Dhoni Proves Useful For India

MS Dhoni played a useful innings batting at no. 6 for India in the first test match against England which is being played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

It was only the second time that Dhoni was batting at 6 in test matches overseas. He generally likes to bat at 7 when playing away from the subcontinent. But, since India went with only 5 specialist batsmen at Nottingham, he had to bat one position higher and he played with a lot of responsibility.

When he first came in, he played his shots and took the pressure off his partner Murali Vijay who was approaching his hundred.

But, in the first hour of the second day, the Indian captain showed that he could grind as well.

Unfortunately, the belligerent right hander couldn’t get to his hundred as he got run out attempting for a cheeky run.

Had he been got to the three figure mark, it would have been his first test hundred overseas.

After Dhoni’s departure, India lost a couple of more quick wickets and looked as if they would be bundled out under 350, but, the last pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami didn’t let that happen as they put up a 100-run stand to guide India past 400.

That last wicket partnership brought down the spirits of the English camp and that was visible when they came out to bat in the last session yesterday. They were completely down and out and were just willing to see out the day somehow.

The captain, Alastair Cook, again had a bad outing as he was knocked over by Shami round his legs at the score of 5.

But, Garry Ballance and the other opener Sam Robson negotiated the rest of the overs and England’s score, at stumps on day 2, was 43 for the loss of 1 wicket.

Cook Under More Pressure Than Ever

Michael Vaughan reckons that Alastair Cook must not have felt as much pressure as captain ever in his career before as he is facing now.

England is going to start their much hyped new era in the longest form of the game from tomorrow.

Speaking in one of his interviews a couple of days back, Vaughan said, “There is a lot of pressure on Alastair. He would be totally aware of the fact that there are people who are ready to pounce on any failure. So, he will have to make sure that he doesn’t suffer too may loses especially in the near future.”

“Alastair actually has had a couple of achievements to his name as captain. He has been the captain of an Ashes winning side and he has also guided his team to a series win in India which is a very tough place for the touring teams, but, he is going to begin on fresh terms now and the fans will judge him on the basis of what he does as captain in future.”

“There have been some very difficult decisions made by him and the management. The batting coach has been removed; the highest run getter for England has been forced to retirement. So, now, he will find himself under the scanner.”

Recently, Cook has been criticized a lot by a large section of the England cricket fans for the role that he played in the sacking of Kevin Pietersen from the team. So, now to make those fans happy again, he needs to win regularly and it’s not going to be that easy as his team is set to face two very strong teams in the form of Sri Lanka and India in the next two test series respectively.

Bopara Believes Absence Will Help Rivals

Ravi Bopara reckons that the absence of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena would help England in getting better of the World T20 Champions Sri Lanka in the upcoming one off game.

Sri Lanka will kick start their England tour at the start of the next week with a T20 match which will be played at Kennington Oval, London. It will be their first match after the final of the World T20 Championship which they had won last month.

Bopara admitted that Sri Lanka is a top team in the shortest format of the game, but, at the same time, he also said that without two of their premier players, they would have a slightly fragile middle order and England can take advantage of that.

Talking to the reporters, the Essex all rounder said, “There is no doubt about the fact that Sri Lanka is a very good T20 side. They execute their strategies quite well on the ground, but, they are not going to have the services of Sanga and Mahela and that’s a big factor.”

“However, in this format, any team can win on a given day. So, it’s very important to be spot on right through the game no matter against which opponent you are playing.”

Bopara has managed to become a regular member of the England One day International and T20 side in the last 6 months, but, he is still out of the test team. He is hoping that under the new management, he would get the opportunity to showcase his skills in the 5-day cricket as well.

So far in this 7-year long career, Bopara has featured for England in only 13 test matches in which he has scored 575 runs at an average of 31.