The fourth test has been and gone, all over inside three days with another emphatic England win, the margin an innings and 54 runs. In brief, India won the toss and elected to bat in gloomy conditions. Anderson swung the ball all over the place to take 3-46 and Broad bowled mean for a superb 6-25. England then batted pretty well with Bell getting 58 but at this point India actually managed to win a session. When Buttler joined Root the lead was just 18 but a stand of 134 put England in control, both batsmen scored 70+ and the lead was over 200. The only downside was an injury to Broad which meant he couldn’t bowl. In the end he wasn’t needed. Anderson and Ali done the damage with the ball then Jordan tidied up.
Once again England played very well but on the other hand India were awful, a truly gutless display. Yes their best bowler, Sharma is injured but let’s be honest, he isn’t that good anyway! The bowlers who have played have done OK it’s the batsmen that have let them down and the fielding hasn’t been up to much either.
England are starting to look just a couple of players short of a good side now. At the top of the order Sam Robson hasn’t taken his chance. He’ll probably be given one last chance at the Oval but I’d like to see someone else given a go. After this match there is a six month break for the test team before three tests in the Carribean next spring. I’d like to see Carberry given another chance or failing that Compton was surely discarded too early? Moeen Ali is taking wickets but still doesn’t look like a top class spinner. I like him and hope he retains his place but he needs to score runs consistently to do so. In the last two matches Woakes and Jordan have just not taken enough wickets and have rarely looked like doing so. Ben Stokes will come back into the side at some point as should Plunkett if fit. Waiting in the wings is Stephen Finn who will one day become a great bowler.
My XI for the Oval;
Cook, Carberry, Ballance, Bell, Root, Ali, Buttler, Plunkett, Broad, Finn, Anderson + Stokes as cover for Plunkett.