India win by 5 wickets
England’s tour went from poor to downright shambolic as they threw away the series amidst a torrent of awful mistakes.
Had Dernbach and Kieswetter (or ‘Them bloody Saffas’ as they shall henceforth be known as) not combined to cost England the game, we’d have had to humiliatingly write an entire paragraph praising Samit Patel. Fortunately, they did, so we don’t.
India’s chase was a really good team effort, but it was the unheralded Ajinkya Rahane who calmly saw them through most of the innings. Having played well in England he hadn’t started this series particularly well, but he batted with great maturity to ensure India were always in a position to win the game. As a note to the Trott detractors, Rahane’s innings was another great example of how scoring at less than a run a ball is perfectly fine as a foil to more aggressive players at the other end.
One day we’ll be able to think of a turning point which was someone doing something out of the top drawer, rather than one of the teams screwing up. India led the way earlier in the summer, now England have not so much been handed the baton as nailed themselves to it. Going into the penultimate over the match was still in the balance, with 17 required from 12 balls. Then followed an over so utterly incompetent that there was no question India would go on to get the 7 they required from the final six balls of the match. The fact two wild beamers and a wide wasn’t the worst of it tells its own story. The crowning moment was the first delivery of the over, as Jadeja and Dhoni took a suicidal second run to third man. Jadeja was out by a few kilometres, but Craig Kieswetter not only kicked the stumps down, he then appeared to forget that he could have pulled a stump out of the ground and still had his man. It’s difficult to work out whether the initial mistake or the sheer stupidity that followed was worse.
Given how awful the bowling attack have performed all tour, both Stuart Meaker and Scott Borthwick must fancy their chances of inclusion this weekend. To pick Meaker only to not give him a chance would be strange, but whether throwing him in at the deep end now would be good for his development is open to debate. Only Kieswetter of the top seven could lose his place, but even that seems unlikely. Ian Bell probably appreciates the rest. As for India, the bowling remains an issue; everyone bar Ashwin was expensive in Mohali and even though they look capable of chasing down anything against England’s attack, it’s something they need to work on. Umesh Yadav is out of the final two games with a hand injury, so we may finally get to see the mythical Varun Aaron in action over the next few days.