India vs England: Five things we learnt

Tanay Tiwari 21:21 02/02/2017
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The batsmen are dominating ODIs.

An extensive English tour of India finally came to an end in Bengaluru, where in the final T20I, England imploded against an inspired Indian bowling performance and thereby lost the T20I series 2-1.

Earlier, in the ODI series too, England had a similar scoreline where they managed to win one game and lose two.

Both series were competitively fought by the two sides, with the possible exception being the final T20I where England lost their last eight wickets for as many runs.

Here are five things we learnt from the limited overs leg of the India vs England series.

SCORE OF 300 NO LONGER BULLET PROOF IN ODIS

In days gone by, 300 off as many balls in an ODI guaranteed a victory, and if your side could bowl even decently – which they did when the boundaries were longer and bats thinner – you could turn that into a comprehensive victory.

While this was a reality not so long ago, it does still seem like a thing of the distant past because of the ridiculous run-fests we’ve witnessed since the T20 era has enhanced run-scoring over 50 overs as well.

England made a total of 716 runs in the first two ODIs of the series; 350 in the first innings of the first game (which India managed to chase down with 11 balls to spare) and 366 in the second innings of the second ODI, chasing 382.

There’s very little they could have done better. When you score that many runs and don’t win, it’s a matter of concern.

SLOWER DELIVERIES FROM PACERS WORK

Time has not only changed how the game looks, but also how it is played. If you’re a fast bowler, who consistently brings the heat, chances are, that a wild-slog from a number eight batsman might land a good length delivery over the third-man boundary for a six.

In an era of slam-bang cricket, sixes fly off every part of the bat.

In the recent past, we’ve seen the emergence of fast bowlers who bowl the slower deliveries and restrict batsmen’s run-scoring abilities.

Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Jasprit Bumrah and Tymal Mills all have excellent slower deliveries which makes it tricky for batsmen.

We saw how effective Bumrah’s and Mills’ tactics of bowling into the pitch and intelligently changing the pace of the ball were.

LEG-SPINNERS ARE IN FASHION

When Yuzvendra Chahal picked up six wickets for 25 runs in the last T20I and Amit Mishra bowled economically only giving away 23 runs off his four overs while picking up a wicket on the way, it confirmed the belief that leg-spinners are the way forward in the shorter formats.

This has again got to do with the batsmen’s notion of going after anything and everything they think they can hit. And in a game where the batsmen’s ego is through the roof with the kind of power they wield, leg-spinners poke that ego and more often than not induce a mistake.

An excited Suresh Raina in the second T20I at Nagpur tried to decimate Adil Rashid, only to horribly misread his googly and miscue a slog to Chris Jordan at long-on.

There’s something about the leg-spinners and their invitations to the batsmen. Every time a leg-spinner flights the ball, the batsman sees it as an opportunity to smack it into the stadium’s parking lot.

While some succeed at doing that, most fail as was evident in the last T20I when Chahal literally toyed with the batsmen using all his variations.

That said, a leg-spinner is still a gamble in the shorter formats. It’s a gamble that more and more captains are willing to take though.

TEAMS LOVE TO CHASE

At least in sub-continental conditions where cricket is majorly a winter sport, chasing is bliss. With dew around later in the evening, two new balls, shorter boundaries and bigger bats, chasing has become the golden rule if you win the toss.

It has kind of taken away from the game an element of surprise. You can almost predict that the captain who wins the toss will chase no matter what because the quality of batting has augmented to a level where batsmen back themselves to score any number of runs.

This makes for an interesting second half of the game but creates immense pressure on the side batting first as they don’t know what is a good score on the pitch.

THE PHASING OUT OF UNIDIMENSIONAL CRICKETERS

A big reason why England have emerged as such a solid limited overs side post the 2015 World Cup is because they have more players now who contribute in more ways than one.

From Ben Stokes to Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes, these players are more than decent bowlers and exceptionally handy batsmen. This gives the team immense balance and options to play around with.

This is something that the Indian cricket team has started working on too.

The investment of trust in Hardik Pandya is a testament of what India want from the next generation of cricketers.

A deep batting line-up is invaluable to a limited overs side in today’s day and age, and the only way a side can achieve that is if numerous players are willing to don more than one hat.

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