Over the years it’s seen that Indian takes some time to settle and adapt and have mostly struggled in the first innings of first Test over the years, an area that needs to be addressed when finalizing the next series. The team that snatches the reins of the game quickly is in position to dictate terms and hence it’s important that the players get enough time to adjust and feel at home to the conditions offered, when playing away series.
The team think tank has work out a strategy that they are capable of implementing it, some do the mistake of planning an excellent strategy but it’s of no use if the implementers are short of skills, it’s bound to fail and it’s more difficult when the confidence is low. The New Zealander having brought up on seaming and bouncy track, their batter’s confidence high, having tasted success in One-dayers series attacked the Indian bowlers who bowled the one day length and rightly punished by slippery fingers of Indian fielders to pile on 503 runs.
Most Indian bowlers seeing the grass and bounce in the overseas pitches go berserk and wild like a horse that had not seen grass for a long time. Medium pacer’s starts thinking like a fast bowler and in the process try to bowl as well- not their comfort zone. With high anxiety the bowler’s starts bowling in short and waiting batters feed on it gleefully with Indian bowlers losing their sense of strength- to pitch the ball in area where they could move the ball in the air or off the pitch. They used lot of short ball in one-day cricket to keep the batsmen on the back foot, an uncomfortable zone and then bowling a length ball to Indian batters for their down fall.
In Test Match, the New Zealander bowlers are simply bowling the length ball and the release allowing the ball to swing in the air or the upright seam of the ball helping to deviate of the seam thus bringing the Indian batsmen on the front foot, who are expecting the short ball their undoing in One day matches. Not getting on the front foot and on top of the ball early, any deviation creates trouble for Indian batters, who needed more time to spend on those pitches to adapt but New Zealander bowlers quickly grabbed the tentativeness of Indian batters to put them on the mat, enjoying the maul just as Indian do, when playing on the pitches that suited them in Home series. The New Zealander bowlers smartly bowl a sucker ball wide of the off-stump or a short ball at their throat when the Indian batters started getting comfortable on the front foot. They are shrewdly reading the anxiety of Indian batters and unleashing a wicket taking delivery thus catching Indian batters on the wrong foot to be caught napping get them out for paltry 202 runs in the first innings.
The Indian bowlers learned the lesson from New Zealander bowlers and bowled the length that needs to be bowled to exploit the conditions and had New Zealand batters in all sorts of trouble. It was good to see Indian brilliance in the field backing the fired up Indian bowlers, who corrected their mistakes of first innings sent New Zealand batters back in the pavilion for a paltry score of 105 and brought India back into the game on day third.
The young up and coming Indian bowlers could do well to learn from fast bowling legend Kapil Dev, where and how he bowled overseas so successfully. Sometimes, over dependency on the technology can take away the opportunities of learning valuable inputs, from the experiences of former cricketers.
Indian needing 407 to win is reachable and within capability of Indian batsmen, if they could inculcate the mental discipline of legendry Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid to dig in and tire out the bowlers, wait for them to err in line and length and attacked with judicious shot selection, they learnt in the company of Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxsman.
Remember, at the end of the day its human being who shall be playing cricket in the middle, using data in one’s head top hard drive is more useful and handy, then the one in their lap top. The smart cricketer realizes this soon to become aware, what works for him and what not, to perform consistently. This Indian team has the potential to perform and be the best but has to get organized in the head as most greats of the game did.