Moeen Ali’s ton and Joe Root’s crucial knock kept England in the driver’s seat on the first of the fifth Test at Chennai. India had their chances to avoid England from taking any sort of leap in the game, but as it has been over the series, they have squandered few important chances, including that of the centurion, something which didn’t please the fielding coach R Sridhar.
“I would agree that our catching, especially our close-in catching has not been up to scratch this series,” he said. “We have set right standards for the last two years and this particular series, things haven’t gone our way.”
KL Rahul came close to grab Moeen Ali in the slips, but that one was quite a tough chance. Sridhar feels if that catch would have been taken, the entire day would have been different.
“It burst through his fingers over the head. Maybe his timing of the jump could have been better,” Sridhar noted. “But these things happen in cricket. It was a tough situation for England at that time, getting Moeen out early could have helped us because (during) the first hour there was little moisture on the wicket, later on the wicket eased out and became good to bat on as Moeen showed. He batted beautifully for his unbeaten 120.”
A 146 run stand between Moeen Ali and Joe Root put England in a commanding position. Jonny Bairstow too joined the party and hit few lusty blows, but fell just one short of a well deserved half-century. England ended the day at 284/4, but when you keep in mind they were 2 down for 21, it was one heck of fight back from the English.
“We have to give credit. Root was fabulous. He came out with intent to attack the spinners. Good innings from Root. Moeen was the perfect foil for him. Took his time to settle down. Played with soft hands initially when the ball was turning and when there was little moisture on the wicket. But when it eased out, he was able to open his hands and hit a few good shots,” he said.
Ravindra Jadeja’s performance has been one positive to take away for the Indians. Sridhar reckons Jadeja’s speeds were quite tricky to tackle on this track.
“I think on this wicket, the pace at which the bowlers bowl is critical,” Sridhar noted. “As you saw the wicket slowed down. We thought Ashwin will start off by bowling slower through the air to force the batters to make errors. But later on the pitch eased out. Then the bowlers had to bowl a little quicker, otherwise it was easy for batsmen. Jadeja was accurate. He bowled tidy lines. That is why he was rewarded with,” he added.
Through out the course of the series, the way both teams had used their DRS facility has not been that commendable. Sridhar quoted that they do a lot of research to make the most of the Decision Review System.
“At the end of each Test, we do have discussions. We look at all the decisions that were reviewed and sit with the bowlers. Have a look at it. When the umpire gives not out, we look at what’s the umpires call and why it was turned down and what are the reasons we should take the DRS. That’s something which is an ongoing learning process. And bowler’s always feel he has got the batsman.
“There are people like Virat (Kohli), Ajinkya (Rahane), Parthiv (Patel) or Wridhiman (Saha) behind the stumps, who kind of give the correct judgement. It’s a team call. Kohli does take the call depending upon feedback given by the key members who are placed in key positions. Bowler always feel it’s a wicket, whenever he goes for an appeal (smiles).”