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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
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Monday, January 20, 2014

NZ Series 1st ODI - India start on a losing note

Virat Kohli realized how much it can hurt in a losing chase when the Indian team lost their first ODI against the Black Caps at Napier yesterday. Other than Kohli's century and Dhoni's fighting knock, there was hardly anything going right for the batsmen. The bowlers did a decent job not to dish out a 300 total on grounds much smaller than what they had encountered recently (though one must say that the batting talent on display was also lesser compared to the South Africans).

What has been puzzling the Indian fans especially has been the Indian team composition and how Dhoni has been resisting the change to the lineup especially when it comes to players like Ashwin, Jadeja and Ishant Sharma. The three of them have become one-dimensional (other than Jadeja who fields/catches well) and that is not helping the team's cause. Ashwin can bat but his bowling has been dismal (one wicket for last 80 overs as Akash Chopra tweeted during the match). Ishant can bowl well in patches (meaning 4-5 ODIs) but neither can he move fast nor bat. And when he comes at 8 down in a lineup, NewZealand can relate to what is meant by India's tail. It is a lengthy one right now. Stuart Binny has to come into the mix now while India have to pick one of Ashwin and Jadeja to play the role of the spinner. Dhoni is worried about the over rates and that can be made quicker by replacing Ishant with either Aaron or Pandey (they will be eager to do well and hence faster to the crease).

The batsmen have to try once again - working on their pull and hook shots while also deciding on which balls to attempt. There is no need to try the ball pitched on the off-side of their body to hook/pull. Dhawan and Raina seem to be facing this conundrum and Duncan Fletcher would do well to help both out. It is better that Dhawan learns it fast as this will be a lengthy series (if one adds the test matches) and he is running out of time. Kohli did what he has been doing all over the world but failed at the end, suffering from lack of support. There is hardly anything wrong the Delhi lad is doing at the moment - he is on his way to join the elite club in ODI cricket.

Fielding and catching played a big role in the restriction of Indian batsmen - catches were dropped but some spectacular ones were caught (e.g. Rahane). The Indians were not far behind themselves but they should not be complacent with this factor.

The next match will be interesting to see the tactics of the Indian batsmen - obviously, lessons will be learnt and the short balls will be easily handled but how much impact will it have on the psyche of the batsmen? Let us wait and watch.
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