| Nasser Hussain |
Calcutta: India paid the price of thinking that preparing turning tracks would be enough to beat England in the just-concluded Test series as the visitors had better tweakers to exploit the dustbowls, feels former England captain Nasser Hussain.
India lost 1-2 against England in the four-match series that concluded with a draw Monday in Nagpur, and was dominated by Alastair Cook’s men.
“India are not the side they were. If I was putting together a composite side from the two teams I would start by picking the whole England attack. England, for once, had better spinners than India in Indian conditions,” Hussain wrote in his column for The Daily Mail.
“The tourists were fitter, both physically and mentally, and hungrier for Test cricket. India would not have been able to take four wickets late in a day, after two sessions without a wicket, as England did on Saturday.
“India went one up and just thought they could prepare a turning pitch and England would crumble. They showed too much bravado. And England made them pay very heavily indeed for that,” he wrote.
Looking back at the series, Hussain said England showed tremendous resolve to bounce back from the crushing nine-wicket loss in Ahmedabad.
“...but the second innings there proved a turning point both in this series and in the future of this team. Without it things could look very different now.”
“...when Alastair Cook scored a big hundred in a losing cause in Ahmedabad in that second innings things changed. It was the moment the captain said to his team: ‘Hang on, there are no demons here. The ball is not spinning both ways. If we show some character, application and belief we can do this.’ And since then the transformation has been astonishing,” Hussain said.
“Everything England have done since then has been right. And their business has been conducted in a quite ruthless manner. There has been no dilly-dallying, no worrying about reputations. This has been anything but a closed shop,” he added.
He praised spinner Monty Panesar and attacking batsman Kevin Pietersen — both of whom turned it around for England in the second Test in Mumbai.
“Tim Bresnan has been a very good cricketer for England but as soon as Cook and Andy Flower realised they had made a mistake in not picking Monty Panesar for the first Test the Yorkshireman was gone.
“England basically had to nail everything to win this series after going one down and they did it.
“Look at Kevin Pietersen. He was a frenetic wreck in the first Test and only had a couple of days to come up with a defensive technique against his old nemesis, left-arm spin.
“What happened? He went out and smashed 186 in Mumbai,” he explained.