Sunil Gavaskar has criticized the Indian batting contingent’s tendency to play on the front foot after their abysmal show on the Day 1 of the fourth Test at The Oval. The Indian batting lineup had no answer to the English bowling led by Chris Woakes (4/55) as they were bundled out for 191.
After a decent start where India scored 28 runs for the first partnership, the visitors lost both their openers to the same score. While India did recover to a certain level thanks to some scores in the lower order, the top order, barring Virat Kohli, was very ineffective. Sunil Gavaskar was critical of the Indian top and middle order and pinpointed technical mistakes made by KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Chesteshwar Pujara. While Rohit was caught behind to a ball which flew off the surface, Rahul was trapped LBW by Ollie Robinson. Pujara, who had scored a fighting 91 in the Leeds Test, poked at an away going delivery which took the edge and ended up in Johnny Bairstow’s gloves.
"You may look like an idiot but you'd still be batting. Whether you look like an idiot or look great, don't go down in the scorebooks. It's the number of runs you score. When you follow the ball like Pujara has been doing - he is committed to the front foot - you get yourself into trouble," Gavaskar pointed out on The Sony Sports Network, reported TOI.
You see the length that is being bowled and see where the batsmen are playing. They are so far committed to the front foot, it's very difficult for them to drop their bats. They just tend to sort of go for it. If you're on the backfoot just that little bit, you have that nano second to drop your wrists and let the ball go.”
However, the day ended well for India as Shardul Thakur scored 57 runs off 36 balls to guide the visitors to a competitive score of 191 in their first innings. It was the bowlers who ensured that India did not end the day completely on the backfoot as they restricted England to 53/3 while bagging the all important wicket of Joe Root as well.