Nothing wrong with pitch, England were simply superb, says Trevor Penney

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 16, 2014, 11:26 AM IST

London: There were no demons in the pitch but it was simply England`s improved bowling that took the fizz out of the Indian batting, says visiting fielding coach Trevor Penney.

The coach said the English bowlers have improved as the series has progressed and utilised the conditions at the Oval to perfection as India`s first innings folded for 148.

"In the first two Tests, we scored runs. The batsmen got in and scored in both those matches. But in the last two matches we have struggled a bit and perhaps that is because England have been bowling better and a lot fuller," Penney said after first day`s play on Friday.

"It is definitely not something to do with the pitch. Yes there was movement here and also at Old Trafford but we negotiated a green top at Lord`s and managed to win that game," he said.

India have gone down like a pack of cards for the third Test in running now. It started in Southampton and then carried over to Manchester and has now repeated itself in London.

Put into bat under overcast conditions, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni waged a lone battle with a gutsy 82 as England put itself in driver`s seat.

India`s continued batting failure notwithstanding, Penney defended his under-performing willow-wielders.

"It was a good toss to win and the English guys bowled well. The first session was crucial. It was a good toss to lose in the last match and today it was the other way round. That`s how it has played out in these last two matches.

"I think the batsmen did well today because the conditions were quite tough out there. Unfortunately we were not able to do the same with the ball and hopefully tomorrow will be different," he said.

Apart from Dhoni, only two other Indian batsmen -- Murali Vijay (18) and Ravichandran Ashwin (13) -- reached double-digits scores.

If not for Dhoni and his 58-run last-wicket stand with Ishant Sharma (7 not out), India might not have even crossed the 100-run mark as they were reeling at 44 for six at one stage.

"Dhoni had a great day in the field and he batted well out there. His innings was a crucial one and it helped us get some runs on the board," said Penney.

Asked if the Indian captain had got his team selection right and if there were any regrets over not playing a seventh batsman, Penney replied: "No, we believe that we have got the right playing eleven."

The prolonged poor form of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, who scored just 10 runs between them, have hit India hard in this series.

But Penney denied that there was something wrong with the technique of the two struggling batsmen.

"No it is not at all that. At this stage we want our batsmen to be positive because they are doing the right things, just the runs haven`t come. So we will be looking to turn things around in the second innings," he said.