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Simply Sunny
India looked listless, lethargic at Lordís
By sunil gavaskar

Though the first Test finished after Tea on the final day there were still 29 overs left, which England had to get the Indians out. That they did not need them is an indication of the lack of application in the Indian team.

You could turn around and ask how can that be said when a batsman has batted for a hundred in the first innings and then for a fair length of time in the second innings. One player does not quite make a team and so Rahul Dravidís efforts were wasted. So also the perseverance of Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma who bowled with great heart and fire to rock Englandís boat.

That they did not have support to deliver the knockout punch was the main reason why England escaped in both innings despite being in precarious situations. If one looks at the scores by the Indian batsmen you will find that everybody got starts, did the hard work and then got out.

Itís not the runs they scored but the number of balls they batted and then got out which is worrying. In the position they were in where they could not win the match, they had to play plenty of deliveries alright, but when a batsman has done that then the poke outside the off stump can be avoided to a great extent. Unfortunately, the modern Indian batsman attractive, though he is in all forms of the game, is just not mentally tuned in to play a match saving innings.

When the team knows it cannot win the match but can save it and does it then it is almost like winning it, for it demoralises the opposition. India must never forget that they are the number One team in the world and play like that.

Here from Day 1 they looked listless and lethargic, which was strange for a team that has so many young players. Sure the weather was a bit nippy on the first day but then they have the 'skins' which they use under their shirts that is supposed to keep them warm. In any case the beauty of winning overseas is that the conditions and not just the pitches are different than at home and to conquer those and win gives enormous satisfaction indeed.

It is not the first time that India have not been able to deliver the killer punch overseas. At least since 1971 there have been umpteen instances of Indiaís bowlers getting the opposition down to 5 or 6 wickets for a 120 or so and yet the batting side recovering and getting to almost 400 or more.

That is an area that has not changed at all despite the Indian attack being lot more balanced than in the 70s and 80s. They have a terrific new ball attack and a spinner who has more than 400 Test wickets.

Zaheerís fitness will be the key. The Indians will have a problem picking between Sreesanth and Munaf Patel if Zaheer is found unfit. They must find a way of getting 20 wickets for they didnít do that in the first Test and to be honest they will need to be much much better in all departments of the game if they are to be competitive in the rest of the series. ó PMG 





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