Warne lambasts 'timid, cautious' England

·3-min read

Shane Warne has offered a withering assessment of England's attempt to win the first Test match against India while also having a swipe at Australia's own recent "timid and cautious" cricket.

The great leg-spinner, always renowned for his attacking instincts, echoed the criticism of many frustrated England supporters, including former captain Michael Vaughan, as he watched the penultimate day in Chennai unfold on TV.

Despite being in a totally dominant position, leading by 360 overall at tea, England continued to bat on without any great urgency rather than declaring to give their attack extra overs to have a crack at India on a wearing, turning pitch.

England were eventually skittled out for 178 to leave India a world record Test target of 420 to win and had reduced the hosts to 1-39 by the close - but their apparent safety-first approach did not impress Warne.

"Very surprised England haven't declared yet & why aren't they trying to get 400 asap?" Warne tweeted when England were plodding along.

"England batted too long in the 1st innings too & now letting the game drift & showing no urgency at all.

"England's mindset is let's not lose this test match - rather than, what's the best way to win this test match and how many overs could we need!

"This batting on decision is now putting a lot of pressure on England's bowlers and particularly their spinners!"

With Vaughan also tweeting in a similar vein, Warne then messaged the former England captain: "What is going on with your cricket team?

"What on Earth are they doing just letting the game drift? Why aren't they bowling?

"If I was India I would not be trying to get any wickets! Let England keep batting as it's helping India's cause to save the test match!!!"

Warne then turned his attention to the recent Brisbane Test match when India played daring cricket to successfully chase down a 328-run target and land what seemed a wholly improbable Test and series victory.

"In Australia, India played courageous and brave cricket - was awesome to watch!" Warne tweeted.

"Australia played timid and cautious cricket & Australia lost the series. England are playing cautious and timid cricket......"

Vaughan was similarly critical of England captain Joe Root's tactics.

"I think he is being too cautious and is giving India a good chance of getting out of this Test with a draw," tweeted the man who captained England to more Test victories than anyone.

In Chennai, England pace bowling coach Jon Lewis countered the criticism, saying: "It's obviously the first game in the series. While you want to get off to a really strong start, you don't really want to give India a chance to win."

He also felt the England batsmen had been positive, without being reckless.

Back in the Channel Four TV studio in London, Sir Alastair Cook, England's leading Test run scorer, simply noted that if England went on to win from their current dominant position, all criticism would be redundant.