Throw the ball to the spinner please!
The Trent Bridge
tests have been remarkably similar in one respect: Andrew Flintoff, Brian Lara and Rahul Dravid - all messed up bigtime when it came to getting the tailenders out.
I know it is tempting to get the fast bowlers to blast tailenders out, but from my cricket following experience, tailenders are far more likely to biff their way out of trouble when quicks/medium-pacers are on than if spinners, especially good/unknown ones, are bowling.
England had Sri Lanka at 139/7 in the 41st over. In walked Vaas and in the company of Kapugedera, Malinga and Murali, helped his side get nearly 100 runs more, batting out 25-odd overs. Flintoff threw (metaphorically, despite what Peter Roebuck
and I feel
) himself, Lewis, Hoggard and Plunkett at the lower order. But there was no sign of Panesar. When Monty was introduced, he controlled the proceedings immediately, bowling (I think) 3 maidens on the trot. The absence of free hits from the (tired) quicks and Monty's superb bowling resulted in Murali's dismissal.
At Antigua, India were 180/7 in the 71st over. Kumble and Sreesanth put on nearly 50 and India ended up with 241. Dave Mohammed didn't bowl a single ball during the stand. In fact, he bowled only three overs after he foxed Yuvraj Singh! I am fairly sure that had he bowled to Kumble, Sreesanth, Munaf and VRV, India would have been all out a lot earlier. During West Indies' innings, Dravid had Sehwag and Kumble bowl in tandem through much of the last session on the second day. After Bravo's brilliant knock ended, they put a lot of pressure on Ramdin and Bradshaw but failed to take wickets. Bizarrely, Dravid opted for the new ball at the start of play yesterday. I felt that he ought to have continued with the spinners.
The ends could still justify the means, but it certainly seems like all three captains let the opposition off the hook.