Patel predicts battling batting
Samit Patel has no doubt that England can bat their way back into the first Test with India at Ahmedabad.
Alastair Cook’s side closed day two on 41 for three in reply to 521 for eight declared, a total built on Cheteshwar Puraja’s maiden international double-century.
The wickets the tourists lost in 18 overs before stumps included nightwatchman James Anderson and therefore they have the bulk of their experienced middle order still to bat.
“We’ve got two world-class batsmen at the crease, Belly [Ian Bell] still to come, myself and Matty P [Matt Prior] - a lot of batting,” said Patel, who snared Yuvraj Singh for 74 today.
“There’s no question about how long we can bat. We’ve got the same potential of batting as India have - and we’ve got to keep believing that.”
Patel expects occupation to become easier against Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha once the ball in their hands takes some wear and tear.
“The ball’s harder, and I think it spins more when the ball’s harder,” he added. “The telling time will be when the ball gets soft; then we can get in.
“You have to earn the right to get in first, and I think Cookie [Alastair Cook] and Kev [Kevin Pietersen] in the morning have got to set their stall out and bat well.
“We’ve put in the hard yards; we know what we can do ... we’re good players of spin. Tomorrow, we hope we can show what we’re made out of.”
Patel acknowledges it will not be easy, but then that is not the way England want it.
“We’re going to have to play some good cricket,” he said. “It’s hard work - but that’s Test cricket. We have to front up - we can’t go anywhere. We’ve got to stand up and be counted. It’s no place for hiding.”
India resumed this morning on 323 for four on the back of Virender Sehwag’s run-a-ball 117 and with Pujara on 98. He extended his stand with Yuvraj to 130 and was unbeaten on 206 when Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had been Graeme Swann’s fifth victim, declared.
“Sometimes you have to give credit to the (opposition) batsmen,” Patel added. “Sehwag played outstandingly well yesterday; Pujara carried on today, and Yuvraj played as he does. They’re good players of spin.
“As the Indians showed, if you bat a long time, you can wear teams down. That’s what they did. It’s something we expected. You lose the toss, and field for two days ... we knew what was coming, what was going to happen - and we’re prepared. That’s cricket, but we’ve got some quality batsmen still in the shed to come in, guys that can go out and score big hundreds.”
Patel for one will not rely on passive resistance when his turn comes to bat, saying: “You’ve got to survive the tough periods, and get teams where you want them. You can do that by hitting boundaries, or ones - it doesn’t matter.
“I don’t think you can be defensive playing out here. You need to let the bowler know that you’re still there, not just surviving. If you take the example of Kev tonight, first ball he went down the wicket and hit one to mid-on and ran.”