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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent in India

India batsman Gautam Gambhir
Looking at the tour as a whole, India were clearly dominant

Jonathan Agnew

How sad it is, after such an entertaining six weeks here, that India should have treated this final match with such contempt.

I really hoped that this attitude to Test cricket had died years ago.

It is no wonder that the five-day game is facing a battle for survival in this part of the world if the captain and coach approach it like this, with absolutely no consideration to spectators, sponsors and a huge television audience.

From the moment they bowled England out, and took a potentially formidable lead of 151, India’s tactics were bewildering.

They made absolutely no effort at all to score quickly and leave England with a difficult task of batting out time.

All that seemed to matter on the final day was enabling Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh to reach centuries. Well, they both failed to do so - something that often happens when personal ambition is placed ahead of the game.

However, looking at the tour as a whole, India were clearly dominant, thrashing England 5-0 in the one-day series and then scoring 387 to win the first Test.

They might well have taken the second Test too had they played more positively, and there is no doubt that, on their own soil, they are a formidable team in both forms of the game.

With an ideal blend of batsmen – Gambhir, Dravid and Laxman all solid foundation-builders while Sehwag, Yuvraj and Dhoni add the strokeplay – runs on these pitches are almost a given, although a doubt remains about Yuvraj's ability to cope with short-pitched fast bowling.

All of their bowlers are dangerous all of the time thanks to reverse swing, Harbhajan's unusual doosra and Mishra's mix of leg spin and googlies and with MS Dhoni's usually enterprising captaincy, India could well end up as the leading test team in the world.

England, meanwhile, head home for Christmas with Ian Bell - his unbeaten 24 in the final session was meaningless - hoping that his recent run of poor form will not cost him a place for the tour of the West Indies as Michael Vaughan’s name has come increasingly to the fore for the squad which will be announced on 29 December.

Their one-day plans, meanwhile, are very much up in the air but with so much one-day cricket to be played next summer, including the World Twenty20 and and a total of 10 ODIs before the Champions Trophy, there is plenty of opportunity for the selectors to have a serious rethink and muster a team which can seriously threaten to win the World Cup, now two years away.

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see also
England spirit pleases Pietersen
23 Dec 08 |  England
India v England photos
23 Dec 08 |  England
Who should take on the Aussies?
23 Dec 08 |  Cricket
Jonathan Agnew column
22 Dec 08 |  England

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