While I am writing this post, the epic test match is in anti-climax stage and climax is more or less certain unless some drama happens before that, in anti-climax.
The first test match of 4 test match series between India and England got underway on 21st July and four days are over with home team enjoying the distinct advantage while visitors are struggling hard to save the test match. This epic test match saw brilliant display of batting from Matt Prior, Kevin Pietersen and Rahul Dravid, as both Dravid and Pietersen got brilliant hundreds on a testing surface, brilliant bowling spells from Praveen Kumar, Stuart Broad and Ishant Sharma. Misery of great Tendulkar continued at this ground as he failed to cross the thirties on this very venue one more time and century on this ground is still far away from him.
If we talk about England I think they batted in tough conditions and also bowled in batting friendly conditions, while Indians got the best batting conditions to bat and best bawling conditions to bowl but failed to take advantage of that and England turned the tide in their favour by battling it out in tough conditions. But Indians were unlucky to lose its premier fast bowler Zaheer Khan on the first day due to injury and other 3 bowlers failed to make any impact on Day 1. Dropped catches of Trott and Pietersen also aggravated the wounds of Indian bowlers and it is pity that, captain who dropped those chances. So far in this match captain Dhoni dropped four crucial catches and India paid dearly for that.
Tactics of Indian captain in the field were also far from the reality so far. When Ishant was bowling well on Day 4, he didn’t continue him after lunch and that’s where match slipped from the hands of India. Mistake even became more visible when Ishant returned with new spell and immediately picked up the wicket of Eoin Morgan which clearly showed that, had Ishant bowled just after lunch India must have got into the comfortable position and could have thought of winning the match but Dhoni failed to take advantage of the moment.
Moreover, in first innings Dhoni batted for 102 balls and scored just 27 runs and didn’t force the issue, as if he was out there to save the test match in first innings of the game. Had Dhoni played his natural game, Indian would have reached closer to the English score in first innings but Dhoni kept playing defensively and finally got out to he new ball. Dhoni used these defensive techniques in his batting many times but he failed often while playing defensively. He has to understand that, he is not technically sound as Rahul Dravid, so he has play his natural game and score runs which will help Indian team in winning more test matches. We all saw when wickets were falling Matt Prior played his natural game and got his team out of the trouble by scoring brilliant hundred. Dhoni has to learn that. Also there is saying offence is the best form of defence.
In the past few matches, Dhoni’s wicket-keeping standard has gone down considerably and he is out of form in batting as well. We all know, how capable Dhoni is, with the bat but only when he play his natural game. I think time has come, when Dhoni have to think about his batting and have to accept the fact that he is not a technically sound batsmen and have to play his natural game under any circumstances and I can vouch, if he will play his natural game he will certainly score more runs in his test career and if he try to kill his natural instincts then I am afraid he will not survive much in the highest format of the game for too long.
So India is on doorstep of defeat at Lords and tough times ahead for Dhoni and his team which is also struggling with disease and injuries to its premier players.