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Rajkot Test: Where India went wrong

India Today logo India Today 14-11-2016
© Reuters Image

There is surprisingly a change in script with the visiting team England dominating the opening Test against India in Rajkot. There was no result with the match ending in a draw but England would definitely go into the next Test in Vizag with their tail up.

The toss played a crucial role on a flat deck and three centuries from Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes helped England to the score of 537 after opting to bat. India in reply did well with Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara slamming centuries before the hosts were all out for 488, leaving a deficit of 49 runs.

In England's second innings, Alastair Cook (130) and debutant Haseeb Hameed (82) turned out to be the stars by putting up an opening partnership of 180 runs. The visitors immediately declared the moment Cook got out, giving India a target of 310 with little more than two sessions to bat.

There was help for the bowlers on a day five pitch with odd balls getting sharp turn and bounce, but nothing vicious. India somehow got themselves into a tangle by losing quick wickets and giving England a glimmer of hope. At the end, a dogged Virat Kohli with an unbeaten 49 helped India (172/6) play out a draw.

India could have managed to forge a result or dominated the match, had they done a few things right on the field. Let's have a look at the points where Kohli-led team could have done better.

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SLOPPY FIELDING

The first hour into the morning session of day one and two dropped catches, crucial ones, of Cook and debutant Haseeb Hameed, allowed England to make a decent start. Cook was grassed by Ajinkya Rahane at gully off the third ball of the day from Umesh Yadav and then Hammed was dropped by Vijay at first slip.

The virus of dropping catches infected wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha too as he dropped two regulation catches and letting Stokes off the hook, who scored a brillinat century. If not for those dropped catches, the story could have been different for India.

POOR SHOT SELECTION

On a flat track, a batsman could blame himself for getting out playing a bad shot and Rahane did the same in both the innings. The manner of his dismissals in both the essays were identical, bowled by spinners playing the cut shot. In the first innings, the Mumbai batsman got castled for 13 going for the cut off Zafar Ansari. Then in the second innings, Rahane got played on for 1 trying the same cut shot off Moeen.

This has been a problem for Rahane in the past, when at times he had looked clueless playing spin and perishing playing a bad shot.

© AP Photo

KOHLI'S HIT-WICKET

Kohli was looking good in the first innings until he got out in a bizarre fashion on 40. The Indian captain's back leg hit the stumps and dislodged a bail while trying to pull a delivery from leg-spinner Adil Rashid. Kohli stood at the wicket in disbelief before trudging off with his team at 361/6. He also became India's second batsman after Nayan Mongia to get out hit-wicket in both Tests and ODIs.

Just to think of it, if that rare dismissal would not have happened, Kohli had every chance to get a big hundred and giving India the advantage.

INDIAN SPINNERS' INABILITY TO STRIKE

India would have expected a better show from its three spinners but unfortunately they lacked that skill to pick up wickets on flat tracks. For any bowler, it is always a challenge to bowl on belters and the great bowlers in cricket's history have been those who have thrived in every conditions.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra shared nine wickets between them with none going wicketless but more was expected from them. On the other hand, the English spinners looked more potent, especially Rashid and Moeen more so because they exploited the cracks well and were not afraid to toss the ball up.

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