Eng v Ind

Published on September 8th, 2018 | by Arunabha Sengupta

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The sting in the England tail made the difference in the series

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“Perhaps there is something to be said about the way the two sides have bowled to the tail-enders as well. However, it seems quite accurate to say that by limiting the tail to just a solitary No 11, the England side has run away with the series”

The Buttler did it. Again.

Jos Buttler essayed yet another superb innings, amounting to 89, and carried England from 181 for 7 to 332.

That makes 151 runs for the last three wickets.

The series has been really close. The scoreline stands at an unassailable 3-1, but the Edgbaston and Southampton matches could have gone either way. Yet, England clinched both, and hence the rubber.

If we look at the Tests with real rigour, the first innings at The Oval is a great indicator. Particularly the sting in the England tail.

The partnerships for the last four wickets have put on 778 runs for England so far in the series, at 26.82. And while the home team has brandished a short and wagging tail, the Indian counterpart has been long and limp. The last four wickets for India have managed 453 runs in the series at a far inferior 15.62.

Okay, the England figures are bloated by the 151 runs in this Test. The Indian tail has not been on display yet at The Oval. Thankfully so. But even discounting the current match, the last four partnerships had topped the England totals by 527 runs at 21.08. Which is again, far superior to what the Indians managed in those four Tests.

From the Sam Curran- Adil Rashid double act in Edgbaston, to the Chris Woakes-Sam Curran blitzkrieg at Lord’s, to Sam Curran’s various partnerships at Southampton with Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad … all these late order associations have played a big-big role in determining the result in the series. There have been 6 fifty-plus partnerships for the last four wickets for England.

In contrast, the Indians have generally been quick to be knocked over. They have managed just 2 half-century associations. One due to the genius of Virat Kohli, when he added 57 with a virtually scoreless Umesh Yadav at Edgbaston, and the other a 55-run collaboration between two of the most vilified all-rounders in the Indian team at the moment, Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin.

The England line-up looks curiously bereft of specialist batsmen. They have only Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings and Joe Root in this line up who can be categorised as men who are limited to batsmanship as their sole trade in the game. The rest are good enough to be in the team as either bowlers or wicketkeepers.

But the all-rounders go deep into their set up, almost replacing the tail totally bar the last bit. A few seasons earlier, even Stuart Broad was a major threat with the bat but his powers with the willow have waned in recent times. One can perhaps add him to the English tail, but he can produce innings of substance now and then as he did today. The only genuine tailender in the side is Jimmy Anderson.

This is apparent from the scorecards. In the series, the last four batsmen of England have scored 464 runs at 21.09, with two half-centuries. Take away this match, and the total stands at 411 runs at 21.63 with Sam Curran’s 78 and 63 leading the way.

The Indians, on the other hand, with Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, have played quite a few men not particularly adept with the bat.

Their last four men have managed just 210 runs in the series at 9.13, with Ashwin’s unbeaten 33 at Lord’s and Pandya’s fighting 31 at Edgbaston the only decent scores.

This has definitely been the stark difference between the teams.

If we consider Nos 1-7, India managed 1512 at 28.00 in the first four Tests while the England side got 1131 runs at 27.58. So India has been just a bit better in terms of the two tottering top orders of the teams.

First four Tests England India
Runs Ave Runs Ave
Nos 1-7 1131 27.58 1512 28.00
Nos 8-11 411 21.63 210 9.13

But the main difference has been caused by the enormous chasm between the runs garnered by the tails of the two sides.

Perhaps there is something to be said about the way the two sides have bowled to the tail-enders as well. However, it seems quite accurate to say that by limiting the tail to just a solitary No 11, the England side has run away with the series.

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About the Author

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Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and the author of Sherlock Holmes and the Birth of The Ashes. He tweets @senantix.



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