Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has criticized England’s defensive tactics in pursuit of a win in the first Test against India.
After first-innings lead by 241 runs, England didn’t impose follow-on either did it show any inclination to declare second innings even after having an overall lead of more than 400 runs.
The English side was eventually bowled out for 178 runs in their second innings, less than an hour before stumps on the fourth day.
While speaking on Star Sports, Gavaskar said that the visiting side’s tactics were unfathomable. He even jokingly mentioned that it seemed as if England was giving their lower-order a chance to bat in both innings of the Test match.
“Their tactics were beyond my understanding. The way they extended their innings, it seems like their bowlers – Jimmy Anderson, Jack Leach and Dom Bess – their contract says that they will bat twice in every Test. Otherwise, they should have declared. If they had declared earlier, their bowlers would have got more overs,” said Gavaskar.
The former Indian skipper mentioned that England might regret their decision to delay the declaration if they are unable to dismiss India on the fifth day. However, he said that the visitors are better placed to win the match and should have shown some urgency.
“It should not be a situation tomorrow evening that India has lost 8 or 9 wickets at a score of 280-300 and England are not able to win the match because they do not have overs left. I don’t think the Indian team can score 380 runs tomorrow, the way Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli bat, they can come close but to get to a 420-run target on the fifth day is very difficult. So England has greater chances of winning this match,” added Sunil Gavaskar.
Hitting out at England’s defensive field placement, Gavaskar concluded, “The way they set the fields today, it was beyond understanding. England always has these defensive tactics and the same was seen today. The captain does not have faith in his bowlers. He has kept a deep point and deep square leg fielder for Pujara, who doesn’t play the sweep shot.”
England’s defensive tactics have drawn criticism throughout the first Test against India.