India’s Grand Test Season Ends (2016-17)

3-0; 4-0; 1-0; 2-1.

A football team would have been proud to win by such margins. Except, these are test matches won by India in four series this test season – New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia.

P13 W10 L1 D2

A win percentage of 76%. A loss percentage of 7.6%. Incredible numbers.

Pitches

All the talk before this home season was about turning pitches. About how Indian pitches were killing test cricket. About how India could only win on turning tracks.

Of the 13 test matches played this season, there were two pitches that turned square – Pune and Bengaluru. The others were good test wickets. Dharamsala where the Australia series concluded so dramatically was an atypical Indian wicket with pace, bounce and carry.

Tosses

India won 6 tosses out of 13. It is true that every time India won the toss, it won the test. However, India also won 4 games out of the 7 tosses it lost (with two draws and one loss), often coming from behind to beat scoreboard pressure. No luck involved there.

Character

Along the way we found out a few more things about the Indian team:

  • That Pujara might be a slow scorer, but is the backbone of the test line-up.
  • That Umesh Yadav has finally grown into the bowler he sometimes threatened to be.
  • That Saha makes runs when the going is tough.
  • That Ashwin played the Australia series with sports hernia (and will miss the IPL).
  • That Rahul played the last four test matches needing shoulder surgery (and will miss the IPL).
  • That Vijay played most of the season with a wrist and shoulder injury (and will likely miss the IPL).
  • That Kohli with three double hundreds in the season hurt his shoulder trying to save a single run for the team (and will miss part of the IPL).
  • That Kohli will carry the drinks for the team if it means he stays involved.
  • That the Indian team was obviously exhausted at the end of a long season but still put in one last heroic performance in Dharmsala to make Kohli’s India the current holder of the test trophy against every other nation.
  • That, this season, the Indian team this season put test cricket above all other forms.

IPL madness starts on Wednesday. This time, let no one say that the IPL is killing the test game.

We will remember this season of test cricket for a long, long time.

India v England T20 Series: Questions over Indian Team Selection

After a successful Test (4-0) and ODI (2-1) Series, Kohli’s India walked into the first T20 at Kanpur full of confidence but lost by 7 wickets. Just as we said in our preview, T20 England is an entirely different beast.

Virat Kohli has an outstanding 63% win rate in test matches (after 22 tests at the helm), an 80% win rate in ODIs (after 20 ODIs at the helm), so will want to quickly turn around his 0% success rate after his first T20 as skipper.

One key element of a skipper’s responsibility lies in team selection, and India’s 7-wicket loss in Kanpur leaves us wondering whether others would have fared better in the starting XI. Today we look at the 4 men from the 15-person squad who didn’t make the cut in Kanpur. Read More …

Preview: India v England T20 Series (and a new fantasy cricket league)

Are you missing your usual fantasy cricket fix? Check out the free-to-enter fantasy cricket league for the three India v England T20s on Fanzoo Sports to play and have the chance to win prizes from Zomato! 

72 days since their first game of cricket in India and after losing both the ODI and the test series, England finally registered a win on the board in the final ODI to salvage some pride. The following statement will therefore come as a bit of a shock: England will fancy their chances in the T20s against India.

Yes, that’s right. Historically India struggled in tests and were dominant at limited overs cricket in the sub-continent, while England was primarily a test-playing nation. The recent story is different. India has grown to be a formidable Test side at home while England (with their batting firepower) are now an excellent T20 side. Having cruised to the World T20 finals less than a year ago, England start the T20 series as favourites.

In recent T20 outings, however, both sides have seen mixed results. India’s second string team scraped through 2-1 against Zimbabwe and lost to the West Indies either side of that series, once in the US and once in the World T20 semi final. England, too, have won just 1 of their last 3 games, beating Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in between losing to the Windies in the World T20 final, and to Pakistan by 9 wickets in September.

Ahead of the three match T20 series between India and England that kicks off Thursday, here are 3 things the 1 Tip 1 Hand Team is watching closely: Read More …

England’s tour of India: The Indian juggernaut rolls on in the new year

Happy new year! So it’s been over a month since we last posted on the blog. The last post was just after India were on their way to winning the fourth test against England. Predictably, the Indian team won that. And we won the next test match to end up with a 4-0 series win. Then, like the England cricket team, we took a break from the blog over the festive period. Finally, 23 days into January, we kick the 2017 edition of the blog off with a round-up of all that has gone on since we last posted.

Lots to discuss! Read More …

India v England 4th test: Day 4 Highlights at Mumbai

With a lead of 51 runs and 3 wickets in hand, India held the edge at the start of day 4 in Mumbai. By lunch, that edge had translated into a definitive advantage.

To cut a long story short, England was beyond rubbish and India outclassed them again. With Kohli moving on to a double hundred and Jayant Yadav at number 9 scoring a 100 (India’s first ever), India turned the screws on England. With a lead of 231, the last two sessions saw a familiar scenario unfold when England batted. Six down at the close of play, England still need 49 to make India bat again.

The best part for Indian fans is that England and their fans really have had nothing to whine about on this tour.

  1. England have won 3 tosses out of 4 and batted first. They have had the best of the batting conditions 75% of the time so the English conspiracy theory that winning the toss decides the result goes straight down the drain.
  2. The pitches haven’t been rank turners. No day 3 results. All the games have gone deep into the fourth and fifth days. So India have conclusively played the better cricket.
  3. All of DRS is in play. So no more whining about bad decisions. India have simply used the system better.
  4. India have had more injuries than England to key players. The Indian openers (Rahul), the wicket-keeper (Saha) and the opening bowlers (Shami) have all been injured but India’s bench strength has compensated. England’s only injury of the tour has been to the rookie opener Haseeb Hameed and the out-of-form Stuart Broad.
  5. Having gone 2-0 down, England had a nice break to re-group and make a fist of the series. India have not had such a luxury while touring the UK.

So no excuses from England, right? Wrong.

Having already hit rock bottom, someone handed England a spade and it was our old friend, Jimmy. Anderson labelled Kohli’s magnificent 235 a function of the “helpful” pitches he plays on.

Makes you wonder whether Anderson was watching the ball turn in this test? Also, it’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black – Anderson should be the last person to talk about using home advantage. Remember, Jimmy Anderson is someone with one five wicket haul in Asia in 19 test matches (as opposed to 1 every 4 tests in England). Pretty poor from England. Anderson should shut his mouth and stick to bowling (at home).

Statgasms

To add to the stats fun, let’s take a look at 5 awesome statistics from day 4 at Mumbai.

  • What more can you say about King Kohli? He was sublime on Day 4 of the Mumbai test, racing to his 3rd double century in 2016, becoming the first Indian batsman to accomplish this feat, and the 3rd captain to do so (after McCullum and Clarke). Here is one person who wishes 2016 never ends!
  • Jayant Yadav smashed several records including the first Indian #9 to score a century. In the process, Jayant and Kohli also put together the highest 8th-wicket partnership ever for India.
  • Captain Kohli now averages 50.53 in Test Cricket; along with 52.93 in ODIs and 57.13 in T20s, Virat is the first player to ever average more than 50 at the same time in all 3 formats
  • Joe Root hit a brilliant 77 in the second innings; he has now picked up at least a half-century in each of his 10 tests against India, converting 3 to centuries.
  • Keaton Jennings hit an outstanding first innings century, but followed up with a first ball duck in his second innings. He is the 4th batsman in history to have a century and duck on debut, the last 3 times being in 1969, 1992 and 1996, all more than 20 years ago.

Watch video – India v England, 4th test, day 4 highlights

In our view, the only question that remains for tomorrow is whether India will need to bat again to win the match and the series.

Let’s wrap it up nice and early tomorrow, boys!

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