Taunton, July 19: Granted, India may be slightly rusty on English conditions as it has been four years since their last outing on the soil of Ole Blighty. But the visitors' showing against county side Somerset exposed a worrying tendency to play like a bunch of amateurs. So much so that the opposition's coach Andy Hurry was quick to point out that his team had "bullied" India on all three days of the match and in so doing, had given England the psychological advantage ahead of the first Test.
India allowed Somerset to wrest the initiative right from the word go. It would pass any spectator's understanding how a speedster of the calibre of Zaheer Khan, one of a couple of top wicket-takers in the world cup no less, could actually bowl spells devoid of any zing or incisiveness. What was worse still, was that his support in Sreesanth and Munaf Patel were equally ineffectual.
In the first innings, Sreesanth may have salvaged some pride when he eventually dismissed his main tormentor Arul Suppiah, but it was a small consolation considering the batsman had completely dominated the India attack, as his mammoth knock of 156 would attest to. While the Indian seamers struggled for control and impact while merely being able to come up with an unrelenting slew of innocuous short balls and over-pitched deliveries.
Even a man who has been grappling for touch as Andrew Strauss was able to strike form. If his 78 in the first innings was not testimony to this outcome, his century in the second, drove home the point. Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra may have demonstrated a flash of brilliance by coming up with two wickets in two deliveries, but Peter Trego ensured that he would be accorded no more celebrations by absolutely flaying him.
As far as India's batting was concerned, Suresh Raina was the lone bright spot. His feisty, unbeaten 103 helped to underscore the point that such an innings of character could indeed be played and that the rest of the Indian line-up had no one but themselves to blame for putting on such a poor show. It was such a lacklustre display, that Somerset's Charl Willoughby reflected that he was merely lucky to dispose of the top INdian batters and finish with 6 wickets.
None of the Indian batsmen, save Raina, entered the fray with an attacking mindset which proved to be their downfall. Hopefully, India will regroup and pull up their socks before the first Test against England, starting Thursday.