India folded for an abysmal score of 107 runs in the first innings of second Test against England at Lord’s on Friday (August 10). The inept technique of Indian batsmen once again exposed as the English bowlers made the most of overcast conditions.
None of the batsmen managed to cross the 30-run mark. Ravichandran Ashwin was the top-scorer for the visitors with 29 runs while James Anderson exploited the conditions to devastating effect and claimed his 26th five-wicket haul (5/20) in Test cricket.
Following the wrap-up and the call for stumps, India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane addressed the media conference and defended the visiting batters, saying that the batting collapse was mainly due to England’s masterful swing bowling led by Anderson rather than their batting incompetence.
“First of all, England bowled really well. They used the conditions really well. The wicket (was tough) because of the weather, which we cannot control. First half, when the game was on and off, it was difficult for the batting team to switch on and off,” Rahane told reporters.
“But when you play at the highest level, no excuses. I would like to give credit to the English bowling team – James Anderson, Stuart Broad, they bowled really well as a unit,” he added.
Rahane also backed India’s batsmen, who have now flopped in three innings in a row with the exception of captain Virat Kohli,
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong. Just because you don’t get any runs or any start, that doesn’t mean your methods are wrong. It’s a five-match series and it’s a long way to go. We’ve to forget about this innings. We have to go and bowl well, get them out and bat well again,” Ajinkya stated.
“Still, you need luck in these conditions. As a batsman you need luck. No complaints at all. Tomorrow is another day – we have to bowl and field well,” he further said.
The rain-interruption didn’t help India’s cause either. Just before the second rain disruption, Kohli’s poor call also led to Cheteshwar Pujara’s run out. However, Rahane believes it was Pujara’s mistake.
“I’m sure even Pujara will be upset about his run out. See, you accept your mistake. Acceptance is the key, I think, when you play in England. It’s not about getting caught behind, even run out; you got to accept your mistake and move on. The quicker we learn from our mistakes, the better for us,” he remarked.
Rahane also sounded confident that India’s bowlers will deliver if the ball swung or the pitch dried up. However, the Indian team management have dropped pacer Umesh Yadav from the playing XI to draft wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the pacer-friendly conditions.
“The answer to your question will be I feel when Kuldeep gets four-five wickets tomorrow, it’ll be completely different. It’s about what captain and coach think. In the end, it’s the captain’s decision. I felt Virat is backing Kuldeep and we’ll have to wait and see. Because of the conditions, definitely yeah, it helped fast bowlers. But Kuldeep is a quality bowler. Umesh bowled really well, but it’s about combination and it’s about what captain and coach think,” Rahane concluded.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)