Andy Flower, England’s batting coach, believes his feisty charges, routed and ridiculed at Trent Bridge, have the strength of character to pick themselves up for a final show at the Oval.
Flower agreed that the match was lost on the first day itself, when the England top order failed to master the bowling and the conditions, conditions they should have been used to playing in. “This was a tough second Test,” Flower said. “The ball was swinging so much from the first day, and the toss was vital. But then, the Indians used the conditions perfectly — Zaheer was simply awesome on the first day.”
Zaheer was equally awesome on the fourth afternoon as well, when he inflicted decisive blows on England by removing Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell in three balls. Flower agreed. “He was outstanding throughout the match,” said the former Zimbabwe captain, who retired from international cricket after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa in protest of “the death of democracy” in Zimbabwe.
The soft-spoken Flower also spoke on the jellybean incident, and expressed his surprise at the “rather extreme” reaction it elicited from Zaheer. “It was a bit surprising, wasn’t it?” Flower said. Now he and England hope to spring a surprise on India at the Oval. India put near-defeat at Lord’s behind to come up with an outstanding performance at Trent Bridge — England aim to do something akin in role-reversal in the decisive third Test.