No reason why India can’t pull off an encore
Those who follow Indian cricket wouldn't have been surprised by the result of the first Test. Even in the past, we haven't given too much importance to practice games, and that has consistently shown in the first Test of a series.
These days, with the international calendar being what it is, it is imperative to approach a warm-up game like a Test. On hindsight, I am not sure if that happened. Also, when your leading bowler breaks down on the first day, it doesn't help. It leaves you disheartened and puts the opposition on a high.
There was rain leading to the Lord's Test, which meant the players didn't get enough time outdoors. A combination of these factors perhaps caused India to back off slightly when England batted. Having said so, the hosts played well and their preparation showed that they are keen to get that No. 1 status.
There is no denying that India need to tighten up, and quickly. Batting has been our strength, but apart from Rahul Dravid and Suresh Raina, no one else showed resolve at Lord's.
Lack of preparation and application of the batsmen cost the team dear. The Lord's track was not tough to bat on or as demanding as some of the others can be. But then, in England one can never feel settled because the conditions change drastically during the course of a day, so application has to be there right throughout, Sadly, I didn't see that.
Knowing that this team has come back hard from similar situations in the past is encouraging. They will miss Zak in the second Test — I don't think he will be fully fit, and even if he is, he will be better off sitting the match out, but I was impressed by how well Praveen Kumar bowled in the first innings and Ishant Sharma in the second.
It’s important that they find support, and I’m hoping Sreesanth will provide that. I will pick him ahead of Munaf Patel for the next Test, though both haven’t played too much cricket in the last two months or so. It is important to come up with a combination that will take 20 wickets.