Former England cricket international Mark Butcher discusses England’s shock second Test win over India with The Positive
The second Test win over India may have to go down as one of England’s best ever victories on foreign soil. Coming just days after a nine-wicket deficit that saw a far from characterful performance, the win was even more remarkable as it came in spite of being challenged with what was expected to be a vital toss.
It was seemingly a incredible performance based around four players: captain Alastair Cook, Monty Panesar, Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen, who played the kind of innings only he might have been able to play.
There had been calls for Pietersen forgo his England shirt after last summer, however any team looking to challenge India needs a batsman who seems to be able to do things other people find more challenging, and that is reportedly KP.
This win has illustrated what a potentially strong leader Cook might be. While he may inevitably have to learn a lot about on-field captaincy and the rhythm of Test cricket, he is pragmatic and was apparently instrumental in the decision to take Pietersen to India. Without his input, Pietersen may easily have been left out.
On the bowling side, it was a interesting performance from Panesar who Australian bowling legend Shane Warne once described as ‘having played the same Test match 25 times. Panesar’s efforts may be far from overestimated. Seen as England’s saviour, the Sussex spinner might have had a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders, however he seemed to control his emotions and bowled magnificently on a pitch that was tailor-made for him. It seems delivery was on the ball in the game and Panesar’s double bowling of Indian talisman Sachin Tendulkar was testament to the fact that he was able to cause all kinds of challenges for players brought up playing with spin.
After India went 1-0 up, the aim is for them to do what they may traditionally do and make the pitches for the other Tests as flat as possible. It’s may be safe to assume that the decision makers far from expected England’s bowlers to outshine India’s.
The Indians may now have a question for the third Test in Calcutta. Do they create another turner of a pitch or do they plump for something slightly more moderate? It all depends on how keen they are to roll the dice.
England may have created an awkward position for their opponents and may now be full of confidence. When they touched down in India, England may have sensed that a draw from this series might be a productive result, however now they may believe they possibly might win it. We may have a intriguing Test match to look forward to.