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Indians left to brood over mistakes

Chappell's laboratory would have to churn out new potions after the experimentations came undone in the third Test against England.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 16:50 IST

The Greg Chappell laboratory would have to churn out new potions and formulae after the experimentations came undone in the third Test against England.

Practising the De Bono thinking-hat theory or studying England's Ashes turnaround were of little help as the Indians blundered, floundered and surrendered to Andrew Flintoff's men to concede a moral victory to the visitors in the three-Test series.

So, while the English players party and drown themselves in beer, the Indians have been left to brood over where all they went wrong.

The toss blunder apart, the most debatable decision of the Indian think tank is perhaps whether they were right in going with five bowlers.

While the five-bowler theory in itself is viewed as a positive, aggressive tactic, in India's case it needs to be seen in a more holistic fashion.

Had India boasted of an attack heavy on experience, the story could have been different. But other than leg spinner Anil Kumble, the team does not have a player with enough Test experience to boot. In fact, two of the pacemen -- S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel -- were playing in just their second Tests!

Skipper Rahul Dravid banked heavily on his seam-attack on day one as was evident from his now outrightly denounced decision to field first.

Sadly for him, the attack was rendered toothless by a charged up England who went on to rattle 400 runs in their first innings.

Dravid tried in vain to defend his five-pronged attack later.

"It was a decision taken looking at winning series abroad. England has shown what it can do with five bowlers, and if we are going to do that we need some good lower order scores, which we got. We'll have to look at our top order," he said.

But the top order was shuffled and hardly looked one in India's second essay with Irfan Pathan opening the innings and Anil Kumble coming one-down!

If India are to play with five bowlers they must ensure their batting is in safe hands.

With VVS Laxman demoted and reduced to carrying drinks in the match, India badly needed an extra batsman with experience to bail them out of batting slumps in both the innings.

The inimitable Geoff Boycott wrote in his syndicated column that he did not quite approve of India's theory.

"Greg Chappell's theory of using five bowlers looks good on paper because the team has more bowling options. But when India plays five bowlers, it looks to me as though Chappell is trying to make up for a lack of quality with quantity.

"Playing five bowlers weakens the batting, so you need better batting from the top five batsmen, and at the moment they are not in good form, which makes a good case for the inclusion of VVS Laxman," said the former England opener.

Advice will flow from all quarters as victory has many friends but defeat none and it is up to Chappell and Co. To reflect and regroup ahead of the one-dayers.

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 16:48 IST