Mumbai wicket will turn and bounce: Alastair Cook

Mumbai wicket will turn and bounce: Alastair Cook

England captain Alastair Cook
England captain Alastair Cook. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

Batting on Indian wickets at this time in the year you want to be doing that on the first couple of days in a Test match. The following three days are for the bowlers to make the most of. Being aware of the same, when Alastair Cook won the toss in Mohali the England fans were excited, they felt now the boys really have a chance to put on a huge total on the board and force the Indians under pressure. But that was not to happen as the Indian bowlers did really well to first restrict them under 300 and then batted the opposition out of the game managing a hundred plus run lead.

Having lost the opportunity Cook is disappointed and believes it was their fault that the lost the game. “It’s frustrating that we had an opportunity to get ahead of the game and we were not good enough to take it. In this part of the world, you just know that you need a big score, certainly on a wicket like that. There is no hiding behind it. We were not good enough to do that. Obviously, Jonny (Bairstow) got a good 80-odd but we need 100s like we did in Rajkot. It was not too much of a different wicket, to be brutally honest. Probably a little bit harder to score here than it was there – 400 was par and we were below it. And it hurts you in this part of the world. You just have to hold your hands up and say we were not good enough to get that 400. It doesn’t just happen. You don’t just win the toss and someone gives you 400. You have to go out and play well to do it.”

The most capped England player also added, “It’s not ideal when you lose your opener and he busts his hand and everyone has to move up. But that happens once a year maybe, and that’s the second innings. We were behind the game in the first innings. There were no magic balls being bowled, really. Probably Jonny’s is the only one which was a very good piece of bowling. A couple of balls before (from Jayant Yadav) skidded on past the outside edge, the other one turned but apart from that, the pitch was behaving. It was good, accurate bowling as you expect from India in these conditions. But it was not unplayable. You can talk whatever way you want but the top order has to go and deliver.”

Mohali has always balanced in favor of the faster bowlers and we saw Ben Stokes take a five-wicket haul for England in the first inning and Mohammad Shami bowl with a lot of fire in the second inning, swinging it as well as reversing it and also unleashing the shorter stuff at the Englishmen. “If we had known what we know now, we would have probably gone in with four seamers and two spinners. The seamers were always in the game, with a bit of reverse and the way we bash lengths, we can control the scoring rate very well. I looked at that wicket along with a number of people before the game, we thought it was dry. We all thought it was going to spin a lot more. In hindsight, we would have played four and two but I am quite happy with my decision because I thought it’s the right one at that time.” Cook said.

Mumbai, on the other hand, is either a flat deck or it turns. Given the willingness to dish out result oriented wickets it is likely to be a track that assists the slower bowlers. “Mumbai obviously can spin. Last time we were here, it did spin and bounce quite a lot, the spinners took a lot of wickets. Sometimes you like to see what four (seamers) and two (spinners) does but it would have been a big gamble on this wicket if it would have been turning like it did in Bangladesh. We will have a look but I imagine in Mumbai, it will be turning and bouncing, it normally does.”

Cook had a new opening partner in Haseeb Hammed the teenager showed maturity beyond his age and the second inning when he batted with a broken finger was a display of sheer determination and the desire to put himself on the line for the sake of the team. Talking about Hameed the skipper said, “He needs a plate put in to fix it. It’s obviously desperately unlucky for the youngster who impressed us all with his technique, his talent and obviously now his bravery and determination – to show that, when he’s playing for England, he’ll do anything to get out there. The way he played today, that was a very special knock. If you needed anyone to prove how tough a youngster he is, that is a little knock that we will all hold him in huge respect for.”