Jadeja's next test: To be at home, away
- Ditched by Anna, Mamata rallies â around herself
- AAPâs existence a miracle of Bhagwan, Allah: Kejriwal at Mumbai road show
- CBI chief for closing Lalu cases, director of prosecution doesnât agree
- Maoist attack: gaps between official version, facts on ground
- Trouble for Khobragade as govt finds daughters have US, Indian passports
Like some middle distance athletes who sprint out of the blocks and run out of steam rather quickly, England have gone rapidly downhill in a one-day series they were not expected to win. So woeful is their record in India (they have lost 19 out of 22 games and scrambled a tie in between) and so under-staffed were they (Anderson, Broad, Swann and Trott all away on different objectives) that even winning the first game now seems an accomplishment. Just as teams are often berated for not showing enough respect for Test cricket, England must be asked if they offer the one-day game too little.
If the objective was to learn (though I am not sure it was with no major one-day tournament scheduled on the sub-continent for a while) there was plenty. Alastair Cook is their best bet at the top of the order and Steven Finn will lead many England attacks in the years to come. And in Joe Root they have a young player who looks to the world like he belongs. But Ian Bell continues to frustrate, like Rohit Sharma in India he has unarguable pedigree but maddening inconsistency, and England have to ask whether he is the future over 50 overs. Samit Patel has to play as a batsman only and Jade Dernbach has run out of tricks, those that were insubstantial to start with. Tim Bresnan isn't the solid seam bowling all-rounder he is in home conditions and Matt Prior will get a go in most teams but England. Having seen his remarkable progress as a cricketer, it is inconceivable that he cannot earn a place in this side.
For India this series is a reminder that they can win. Losing was becoming a habit, with each form substantially represented, and questions were coming up faster than answers. Fast bowlers were disappearing into a mysterious dark hole, spinners were getting extinct and batsmen were doing just enough not to be dropped. And while it would be as dangerous to treat this as a major revival as it would be to seek hope in the appointment of a dynastic heir, some cause for optimism did emerge.