IND vs ENG: England expose Indians' selection blemishes

Aug 12, 2018, 13:00 IST | Gaurav Joshi

The answer was, "Hopefully, Kuldeep gets five wickets tomorrow."

IND vs ENG: England expose Indians' selection blemishes
Kuldeep Yadav. Pic/Getty Images

At close of play on Day Two, Ajinkya Rahane was asked to explain the decision of picking two spinners on a pitch that seamed prodigiously and resulted in India being bowled out for 107. The answer was, "Hopefully, Kuldeep gets five wickets tomorrow." Rahane might have been optimistic, but after two sessions into Day Three on Saturday, much of his hope would have turned into despair.

The Indian seamers bowled splendidly in Saturday's first session to knock over four England batsmen and thus reduce the home side to 89 for four. While the movement on offer was substantially less than Friday, the new ball still zipped around and moved through the air.

Mohammed Shami was outstanding. Ishant Sharma, despite being inaccurate, still managed to move the ball and Hardik Pandya, to be fair, showed enough potential as the third seamer. Until lunch, it looked like India had just been on the wrong end of the toss and still had the potential to compete. But in the next 30 minutes, England had exposed their selection blemishes as Jonny Bairstow and Jos Butler added 41 runs in six overs.

The pitch was still offering assistance, but the Indian seamers had run out of steam and Kuldeep Yadav was ineffective. To make matters worse, Ravichandran Ashwin had not even bowled. By the time the off-spinner was introduced, England had a 50-run lead. The pair grounded the Indian bowling into submission and put England firmly in control of the match.

The pacers had constantly posed problems and bowled their hearts out. Importantly, neither of the spinners threatened for the whole day. Virat Kohli has often said that selection is based on a gut feel, but given the washout on Day One the selection should have been based on logic rather than instinct.

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