England in India in 2005-06
England vs India 2005The English cricket team toured India during February, March and April 2006. The English cricket team was aspiring to maintain the form that took them to second place in the ICC Test Championship before their disastrous spell against Pakistan, and which helped win the 2005 Ashes series at home to Australia. This goal was substantially hindered by the usual stomach complaints which nearly always dog the English team in the opening weeks of Indian tours, and a recurrence of an injury to the captain Michael Vaughan; the swing bowler Simon Jones and the absence of Ashley Giles who missed the tour for an operation. As well as this, stand-in captain Marcus Trescothick flew home for "personal reasons", not wishing to divulge further, leaving Andrew Flintoff, who missed the birth of his son, to take on the title of skipper for the first time having to captain two maiden international cricketers on the English side: Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar as well as Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and Munaf Patel for the home team.
India started the series looking to climb up to the second place spot in the ICC Test Championship which England recently pushed them out of. Three Test matches and seven One Day Internationals were planned. One ODI (in Guwahati) was washed out because of rains. The Test series was drawn 1-1 while India won the ODI series 5-1.
England vs India 2005-06 Results
England vs India 2005-06 1st TestThe first test at Nagpur, despite being a draw, proved to be an intense game of cricket with positive performances from both sides. This was encouraging as the perception of the tour was that England would struggle, especially given the number of injuries they had suffered just before the series began.
Both Alistair Cook and Monty Panesar made international debuts in this Test for England, as well as a Test debut for ODI veteran Ian Blackwell. On the Indian team Shanthakumaran Sreesanth was the only debutant. England won the toss and batted first, and scored at a decent enough rate on the first day, but also lost regular wickets in the process to end the day on 246/7. Alastair Cook made a promising debut scoring 60, and Paul Collingwood was 53 not out by the close of play. On day 2, England’s lower order batsman assisted Collingwood to reach his maiden test century and frustrate India who would have hoped to bowl England out promptly. England eventually reached a score of 393, with Collingwood unbeaten on 134 not out.
India lost Virender Sehwag early in their reply, but then Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid batted out the day without further loss to take the hosts to 136/1 by the end of day 2. The match was very nicely balanced. On day 3, England’s seam bowlers, in particular Matthew Hoggard, produced an inspired performance to engineer a middle order collapse. India slumped from 140/1 to 190/7 just after the lunch break. Hoggard took 5 wickets, and Monty Panesar dismissed Sachin Tendulkar to claim his maiden test wicket amid dramatic scenes. However, Mohammad Kaif and Anil Kumble fought back for India, putting on 128 for the eighth wicket. The day ended with Kaif being clean bowled by Panesar with a spectacular delivery that span out of the rough and just clipped the off stump. England wrapped up India’s first innings very early on day 4 for 323, and began their second innings in a positive way. Alastair Cook scored a century on debut, and Kevin Pietersen scored an aggressive 87, despite a caught and bowled appeal being turned down by the third umpire early in his innings. This incident distracted the Indians who dropped 3 further catches during the day. England closed the day with a lead of 367 runs, and Cook was unbeaten on 104.
Andrew Flintoff declared overnight to set India a target of 368 to win. India again lost Sehwag early, but Dravid and Jaffer again formed a solid partnership that England were unable to break for two sessions. Scoring was very slow, and it looked like the match was heading for an uneventful draw. Jaffer reached 100 shortly after tea but was dismissed soon after making the milestone. India then injected some life into the game by making a sudden charge at the target, despite the fact they still needed 170 runs to win. Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were promoted up the order to accelerate the scoring, and England had to quickly adopt to a one-day scenario to protect boundaries and try and vary the bowling. Both these batsmen fell after cameos, and Sachin Tendulkar, who had also played some shots, was then trusted with seeing out the remaining overs. Although India scored 129 in 22 overs, they were still 108 runs short of the target, and eventually an offer for bad light was made with the score on 260/6.
Matthew Hoggard was awarded man of the match for his first innings effort of 6/57. England overall were pleased to hold a strong Indian team to a draw despite several of their key players missing, and went into the second test with renewed confidence.
England vs India 2005-06 1st TestIndia beat England by 9 wickets
Munaf Patel and the 17 year old Piyush Chawla made their Test debuts for the Indian side.
England vs India 2005-06 2nd TestEngland beat India by 212 runs
Following their second test defeat, England suffered a further injury blow when Alastair Cook developed an upset stomach on the morning of the match. Owais Shah made his debut appearance for the tourists, and Shaun Udal was also called into the side to replace Liam Plunkett.
England’s chances of success in this match were perceived to be low, but they were immediately boosted by Rahul Dravid’s curious decision to ask England to bat on winning the toss. It was believed that this decision was based on the perceived weakness of England’s spin attack, who would not be able to exploit conditions on the final day of the match. Andrew Strauss scored 128 to end a run of low scores on the sub continent, and the debutant Owais Shah compiled a good half century before retiring hurt at the tea interval with cramps. England closed day 1 on 272/3 – a promising position. On day 2, England continued to accummulate runs, but the Indian attack found more consistency than they were able to the previous day. Sri Sreesanth took 4 wickets and triggered a mini collapse, and Munaf Patel also bowled well. Owais Shah returned to continue his innings and reached 88 before being dismissed by Harbhajan Singh. He showed promise as a test player, and was confident enough to engage in dialogue with the Indian bowlers while compiling his innings. The most notable point was Shah visibly laughing having just lofted Harbhajan for a big six. England were eventually all out for 400.
India’s reply started badly, with Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer and Sachin Tendulkar all being dismissed cheaply to leave the hosts on 28/3. Tendulkar in particular was a concern for the Indians, looking nervous and tentative at the crease, taking a long time to score a solitary run and eventually being dismissed after facing 21 deliveries for that single. Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh engineered a recovery to finish the day on 89/3. On day 3, England’s bowlers continued their good work despite finding the hot and humid conditions difficult. They eventually bowled India out for 279, with Geraint Jones taking 5 catches as wicketkeeper. James Anderson took 4 wickets in the innings, including the vital ones of Tendulkar and Dravid. The India total could have been much less were it not for a late order partnership between Anil Kumble and Sreesanth. England lost two wickets early in their second innings to close day 3 on 31/2. It was clear that the pitch was deteriorating fast, making Dravid’s initial decision to field first even more unusual.
Day 4 proved to be a day of traditional style test cricket, with immensely slow scoring rates achieved throughout. Barely 2 runs per over were managed, and England lost regular wickets as most batsmen struggled to adapt to the conditions. Andrew Flintoff scored a very patient 50, and Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah scored 32 and 38 respectively, which would prove to be important contributions. Andrew Flintoff had stressed to his batsmen before the match the importance of going on and making a big innings once a half century had been reached. It was to some amusement that he scored exactly 50 in both innings of this match. England were bowled out for 191 late in the day, and some commentators believed the opportunity for them to force a win had perhaps been lost. For the Indian bowlers, the spinners were the main performers, with Kumble and Harbhajan taking 6 wickets between them. India started their second innings needing 313 to win, a large target given the conditions of the pitch.
The final day started off with India on 18/1 (having lost Irfan Pathan late in the previous day) and the first session was seen out relatively safely, with only 2 wickets falling, one of those being that of the nightwatchman Kumble. Scoring was very slow, and Dravid had faced over 50 deliveries for 9 runs by the lunch interval. Tendulkar had scored more freely, but overall the score at lunch was 75/3. The next session was nothing short of remarkable, as the Indian batting order collapsed in a dramatic fashion. Dravid edged a ball from Flintoff to the wicketkeeper off the third delivery after the lunch break, and Tendulkar was caught at short leg off the bowling of Shaun Udal next over. The Indian batsmen struggled immensely with Udal’s bowling, who obtained significant help from the pitch, and he would go on to take 4 wickets in the second innings at a cost of just 14 runs. Sehwag had been suffering from a back injury and was forced to bat at no 7. He was unable to cope with conditions and was dismissed for a duck by James Anderson. The next dismissal, that of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was nothing short of bizarre. Dhoni skied a ball off Udal, only for Monty Panesar to miss the chance as it landed around 10 feet from where he was, despite having ample time to position himself to take it. Unbelievably, Dhoni attempted a similar shot two balls later, and Panesar this time successfully held the chance. Some television commentators were actually confused by events believing the second shot by Dhoni to have been a replay of the original incident. Dhoni left the field to a chorus of boos by the crowd, stunned by England’s strikes. At this point, the score was 92/7. Harbhajan Singh was dismissed next, attempting to slog sweep Udal for six, and Yuvraj Singh edged Flintoff into the slips. With the score on 99/9, the last man Munaf Patel managed a single to bring up the India 100, but he too then fell attempting to slog Udal out of the park. India were bowled out for 100, and had lost 7 wickets in 16 overs, for the addition of 25 runs. England won the match by 212 runs, and had levelled the series.
England regarded the victory to be as great as reclaiming the Ashes, with winning in India always perceived to be a difficult task. It was considered even more credible, given the loss of key players due to injuries prior to and during the series. India, on the other hand, came under extreme criticism for the loss and questions were asked of Dravid’s decision to field first, as well as the batsmen’s technique and application during the second innings when they collapsed from 75/3 to 100 all out. Overall, the test series had been competitive and demonstrated many opportunities of emerging talent on both sides which would hopefully benefit these two sides, as well as world cricket in general in the coming years.