India crashed to a humiliating 10-wicket defeat against England at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai today. To watch the hosts lose on a turner, against a side that is in the eyes of many totally out of its depth in the sub-continent, was a humbling experience.
But here’s what we feel India did wrong in Mumbai:
1. India’s batsmen just didn’t stick around
In the first innings Pujara played 350 balls. Ashwin (a bowling allrounder) played 114 balls. The next best was Dhoni with 64 balls and after that, it was all downhill. In the second innings, Gambhir played 142 balls. None of the other batsmen played more than 19 balls.
Granted, that batting conditions were difficult but putting up a fight is a must. India just did not do that and that’s something that needs to change before Kolkata. Someone – one of the seniors preferably – needs to stand up, be counted and show some positive intent.
2. Picking Harbhajan Singh
India have two spinners – Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin, who have been performing creditably at home. In fact, their records are quite phenomenal. So why did Dhoni want another spinner; an out of form spinner at that, as backup? India already have the likes of Yuvraj Singh to provide some support but by including Habrhajan in the line-up, he robbed himself of a plan B. Zaheer Khan was all alone and sometimes, the variation can do the trick.
3. Getting Ashwin to bowl round the wicket
On a turning track, it was astonishing to see R Ashwin bowling from around the wicket. Graeme Swann is an attacking bowler so he rarely adopts that tactic, but surely Ashwin and Dhoni needed to have thought about taking wickets. While Swann was content to pitch the ball outside the off-stump and tempt batsmen into the drive, Ashwin preferred to pitch it on leg and middle – it was a defensive line and mindset that showcased how India were thinking and someone needed to take them to task. Well, Pietersen did exactly that.
4. Asking for a track that did something
Well, Dhoni and India got exactly that. They, however, discovered that on a pitch that does a bit – they are just as vulnerable as the opposition. Alastair Cook led from the front for England – in England, he showed them that India’s spinners aren’t great. And here, in the company of Pietersen – they completely destroyed any myths there may have been about them. India won’t really know which way to go now – the spinners have been comprehensively out-bowled by their English counterparts. Can Dhoni ‘ask’ for a turner again?
Check out how the Indian spinners did in Mumbai: 9/418 in 116.1 overs at an average of 46.44. In comparison, the England spinners had 19/329 in 125.2 overs at an average of 17.32.
5. No stomach for a fight
England winning on a turner is amazing. India expected England to see the track and lose the game in their minds. That didn’t happen. The opposite did. Cook and his side steeled themselves and came out all guns blazing. India were reduced to 199-5 on the first day – they fought back through Cheteshwar Pujara and R Ashwin, but no one else seemed willing to take the fight to the English. England have showed character after the loss in the first Test, can India do the same in Kolkata?