ALASTAIR Cook did not quite have the resigned look on his face on calling incorrectly as he had at the Wankhede stadium. That was not just because of the kind of pitch that they would have to bat on last, but also because they were already one down in the series and another loss would have meant that the series was gone. Having won there and in style too he was lot more accepting of the fact that he would have to bat last. As the days play ended he would have been thinking that maybe they wouldn't have to bat again in the second innings. Going by the way, England have adapted to pitches with turn and bounce it will be a lot easier to bat at the Eden Gardens than Wankhede. The pitch which was the subject of much discussion and debate is a slow pitch, but a good one for the likes of Alastair Cook, who likes to take bag and baggage with them on the field. He can camp there for another week and the way he is batting India would have to call the commandos because he would be simply immoveable.
Unfortunately, the Indian batsmen did not appreciate the wrong call by the England skipper, which gave them the opportunity to bat first and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. It is easy to be critical of a team when it is not doing well, but what happens on the field is often related to how the team prepares off it and it is here that the teams approach is questionable.
Nobody wants to lose and there is a pride representing the country which these players definitely have. However if a team has lost and badly at that in less than four days then it is expected that they would turn up a little early for the next Test, if only to get used to the changing conditions and to get the intensity back. Mind you they could still go on to win the Test, but the fact remains that by giving themselves just two days practice in Kolkata they have not made it easy for themselves. They got an extra day off having lost in four days in Mumbai so they should have reported in Kolkata at least four days before and spent time practicing their skills and getting mentally intense for the game. Even on the day they lost at Wankhede they turned up on the ground just 45 minutes before the first ball was bowled while the England team was at the ground at least another 45 minutes before them.
Unfortunately, this is not the only instance, but quite a regular feature and suggests that they are not prepared to put in the hard yards that are needed at this level of the game. It is not certain who makes the call on how much and when to practice, but somebody has to be asked for the current method has not worked for Indian cricket for a long time now.
This was a wicket for application and not flamboyance and only Gambhir and Tendulkar showed it. Sehwag, who was looking good, did not communicate with his partner while running and paid the price. Pujara played a lazy push or maybe he was surprised by the arm ball from Panesar. Gambhir fell once more to the cut shot and while that should not be a reason for him to give it up he will have to be a little more careful when he chooses to play that shot.
Tendulkar battled it out and he looked very determined to get a big one at the Eden Gardens. He is adored all over India, but nowhere more than at the Eden and despite it not being a full house the ovation when he got to a fifty was something special. Jimmy Anderson has given him a hard time in Test and he got him again to a terrific delivery.
The Eden is where the Indian skipper, Dhoni, also has a terrific record with the bat and if he can add to that then India will be better placed than they were at the end of the days play.