India in England 2014 July 31, 2014

Ishant ruled out of fourth Test, Bhuvneshwar worry

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The five-Test series is taking its toll on India. Ishant Sharma is all set to miss his second Test, Wriddhiman Saha has gone home with an injury, but another big concern is a swelling on Bhuvneshwar Kumar's ankle.

The India team played a long match of football after their defeat in Southampton, an activity India hardly miss on their playing or training days. Bhuvneshwar and Ishant, though, watched from their balcony. However, at the moment, the team has not considered this serious enough to ask for a replacement. They are hopeful Bhuvneshwar will be available for the fourth Test, and Ishant for the fifth.

MS Dhoni agreed the work out in the first two Tests showed in Bhuvneshwar's bowling. "I think, Bhuvi seemed to be a bit tired," Dhoni said. "But he came back nicely after that first spell. But I thought he was slightly on the shorter side. He got the right length in the first two Tests, but here he was slightly short. Apart from that I am quite happy with the effort put in by fast bowlers. It was a different kind of wicket, where you have to hit the deck hard to get some purchase. That's where I found Pankaj very impressive. He is a tall guy and got fair amount of bounce and was unlucky not to get a few wickets. Overall I am happy with him."

Dhoni revealed after India's heavy defeat that Sharma will not be fit in time for the fourth Test, which begins on August 7 at Old Trafford. "Definitely he won't be fit for the next game," Dhoni said during the post-match presentation at the Ageas Bowl. "Never really had a discussion with our physio, but as of now he won't be available for the fourth Test match."

India had been forced to leave Ishant out of the third Test at the Ageas Bowl after he suffered what the team management described as a "sore leg". Ishant, who took a match-winning seven-wicket haul in the final innings of the Lord's Test, was replaced by Pankaj Singh, who went wicketless on his Test debut at Southampton.

England wrapped up a 266-run win in the first session of the fifth day, with India adding only 66 to their overnight total for the loss of their last six wickets. Moeen Ali, the offspinning allrounder, picked up a six-wicket haul. Dhoni said India didn't bat with the right approach against Moeen.

"I don't think we played good cricket over here but at the same time I think we played the fast bowlers well," Dhoni said. "Moeen I think he bowled well, but still we let him bowl well. It is very important to be positive against the spinner, especially when there is not much on offer. I think he bowled very good lines. If you keep defending, one odd ball will turn because there is considerable amount of wear and tear on the wicket."

Moeen took two wickets in the first innings as well, when Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane lost their wickets going for aggressive shots. This, Dhoni said, was a crucial phase in the match that India slipped up in.

"There were quite a few [soft dismissals], the phase where Jinks [Rahane] got out, a couple of other wickets that fell, that really had a big impact on the game. It was not only that half an hour, I think even last night, the last session really had a big impact on the game because we lost quite a few wickets, and quite a few of them were quite soft dismissals, and if we were in a good position last night, not losing those two or three wickets, definitely then you look at it in a different way."

Having gone into the first two Tests with five bowlers, India reverted to their usual strategy of six specialist batsmen and four specialist bowlers, with Stuart Binny making way for Rohit Sharma.

"The reason was we never used the fifth bowler, so we thought maybe we'll be able to use the batsmen who can bowl a bit if needed," Dhoni said, when asked about the selection call. "We just bowled that fifth bowler for eight overs or ten overs so I thought with Shikhar [Dhawan] and Vijay and Rohit being around, we can use that fifth bowler.

"It is not only that, I think once we got in with the four specialist bowlers I still think we need to get a bit more patient on wickets like these where there's not plenty to offer for the fast bowlers. We have to be consistent with our lines and lengths, and be a bit boring at times, hit the fourth stump mark consistently and ask the batsman to come and drive."

Asked whether India had the resources to bounce back from the defeat, Dhoni said they did, provided they played more positively.

"Definitely, when it comes to the talent part, yes. It will just be the mental approach, to be a bit more positive when it is in your areas, go ahead with your shot even if you get out playing that shot, back yourself because at the end of the day, what cricket really is is about the amount of runs you score and the wickets you take. You don't have to survive for long if you are scoring quickly."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 4, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Let us forget all these fruitless arguments, refrain from them any further, and try to enjoy the contest between two above average test teams.

    Even if two teams are the bottom-most in calibre, if they are fairly evenly matched there will be a contest; both in performance and non-performance (like dropped catches, let-off byes, missed run-outs, butt of umpire errors et al) Rejoice the performance and have a chuckle at the goof-ups!

    The only thing I do not wish to see is non-cricketing exchanges! To both teams: Just play the game to the best of your abilities. With commitment, perseverance, and pride in what you do as a professional. That's enough for the time being.

    Both teams are going through transition, but both have many talented youngsters, and we can expect top-level contests from these two set of boys in a couple of years. Good luck to both.

  • dummy4fb on August 4, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    I think we should sent Umesh Yadav to England he is very suitable for those kind of pitches My Playing eleven is 1.Gautam Gambhir, 2. Murili Vijay, 3. Pujara, 4. Kohli, 5. Rahane, 6. Naman Ojha, 7. Dhoni, 8. R.Ashvin, 9. Bhuvneshwar/Iswar, 10.Varun, 11. Ishant/ Pankaj

  • Avi56 on August 4, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    Well More than injuries India just does not have the right test team of international standards..Yes england too do not have an international standard team but they do have players on a Given day which can impact the game any day...Cook , Bell, Anderson and Broad are thos impact players..In the indian team the guys who make na impact are not in deadly form Kohli and Pujara Well Eng will win one of the matches for sure

  • android_user on August 4, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    definitely Dhoni deserves calling off it's not the story of one match loss his pathetic captaincy and selection squandered chances from sa tour losing from winning positions or not able to make a draw..team balance s getting affected with his horrendous approach. This series should be the last opportunity for him to prove his worth as he his in overseas. .!!

  • wapuser on August 3, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    I think naman ohja should be picked into the playing 11 and kohli need to be droped for the 4th test.i knw its hard to drop kohli.But his poor performance made this to happen.

  • android_user on August 3, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    Just one loss, and you fickle minded people have started calling for Dhoni's head. An injury and you want Ishant gone?? He's done more than what anyone else could have done. He single handedly won us the Champions Trophy in 2013,with that awesome penultimate over, and he did something similar in a matter of 7 overs, to give us a victory after several test matches. He gave it his all. For a bowler who generally bowls in 130-135 ks, to bowl 135+for 7 overs is not easy. Ishant deserves more respect and credit for that. So does Dhoni, who like Ishant said, suggested, or rather forced him bowl those bouncers. Moral : Dhoni can win a test match IF he wants to. He just wanted to draw at Ageas Bowl, and could've gotten away with playing 4 bowlers, IF Ishant had played, or if Shami had bowled even 80%of what he showed in India against WI. Only mistake was not picking Ashwin even after seeing one of driest England wickets. Plus, if Jadeja had held on to that catch, things could've been different

  • crazycricfan007 on August 3, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    Only concern is Dhoni's attitude. His team selection is pathetic and his luck is not working in tests. Drop Shikhar (if he survives seamer, will be out anyway by Moen). Drop Rohit (I dun remember when he has scored under pressure, I feel confident when Bhuvi bats than Rohit). Drop Shami (He releases pressure often from other end by giving short boundary balls). Add Gambhir, add Ashwin and try Varun (You never know). GG,MV,CP,VK,AR,MSD,RA,RJ,BK,PS,VA

  • dummy4fb on August 3, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    we need gambhir and ravi ashwin for two more testso we can give a good result

  • dummy4fb on August 3, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    RE: Gouti: National selectors can choose the touring party; not the playing XI. Anyone who directly or indirectly annoyed Dhoni will not be in any playing XI lead by Dhoni. Unless extreme circumstances or the higher authorities force his hands. In these matters, Dhoni also has elephantine memory.

    By the way, for Sanju Samson's sake, please don't project him as a replacement for Dhoni! May be, say a potential... probable ... future ... candidate...who ... may... possibly... be considered... as a successor... in the ... long run. Even that may cast a 'jinx' :-(

  • dummy4fb on August 3, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    You cannot drop Rohit after one game. He needs a few more games or series to get in form. Patience with Rohit is needed. We are grooming him for the future.

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