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Trust X’mas season to fire up England

It seemed as if it was in the stars or in India's destiny that they would end up winners. Without doubt, Virender Sehwag was the one who set it up with his brilliant innings, writes Ian Botham.

cricket Updated: Dec 16, 2008 23:23 IST
Ian Botham

What a great advertisement for Test cricket. I am privileged to have witnessed one of the greatest Test matches ever.

It seemed as if it was in the stars or in India's destiny that they would end up winners. Without doubt, Virender Sehwag was the one who set it up with his brilliant innings.

But it was Sachin Tendulkar who was the final hammer on the nail with his knock that controlled India's chase tremendously.

England will feel that had Sachin been snapped up at silly point early on in his innings, there might have been a different story to tell.

But as it happened, Sachin not only stayed on to craft a brilliant innings, but he also nursed Yuvraj Singh along the way to lead India home in fine style for a great victory.

Everyone's talking about the performance of Monty Panesar, but I feel spinners on both sides did not bowl to their potential. Both sides will be aware of it and I am sure the spinners will come up with a better show in Mohali.

There was so much emotion to the game and a lot of feeling around what happened in the days leading up. But the way England lost, I feel it was because the way they batted on the fourth in the post-lunch session. They batted with no direction or intensity. They handed the initiative back to India, when 50-odd runs more could have made a difference.

But this is the time for England to pick themselves up for the next Test match. It depends on which side they play at Mohali. It depends on whether they make any changes to the side. They should maybe look at experimenting with other players. They could look at playing Adil Rashid, the leg-spinning all-rounder.

One of the concerns for the English camp would be the way they bowled on a Day V wicket that gave assistance to spin and seam. That said, if the mood in the camp is good about the Test, then things would be fine. If everyone's fit then that's even better.

But the underlying feeling will be one where each one of them could be saying that they should have won the match. This is the time, however, for them to come out all guns blazing. This is the final game before they have a month's break for the West Indies tour. I am sure they will come out all fired up, for there is no better way to celebrate the festive season than with a win.

If you think England will get just rolled over at Mohali and will not have the resolve, forget it.

TCM