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HAS THE FAILURE OF INDIAN BATSMEN CAMOUFLAGED THE FAILURE OF THE BOWLERS TO WRAP UP THE TAIL?

11.09.2018  Author: C.NAMASIVAYAM

It is beyond reasonable doubt that most of the Indian batsmen, with the exception of Kohli, have all failed to impress in the current England series. After their horrible performances in this five-test series , there has been no place to hide for the batsmen.

Having witnessed the Indian batsmen thriving on home conditions, it was a big jolt for the Indian fans to absorb the continuous failure of their batsmen. This was never expected to happen.

On the other hand, the general impression about the Indian bowlers was that they did a commendable job all the way through the entire series only to be let down by their batsmen. But the failure of the Indian batsmen has been so glaring that it has masked the failure of the Indian bowlers to wrap up the tail.

The Indian bowlers were quite successful in dismissing the English top order batting only to be confronted by a resolute tail.

1. Statistical highlight of the success of the England tail

1 In the second innings of the first test, England were reduced to 87 for 7 with all the specialist batsmen back in the pavilion. Then the Indian bowlers failed to finish off the tail and the last 3 England wickets added 93 runs. In the end, India finished up losing the match by just 31 runs.

2 In the second Test at Lord's, in the only innings that England batted, England were in a sort of bother at 131 for 5 before Bairstow and Chris Woakes added 189 runs for the 6th wicket. Finally, from 131 for 5 England declared at 396 for 7. Chris Woakes, the bowling all-rounder, scored his maiden Test century.

3 In the first innings of the fourth Test, England were 86 for 6. The last 4 wickets added 160 runs to reach a competitive score of 246.

4 In the second innings of the fourth Test, England were 122 for 5. The last 5 wickets added 149 runs to set up a target of 245 runs for India to win. India lost that match by 60 runs.

5 In the fifth Test match at the Oval, at one stage, England were precariously placed at 181 for 7. Jos Buttler got twice reprieved by the technology though the on-field call was out. Buttler, with the help of the tailenders, added 151 runs for the last 3 wickets.

2. Contributors to England's lower-order revival

The main contributors to England's late revival were Jos Buttler and Sam Curran. Not to forget the resistance of the bowlers, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad and Anderson. Buttler has so far scored 349 runs in the series. Sam Curran's contribution was a massive 272 runs. The contributions from Buttler and Curran has been the difference in the overall result of the series.

3. Reasons for the failure of the Indian bowlers

a) The Indian bowlers and the Captain has failed to attack the main batsmen who was at the wicket with the tailenders. In an effort to get only the tailenders out, the better batsman was spared. This has led the game to drift away from India.

b) The tailenders are expected to be more vulnerable to the spinners. But Ashwin's poor form in the series didn't help India's cause.

c) Bumrah's failure to bowl Yorkers with the red ball also contributed to India's failure.

4. Consequences of the contribution from the tail

a) When England tail wagged, it allowed the momentum to shift in favour of England.

b) After their frutiful time in the middle as batsmen, the England bowlers were nicely warmed up and brimming up with confidence to execute their main task.

c) The Indian batsmen, especially the openers, were made to go through long periods of anxiety before the England tail was finally polished off. This has affected their performance while batting.

d) By staying at the wicket, runs keep flowing not necessarily from the bat but in the form of byes too. The bowlers ,in their frustration, would try to bounce the tailenders out and in that process the ball all over the place .

5. The Comparative contribution of the Indian tail

Leave alone the tail, even the Indian lower-order batsmen have failed to contribute in any manner. Batsmen like Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ashwin and Mohammed Shami were all restless at the crease. They were all going for their shots and were itching to come back to the pavilion. Compared to their efforts, Ishant Sharma and Bumrah showed some resistance.

Even when Kohli and Pujara batted through the innings in the first and fourth Tests respectively, the lower-order batsmen failed to give them the needed support to forge any meaningful partnerships. The Indians were missing Bhuvneshwar kumar in this respect.

The situation looked somewhat better for India only in the last Test when Vihari and Jadeja were drafted into the team.

On the fourth day of the third Test, the last wicket stand of Rashid and Andesrson managed to survive 6 taxing overs during the extended playing hours to take the game into the fifth day.

That was the kind of spirit that was missing in the Indian lower-order batsmen. Imagine a Shami in such a situation who would have aimed to deposit the ball right into the orbit. The Indians were more than willing to surrender their wickets at the first available opportunity.

6.The mindset of the tailenders while batting first

The tailenders are expected to stick around more in the first innings and third innings of a Test match. That is when the pressure is less and whatever runs scored by them is a bonus at that stage.

The mindset is different in the fourth innings when the target is beyond reach. That is when they throw in the towel too quickly to bring a swift end to the proceedings.

When tailenders are batting with a specialist batsman at the other end, they strive hard to survive. If a number 9 and 10 are batting together, they will race to see who gets out first.

7.Conclusion

It is true that the Indian batsmen failed miserably in the current England series. The bowlers were also equally guilty in failing to mop up the England tail. A job half finished is as good as not finished.

The disappointing performance of the Indian batsmen has camouflaged the failure of the Indian bowlers in wrapping up the England tail.