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Give England bowlers due credit

india Updated: Aug 17, 2011 00:11 IST

Glenn McGrath kicked the turf and cursed under his breath. Looking at his reaction, one may have assumed that he'd been hit for a six off the last ball in a cliffhanger. Instead, he had only conceded a single to fine-leg, that too in a Test. The match in question was the third Test against India in the 2004 series.

Australia had identified India as the 'final frontier' and had come with a specific plan to counter the conditions and might of India's batting. If they were meticulous in planning, they were ruthless in execution. They knew that the India players were blessed with supple wrists and vowed to stay away from the legs. No wonder, they conquered the final frontier.

The current England outfit, especially the bowlers, reminds me of that Australia attack. James Anderson is encouraged to pitch the ball up, swing in the air and look for wickets even if he concedes a few runs. He's the only one given the freedom to err in line, for he has the ability to swing the ball prodigiously and it's natural to drift down the leg side every now and then.

Stuart Broad, who likes to hit the deck hard and pepper opponents with short-pitched stuff, is given instructions to keep it fuller. He's one of the most consistent England bowlers, for you rarely see him conceding runs on the leg-side. Even when he goes wide or comes close to the stumps, he keeps the line slightly outside the off-stump. Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan are given the job of hitting the deck hard, for once the ball loses its hardness and shine you need bowlers who can get something from the surface. England identified our aversion to short-pitched deliveries and assigned these two to rough up the batsmen. Last but not the least, Graeme Swann is also encouraged to attack.

Whenever we sit down to dissect India's dismal showing, we would do well to give credit to the England bowling.