Rather than posting my thoughts as comments to Mohan’s post, I thought I’d make a separate post on the reasons why Dravid decided to not enforce the follow on and then bat slow:
- Not enforcing the follow on was actually not a bad decision as a lot of us agree. It has plenty of merit such as not batting last on what may become a crumbling pitch, giving the bowlers a rest, etc, etc. So, I won’t delve much into it
- India have struggled to win a series overseas in spite of going 1 up in the series in the past, and this would have been on the back of Dravid’s mind. To him winning the series is more important than winning the match itself.
- Although the Indian’s have taken 50 English wickets so far, Dravid still does not trust his bowlers fully – Zaheer, the best bowler on display so far apparently has a mild niggle, Sreesanth has been erratic and RP Singh is inexperienced. To top that Kumble has not had the best tour so far. Dravid must have felt that they may not be able to take 10 wickets, hence he wanted to ensure that even if England had wickets in hand, they did not stand a chance of chasing the score down
- To ensure that England did not have enough overs to chase down the score, Dravid wanted to use up the overs and probably felt that he should occupy one end – hence his go slow approach
I am not trying to justify his approach, merely trying to reason why India played the way they did (and some of the reasoning is mere speculation). Whatever the reasons, it will not be an easy win for India, but I will not rule out an England batting collapse. India first need to get past the two openers, for I believe the Indian bowlers are far better bowling to right handers than left handers.
If India do win the match convincingly, the way Dravid batted will be a distant memory.