India v England 2nd test, Vizag: Pitch Fever

To a musician, it means ‘the degree of highness or lowness of a tone’. To a physicist, it means ‘steepness of a slope’. To a baseball fan, it means ‘throw’. To a non-cricket fan watching cricket, it means the area on which the sport is played. To a cricket fan, it means something else altogether.

I’m talking, of course, about the pitch. I remember watching cricket with a friend who knew nothing about the game. He seemed pretty confused that the match started with a “Pitch Report”! I don’t believe any other sport does this, but for those of us who have been following cricket all our lives, we can’t fathom a match without a pitch report. Squad composition, set a target or chase, field placements, they all depend on the pitch.

A typical Indian pitch is known to crumble easily; it favours the batsmen early on, and by day 3 is a spinner’s paradise. It’s part of the reason the Ashwin-Jadeja combination has been lethal at home in the past 2 years. We have previously defended pitches which turn earlier than day 3. Rajkot was something else. Read More …

India v England Test Series 2016: An England fan Speaks

The first test of the eagerly anticipated India v England test series starts on 9 November. James Morgan, who runs the fantastic Full Toss blog, gives us an England fan’s perspective. What do you guys think? 

The last time Alastair Cook’s team toured India, England supporters had a rather pleasant surprise. Cook batted beautifully, Kevin Pietersen played a great innings at Mumbai, and Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar spun us to victory with 37 wickets across the four tests. It was an unexpected victory and an extremely sweet one.

Unfortunately, things have gone pear shaped since. Swann fell foul of an elbow injury, and Monty’s career has disintegrated faster than England’s second innings in Dhaka, and Pietersen’s career is deader than a mummified dodo. Alastair Cook will have to have the series of his life (again) for England to be remotely competitive. Read More …