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England v India

‘Two and a half men kind of a team’ – Sunil Gavaskar slams England, predicts three more India wins

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

India’s batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has lambasted England’s showing at Lord’s after their 151-run loss against all odds on day five of the second Test.

Speaking on Sony Sports Network on Monday after the Test, Gavaskar called England a “two-man team” that is overly dependent on skipper Joe Root and bowling lynchpin James Anderson. Gavaskar went all out in slamming the batting techniques of some of England’s batsmen, singling out Haseeb Hameed, who made a Test return after five years, in particular for being “tentative”.

“England are a two-man team; it’s just Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson,” Gavaskar said. “With the greatest of respect to all who are playing for them, it doesn’t look like a proper Test team. Their technique is awful. The technique of their opening batsmen is ludicrous.

“Their No.3 batsman Haseeb Hameed is nervous and tentative. So, we look up to Joe Root. Jonny Bairstow, yes if he gets going or otherwise it’s nothing. Buttler, he is a fine white-ball player. I’m not too sure he is there for red-ball cricket.”

England’s odds of a win were pretty good early on day five when Ollie Robinson saw the back of Rishabh Pant, but a spirited display of batting from tail-enders Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami saw the game take a complete u-turn with India in the driving seat by the lunch break.

With just 60 overs to survive, England struggled early when the openers were dismissed inside the first two overs, both for ducks. Since 2020, England’s top-order (No.1-N0.3) have recorded 21 ducks, not just the most by any team in this time frame, but more than double that of the next worst side.

Root, top-scorer of 2021 by a large distance, has saved England’s blushes with the bat. With the ball, Anderson has been doing a similar job, although Robinson, who chipped in with a five-for at Trent Bridge, has proved to be an able hand in the attack. However, according to Gavaskar, that wouldn’t stop India from winning the remaining three matches.

“In bowling, there was just Jimmy Anderson and there was nobody else. Robinson got five wickets in Trent Bridge but it’s really a ‘two and a half men’ kind of a team. That’s why I think India will win the remaining three matches of the series. I had said at the beginning of the series that India should win it 4-0 or 3-1 and I still believe that result is possible if rain doesn’t spoilsport.”

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