England started their journey of world domination in test match cricket in the summer of 2005 at Edgbaston. In a historic Ashes test against the Aussies, England began to believe. Four year on, with poetic symmetry, England will now reach their goal at this same venue.
A couple of things have changed since. The Edgbaston venue has had a recent £32m facelift and now competes with the best cricketing venues in the world. The team that England will displace is not Australia, but India, who the current ICC leaders in test cricket since Dec 2009.
So if you are a casual visitor to the planet, don't get down on yourself. Cricket is a complex game and yes, the team England are pulverizing are the current owners of the test crown, however one sided the contest may appear. India in this series have proven that sport is unforgiving to the complacent and under-prepared. Past performances count for nothing. Each session in test match cricket is a new battle, no matter what the record books say.
My heart goes out to Alastair Nathan Cook, undoubtedly the next England skipper, for having missed his triple century yesterday. His patience and concentration were amazing, yet again. Easily the best accumulator of this era. Not flamboyant or expansive in his stroke making, but a lesson in focus and desire. Since his appearance on the test scene five years ago, against the same opposition, Cook has played anchor in many England victories.
Incidentally, my heart also goes out to Virender Sehwag, a man of two test triple centuries, who walked into this game with a massive burden of expectations, and played two deliveries in all. Spare a thought.
India will surrender arms tomorrow. The England bowling battery will be all over them like a rash. The Indian batting may get past 300 in the second innings, and notch up a first this series, could be the only sidelight.
The last over of day three suggested that even Kevin Pietersen was able to extract spin and bounce from the pitch. He actually looked good enough to be picked as an off-spinner in the Indian team. That was the extreme paucity India suffered in the bowling department through this match, not unlike the previous two.
Big day tomorrow, for England fans and for all test cricket buffs, to usher in the new champs.
Saturday, 13 August 2011
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