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Indian fielders pay the price for failing to adapt

If India were to lose the first Test, the moment they will regret is when Kevin Pietersen was on 49. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal writes.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2011 02:26 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal

If India were to lose the first Test, the moment they will regret is when Kevin Pietersen was on 49.

The England star appeared to have been caught by Rahul Dravid at leg slip but got the benefit of doubt from the TV umpire. While it is debatable whether Dravid had caught the ball cleanly, it was another instance of an India fielder standing deeper than needed.

The ball wobbles a lot more in England, the conditions change quickly and with it varies the ball's carry. Hence, standing at the right distance is the key.

Given the prodigious movement bowlers extract, edges are a regular feature, hence, slip-catching can be the crucial difference. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/23_07_pg19b.jpg

It was the second time Dravid had been caught a foot short in the match. Arguably, the best slip fielder to spinners, Dravid had, on the opening day, failed to latch on to an ankle height, sharp chance offered by Jonathan Trott off Harbhajan Singh. A step in front, he would have pouched it at a comfortable height. Another example was on view in the 96th over when Pietersen got a thick edge but VVS Laxman, at second slip, caught it at one bounce.

To add to India's woes, MS Dhoni's glovework has been untidy. He has not been able adjust to last-minute swerves and the sudden dip of the ball. Trott benefitted again when Dhoni initially moved to the left and was caught on the wrong foot when the England No. 3 edged Zaheer Khan. Dravid, at first slip, was too close to the keeper, which prevented him from going all out.

The huge boundaries at Lord's entail a lot of running and adjusting to the slope, where the ball travels faster. In this aspect too, India have been found wanting.