NEW DELHI: India’s embarrassing innings defeat at Lord’s has led to a lot of criticism, especially for the way team’s shoulders dropped and it surrendered to an England team that made best use of the conditions to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. Among those disappointed are former India batsman VVS Laxman, who pointed at the team’s “lack of belief” as one of the reasons for its lackadaisical show.
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“After excellent commitment at Edgbaston, the lack of fight (at Lord’s) was galling,” Laxman wrote in his column for Times of India. “England did have the better of the conditions, but they also made the most of the assistance they received, while India caved in meekly, especially when it came to batting.”
India lost the first Test by 31 runs at Edgbaston, where only Virat Kohli (149 and 51) stood out in an otherwise batting failure. But the performance dipped drastically at Lord’s where none of the Indian batsmen could score a half-century before crashing to a defeat by an innings and 159 runs in practically three days of the rain-hit second Test.
“As much as the technical inadequacies, what stood out was a lack of belief. It manifested itself in tentativeness,” Laxman analysed. “Once you start doubting your abilities, there is no way back.”
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Laxman felt it was time for each player in the Indian squad to introspect.
“Every member must look at himself, ask tough questions and find honest answers. India have the wherewithal from a cricketing perspective to fight back from 2-0 down, but for that, they must first sort out the issues in their minds, which clearly are several,” the former Test specialist added.
Laxman was particularly critical of Indian batsmen, except Kohli, for their abject surrender in four innings despite knowing what they will encounter in tough English conditions.
“In their last 10 overseas innings, India have topped 250 only twice, and on both those occasions, Virat made a big hundred. That doesn’t reflect well on an experienced batting line-up that has played previously in England and is, therefore, aware of what to expect,” said Laxman. “James Anderson and Stuart Broad handed out a lesson in adaptability to India’s bowlers.”
India were bowled out for 107 and 130 in their two innings at Lord’s.
“It was as if they were resigned to their fate, which is something the think-tank must address quickly before the Nottingham Test later this week,” the batsman with 134 Test caps advised.
A lot has also been said about the team selection. In overcast conditions and similar forecast for the duration of the Lord’s Test, Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri opted for two specialist pace bowlers and included Kuldeep Yadav in place of Umesh Yadav.
As a result, despite losing four quick wickets, Jonny Bairstow (93) and Chris Woakes (137*) managed to put England in command.
“One should be flexible in team selection. At the toss on the second morning, with clouds gathering and everything crying out for a third specialist paceman, India left out Umesh Yadav and brought in Kuldeep Yadav.
“As well as Hardik Pandya bowled, India were unable to maintain relentless pressure when England were 131/5, which helped Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes to stage a wonderful rescue act,” Laxman concluded.