India’s tour in a nutshell really: bad luck, injuries, rain and a lack of penetration with the ball all combine to put the icing on the cake of a tour in which they failed to win a single international match. All this despite a decent effort with the bat.
Before we get into detail, let’s address the elephant in the room: Jonny Bairstow is really ginger. It’s genuinely disturbing, as if he were one of the X Men or something. Still, life is all about overcoming obstacles (such as the crippling financial implications of an addiction to Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin) and Bairstow certainly took to international cricket like a duck to water. Watching him hitting the ball into the river Taff to turn a close finish into a stroll took the breath away.
For a fair few years England have struggled to find a one day ‘finisher’. Eoin Morgan (who’s more of a strawberry blonde) can play that role, but his ability to work the ball around in the middle overs means that he’ll more often be higher up the order at number four. With Bairstow and 51allout favourite Jos Buttler (who’s not at all ginger) both looking good for the finisher role, and both also able wicketkeepers, England might finally have an answer to more than one of their problems.
(As you can probably tell, we’re back to bad Kieswetter today, as long as we conveniently ignore the shocking LBW decision he got after a decent start.)
Virat Kohli batted brilliantly for his hundred – we particularly enjoyed him smashing Samit Patel into the international wilderness, fingers crossed – but his dismissal was bizarre, treading on his stumps while setting off for a single.
We should probably also mention some wonderfully slapdash fielding from both sides – the aformentioned Samit Patel dropping two sitters in comedy fashion, Rahul Dravid dropping an even easier one and Partiv Patel taking a catch off a no-ball and getting rather excited about it. We didn’t think Jonathan Trott could add any more strings to his WUM bow, but we reckon he deliberately slapped that no-ball straight up in the air.
Speaking of Trott, another excellent innings that featured his first ever six in ODI cricket. No, we couldn’t believe that fact either.
A classic example of momentum in action here – England’s momentum is all upwards, hence they chased down a pretty challenging target with no fear, exemplified by Jonny Bairstow’s nerveless finishing. For India all the momentum has been downwards for some time, a position that can be almost impossible to escape from (like the time we pushed Rik Waller down some stairs at the BBC). They’ll be glad that this tour is over, and they can finally move on. It’s a huge moment for Duncan Fletcher – the general feeling is that this tour came too soon for him to really make an impact on the side. There’s work to be done because defeat in the upcoming home series against the same opposition would be nothing short of a humiliation.