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No more experiments please

cricket Updated: Aug 30, 2007 01:32 IST
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I side with all those who feel India should have batted first in Edgbaston. India opted to chase when they were playing a batsman less and it was a costly error of judgment. I think if Dravid wins the toss in Old Trafford, he should bat first. Therein is India's best chance to draw level.

In many ways, Edgbaston was a missed opportunity. Flintoff was missing; Mascrenhas's late injury meant England had to redraw plans at the last minute. Pietersen is suffering something of a one-day horror patch.

But after six straight relative failures, he would be keen to make amends. England, after the Test series loss, are eager to finish it now and have their revenge. Flintoff would be revving up to deliver a telling blow. There were a few other issues at Edgbaston. Karthik's promotion to No. 3 was questionable as India , chasing a big target, needed an explosive start, more so as Ganguly and Tendulkar took their time to get off the blocks. Ganguly in particular has to think singles and backing up and not just boundaries.

England's superior fielding also made a difference. The hosts are looking to save 20 runs in the field and make an extra 20 off the tardy Indian fielders. Munaf's fielding is never a pretty sight, nor is the way batsmen take on Ganguly's throws from the deep.

And England's one-day fortunes are on the upswing. They have made close to 900 runs in three innings so far. They have a very fit, aggressive bunch of youngsters. Ian Bell is consistent with the bat and, the athleticism he showed in scooping two catches late in India's innings, I put beyond most of the Indian players.

India are unlikely to roll back their five-bowler theory but must not experiment with key batting slots. Yuvraj's at No. 3 should have been stuck with in Edgabston. Though, with Dravid in tremendous touch, he could be there too. Yuvraj should bat no later than No. 4 as the time has come for him to shoulder more responsibility. Also India might want to think of somehow playing Uthappa.

The sides are evenly matched, but the fielding, plummeting to new depths with every game, could pull the rug from under India's feet.