In push for rank turners, India batsmen found wanting against spin

  • Sai Prasad Mohapatra, Hindustan Times, Mohali
  • Updated: Nov 08, 2015 11:31 IST
South Africa’s Simon Harmer (L, bottom) watches as Temba Bavuma (centre , right) takes the catch to dismiss India’s Ajinkya Rahane (second from left, top) on the third day of the first Test in Mohali on November 7, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri were beaming after the win on Saturday on a turning track. While the spinners did the job, they won’t feel similarly assured about the way the batsmen tackled spin.

India must consider themselves lucky that they batted first after winning the toss. But scoring 201 and 200, they might wonder if their batsmen are spin-ready to demand turners.

Indian batsmen are no longer the masters against spin. In 2012-13, England’s Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann embarrassed them at home. Nathan Lyon troubled them in Australia and Moeen Ali was a handful in England last year. Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Rangana Herath too troubled them before India lost 15 of their 20 wickets to Proteas spinners.

India have been travelling for the last two years and hence the current crop hasn’t played many matches at home. “Could be,” said Kohli.

“We have played a lot of cricket away from home and we have not played a lot on turning wickets. We haven’t played a lot of domestic cricket. It is said Indians are very good players of spin. That might pressurise a few guys that ‘we have to play spin well’.”

The manner in which India batsmen fell in Mohali stood out. It wasn’t due to unplayable spin bowling, but the indecisiveness that claimed more wickets.

Barring Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli, no other batsman appeared to have the technique to tackle spinners on home tracks. “We made errors rather than fear spin. …it will be reflected upon and corrected,” Kohli said.

It is very much possible that India, after the Mohali win, would like to carry a similar pitch to the other three venues. But for that, they will have to deal with the danger, that is preparing their batsmen to handle spin bowling first.

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