Just 17 wickets have fallen in the first four days of the Eden Test. Yet, after Monday’s play India said they are confident of dismissing Pakistan in less than 90 overs. Going by MS Dhoni’s comments after stumps, India plan to bat a few overs on Tuesday and then have a go at the visitors.
“Scoring quickly is a problem on this wicket and it becomes more difficult once the ball gets soft,” Dhoni said. If India are assuming Pakistan will have a go at the target and lose wickets in the process, Misbah-ul-Haq gave no indication of that happening. So, the onus would rest solely on the Indian bowlers who haven’t really looked menacing so far. Dhoni’s keeping the faith and given the Eden’s tendency of throwing up surprises, that may not be entirely misplaced.
Against Australia in 2001, India, led by Harbhajan Singh took seven wickets in the final session on the fifth day and the Baggy Greens, coasting at 161 for three at tea, were 212 all out. Even in the last Test here against Pakistan, Anil Kumble had taken seven wickets to wrap up the visitors from 95 for one overnight to 226 all out much before the stipulated end of play.
But the behaviour of this strip has been difficult to gauge so far. Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble did try every possible angle and length coming over and round the wicket, but did not get the kind of backing required from their fielders on this placid slow turner. Dhoni accepted that but also said the key would be to hit the right areas consistently. Both Dhoni and Misbah said the wicket had enough cracks for inconsistent bounce.