The first surprise of the first day of 2nd Test was the news that Team India had opted to play just three regular bowlers. During the day, things were moving forward in a favorable manner. But just three full time bowlers? Many fans just do not understand the reason behind this!
First of all, the thing of note is that this pitch will be equally favorable for the batsmen of South Africa as well. Also, mounting a big score will not prove very fruitful in absence of a sound bowling attack! I really wonder what the logic behind this is. It seems a rather tricky decision.
Everyone knows that the stamina and energy is vital for any pace bowler. I believe Zaheer Khan had a tiresome spell of 60 overs, Ishant had 50 overs whereas Shami had bowled 45 overs in the first Test. It will be a little tough for Zaheer Khan to bowl so much again, while maintaining the same zeal.
Ishant Sharma still cannot be treated as a very trustworthy option. So, chances are that the entire pressure will be on Shami! Also, when one is asked to bowl too many overs under duress, it is not easy to bring in the killing impact. Fatigue does take its toll. Once the line and length is disturbed, it has a direct bearing on the speed and the swing a bowler generates.
Sir Jadeja has been able to deliver most of the time. But he is an additional bowler bring in, rather than a full timer. So, to facilitate the much required edge in our bowling attack, the better option would have been to drop Rahane and to bring in either Ojha or Umesh Yadav.
Even otherwise, we have a tendency to bat well and if our batting clicks on any given day, just 3-4 batsmen do the needful. So, dropping one batsman, say Rahane, would not have been a bad choice. The way South Africa almost won the last encounter, they will be glad to see a defensive Team India. It seems clear that we want to pack our team with batsmen in order to get a big total. It seems the management is happy with a drawn series. But what about the fans? We certainly want more than this!
There is no doubt that R Ashwin has not been able to deliver since quite a while now and it had become imperative to give him a rest. Amit Mishra could have proved handy on the 4th or 5th day – especially when this wicket will start responding to the spinners. Although the South African spinner Tahir has also been kept out from the test, but our bowling simply cannot be compared with an attack like Steyn, Philander, Kallis, etc.!
I wonder as to why team India is adopting too much of a safety measure. This appears to be a high time for our young batsmen and bowlers to do something special against a strong team on their home ground. A draw is a draw after all. A win becomes more crucial when we look at our record of winning in South Africa.
No fruitful purpose will be served for any one, in case we come back after losing an ODI series and leveling the test series. We appreciate the risk taking ability of MSD, but then too much of a defense also becomes the sign of weakness. Let us hope for the best.