The Indian pacers have been left wondering whether their technique has gone wrong. They had come here expecting they can just release the ball and the wicket and the famed English conditions would do the rest for them. But Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Sreesanth have been left feeling like they are bowling on a flat track in the subcontinent.
The Indians have been greeted at Taunton by typical English weather. There was a heavy cloud cover and a strong wind but the ball refused to swing as the Somerset batsmen amassed 425 for three in 96 overs.
Munaf Patel and Sreesanth are gifted with natural outswingers, and Zaheer is one of the best exponents of the craft. Hence, their ineffectiveness in conditions tailor-made for them was a bit surprising.
It is not something only the Indian bowlers are puzzled about, the pacers all around the county circuit are confused with the behavior of the Duke ball. Most have not been able to get the ball to move. Mastering it to do so could well be the key to the India versus England series.
“This year, this red ball hasn’t swung in the county circuit, let’s see how it goes in the Test series,” former India left-arm spinner Murali Karthik, who plays for Somerset, told the Hindustan Times.
“In this match also it didn’t happen. Last season, the ball was swinging. Everybody is trying to analyse for the last three months but it;s not happening,” said Karthik, who is in his seventh year in county cricket.
Usually, Karthik said, the Indians don’t have a problem with the Duke ball as it is quite similar to the SG ball, which they use at home.
“It’s quite similar to SG; it’s a good, hard ball with a prominent seam. For a spinner, the ball is drifting and arm ball is swinging but don’t know about the seamers.”
If it doesn’t swing, then the advantage will be with England. It will take out the skill advantage which the Indian bowlers have. The bounce factor will still remain.