Kohli called day-night Test 'bizarre', this word describes England's approach against India's spinners: Ian Chappell

Published on Feb 28, 2021 02:52 PM IST

Chappell blamed England's execution against India's spinners as the main reason behind their collapse.

Ollie Pope is bowled off R Ashwin. (BCCI)
Ollie Pope is bowled off R Ashwin. (BCCI)
By, New Delhi

Former Australia captain and renowned commentator has weighed in on the recently-concluded Day-Night Test between India and England played in Ahmedabad, explaining how England were miserable in their tactics against India's spinners throughout the game. Of the total 20 English wickets to go down, 19 fell to spin, with left-arm spinner Axar Patel and R Ashwin combining to share 18 of those.

Chappell blamed England's execution against India's spinners as the main reason behind their collapse and felt there wasn't much scope left when England decided to play just one front-line spinner in Jack Leach in their Playing XI.

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"Virat Kohli described the day-night third Test, in Ahmedabad, as "bizarre", a word that aptly describes the England batsmen's attempts to cope with India's spinners," Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.

"India's decision to select three spinners for the Test was prompted by England's batting on a tricky Chennai pitch, where their batsmen - Joe Root excepted - displayed a distinct ineptitude against spin. India correctly calculated that would result in mental scarring and used it to their advantage."

Root picked up his maiden five-wicket-haul in First-Class cricket – his 5/8 dismissing India for 145 in their first innings – even though it wasn’t enough for England to stop the Indian spinners’ juggernaut. Questions have been raised over the England batsmen’s inability to play spin as well as other teams, with Chappell pointing out the same. He explained how poor shot selection did not help Joe Root’s team.

Also Read | As soon as it starts spinning, everyone seems to start crying about it: Lyon

"From the moment Axar Patel conjured up the ultimate thimble-and-pea trick to dismiss Jonny Bairstow with a straight delivery, England were in a spin. Is the ball over there? No, it's here," Chappell added.

"When faced with a serious spin challenge, the England batsmen didn't trust their defence, which eventually resulted in panicked attempts to attack the Indian spinners. Their choice to reverse-sweep rather than to leave their crease to change the bowler's length is a classic example."

While Root showed exemplary footwork and shot selection en route to a double century in the first Test, the same cannot be said for the rest of the English batsmen. There was an oddity from Ollie Pope, who got starts in the first Test in Chennai, but as soon as he started batting in Chennai, the cracks began to show.

"Back in Ahmedabad, Ollie Pope decided to use his feet against the Indian spinners. He had the right idea but the wrong execution. Firstly, he jumped rather than glided out of the crease. Secondly, his front foot pressed forward but the back one lingered, as if searching for the safety of the crease," Chappell said.

"Pope was conscious of the keeper as he tentatively ventured out of his crease, which meant he was worried he would miss the delivery. That results in footwork that hinders rather than helps. It's never easy against good spinners on a challenging surface, but it is possible to play well; just not the way England are going about it."

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