THEIn recent months, the prime minister has attempted to characterize the not entirely convincing opposition leader as “Captain Hindsight.” Perhaps the moniker would best fit the leader of the England cricket team, who came out for the start of the fourth test, won the toss and quickly announced his best team for the third match of the series.
Sadly, the third test had already been played, with England this time placing the perfect XI for an imaginary game that never saw the light of day, a game in which closers were helpful and last-order hitters were rendered unnecessary by success. of those. on top. Should the locksmiths achieve little, the hitters even less, and England would never make that mistake again. Not when there were so many new ones to try.
Two pitchers were left out, though Jofra Archer’s continued elbow problems forced that problem, to allow for the selection of an additional hitter and another spinner. This left them significantly understaffed in a bowling department that now features Jimmy Anderson and all-rounder Ben Stokes, who in the first three games of the series threw a combined 15 overs and was playing with an upset stomach. With absolute inevitability, as many windows fell into the seam on the first morning as in the entire previous Test.
Fortunately, Dan Lawrence’s return sported much more than a desperate 46-inning hitting pick that, particularly given the standard of much of England’s batting, left a positive impression despite his ugly finish.
Hitting 121 times five, Lawrence quickly found an unusual level of fluidity, dispatching Axar Patel for handsome on all fours. The 23-year-old entered No. 5 in Sri Lanka with mixed results, and No. 3 in the first two games of this series, before taking an unknown spot at No. 7 and looking more at home, ending the afternoon session in particularly fine style calmly defending four deliveries by Ravichandran Ashwin before sending the last one skimming the ground, one of the day’s takes.
Discounting the moment the ball left the fielder’s shoe on the short leg and entered Rishabh Pant’s gloves, initially delivered but overturned because it bounced just before hitting Shubman Gill’s footwear, the closest thing to Lawrence was of genuine concern. before your dismissal. It was when he led Ashwin across the ground for four. The ball was slammed into the head of Virender Sharma, whose first instinct was to raise both hands, an attempt at self-defense that looked a lot like an attempt to pluck it out of the air, but any chance of being caught by the referee. it ended when the bowler got in the way and Sharma dropped to the ground, the ball hurtling past him on its way to the rope.
That was the first dance of the 70s; Lawrence had also hit a boundary from the first of 69 and trying to do the same from the first of 71 came undone, a completely misguided attempt to attack Patel that left Pant with the easiest of stumps. Still, it had been, as Stokes put it, “a little glimpse of the talent that Dan Lawrence has.”
The day started with Joe Root winning the draw (England now have a streak of 11 successful pitches in their last 12 long form encounters with India and 15 of their last 18) and there is at least one department where they always make the right calls. So England hitters got the best of what looked like a good batting court, but just as you can lead a metaphorical horse into the water without making him drink, you can lead real English starters to day one pitches, but you can’t make them score runs. .
Since Rory Burns and Dom Sibley scored 63 at the start of the series, England’s starting associations have contributed a total of 29 runs in six innings. By those standards, their 10 on Thursday was something of a triumph, the pair parting ways when Sibley was thrown from his inner edge by the second ball of the day from Patel, another one of those killer straight guys. Zak Crawley did twice as well by surviving until his fourth installment of Patel before throwing a straight into the hands of Mohammed Siraj midway.
Patel, three games and 22 wickets in his testing career, has now fired each of England’s current starters three times in this series: once caught, once pitched, once lbw. What you will do with them next is anyone’s guess.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism