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India vs England, Npower Test Series, In the Halfway…

August 6, 2011

We are in the midway of what was expected to be an absolute cracker of a test series. But so far the defending champions have been struggling to find their way through. We have two more days of time before the 3rd test to start. India needs to win this to stay alive in this series. If they don’t win the rest of the two matches left they will lose a test series first time ever in the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However if they even manage to win one and atleast draw the other they will still remain the #1 test side.

India must look back towards the mistakes the had committed in the previous match. The first day could have been all their’s but Broad made the things difficult. What should have never exceeded 150, England went on to meet somewhere like 221. Still should have been manageable, Laxman and Dravid was batting quite brilliantly in the next morning. They had provided a perfect platform for a great build up. How many times we have seen that Tendulkar goes on to make big ones from here. But it just didn’t happen on the day. But still when Yuvraj was batting with Dravid the things were looking quite easy. One spell of Stuart Broad just turned the things around. And the next day we just saw some hopeless bowling and some more of hopeless batting to follow on the 4th day.

Problems are with the strategies of the Indian think-tank. Don’t know the way they are looking at the things but some of the serious mistakes to my analysis really mattered :

1. Choice after winning the toss : Most of the famous Indian test victories have come batting first, not many of them have come chasing in the 4th innings. Yes, this team has adopted it well as we have seen in the recent past, but still the fact remains a fact. You have two options while you are in the tour of England: first, see of the morning session of day 1, and you are in the game or second, chase down 400+ in the fourth innings. England have been batting throughout the day 3 has been a big factor. When it comes to batting in the English conditions Day 3 is the best for batting.

2. Field Adjustments : At times Dhoni has been setting some strange fields! I can still remember when Bresnan and Broad were batting in the Day 4 of the last test India had a strange deep point fielder who was neither been able to stop the balls from going into boundaries neither to his left nor right. He was just chasing the way through and making a vain run every time.

3. Body Language : The body language probably is one of the things that matters the most in an away match. There are not many people in the stands to cheer you up, but you need to cheer yourselves up. But we haven’t seen anybody in the field with that much of energy. There are lots of young players in this side, but they have been there only physically. Not putting in that extra effort that may take you through. The ground fielding has been really of inferior quality.

4. Bowling Changes Made : We have seen more than once in the series that just before a break when a bowler is in the middle of a very good spell hasn’t been given the ball on resume. Dhoni has been a bit of a gambler at times but it may not pay off all the time and here it didn’t.

5. Poor Shot Selection : At important times Indians have really been silly with their shot selection, even the great Tendulkar when he gifted away his wicket by chasing a short and wide one from Broad and eventually nicked it to Strauss in the first innings and in the second innings too when he tried to leave one that came back in. Dhoni’s dismissals in both the occasions were stupid like. Laxman too gave his wicket in the first innings having been set. Nothing much to say about…

6. Lack of Efficiency to handle short balls : In the 2nd innings 3 of the Indian top order batters were victim of short balls, Yuvi and Mukund’s dismissals were of the same type, just got big on them. But what about Raina? It was nothing but a poor selection and completely against the situation. Just goes to show that the guys are still not ready to tackle the bounce generated by the tall pacers.

7. Too many short balls when not needed : The biggest surprise was the bowling of Sreesanth in the period after the fall of the 8th English wicket in the first day. The man who was the most impressive of the three pacers early in the morning went on to try too many short balls and in the process just got smashed almost every time. Also at day 4 when Bresnan and Broad were batting Indian bowlers were hammered at these short pitch stuffs. It is a poor sign for the rest of the tournament.

8. Off Color Captain : The key of success of this Indian team over the past 2 years especially in tests has been the captaincy of Captain Cool. But in this particular series Dhoni himself is still searching for his form in every department of the game. He has been poor with the gloves so as while batting in the middle. Captain must need to pick it from here, otherwise it will affect the whole team badly and it has been the case.

India do have some positives to take from here, Sehwag’s fit, so as Gambhir. More importantly the form of Dravid. The way that the wall has been batting in this series is something very close to the best of Rahul Dravid that we have seen in his career. Although management has added some extra pressure on him, probably said go, open and give us a good start to the person who probably in this age should more deserve to enjoy his game more rather than taking pressure. But being a great team man he has gladly accepted the task and gone through it. Tendulkar seem to have been in good touch last time he was out there and it matters a lot to the team.

And at the same time more and more concerns… Sehwag has been out of the game for quite a bit of time and won’t be easy for him to come and fit himself under the English conditions. He even don’t have runs under his belt in the practice match. Although Zaheer was expected to be fir for the next test, but doubts remain. He bowled only 3 overs in that very practice match and left the field after that.

Harbhajan and Yuvraj are out of the squad for their injuries, although Bhajji hasn’t been in great from but still if the frontline spinner goes out, pressure builds. Questions arise for his replacement too. I guess India may better of playing Amit Mishra instead of Pragyan Ojha since England batsmen are known to have weakness against the leg spinners.

Well, still long long way to go and a very tough ask, but we the tourists should see the things not at once, not match by match, but day by day and sometimes session by session within a day. Just need to pull out all these concerns for ranking and series defeat after a long period and got to play their natural game what they are actually capable of.

  1. Arindam Dutta permalink

    excellent analysis…………….keep up the good work……….

  2. Thanks Arindam…

  3. payel permalink

    very well written……keep it up…

  4. good work boss…keep it up..

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