Dernbach seeks phrase that pays
Jade Dernbach knows England can and must do better against India at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla ground tomorrow if they are to “find a way” back into the five-match one-day series.
Alastair Cook’s team were well-briefed and prepared for the first match in Hyderabad, yet still fell well short as Mahendra Singh Dhoni put the game out of their reach with his strong powerplay hitting - and then England failed to adjust to India’s spin bowlers in difficult conditions.
The upshot was a defeat by 126 runs, and such is the hectic nature of this series there is precious little time to reverse the tide of events. But that did not stop England seamer Dernbach talking a good game today.
He leant heavily on an apparent new team motto - the phrase “find a way” found its way into his vocabulary 10 times in eight minutes, and was also favoured by his fellow pace bowler Steven Finn when he spoke publicly before this series began.
One place for England to start uncovering new and effective methods is when Dhoni himself comes into bat.
The India captain’s unbeaten 87 on Friday was a continuation of the form which made him a surprise choice as the NatWest player of the series last month, even though his team lost the rubber 3-0.
“Obviously, he’s a fantastic player,” said Dernbach, one of England’s powerplay bowlers and who fared acceptably to finish with figures of 10-0-58-1 in Hyderabad - where he did nonetheless bowl six wides in an India total of 300 for seven.
“As a bowling unit, we just need to find a way of getting him out, and restricting him - as is the case in any game, in any powerplay.
“That’s the exciting bit of the game, and we just need to find a way of containing the runs and finding ways to get wickets. He’s a great player, as is the Indian side in general.
“We just need to find a way of being better than him on the day, find a way of restricting him and getting him out.”
Dhoni is not the only potential stumbling block for England, but he has troubled them most of all over the past two months.
“In the games where India have done well, he seems to have been the man who has been there to be quite destructive - so we have to find a way of getting him out,” added Dernbach.
“With his ability to hit boundaries, our margins for error are quite small. As you saw the other night, a couple of yorkers which were missed by a couple of inches found their way to the boundary for six.
“That just proves the margins for error are quite small, and we need to be better at nailing our skills.”
England’s response to their disappointing opening performance is to accept their shortcomings, and vow to do much better.
“Obviously we are disappointed after the result the other night. We just didn’t play very well on the night,” Dernbach said. “That’s the simple fact of it, and we’ve got four games to rectify the situation. We’ve got a chance to turn it around.
“Any time you’re going to come overseas, and especially in this case playing against the world champions on their own patch, is going to be a difficult task.
“But it was just one of those days where things didn’t go well for us. We’ve got four games to play better cricket - which we know we can, having produced it back at home this summer.”
Many observers focused on England’s collapse - five wickets for 23 runs - to spin, and India batsman Virat Kohli made it clear they can expect plenty more of the same, starting tomorrow.
“We’re going to look to use spin as our strength, not forgetting the fast bowlers - who are very skilled as well,” he said.
“England obviously did struggle in the first match against spin, so we’ll probably try to capitalise on those middle overs where they were not that sure. That will be our strength, especially playing on these kind of wickets in India.”
Dernbach acknowledged England’s challenges against spin on pitches which favour slow bowling, but spoke of the need for all-round improvement.
“There are quite a few areas we spoke about, where we went wrong,” said Dernbach.
“I don’t think it was just in the spin department - there were a whole lot of things, and we just didn’t play well in general. We need to get better at every facet of the game.
“These conditions are very different to us, something we don’t experience very often back home. So we’re going to have to adapt as best we can, and find a way - that’s the thing about this area, to find a way of winning.
“We can’t really come up with excuses because of different pitches - we know what they’re like; we’ve had preparation days - we just need to find a way of winning cricket matches. That’s what we’ll do.”