In sports, home advantage is hard to ignore although there is no certainty to what extent it can be exploited. Still, it is surprising when a team fail to cash in despite all factors weighing in their favour.
A couple of tough chances went abegging and a few close shouts also didn't
go India's way. Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen applied themselves on a pitch that showed signs of having slowed down. But how can one justify three spinners taking just two wickets in 65 overs against rivals shaky against spin?
Asked about it, Cheteshwar Pujara said, “We needed more wickets, to be honest. A couple of decisions went against us; still we bowled decently. It turns a bit more in the first session, so we have to utilise that and get some more wickets.”
Former India spinner Maninder Singh told HT, “The pitch eased out a bit, but they should have been more effective.”
MS Dhoni had demanded a rank turner, and it was given. And despite ruling out a third spinner, he included Harbhajan Singh. Though he opened the bowling with Ashwin and Ojha - spinners opened the bowling in the first innings of a Test for the first time since 1910 - only Ojha took wickets.
Maninder blamed the tactics. “Why not make the batsmen drive? I'm all for close-in fielders but when nothing is happening, set the field on one side and entice the batsmen into a false shot. The English spinners did not experiment much. Why should you, when the pitch is doing so much?”