Dom Bess, playing just his second Test of the series, had a forgettable day in the field on Friday. He bowled 15 overs but returned wicketless, conceding 56 runs at an exorbitant economy rate of 3.7. He was erratic in his line and lengths, bowling long hops and full-tosses almost every over.
Speaking on Channel 4, Andrew Strauss both criticised and sympathised with the 23-year-old spinner while saying that such a performance is inexcusable at the Test level.
"On a human level, I really feel for him. This is a guy who is lacking confidence on the biggest stage of all. In a low-scoring game, you have to perform, but on a performance level, it was well below what's required of a mainline Test spin bowler. Too many full-tosses, too many half-trackers, not able to build pressure, and it was painful to watch if I'm honest. I felt slightly sorry for him at points, and you just can't have that in Test cricket," said Andrew Strauss.
James Anderson (3-40) and Ben Stokes (2-73) did their best to offset the run leakage from Dom Bess' end. However, it was not enough, and India managed to eke out a substantial lead of 89 runs by stumps on Day 2.
Dom Bess had played a key role in England's win in the first Test in Chennai. Albeit not bowling at his best, the off-spinner picked up four Indian wickets to restrict the hosts to 337 in their first innings.
However, he was overlooked for the second Test, with Joe Root opining that the bowler needed time to recalibrate. It is being felt that this snubbing dented Dom Bess's confidence, which is now showing in his performances in the ongoing fourth Test.
Spin-bowling coach Jeetan Patel, however, refuted these claims, saying Dom Bess was 'jaded' and needed a rest. Patel also remarked that Bess would have fared a lot better on Friday had a close LBW call against Rishabh Pant gone in England's favour.
"It probably looks like that, but I wouldn't say that at all. He needed the break, if I am being honest with you. I think he was tired at the end of that first Test; he was jaded. And it affected how the ball was bowled," said Jeetan Patel in a press conference.
"Yes, he would have liked to have played in the third Test, and we went in with the extra seamer option because of the pink ball, and we thought it would react differently. He was really excited coming into this Test match. He was ready. It's no one thing – it's just the fact it didn't work out for him today. He would have liked to bowl a lot better, and to have given a lot more to the group. I think right now he'd be quite down and quite tired, but if he had got that lbw just before tea (against Pant), we would have seen a different Dom Bess," he concluded.