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We should have been more patient against SA

We had no reason to play seven batsmen if we were to bowl second, explains Tom Moody.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 03:44 IST
Tom Moody

What happened to us at Ahmedabad on Tuesday is something that has not happened in the past six months - our batting let us down.

The first half had gone pretty much according to plan, and the total of 220 was definitely achievable despite the late order burst from Pollock and Peterson. However, what has been very much in order of late was out of order for us on that day.

Granted, the immensely experienced Pollock and Ntini bowled really well, particularly to Sanath and Upul, our two in-form batters, and created the kind of pressure that can only be described as a stranglehold.

Unfortunately, though, instead of waiting it out as New Zealand did against Pakistan on Wednesday with the vital partnership between Stephen Fleming and Scott Styris, we went helplessly along the path of defeat, losing more and more wickets. All we had to do, really, was wait out the first 20 overs, after which it would have been tougher for the South African bowlers to stick to their rhythm.

As proof of this, you may recall how comfortably Chaminda Vaas batted towards the end. At that stage, had we wickets in hand and even if the asking rate was around seven per over, it wouldn't have been too much trouble getting to the target.

Ideally, it would have been perfect to have either Mahela or Dilshan still batting at that time, but Mahela's dismissal was a result of one of those unfortunate gaps in communication that you get on a bad day.

In hindsight, a lot of people have criticised the decision to drop Chamara Kapugedera in favour of an additional pacer. To be fair, we had no reason to play seven batsmen this time around if we were going to bowl second. Indeed, we have used seven batsmen only twice in the last six months, and one of the occasions was our Mumbai match against NZ.

So we were obviously looking for the most balanced side and not relying too much on the spinners in case we bowled second. However, that is not to say we will abandon the formula that has served us so well in the recent past.