Never seen England pitches seam and swing so much: Fletcher (Lead)

August 11th, 2011 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Birmingham, Aug 11 (IANS) India cricket coach Duncan Fletcher says he had not seen the English pitches swing and seam so much as they have in the ongoing series and that any touring side would have been troubled by the conditions.

Put in to bat, the Indian batting line-up once again struggled against the moving ball and were reduced to 111 for seven on the first day Wednesday before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s brisk 77 saved them the blushes. The visitors were all out for 224 after which Andrew Strauss (52) and Alastair Cook (27) took England to 84-0 at stumps.

Fletcher, who was a former England coach, admitted that his batsmen are struggling to adapt to the swing and seam. India trail 0-2 in the four-match series and will lose their World No.1 position if they lose this Test.

“Our guys are finding it difficult at the moment to handle the swing and seam,” he said. “They’ve practised, and there’s not much more they can do.

“I’ve not seen three pitches… that have swung and seamed around as much as these have in three Tests. Even when I was with England, I haven’t seen the ball swing around so much for three Tests in a row. Probably today was the only day when the swing has got less as the day has progressed. In every other match the ball has swung all day.”

Fletcher also defended the Indians’ inability to adapt to English condition.

“How can you practice against swing bowling in India when there is no swing bowling? It is a matter of trying to adapt as quickly as you can. England hunt in a pack and they have a lot of intensity about them, but it has been made easier for them by the swinging conditions that really suit this pace attack. If it flattens out and doesn’t swing, I still believe we are in this match,” he said.

England pacers Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad took four wickets apiece as they rattled the Indians with accurate line and length.

“It was pretty tough,” said Fletcher, the former Ashes-winning England coach.

“Unfortunately that toss was pretty important. Those two wickets that England got just before lunch really put us on the back foot. It’s been pretty difficult for the batsmen to adapt.

“If that had not happened it might have been a different story. It is important to recognise that when any team comes to England, especially early on, we have seen them struggle against the swing and the seam,” he said.

Fletcher praised the England attack which has dominated the formidable Indian batting so far.

“It is important people must appreciate they are bowling well as a unit. They have got good backup and we have seen it in the way they have performed,” he said.

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