India batting coach Sanjay Bangar rued soft dismissals after India blew away a golden chance to score big in the first innings of the fourth England vs India Test.
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In reply to England’s 246, India were looking set to take a big lead. At 141/2, India were in control with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara batting well and in the middle of a solid stand. The two were heading towards stitching a century stand before the game turned on its head. Sam Curran made Kohli edge one to Alastair Cook which allowed England to tighten up the screws.
Ajinkya Rahane survived a drop but was set soon sent back by Ben Stokes as India for just 11. Rishabh Pant struggled to get off the mark and returned to the hut after a 29-ball duck before Tea. India had slumped to 181/5. Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin and Mohammed Shami did not last long either as India were reduced to 195 for 8. What was even more frustrating for India was that most of the players fell to poor shot.
A lead at that time was looking out of sight. But thanks to Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten century, India managed to recover and score 273 to take a 27-run lead.
Pujara remained unbeaten on 132 and added 78 runs with Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah to help India recover.
Speaking after the day’s play, Sanjay Bangar admitted that the lower-order batsman played recklessly. The two he singled out were Pandya and R Ashwin, saying that there dismissals were ‘soft’.
“Hardik really wasn’t on top of the ball while driving and Ashwin attempted that reverse sweep at a pretty early stage in his innings. If he was set and batting with the tail, one could have thought that shot was on,” he said.
India’s hopes of scoring big took a real blow when Pant was out at the stroke of tea. The youngster, who got off the mark in Tests with a six, struggled to get off the mark in his latest innings despite facing 29 balls. When asked about that, Bangar said Pant was given no “directions” over how to go about his innings.
“Rishabh didn’t get any loose deliveries till he got out. He was being tested outside off by the seamers, who kept on bowling those lengths and lines. There was no clear direction to him that he should bat in a particular fashion. We encourage batters to bat in their individual style and make their own choices,” said Bangar.
Meanwhile, England finished the day on 6 for no loss. The hosts lead the five-match series 2-1.