India v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Dambulla August 11, 2010

India undone by 'spongy' bounce


Every now and then the Indian batting is tested in difficult one-day conditions, and they usually tend to come up short, though not as spectacularly as against New Zealand in the opening match of the tri-series. Last year, they batted first on a damp pitch in Guwahati and were sliced to 27 for 5 by Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger before Praveen Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja partially revived India with half-centuries. There was no lower-order rescue on Monday, and India slid to the lowest total in ODIs this year.

There wasn't the exaggerated movement which worked so well for India in the Asia Cup final, but the bounce and slowness of the track proved too much. MS Dhoni explained that while the pacy short ball has troubled some of the Indian batsmen, it was not what they were up against in Dambulla.

"This is completely different bounce, it is very spongy, bowlers are bowling 125-126 and the keeper is standing where he usually does for Shoaib Akhtar," Dhoni said. "You can't really drive off the backfoot, the only option is to cut and pull, and if the bowler doesn't give room, it is very difficult to score."

There were no magic deliveries from New Zealand to warrant such a limp display. All Daryl Tuffey and Kyle Mills did was keep the ball a touch short and maintain tight lines, which was enough to coax India's batsmen to give the New Zealand slip cordon a thorough workout. Rohit Sharma opened the face to steer to slip, Suresh Raina attempted a cover drive away from his body to edge to slip, Yuvraj Singh fished outside off to nick it to slip.

"Players in the subcontinent generally don't like the ball anywhere above the waist," Scott Styris said. "Not because they are scared but because it is different compared to the usual subcontinental wicket. This has lot more bounce and we learnt that during the practice sessions. We really wanted to put some short balls in there."

Styris had played a big role in New Zealand recovering from a top-order collapse, his 190-run partnership with Ross Taylor effectively putting the match beyond India. Dhoni was unhappy about the mistakes in the field that allowed New Zealand to reach such a commanding total. "There were a couple of missed chances, Styris missed stumping [when he was on 16], Ross Taylor's dropped catch [on 45 by Suresh Raina], still if we had got both of them they still would have got at least 200 which the way they bowled would have been very difficult to chase."

New Zealand packed their side with quick bowlers, a strategy which worked well for them, but India were left with only two quick bowlers for much of the innings after Abhimanyu Mithun's heat stroke. While the new-ball bowlers, Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra, took 7 for 90 between them, India's spinners were caned for 161 runs in 26 overs. "We had four fast bowlers and they had three. That was the difference," Styris said. "We knew that they didn't have reserves."

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mahendra on August 16, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    In a limited over's match, it is easy to be" caught out" by the surprise element ,before you know it youv'e lost too many wickets too quickly and it becomes impossible to claw things back .Once in a while this will happen .Whats the BIG DEAL ? Even Mendis had a great time with his doosra & toosra when he first came onto the scene ,WHERE is he now without his surprise element ?All you kicking India ,youre barking up the wrong tree .

  • Dummy4 on August 14, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    I mean why dont accept the fact that we not quit equipped to play fast bowling, every now and then we are falling prey to short pitch stuff . As sunil Gavaskar in his interview explained the need for technical training in NATIONAL CRICKET ACADEMY ,I agree with his comment. I hope any body from admin after reading must mark my words that this is going to continue after every big loss, unless this flaw is not rectified.

    Their seems to be great bit of politics happennig inside selection committe well, thats the reason why ravindra jadeja and murli vijay still playing in the side after being failed so may times and hammered by Aussies for jadeja;s case.

    Feel sorry for Robin uttappa after playing so well in the IPL but could make for this series I mean this is zonal polictics more than anything else. well I am constraint by word numbers and have lot more thing to tell . We are fool to waste our time for this BCCI could only make money out of these .

  • sanjeewa on August 14, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    I'm a Srilankan.I thoroughly believe that India has below par chance to make the definitive team that they can produce than SL,PAK even BAN.This because with one billion population the real cricket talent may hide and averager may emerge.As India has large population it must have the talented team in the subcontinent since SL have similar generation to IND(PAK some what different with they consistently produce good fast ballers).Still the most talented team in subcontinent is IND apart from fast bowling,But they have to perform in the required time that small to do with the talent.On this issue IND is the worst compere to their talent since largely because CROWD PRESSURE(if they performed they gods if not traitors),vast media who egxaggerate mean issues,and lack of intensity (poor fielding,poor running,lack of practice due to more cricket).If IND produce their defenitive team,their fans may satisfy with their team as SL fans with their small island team even in the lost.

  • arjun on August 14, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    @alikhan224 "..we(pakistan) we beaten by england and aussies...u were beaten by SL and now NZ..." ------------------------------- the main difference is you lost again and again and again. It took your team 15 years to win a test against Aussies. We lost one match and you are comparing teams. Its just a one match. What if next match indians gave 300+ to same NZ side. Where will you hide then??? We have threashed NZ , yes thrashed NZ many times. It is not abnormal for indians to win. Worry about you team first and do not equate them.

  • Dhaval on August 14, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    The only weakness in the Indian side is their bowling and unless they improve that or find at least two pace bowlers who can consistently hit 140 k to 150 k mark accurately (or have a genuine all rounder), it is always going to be hard to win matches solely on batting. In this game; after having first three wickets cheaply, if there had been at least two more genuine fast bowlers to assist the swing bowler Praveen Kumar, they would not have been in tremendous pressure to chase a huge score under the lights. The only effective way to improve a team's win record is having a sound bowling and batting unit, then fielding can take care of itself. At this point the Indian selectors should spend their time in finding three genuine pace bowlers (out of which one is an all rounder) and two spinners. As it is they have enough batting talent, but to be a better cricketing side, they should definitely consider improving their bowling department as well.

  • Allan on August 14, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    NZ has always been a pretty good team in the ODI format and somehow they have a leg-up on India in this and T20 if you look at recent past. So pls give NZ credit as champion1469 said, and stop bashing Ind for one bad day. Those bashing Dhoni, Raina, etc just prove how stupid you yourself are.

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2010, 20:10 GMT

    @ alikhan224: well u r rite in terms of India having less then 50% of winning record against pakistan.. However i wld lyk 2 remind u that pakistan have never won a single match against INDIA in ODI World Cup..n which wil never look at that 1st...lolzzzzz

    neways i m not saying that pakistan is a bad team..infact even i lyk pakistan team being an Indian..its just that ur team is not UNITTED...players fight among themselves..players call it for retirement...then they come back...they think International cricket is a joke..!!! Even i wld lyk 2 see pakistan once again becoming a good it was b4..with players lyk...Wasim Akram,Imran Khan,Inzi, n mny more..but 2days players r involed in controversies..

    So buddy..look at every aspect...dnt jus keep on critizing India...being an Indian i can talk positive abt pakistan then y cnt u...thats d difference between u and Indians... Infact Wasim Akram himself said once that Indian team is much better then pakistan team.!!

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    i think indians predict too much that what happen when they came in to bouncing pitch.The problem i saw in india team was, they can't show there're performance constantly.if they won one match superbly other two or three match Struggle with bat or bowl.But sri lanka didn't have that much problem,if they loose they will come back strongly.Other thing is some players in india, they didn't have much competition for there place ex:yuvi.They think there's place is secure no need to put 100% effort.but sri lanka that period has changed,even mahela,thilan,chamara have to put there effort 100% to protect there places in the squad.Any way india is a good team if they play from what they got.

  • Anup on August 13, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Kiwis deserved to win and they did. They outplayed India in all departments and were thoroughly professional. On the other hand India failed to counter the rising deliveries, did not move their feet well when chasing wider deliveries and played the cut and pull shots too close to their bodies! When fielding they failed to hold on to the 'chances' that came their way, they were not as energetic as the Kiwis. They simply were not up to the mark and deserved the thrashing they received. I blame the entire team, not any individual.

  • Anup on August 13, 2010, 16:01 GMT

    For as long as I can remember, Indian batsmen have been troubled by the rising ball. They were not moving their feet well when chasing the occasional wider delivery and no wonder trying to cut or pull with the feet not in the correct position, they only manage to 'edge' the ball. It needs a lot of mental preparation to adapt and adjust and we simply can not expect this from the squad who had not had a lot of practice playing in such conditions. However, I have full faith that the Indians will work hard and come up with appropriate counter plan. The competition is still alive, very much so. Kiwis can not be expected to perform as good in every match.

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