India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 3rd day March 20, 2006

Bowling to a plan

England have approached the series with definite plans to snare the Indian batsmen. They cut off Dhoni's favourite scoring zones by pushing him on to the back foot

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 64 off 118 balls bolstered an Indian innings that was sagging after Rahul Dravid's departure at 142 for 5. Though he smacked ten fours, Dhoni's innings was different from the belligerent bashing that Indian fans have got used to seeing. The graphic below shows the percentage of deliveries that Dhoni played various shots to.

England have approached the series with definite plans to snare the Indian batsmen. They cut off Dhoni's favourite scoring zones by pushing him on to the back foot and not allowing him to unleash his ferocious drives. Dhoni possesses a Test strike rate of 80.57 but today he played 57 defensive shots. He drove just 18 balls on the front foot and had to collect 37 runs behind square on both sides of the wicket.

  • England have executed their plan of getting Virender Sehwag on the short delivery to near perfection and, so far, their plan to Yuvraj Singh seems to be working as well. They got him out, driving at a wide delivery, at Mohali, and today continued that tactic by bowling 27 out of 55 deliveries outside Yuvraj's off stump and moving it away. They gave him virtually nothing on his pads, bowling a tight line, and then tempted him with width. Their plan worked. He eventually nicked a ball he could have easily left alone to Geraint Jones.

    George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo