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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

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India’s approach was puzzling
Ian Botham, Hindustan Times
December 18, 2012
First Published: 00:29 IST(18/12/2012)
Last Updated: 00:32 IST(18/12/2012)

I would like to congratulate England for the massive achievement of beating India at home, something they hadn't done in the last 28 years. They fought hard, enjoyed their game, backed each other and are enjoying the fruits of their hard work.

The better team won. It’s now time for them to enjoy the win. It’s heartening to see everyone contributing towards the win.

The partnership between Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell was crucial. England needed to bat India out of the game and they did exactly that. Both the batsmen weren't in the best of form but they contributed when it mattered, and that is the sign of a great team.

Everything looked perfect for India after the first Test in Ahmedabad. It’s easy to pinpoint mistakes, find a scapegoat but I believe England played better cricket. They lost the first Test more because of the combination. They were quick to learn, correct the mistakes.

I would rather praise England than blame India. I do not think there was something drastically wrong with MS Dhoni’s leadership. However, some of the tactics did baffle me, especially the way they approached their innings on the fourth morning. If India wanted more time to bowl out England, they should have accelerated in the overs they played. They were defensive and declared a few runs shot, which didn't make sense.

Another surprise was the pitch. India were trailing 1-2 and desperately looking to level the series. What they got was a pathetic pitch. It’s the worst pitch I have seen in many years. Playing at home, India were right to ask for a pitch favouring their strengths but I am sure this is not what they had asked for. They would have asked for a result-oriented track.

It didn’t work for India and such wickets aren’t good for the game of cricket. Even in the final Test, played on a poor wicket, England emerged as the team that won more sessions and played better cricket.

PMG
The writer is a former England skipper


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