Zee Media Bureau/ Suyash Srivastava
New Delhi: After a very long time, while playing in an overseas tour, MS Dhoni and his boys had a comfortable stay in the first two Tests. India, who were routed 4-0 when they toured England in 2012, gave hosts a neck-to-neck fight in the first Test, and won the second convincingly.
The Indian cricket fans were overjoyed, as India won a Test at Lord`s after 28 years and that too quite convincingly. Even though India`s main batsmen weren`t scoring runs, Murali Vijay`s form and the supreme show by Indian seamers had sent England on the back foot. Everybody expected India to show even more aggression in the remaining three Tests.
But that was not to be as Dhoni`s was back to being a defensive captain as he played just three seamers in the third Test – a decision which probably cost India the Test match. India lacked the spark they had shown at Lord`s and a few dropped catches and wrong umpiring decisions shifted the momentum England`s way.
Dhoni didn`t learn from his mistakes and even for the fourth Test, even though he recalled two crucial players in Gautam Gambhir and Ravichandran Ashwin, he once again played with just three seamers and left out Mohammed Shami. England were high on confidence after winning the third Test, and with Alastair Cook and Ian Bell coming back to form, they looked all set to strengthen their grip over the series.
English pacers, who didn`t have much of an impact in the first and the second Test, were back to their usual best in the third and the fourth, where they stuck to their line outside the off-stump and trapped the Indian batsmen. The strategy has worked extremely well so far, as the likes of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara – two of India`s most established batsmen – are finding it difficult to spend time at the crease.
The Indian seamers too have been running out of steam and the fielders have let them down on several occasions. While Dhoni is yet to realise what went wrong after the second Test, with just one Test remaining, the ignominy of another massive failure overseas is looming over the Indian team.