London: India's abject batting in the first Test came under attack from the British media on Sunday even as it showered praise on the 'motley crew' of the home side for "routing one of the strongest batting units in world cricket." "Remorselessly, England neutered India's supposedly awesome middle-order, before blowing away an inept tail," wrote 'The Observer'.
"Rahul Dravid was becalmed, Sachin Tendulkar was unrecognisable throughout 90 minutes of torment, which constituted the least distinguished Test innings I've seen him play, Saurav Ganguly prodded tentatively, V V S Laxman was stranded," former England cricketer Vic Marks wrote in 'The Observer'. "The game's greatest batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, whom a capacity Lord's crowd of 30,000 had principally come to watch, was reduced to shuffling uncertainty and could have been out twice before falling after an hour-and-a-half for 16," wrote 'The Sunday Times' cricket correspondent, Simon Wilde.
The 'Sunday Telegraph' said, "Sachin Tendulkar played the worst of his four Test innings at Lord's, and was stuck on 16... until his concentration snapped and his wild slash cost him his wicket." And who conjured this disintegration of India's finest? England's second-string attack that was missing its two prime new ball bowlers, Darren Gough and Andy Caddick. The 'motley crew' comprised of Matthew Hoggard who had a miserable One-day series; Andrew Flintoff, who had never been entrusted with the new ball until last winter; Simon Jones - the raw, wild debutant who knows not where it's going; and Craig White had no more than 10 first-class wickets to his name this summer.
"Somebody is doing something right in this England set-up," 'The Observer' said. "Plans were hatched and adhered to with steely discipline. England maximised stretched resources with spectacular success," it added. The 'Sunday Times' stated, "Three young fast bowlers, bowling with innocence and aggression, routed one of the strongest batting units in world cricket." The Independent asked the home team to be more ruthless since the task was yet to be completed. "The door was not shut firmly in the tourists' face. There was at least a case for asking them to have another turn at the crease... England bowled well and with singular purpose, India batted badly with shambolic planning."