England Vs India: Test 2 Day 1 — Dravids’ Captaincy


Apart from a brief spell of about 20 minutes or so prior to the tea break, I thought India bowled well to wrest the 1st day honours in the 2nd Test against England.

Mahesh has already provided a comment on the days’ play.

I’ll focus here on Dravids’ captaincy. There were a few moves by Dravid that stood out for me:

(a) The choice to have a bowl.

This was a brave decision. A good one. Although Vaughan also indicated that he’d have a bowl had he won the toss, this was a brave decision, for, a repeat of the Lords’ 1st hour would have caused Indian fickle fans and media to nail Dravid to the cross. For backing his bowlers to extract max juice from the pitch, Dravid gets my kudos. Ganguly may have had a somewhat curious role in prompting this decision; a role that the match referee may want to look at more closely (according to Nasser Hussain).

(b) Dravids’ choice to bring on R. P. Singh to Kevin Pietersen.

R. P. Singh was initially pasted by Kevin Pietersen for a few fours and was removed from the attack. Zaheer Khan was brought in. Zaheer had just bowled a terrific over to Pietersen in which the English batsman had been beaten a few times and got rapped on the pads in what looked reasonably adjacent. Yet, Dravid swapped him for R. P. Singh; a move that paid immediate dividends. Singh had Pietersen with a beauty that swung in. Throughout the day, I thought Dravid used his bowlers really well.

(c) Dravids’ decision to keep Ganguly on when Cook was batting.

This was, in my view the best move of the lot. Ganguly had just bowled 1 over before the tea break. After the tea break Kumble bowled the first over. It appeared to me that Kumble wasn’t happy from the end that he was bowling from. Ganguly was brought in from the other end in a move that I thought was intended mainly to swap Kumbles’ end. But then Dravid must have seen something in Cooks’ batting that prompted him to keep Ganguly in the attack for 7 overs on the trot. Cook was playing with an exaggerated movement to get bat in front of pad to cover the swing into the pads from his off. Clearly Cook did not want a repeat of his Lords’ dismissal to Ganguly. Even for a tall lad, this was an over correection, I thought. Simultaneously, Dravid placed a strange field on the legside for Cook facing Ganguly where a forward shortleg and a shortleg were virtually in a straight line to the batsman. All of these may have perpetuated in Cook getting out LBW to Ganguly again. Sam Kumar may whinge about whether or not this was a correct decision by Simon Taufel. It was not. But the scoreboard reads “Cook lbw Ganguly 43”. Ganguly had bowled a terrific spell. He had done his job.

(d) His field placings throughout the day were smart, in my view.

(e) His decision to put the brakes on post-Tea.

After his decision to bowl first, the bowlers had delivered, but for a brief spell prior to tea when R. P. Singh — in particular — appeared to lose the plot. Zaheer Khan too gave away 14 runs in a wayward over just prior to tea. Dravid reigned it in. Instead of going on the attack after tea, the team decided to play the patience game instead. They bowled to a plan and stuck to line and length instead. The over-attacking bowlers were set aside. Zaheer Khan was set a field in which he had to bowl a tight line and length. Runs were squeezed out.

We had a spell, instead, from Kumble (1 over), Ganguly and Zaheer Khan. They bowled tightly and to well-set fields. They cut out the runs — in the first 15 overs after the tea-break, only 20 runs were scored. The result was a lose shot from Collingwood and Cooks’ tentativeness. Good leadership stemming from smart situation awareness, I thought.

There may be others too, but I thought I’d highlight these few points.

The hard work has commenced. The bowlers did well. The team did well — despite a dropped catch by Tendulkar. The bowlers need to now finish off the job. The batsmen need to play positively and put the runs on the board. With this brilliant start, India should see this as a wonderful platform from which to build strongly.

— Mohan

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9 responses to “England Vs India: Test 2 Day 1 — Dravids’ Captaincy

  1. Two points –

    India need to bundle out the tail soon.
    The big bats have to succeed for India.

    Looks like England team feels that if they score 200, on this wicket, they can be competitive ?

  2. The catch was dropped by Sachin? I thought it had not carried! The other one which didn’t carry was that to Laxman.

    Were there any more instances because I missed first 4 of the last 9 overs!

  3. I didn’t see any dropped catch either…I’ve got the recording. So, maybe I should watch it again.

  4. It was Tremlett’s catch off Zaheer…Just saw it on the recording 🙂 – This was actually pretty straight forward one. Easier than the Vaughan catch for sure.

  5. It was silly miss by Sachin Tendulkar on the bowling of Zaheer Khan otherwise England were 169/8 instead of Seven down. Let’s hope india will bold out England before 200.

  6. One decision by Dravid that did leave me a bit baffled was his decision to bowl Tendulkar for 2 overs. Just didn’t make sense to me… Oh well…

  7. Regarding Tendulkar’s dropped catch: I agree, the catch was easier than Vaughan’s. Looked like he was just a tad slow in closing his fingers. But I rather he dropped Tremlett than Vaughan.

    Still not sure why Dravid is not at first slip. Him at mid-on and frequently talking to the bowlers (like he did at Lord’s) may actually be a bit unnerving at times to the bowler.

  8. England were bowled out for 198 and india 40/0 at lunch

  9. Vish,

    As I’d written in an earlier post Gavaskar mentioned on BBC Radio Live in the 1st Test that ever since Dravid injured his fingers in South Africa, he stands at slips only for the spinners.

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