Do it the right way, team India!
The fourth Test match has finally shed some light of relief to the Indian supporters. Though one cannot claim that India dominated the day out an out, it could be said that they did manage to gain an upper hand. But having England at 199-5 isn’t that big a success if we are not able to bag the match comfortably. India needs to be circumspect and cautious if they are to win this match.
The pitch is obviously dry, not possessing too much turn and bounce on day one. In fact, the bounce was uneven and some balls from Ishant Sharma barely carried to the wicket-keeper. The pitch is also slow and run-making is going to be difficult. Therefore, the Indian batsmen should learn to be patient and try and stay at the wicket rather than looking for quick runs (thanks to IPL). If Sehwag manages to give us a quick start, it will put the England on the back foot. Sehwag would do better if he can attack the new ball bowlers, especially if Cook decides to send Monty early. Preservation of wickets is the key (barring Sehwag who has never believed in that), and if India can manage to do that, they can easily score runs.
It is also vital for the bowlers to wrap the England’s first innings quickly. It is said that the pitch is better for batting on the second and third day. India should look to put a huge score on the board and should make sure that they do not have to bat again in the match. It is a big match for the little man, and he would be raring to go, to prove himself to his detractors. Being experienced, he can lead the batting and can make the youngsters bat around him; it would imbibe immense confidence in players like Jadeja and Kohli.
MS Dhoni has always been a shrewd captain, understanding the requirements, as he went in with Piyush Chawla. Many people overlook the fact that Chawla is a decent batsman too. Having him in the team can be of a great advantage as India’s batting would run deeper with his inclusion. Along with Ashwin, he could contribute for the team with the bat, if things go awry. Ojha and Ashwin have not quite come into their own selves on the first day. This might be because of the dryness and slowness of the pitch, but they can be of greater importance come day four and five since the wicket will start to grip and turn and it will suit their bowling. Line and length is the key, and they will have to be little fuller and quicker through the air.
It is vital for India to have lots of time in hand to bowl out the England team even if we do succeed in getting a huge lead. The likes of Cook, Pietersen and Trott won’t give up easily and India might have to toil till the end of day five to achieve victory. So Dhoni should be calculative and should rotate the bowlers properly. He has to give them short breaks in order for them to bowl well.
Things are starting to look good for India, and they need to keep up the good work in order to win the match and square the series. Though India has never been a great team outside the subcontinent (except for the odd series here and there, of course), they have always managed to hold their own at home. But things seem different after the retirement of some legends and some shoddy performances from the seniors. It might well be the last match for Dhoni – the skipper – and he could redeem himself in the eyes of the fans by being clever and winning the match.
I firmly believe that the team is going to face the repercussions of these defeats and some changes are on the horizon. The players who have taken it easy and been complacent should start making it count. There is still a long way to go in this match and a good team performances can take India home.
The match is evenly slated and I believe day two would be really interesting.