Former India cricketer Madan Lal believes that India's middle-order is failing in the ongoing series because the team's main batsman and skipper Virat Kohli is having a dry run with the bat. He also added that the experienced batsmen will have to take responsibility if India have to win the series.
In the first two Tests of the ongoing series against England, India had put up an improved show with the bat after a terrible WTC final, where they had collapsed on the reserve day, which resulted in the team's defeat against New Zealand. But with the openers putting up a solid platform, and the lower-order batsmen punching above their weight, India found some way or the other to put the English bowlers under pressure.
However, the poor returns of the middle-order, especially the trio of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, was a major cause of concern. And with the Indian openers failing in the first innings of the Leeds Test, the Indian middle-order failed to resurrect the batting, and it resulted in the team collapsing to 78 all-out, one of their worst batting displays in recent times.
Former Indian cricketer Madan Lal has remarked that the Indian middle-order is struggling because of Virat Kohli's lean patch.
"If you look at the condition of Leeds, history says you lose quick wickets in the morning session. Virat, maybe, took a chance because England didn’t score too many runs in the last Test, and you cannot say you lost the match because of the toss, you didn't bat well at the same time. Your middle order is not getting runs because the main batsman, Virat, is not getting runs and we expect him to get runs," Madan Lal told IANS.
As poorly as the Indian batters applied themselves on the opening day, it was also some special bowling from England, especially James Anderson, who dented the Indian innings with three quick strikes. Lal heaped praise on the English bowlers and also suggested that India might have misread the conditions after they opted to bat first under cloudy conditions.
"I think England bowled really well. There are still four days left in the game. In Leeds, what captains mostly do in these types of conditions is that when they win the toss, they opt to bowl first because in such wickets the ball swings a lot at the beginning," he said.
Lal also added that the middle-order needs to come good if India have to overcome the English challenge.
"And maybe you can say they have misread the conditions and other things, but there are four days left and at the end of the day the middle order has to take responsibility to score runs if you want to win this series," he said.
The trio of Kohli, Pujara and Rahane could merely add 26 runs in the first innings of the ongoing game. The gritty partnership between Pujara and Rahane at Lord's had revived hopes of a return to form, before the disappointment continued in Leeds.