DNB = Did not bat)

Alstair Cook: 5/10 - (1 run; 13 runs)
Cook for the first time in the series failed to score runs with the bat thanks to two very bad decisions from Kumar Dharmasena. Considering the form that he was in, it was perhaps the only way he could have been out. However despite not contributing with the bat, Cook the captain came to the fore in the match as he marshaled his troops behind him to graft hard for a draw, earning them the series. This entire series has been about Cook and as my friend Satwik writes, responsibilities make Cook stronger. They certainly do.  

Nick Compton: 4/10 - (3 runs; 34 runs)
Compton has come a long way from his debut at Ahmadabad, a few matches ago and the difference can be clearly seen. He fell in the first innings to Ishant Sharma who was bowling a fiery spell, but in the second innings he managed to dig in hard denying the Indian bowlers the early wicket and prolonging the match. Compton's development as a batsman in the series in one of the toughest conditions for an English batsman is a definite plus for English cricket's future.

Jonathan Trott: 9/10 - (44 runs ; 143 runs)
Trott started the series woefully short on runs and out of form, but the Trott we got to see at Nagpur was completely different. His knock in the second innings which involved a mammoth partnership with Ian Bell saw England to safety helping them seal the series. The knock was nothing short of good, on a pitch that was completely dead and runs were hard to come by.

Happy times for KP and England
Kevin Pietersen: 8/10 - (73 runs; 6 runs)
I'm giving KP 8 because, his first innings knock was as valuable as Trott's century in the context of the game and perhaps even more. The knock was a very uncharacteristic KP knock where he waited patiently seeing out bowlers and toning down his aggression. While he wasn't afraid to go over the field, he was extremely watchful and it was great to see KP play this kind of knock. Great players can always adapt their game to different situations and KP did just that. And all his good work has seemed to have paid off with the ECB extending his 3 month contract. 

Ian Bell: 8/10 - (1 run; 116* runs)
Cricket is a great leveler and Ian Bell at Nagpur is a perfect example of that. He got out cheaply in the first innings but managed to set that right with a century in the second that safely saw the team to safety. Bell's 208 runs partnership with Trott was crucial for England in putting the match beyond India's reach. Bell was at his classy best on a dead wicket, making the most by grinding in hard. The century will surely give him much satisfaction.

Joe Root: 8/10 - (73 runs; 20* runs)
Root making his debut in one of the most important matches that England has played in, managed to show the world what he is made up of. It's always a delight to see a youngster come of age and perform at the highest level and didn't Root take the opportunity with both his hands. His knock in the first innings specially was one that you'd expect from a senior, mature player as he held the English innings in the middle order. He gave almost nothing away and his technique seems to be great! And in the field, he kept throwing himself all over and England have a diamond in this man. Root is one person whom I'm sure has a very long career for England. What is it with Yorkshire and their ability to produce some outstanding batting talent?

Matt Prior: 6/10 - (57 runs; DNB)
Prior looked in great touch during his limited time in the middle and he must be kicking himself for getting out run-out. He was in an aggressive mood and could have damaged the Indians more, had he not had a rush of blood moment. Prior's keeping was good to the spinners and he looks to be in good form all-round.

Tim Bresnan: 1/10 - (Duck; DNB)
Tim Bresnan's contribution in the match can be best described by this reply by @UhohDaeSu on Twitter.

(click to enlarge)
Graeme Swann: 8/10 - (57 runs & 3 wickets;  DNB)
Swann the batsman and the bowler were on song once again as they have been throughout the series. With the bat, he played an aggressive innings that seemed to knock the breathe right out of the Indians and only managed to make it worse by strangling them with his off-spin later on. Swann is without doubt the best spinner in the world right now and it's taken England a very long time to say that they have the world's spinner in their ranks.

James Anderson: 7/10 - (4 runs & 4 wickets; DNB)
Anderson since the Kolkata test has been completely different and once again he was back to his usual best, swinging the ball around and creating a headache for the Indian batsman. He struck in the very first over getting the dangerous Sehwag and it was lovely watching him set up Sachin Tendulkar with two outswingers before castling him with the inswinger. Anderson is a terrific bowler and he managed to show just why he is rated so high at Nagpur.

Monty Panesar: 7/10 - (1* run & 1 wicket; DNB)
Panesar might not have been among the wickets with just Ojha's wicket next to his name, but his contribution with the ball was plenty. The Indian batsman respected him and decided to play safely against Monty and his figures reflect exactly that! He bowled 52 overs for just 81 runs, keeping the pressure on the Indians from one side at all times. This series has revived Monty Panesar's career as much as he revived England's chances at Mumbai and it'll be interesting to see what awaits him from now.

Overall team England's average - 6.5/10

The match was a dull affair, but still it was a combined English effort that saw to it. Even in this match the England team has managed to out play India and India's average score of 3.5 against England's 6.5 tells it's own story. The entire series win was thanks to one big magnificent team effort and they can be proud of their achievement. India were completely outplayed in the series and England deserved the 2-1 win every bit.

Check out the mini-session analysis of the match here


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