Sat. Apr 10th, 2021

After losing the toss, India was put in to field first on a flat Chepauk wicket. It sure was a bad toss to lose for India as Root and company capitalized on the opportunity to bat on a fresh, flat, and dry pitch with an even covering of grass on it. There was nothing in it for the bowlers. After having a balanced session in the morning where India picked up two quick wickets, there was nothing happening for the Indian bowlers.

Indian spinners struggled for two full sessions. The inexperience of the spinners was visible as they were not able to mount pressure on Root and Sibley. Joe Root is an exceptional talent. He can lead his team from the front and show the way to other players, just like he did today. In the morning session, England was in a bit of a spot but then Root was at the crease with a young Dominic Sibley, he took it upon himself to do most of the scoring while Sibley held on to one end. Root’s mind to understand the game is prolific and that reflects in the results of the English team. He also became the captain to score the highest number of Test runs since 2018.

The third session was a painful watch for the Indian fans. Root and Sibley, both of them took the attack to the inexperienced spinners. It looked like a strategy that led to Virat bringing in his spearhead bowlers at a wrong time. Ishant and Bumrah kept on hitting the deck but to no vail, their shoulders looked depressed and there was no flair in their run-up. Test matches can make you feel terrible about yourself at the end of Day’s play.

So what went wrong for India?

  • Toss: To win the toss and to bat first is an extremely important thing to do at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Just because Day 1 of a Test match at Chepauk is a paradise for batsmen. The surface is flat, there’s no swing, there is hardly any spin, and the bowlers feel dejected at the end of the Day just like they did today.
  • Team selection: Keeping out Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav wasn’t a very wise decision. Kuldeep is a rare chinaman bowler who can bring something new to the plate and can make things happen at the batting crease. While Siraj is a bowler who gets movement after the ball is pitched, a certain quality which might have worked on this wicket. Sundar and Nadeem are both inexperienced and once the English batsmen were comfortable facing them, they took the attack to them and the duo was left without any answers.
  • Bowling changes: Captain Kohli has to look more closely at the bowling selection. Today, there was a time when the spinners kept on bowling in the comfortable off stump area for Root. Even the vocal Rishabh Pant got a bit irritated that he said,’Andar waale bhaiyo, thoda mahaul banaao, aise kuch nahi hota yaha’ in his own style which loosely translates in to- Close infielders, make some noise, we can’t win like this, nothing would happen.

We can only wish for a better Day 2 from India’s perspective, but England looks rock solid with their captain at the crease and seven wickets in hand. This English team surely had plans which they executed well against a weak looking bowling line-up.

Well, something nice also happened before the end of Day’s play. Virat Kohli showed the real spirit of cricket when he helped Root in recovering from a hamstring.

The score at the end of Day’s play was 263-3 with Root batting at 128* (197) and Sibley getting outright at the end for 87 (283). Day 2 will be very tough for the Indian bowlers.

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