Batting against an opposition is a collective effort of the entire team. The failure shouldn’t be targeted at the captain alone. Everyone has to take responsibility.
One rarely gets to see six ducks on a batting scorecard – as was seen in the Indian score card in the fourth Test against England in the first innings. The batsmen that went back without scoring are Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Pankaj Singh.
At least four of these players are genuine batsmen. Vijay, Pujara, Kohli were out to such deliveries that even the best of any other batsmen would have got out. The early morning rain was helping the England bowlers extremely well. Though captain Cook admitted that he too would have batted first had he won the toss, losing it was a blessing in disguise for him.
It was a good beginning for the Indian batting as Gautam Gambhir, who has been included in this match, hit a four off the very first ball that he faced. On the other hand, Vijay was steady as always and faced 13 balls without scoring.
The next ball he faced from Anderson was too curvy for him to stop himself from playing it. A nick to Cook at the first slip saw the batsman walking off.
The pace bowler had two more wickets in the fifth over, when he sent back Vijay and Kohli. Playing the first ball was just a formality for Kohli, who was once again caught by Cook in the slips. The Indian card read 8 runs for 3 wickets. And as if that wasn’t enough, Pujara too joined the procession back to the pavilion.
Pujara was sent back by Broad, another excellent swing bowler from England. Swinging balls were being fired all around and the Indian batsmen were ducking all over.
At one stage the opening pair had scored eight runs – without the loss of any wicket. A while later, India had still eight runs on the board but had lost four quality batsmen.
However, one should back M S Dhoni the way he batted amidst the ruins. There were wickets falling all around and he was there rock solid. Dhoni scored 71 runs – slightly less than half the team’s score. He faced 133 balls to score those runs. This also shows that he batted at a strike rate of more than 53, which is certainly great in such conditions.
R Ashwin gave Dhoni good company. They put on 66 runs for the seventh wicket. Ashwin scored a handy 40 runs and hit one six too.
Let’s hope India can hang on to at least a draw here with rains on their side!
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