Friday, July 29, 2011

Trent Bridge

First blogpost for more than a year, but let's get past that and move on, eh ?

I've been slightly disappointed in the media this week. The triumphalism around the victory over India on Monday was understandable, the universal assumption that England will cruise to victory in the remaining tests was not. India are a fine side, and have more steel than Indian touring sides of yore. I confidently expect them to win at least one test this summer, most likely at The Oval.

Having said that, England have to be heavy favourites in Nottingham this weekend. Here's why.

Trent Bridge used to be the best batting wicket in England. Draws were a regular result. Then, in the mid-to-late 2000s (I always want to call them the noughties), Nottinghamshire decided to redevelop the ground. They did nothing to the square, but, crucially, the big new stands square each side of the wicket clearly affected the atmospherics. The ball suddenly swung more and for longer than had previously been the case, and the average first innings score dropped by around a hundred.

Which brings us to Jimmy Anderson. England's primary seamer has taken a phenomenal twenty seven wickets in his last three tests here. Anderson is at the top of his powers at the moment, and this very talented Indian batting order looks under-cooked, due to the mad schedule their board has imposed upon them. Sadly for India, their bowler most likely to exploit the conditions, Zaheer Khan, has been ruled out again. As an additional factor, this is the ground Kevin Pietersen made his reputation on within the county game - he has two big Test centuries here. It all points to England being on top.

One word of caution - one has to go back to 2004 to find the last instance of a side winning the test batting second, and that was courtesy of a virtuouso performance by a genius named Muralitharan. That little coin tomorrow morning may yet prove to be the most decisive element.

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