Careless England fail to punish defensive Dhoni and leave the door ajar
21:32 GMT, 13 December 2012
Negative outlook: MS Dhoni opted for caution in Nagpur (FILE IMAGE)
England went into the fourth Test promising they would be ruthless but they were not as clinical as they might have been on the first day and ended it having left the door slightly open for India.
India picked the wrong side —they really needed two seamers on that pitch — and lost the toss but England failed to take full advantage and will have been just the unhappier of the two sides going into the second day.
Yes, that was a very difficult pitch to score on and MS Dhoni immediately went on the defensive, which didn’t exactly help, but was it a hard pitch to survive on Was it a difficult pitch to play spin on Not really.
If the tourists had lost three or four
wickets to reverse swing I would have understood but the truth was that
they gifted India three and Alastair Cook will be thinking that the
close score could easily have been 200 for three.
Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell will both be disappointed with the way they got out and, while Kevin Pietersen batted well and I could understand him wanting to be assertive, he got out in the end to nothing more than a soft chip.
Cheap dismissal: Jonathan Trott will be angered with the loss of his wicket (FILE IMAGE)
In the end the 21-year-old debutant in Joe Root showed, with a bit of that over-my-dead-body Yorkshire spirit, that you could survive and also play a few shots.
Graham Thorpe rates Root highly and you could see why here in the calm, composed and organised way he went about his business.
I have often said that you should pick on character and Root’s character immediately looks right.
Keeping his head: Joe Root made an impressive start to his Test career in tough circumstances (FILE IMAGE)
I wasn’t surprised that England chose to replace Samit Patel — if he is not going to bowl then you can’t consider him one of England’s six best batsmen — but I was surprised they chose Root over Jonny Bairstow.
It is a brave call, and one that probably reflects England’s reservations about Bairstow’s playing of spin at this stage of his career, but so far it is one that you have to say they got right.