Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell feels that India correctly calculated England batsmen’s ineptitude against spin and used it to their advantage. Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday to go 2-1 up in the four-match series. Axar finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). Senior partner Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with seven in the game.
“Virat Kohli described the day-night third Test, in Ahmedabad, as ”bizarre”, a word that aptly describes the England batsmen’s attempts to cope with India’s spinners,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“India’s decision to select three spinners for the Test was prompted by England’s batting on a tricky Chennai pitch, where their batsmen – Joe Root excepted – displayed a distinct ineptitude against spin.
“India correctly calculated that would result in mental scarring and used it to their advantage.
“From the moment Axar Patel conjured up the ultimate thimble-and-pea trick to dismiss Jonny Bairstow with a straight delivery, England were in a spin. Is the ball over there? No, it’s here. When faced with a serious spin challenge, the England batsmen didn’t trust their defence, which eventually resulted in panicked attempts to attack the Indian spinners. Their choice to reverse-sweep rather than to leave their crease to change the bowler’s length is a classic example,” he added.
Chappell also said that shrewd use of footwork can help negate the spin and it also puts a batsman in a position to direct the ball where he wants, rather than where the bowler would prefer it to be hit.
The former captain said Ollie Pope had the right idea to use his feet against Indian spinners but had the wrong execution.
“Back in Ahmedabad, Ollie Pope decided to use his feet against the Indian spinners. He had the right idea but the wrong execution,” Chappell wrote.
“Firstly, he jumped rather than glided out of the crease. Secondly, his front foot pressed forward but the back one lingered, as if searching for the safety of the crease.
“I was told two crucial things about footwork when I was very young: ‘Get stumped by three yards not three inches,’ my coach said, ‘and never think about the keeper when you leave the crease.’
“Pope was conscious of the keeper as he tentatively ventured out of his crease, which meant he was worried he would miss the delivery.
“That results in footwork that hinders rather than helps. It’s never easy against good spinners on a challenging surface, but it is possible to play well; just not the way England are going about it,” Chappell added.
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