India win by five wickets
England continued to tumble down the cliff of eternal doom with another mostly crap one day defeat in India.
With Craig Kieswetter hounded out of the side for the crime of not making a double hundred in his last innings, the role of absorbing a nation’s fury fell to Jade Dernbach in Mohali. It is a role he excels in, as he not only bowled extremely badly for long periods but also took the wicket of MS Dhoni (again), meaning vast swathes of enraged England fans had to contort themselves into a position of being pleased with something he did. Being able to play really terribly and then do something almost good at the end is an unheralded skill, and one Dernbach has in abundance.
England’s tormentor-in-chief was again the superbly haired, $2m man; Ravi Jadeja. Quite why the tourists are unable to play him is unclear, as he doesn’t appear to do anything beyond wander idly up to the crease and lob it down the wicket, but it has proved a remarkable success. As the experts wisely spoke of a seamer-friendly, “English-style” wicket, blistering non-pacemen Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin took five of the seven wickets to fall, with England’s middle order once again spectacularly failing to deal with the mystery unspinning spinners in India’s attack. It is clearly a mental problem, or a comedy umpiring problem, that Andy Flower’s brave boys suffer from, but one for which a resolution seems as far away as ever.
The fifth ODI is supposed to be in Dharmasala, where recent weather has raised the prospect of a first ever abandonment due to snow outside of Manchester in August. Assuming it goes ahead, 4-1 seems almost a certainty, with all of England’s early momentum a distant memory. Dernbach will probably be dropped in favour of Chris Woakes or Stuart Meaker; presumably the former, given how the management appear to have forgotten Meaker exists, while Samit Patel could potentially be ditched as well now he’s fulfilled his role of being in the side on national pie day to furnish mediocre cricket websites with plenty of low brow jokes for their twitter feed. India, for their part, may choose to keep everything the same, just to ensure Chester Pujara’s call-up remains as pointless as it looks now. Or they could follow the Australia route of picking joke players just to see if they can win with them in the side, which may pave the way for a recall for Sachin Tendulkar.