20.08.2018 Author: C.NAMASIVAYAMEver since Team India succumbed to a heavy defeat at Lord's, they have been subjected to severe criticism. Here is a look at the possible reasons for India's humiliating defeat at the Lord's Cricket Ground.
1. Bizarre decision to play two spinners on a seaming trackThe Indian team management's decision to play Kuldeep Yadav in place of Umesh Yadav left every one bamboozled. The conditions prevalent on the eve of the Lord's Test warranted the presence of three fast bowlers and Hardik Pandya - the fast bowling all-rounder.
What was more puzzling was the fact that the entire first day's play was washed out due to persistent rain. This presented a fair indication to the team management as to what was expected on the following days. In spite of that conspicuous warning, India went into the match with one fast bowler short.
By opting to go with Kuldeep Yadav on such adverse conditions for spinners, Indians were effectively one player short even before the toss happened. It was another matter that Adil Rashid, the lone spinner selected by England, was not called upon to bowl even a single over.
The absence of Umesh Yadav was felt right through the England innings when their lesser known batsman Chris Woakes went on to score a maiden Test hundred.
2. England's luck with the tossWhen play eventually started on the second day morning, the overcast conditions and the dampness in the pitch were perfectly suited for bowling first and Joe Root's luck with the toss continued. The moment India lost the toss and were asked to bat first on such trying conditions, they were forced to play the catch-up game from the very beginning. The general consensus was that no other team in the world could have fared any better than India on that eventful second day against Anderson and company.
3. Superior England bowling attackIt was one thing to win the toss and put the opposition in and was totally another to execute your pre-arranged tactics to perfection. England bowlers were too good at that and they exploited the favourable conditions to the hilt. Before the umpire could finish uttering play, India were reduced to 15 for 3. James Anderson and Broad were virtually unplayable and looked like taking a wicket off every delivery that they bowled. Chris Woakes too joined the party and took the crucial wicket of Kohli.
The English bowlers were far superior to their Indian counterparts on conditions familiar to them. When the Indians were dismissed for 107 runs in the first innings, the game was as good as over for India barring weather interference.
4. Run out of Pujara in the first inningsOther than Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara was the only other Indian batsman who showed some intent to spend some time at the crease. However, his unfortunate run out in the first innings accelerated India's collapse.
5. Contrasting weather conditions on different days of playWhen India were put in to bat on the second day, it was a murky and overcast morning. The unrelenting drizzle on the first day of the Test and the overnight downpour had enforced the pitch to be under the covers for long. This had livened up the pitch. The ball was swinging and seaming around.
The frequent rain interruptions did not help India's cause either. The batsmen had to switch off and switch on after every rain interruption. The recurrent rain interruptions helped the England bowlers to rejuvenate every now and then and then prolong with their battering.
When England batted on the third day, the sun was out in its full glory. The pitch was basking in the sun and the conditions were perfect for batting. Except for one or two minor breaks, the match progressed uninterrupted. This helped the English batsmen to concentrate better at the batting crease.
Again, when India batted in the second innings, it was back to gloomy weather and more rain. Conditions wise, the Indians were at a disadvantage all through the match. There were times, as in the case of Pujara's run out and in Rahane's dismissal, play lasted for just one ball in between rain breaks and India managed to lose a wicket in that short duration of play.
The weather gods failed to smile on India in this mat.