English players must have said ‘Thank you’ to MS Dhoni after their most memorable Test win in India yesterday. The Indian skipper’s demand for having rank turners from Day One completely backfired, as the hosts suffered a crushing 10-wicket defeat on the fourth day of the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium.
Yesterday’s thumping win in the Test was England’s second victory in India in 14 matches since 1985. Incidentally, their last win came at the same venue in 2006 that England comfortably won by 212 runs.
MS Dhoni. File Pic/Getty Images
Team India was already on the back foot after their horrendous batting display in the second innings. After losing seven wickets on Sunday for a paltry 117, India needed an able partner to play a long innings with Gautam Gambhir, who was unbeaten on 53 overnight.
But it didn’t happen according to the plan as India was bowled out for 142, Gambhir top-scoring with 65. R Ashwin (11) was the only other player to get a double-digit figure.
England spinners dominated the show with Monty Panesar (11 wickets in the match) claiming 6-81 and Graeme Swann 4-43 in the second dig. Skipper Alastair Cook (18 not out) and Nick Compton (30 not out) took little time to chase down 57-run target, scoring 58 in just 9.4 overs. The series is now 1-1.
Former India batsman Arun Lal said India underestimated the strength of the England spinners. “Of course, our plan (to give a turning track) backfired. We thoroughly underestimated that they have world-class spinners in their ranks,” Lal told MiD DAY.
Lal, who is on commentary duty here, felt England has made a massive statement after coming back from their nine-wicket loss in the first Test last week.
“We should have played to our strength which is batting. We failed to put up a good score and that is why we lost. England has made a massive statement with this win and will take a lot of confidence going into the remaining two Tests,” he added.
Dhoni, however, maintained that he would like to see similar pitches for the remaining Tests too. “Yes of course, that’s our specialty,” said Dhoni after the loss.
“What’s the point in playing on flat pitches, trying to win the toss and bat for three or four days over the Test match? You want to face challenges in Test cricket and these are the sort of tracks that push you to that. Definitely all the wickets should be like this,” he added.
Dhoni felt such wickets negate the importance of winning the toss. “I will still like to have a typical sub-continental wicket that turns from the first day. So, the importance of the toss is reduced and whichever team plays better cricket wins,” he said.
As far as the failure of Indian spinners is concerned, Dhoni felt they bowled on the shorter side as compared to their England counterparts.
“There was more bounce on the wicket, may be, we were slightly on the shorter side. But it doesn’t really mean we were really short, the English batsmen played them really well and they were waiting on the back foot for the ball to turn. Our length could have been a bit fuller, and asked them to drive a bit more.
“You may see individuals coming up with big performances and in this game the big performance came from the English side. There is also a particular style of bowling, you also try to bowl fast but we didn’t get the same kind of purchase out of the wicket as Monty.
“Their bowling was very good. Pietersen and Cook batted really well, but apart from that, if you see both the scorecards, they are quite similar. It will be tough if you play on wickets like these, but that’s what Test cricket is all about,” Dhoni signed off.