India vs England: Slip-ups blotted contest in opening Test, says Ian Chappell
Test cricket desperately needs these types of contests and it won't hurt if India's tour of Australia then provides more of the same, says the former Australian cricketer
Both England and India were sloppy in the slips during the opening Test at Edgbaston with a combination of poor technique and faulty alignment being to blame for the shoddy work. One reason for both sides dropping catches is that the fielders are standing too close to each other thereby causing confusion. It also doesn't help that England don't employ their best catchers in the slips. Joe Root quickly moved himself from slip to mid-off which made no sense when Anderson and Stuart Broad, the two most experienced trundlers in the side, were operating.
The absence of the mercurial Ben Stokes from the slips, except when the spinner is bowling, is also mystifying. For their part, the Indian bowlers can't be bristling with confidence when some slip fielders' fingers are heavily bandaged; generally that's a sure sign of misadventure. Part of England's success with the ball can be attributed to the increased variety in their attack. The addition of Sam Curran's vibrant left-arm swing and Stokes' rejuvenation with the ball made a huge difference to an attack that lacked variety in Australia.
India's search for a seam bowling all-rounder is still a work in progress but Hardik Pandya displayed determination and discipline to go with his undoubted skills in an important partnership with Kohli. Perhaps a move to No. 6 would further bolster his batting confidence and if he can also profit from watching Stokes' efforts with the ball, this could be a defining series for the talented all-rounder. Slip catching apart, the early skirmishes at Edgbaston prompt enthusiasm for what could be a hard-fought series. Test cricket desperately needs these types of contests and it won't hurt if India's tour of Australia then provides more of the same.
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