India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, Day 1

Missing a trick

S Rajesh

October 8, 2003

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Much has been made of the specific plans that New Zealand's think-tank draw up for each opposition batsman, but in the case of Akash Chopra, Ashley Ross and Stephen Fleming clearly missed a trick. In the tour games, Chopra had been troubled by the well-pitched-up delivery, often playing with an angled bat towards gully. However, in this match, Daryl Tuffey and Jacob Oram continually pitched it short with the new ball, allowing Chopra the luxury of playing off the back foot.

How Tuffey and Oram bowled to Chopra in the
pre-lunch session
Daryl Tuffey
Jacob Oram
Front Foot
3
6
Back Foot
15
17
Min Footwork
5
8
Total Balls
23
31

Off the 23 balls that Tuffey bowled to Chopra in the morning session, only three times was he drawn forward; the corresponding figure against Oram was six out of 31. On a pitch which had neither the pace nor the bounce to aid the seamers, banging the ball in short was unlikely to meet with much success. The one chance that Chopra did offer was when he was drawn on the front foot by Tuffey in the third over after lunch. The ball pitched on a good length, just outside off - precisely the region where New Zealand's bowlers should have attacked with the new ball - and Chopra obliged with an angled-bat defensive stroke. Robbie Hart made a hash of a regulation catch, but a look at the videos from today's play might just prompt Fleming to chalk out a new plan of attack when New Zealand next bowl to Chopra. The way Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman batted in the last session, though, Tuffey and Oram might have to wait till the second Test at Mohali to get that opportunity.

S Rajesh is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo in India.

The Wisden Bulletin
The Wisden Verdict: Planning's not enough
NZ View: Tuffey makes his point
Roving Reporter: Screaming for Sa-chin
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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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