|M.A Chindambaram Stadium|
Ali got a pretty 140, Bairstow chipped in as did Rashid and Dawson with sixty apiece. England got a respectable 477 but you just knew what was coming. India batted. Then batted. And batted some more. India were excellent but England's performance was reminiscent of the smell of sewage that overwhelmed the ground, having found its way into a nearby river. Like Gazza, they couldn't tempt Rahul into fishing outside his off stump and industrial strength wax wouldn't have provided Nair removal. Rahul finished just shy of his double hundred with 199 and Nair got 320 not out. India finished with 759-7. The season of goodwill had come early and Rashid, Dawson and Ali brought their very own gold, frankincense and myrrh by going for nearly 500 runs. It was more like myrrh-der, as Taggart would have said.
Pitches like this don't make particularly great cricket to be honest. It was dull just watching England chase the ball around for three days. Sadly, this England side don't play their part in making it more attractive. From the selectors picking spinners who can bat to bolster the tail, to tactics of putting the ball outside off stump in the hope that the opposition can make a mistake, it is negative. It is a safety first approach and Cook has been lacking in his captaincy, whilst the tactics must surely come from the coaches. No one tried to bounce anyone out, no one tried to spear in yorkers - they just bowled safety first stuff in the channel. Yes they kept it tight at times, yes they even fielded well, and they did try, but it was appalling.
When England batted, like Vanessa Williams, they went and saved their best for last. 207 all out on this wicket was abysmal. Moeen Ali holing out, when you are trying to draw a game was irresponsible at best. The last six wickets fell for a miserable fifteen runs. If Pakistan had folded in such a manner, Sir Paul Condon would be looking into bookmakers accounts. India won by an innings to take the series 4-0, Jadeja with seven and ten in the match. Seeing Srini at the post match ceremony getting cheered by the crowd just poured petrol on to my rage. My ire was burning like a Chicken Madras.
Let's start with India. They have been excellent. The seamers have been top notch and in Ashwin and Jadeja, they have a couple of match winners. Kohli has led from the front and Pujara, Vijay, Rahul and Nair have all played their part. They look a decent outfit, despite dropping catches regularly. They can improve a lot more but still had way too much for a toothless England.
|"There's been a myrrh-der"|
England were awful. From the administrators who crammed seven Tests into not many more weeks, the selectors who picked the wrong players, to Bayliss who has taken us backwards in this form of the game, we have been woeful. As for Cook, I think this could be the end for him as skipper. He lacks imagination and has no Plan B. He should have been strong enough to stand up to the selectors and get the players that he wanted on the plane. I can't imagine Hussain or Vaughan letting the game drift in the same way. Both of those had a Freddie Flintoff or a Darren Gough up their sleeve to make things happen. Why is Stokes not used like this? Is Cook too nice to skipper? Hmmm. Someone needed a rocket up their arse.
England need to change. Someone has to pay the price for these tactics and for this shambles. Whether it is Cook, Bayliss, Whitaker or certain players, the English cricketing public were humiliated and embarrassed. This was less Uttar Pradesh. more utter rubbish. I had such high hopes for 2016 after the South Africa tour and slowly but surely we have got worse over the year. Watching Australia v Pakistan was far more interesting and both sides would beat this English team at present.
This was carnage in Chennai. And I was ashamed.