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India's defensive mindset was deplorable

Nottingham: As Joe Root faced up to Ishant Sharma on the first ball after lunch, the field set included three slips. It was difficult to believe as Root was unbeaten on 143.

When the day began, Root was on 78 and as he faced the first over, the Indian captain had only decided to employ a solitary slip.

It wasn't because the second new ball was offer neither was England was slowly eating way at the deficient. Both had already been conquered. It was mystifying, but it told a tale of a captain and a team that prefer the defensive option rather than the attacking one.

After all, Dhoni had employed the same tactics that has served him well on Day Three for the whole of the morning session. Unfortunately, for one his bowlers failed to execute them and secondly, as captain he ensured they became far too predictable.

No back-up plan
In the morning session, only 10% of the balls bowled would have gone on to hit the stumps. On Friday, Ishant ensured 85% of the 132 balls he bowled had to be played at by the batsmen.

It seemed to indicate that it might have taken England nine wickets to finally overcome India's Plan A, but once they did, India clearly lacked Plan B.

James Anderson would have noted from the Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar stand from the previous day that standing up and riding the bouncing ball was not a difficult task.

Especially, given the Indian skipper had set eight men around the bat and asked his bowlers to pound it into the turf. Full credit to Anderson for repelling the initial burst and growing in confidence to demoralise India.

It is easy to point a finger at Dhoni, but the fact is, trying to simply dismiss a No 11 and setting a defensive field to the well set batsman is now a standard procedure for most Test captains.

Rarely do these plans work and on most occasions, they only result in a promising partnership. Unfortunately for India, they were the victims once again.

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