After two collapses in two innings at Headingley, India once again stumbled at the Oval on Day 1 as they were reduced to 127-7, after Kohli’s fifty, by the English pacers. It was then Shardul Thakur’s brisk fifty which took them to a respectable total of 191.
The Indian middle-order has had issues throughout the series and not once have everyone stood up together. Salman Butt reckoned while Kohli himself is having troubles converting his starts into big scores, it’s the form and consistency of batters around him that need serious scrutiny.
“Virat Kohli is backing the team but the team is not responding to it in the manner that they should. Kohli and the team are definitely in a spot of bother. He himself is not scoring runs and the middle-order is struggling as well. India need to definitely ponder upon this,” the former opener said in his YouTube video.
Rahane, Pujara, and Pant just don’t seem to have a Plan B in their batting: Salman Butt
Salman Butt pointed out that the trio of Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Rishabh Pant are all getting out in a similar fashion – nicking through to the men behind – on this England tour. He observed that these batsmen lack clarity in their mindset and don’t have many options to get out of their ruts.
“The mode of dismissals of (Ajinkya) Rahane, (Cheteshwar) Pujara, and (Rishabh) Pant are pretty similar. They just don’t seem to have a Plan B in their batting. When you play such a long series and are not able to score in a particular way, you have to adapt and look for other options.
“They either need to go on the backfoot or move forward and play on the front foot. But all three are playing in between – neither are they going fully forward and moving backwards. When you are unsure of your footwork and the ball is doing so much, you are bound to get into trouble,” the 36-year-old explained.
After being bowled out, India have been given a lifeline by their bowlers as they have taken three England wickets, including that of the in-form Joe Root. The hosts trail by 138 runs at stumps on Day 1.