England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 4th day July 24, 2011

India wary of over-rate problem


India have made a conscious effort to speed up their over-rate to help the captain, MS Dhoni, avoid being banned for the next Test at Trent Bridge. Dhoni is currently sitting on two fines having previously been penalised against South Africa and West Indies leaving him one away from a suspension.

Although no official figures are yet available, as any over-rate penalties are only confirmed at the end of a Test, it is believed that India are significantly below the required 15 overs per hour that Test teams should be reaching. England aren't blameless - few sides reach the minimum requirement these days - but unlike Dhoni, Andrew Strauss doesn't currently have a record.

India's over-rate hasn't been helped by Dhoni himself deciding to bowl at various stages during the game, which meant changing equipment with Rahul Dravid, and Ishant Sharma admitted it was something the bowlers were being reminded of. "We did talk a lot about the over-rates," he said. "Dhoni just said take your time and carry on with your bowling but wherever we could cut a minute try and do that."

When Dhoni was recently fined following the Barbados Test against West Indies, India were found to be three overs behind their requirement at the end of the match so if the sums add up in the same way here Dhoni could be in trouble.

First and foremost, though, Dhoni will be concentrating on India trying to save this Test and escape Lord's still all-square in the series. Midway through the afternoon session it appeared his team could be without a key batsman as Gautam Gambhir left the field following a fierce blow at short leg from a Matt Prior sweep. However, x-rays revealed no break and he was back in the dressing room before play ended. "He is getting icing on his elbow and he will be fit to bat tomorrow," confirmed the team manager.

With Gambhir suffering an external blow he can bat at the fall of the next wicket if India opt to use him that way, but Sachin Tendulkar will have to wait until the time he was off the field has elapsed, or five wickets have fallen, after he missed the first two sessions to try and recover from a viral infection.

Tendulkar returned to Lord's and fielded after tea but if India don't lose five batsmen he'll need to wait until around 2pm on the final afternoon before he can come to the crease. It is likely to be his last chance to register a Test hundred at Lord's, but he'll be more concerned about helping his team secure a draw.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anver on July 25, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    Over rates in recent matches had been a major issue to Dhoni for sometime now.... as a leader he need to correct it fast, otherwise he'll be in trouble & his absent can also hurt the Ind team specially as a captain .....

  • Mathew on July 25, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    It's important not to lose the first test which India often does on away tours. With the fab 3, even if one of them is a bit under the weather, we can reasonably hope to do that. If you remember Sachin's wicket in the first innings, he was in top form when he got out to a nice enough delivery from Broad. I think what will determine the outcome today will be how well England bowlers bowl more than how well the Indian batsmen bat. Broad didn't seem to be as effective yday as he was on day 3. But it may have been due to batting in the sun for a long time before he had to bowl. If India survive the first hour without any wickets, I would be willing to bet 100 pounds that the result will be a draw. And to me that is a win.

  • Shailendra on July 25, 2011, 9:08 GMT

    I can only see Dravid standing between a loss and draw. and seriously do we really believe resuming at 2 PM Sachin can still score a hundred here ???? A 38 year old guy with viral, only Indians can raise such expectations.

    As for now, Lax and RD are the best combo to bail us out from this rut and I believe Lax's 4th Innings heroics off late will get a boost by todays performance. It would be a memorable draw though if India pulls it off.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    India seems to be fighting it's wretched luck more than it seems to be fighting England right now, although no one should take anything away from the English. They have been excellent. Wish they played the same way when Australia was dominant. India could have done with another team irritating the Aussies!!!! :D But with the next test starting on Friday, India would do well to look at a balling combination of Sreesanth-Ishant-Praveen-Mishra-Harbhajan. And Dhoni needs to bowl to Raina more and more if he is destined to be Saurav's long awaited replacement at 6. Or else, they should look at a guy like Irfan Parthan. That would weaken the batting but we have the best batting line up in the world. The top six should be good enough. And Irfan is technically pretty good. We have seen that before.

  • Prakash on July 25, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    Hard Luck england we will not loose this match for sure.Cause the RLGSRD factor.

    Rahul, Laxman , Gautam, Sachin, Raina & Dhoni factor.hahahaha

    Also i have a funny feeling that Rahul and Laxman are on the verge to repeat the 2001 kolkata act.Be careful of that england.heheheh.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    If England fail to utilize this opportunity to beat a injured Indian side......... I think they are gonna find it tough going wen all the players are hundred %.........

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    The Big Guns of India Batting Line up will save this test !! Tendulkar might miss on a hundred but he will settle for a draw with a 80 against his name !!

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    How hard is it really? Get the ball, bowl the ball. Especially when a majority percentage are dot balls anyway.

  • Andrew on July 25, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    Assuming India do have an over problem - I'm curious as to whether the ICC will inflict a ban on Dhoni!!!!!!

  • ssv on July 25, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    sachin must bat it is the last chancxe for him to score the 100 century in lords

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