Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Battered in Chennai!

The fifth test was a major case of deja vu.  England won the toss and batted, making a decent score of 477, built mainly around 146 from Moeen Ali.  In return India battered England and amassed a record score of 757-7 dec.  Rahul made 199 and Nair in only his third test turned a maiden century into 303*  England should have been able to bat through the final day and save the match, especially as they hadn't lost a wicket by lunch.  Unfortunately they bottled it and allowed Jadeja to take 7-48, India won by an innings again.

We should have beaten Bangladesh but no one should be surprised at India winning the series 4-0, England were clear underdogs before the series and the result is what many predicted.  The simple truth is; England's current batting line up does not have anywhere enough experience in facing good spinners in helpful conditions.  Kohli was different class this series.  Although our spinners are improving they are not in the same league as Ashwin and Jadeja.  We were outperformed by a better team this year but if the two sides met in England next year, we would win comfortably.

Despite this heavy defeat I think this has been a good autumn for the development of this England team.  After a couple of years of selections that have found little but ruled several players out, it seems as if we are starting to know what our best team is.  Naseeb Hameed looks like he could be a world class player and open the batting for years to come, the search for Cook's partner is finally over.  Keaton Jennings has done enough in a couple of knocks to cement his own spot, probably at no.3.  Ben Duckett and Gary Ballance will go back to their counties, the latter probably permanently.  
There has been talk about the captaincy, will Cook stay on?  Is Root ready?  I hope Cook allowed to continue for as long as he wants the job but if he's had enough then fine.  I'm sure he'll make more runs for the team if he isn't captain, how Root goes remains to be seen.

We don't have another test match until next July now.  A lot can change in that time but from what we've seen this year, my team for the next home test match would be...

Cook, Hammed, Jennings, Root, Ali, Stokes, Bairstow, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Anderson

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