Lord's Test: England's bowlers let Indian batsmen escape
London: England's plea for a seaming track was answered by curator Mick Hunt at Lord's but they wasted a golden opportunity to dismantle India on a pitch that looked a bit like the centre court at Wimbledon.
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England's Stuart Broad reacts after Ajinkya Rahane was given not out yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Right from the outset, the England bowlers persisted with bowling a length that allowed the batsmen to shoulder arms far too often.
If England had studied India's outstanding batting performance in the 1st Test, they would have known that India's young brigade is more than willing to leave balls on merit.
View Photos: Standout performances by Indians at Lord's
Murali Vijay has moulded his batting for overseas conditions, Cheteshwar Pujara can leave a ball by pure judgement and see it miss the off stump by a whisker, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli are the same but have different gears that can hurt the opposition. They might be short of Test caps but know exactly which balls to leave.
England didn't manage to drag any of them out of their comfort zones. In the first session 46% of the deliveries were left alone, only six balls would have thudded into the stumps.
England's bowling figures looked pretty on the scorecard but in terms of impact of the scoreboard it was minimal.
Even when the English bowlers made the batsmen play, it was on the backfoot. Only on a handful of occasions did they prompt the batsmen to come forward, something that is a vital ingredient to be successful on such green seamers.
It was only for a brief session that England strangled the Indian batsmen by bowling consistently on a length of 6meters — this resulted in three wickets. But once the ball had lost its shine they once again adapted to back of length tactics and allowed India to dominate.
The lack of potency and the accuracy of Stuart Broad, Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes also indicated the importance of James Anderson to this attack.
On yesterday's performance India will grow in confidence knowing a score of over 250 on such track is akin to victory and as Mahela Jaywardena had stated when the pressure is on England to deliver they tend to fail.
Number of balls that would have hit the stumps in the first session of play yesterday
Number of deliveries Indian batsmen left alone in Session 1