Wasim Jaffer feels India failed to show a head-on approach during the start of their batting innings at Lord’s in the second ODI versus England, coming across as meek and allowing the hosts to capitalize on it. He went on to comment on Shikhar Dhawan’s and Rohit Sharma’s performances in the match.
After an emphatic 10-wicket victory in the opening ODI, India crumbled to a shambolic 100-run defeat in the latest encounter to level the series at 1-1. The bowlers put on a convincing show once again, restricting England’s explosive lineup for a subpar 246 on a pretty decent Lord’s pitch. However, the Men in Blue’s batsmen failed to get going at any point, folding out for a lowly 146 within 40 overs.
The marker was laid early on by the Indian openers, as they played out two consecutive maidens. The dry spell eventually got to the batsmen, with the top order bundling out in quick succession. Soon enough, India was down to 31/4 and never recovered from the early slump. Wasim Jaffer believes playing with a higher tempo could have helped the Men in Blue turn the tide in their favour.
“They came out a little bit in a timid way. I wouldn’t say they were complacent, but playing four maidens… that intent was probably missing at the start. They didn’t come out and hit the ground running," the former Indian opener told Cricinfo.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma had a particularly poor game, returning to the pavilion for a 10-ball duck. In the first ODI, he had hit a swashbuckling 76 off just 58 deliveries, largely helped by England’s erratically aggressive strategy to bowl short at him. A master of the pull and the hook shot, the 35-year-old had no problems dispatching them for boundaries.
However, the hosts had a much bigger target to defend in the second game, allowing their bowlers to play their natural game. Left-arm pacers David Willey and Reece Topley were right on the money with the new ball, seaming the ball around. The latter eventually bowled a peach to beat Rohit’s bat and clip his front pad, leading to a plumb leg-before wicket dismissal.
“We all know Rohit Sharma struggles against left-arm seamers when the ball swings. Reece Topley bowled really well. Even the shot Rohit played before he got out, that was loose as well," Jaffer explained.
Shikhar Dhawan couldn’t build on his showing of 31 in the first ODI as well. The opener had taken 54 balls to trudge to that mark at The Oval and looked to be lacking rhythm once again at Lord’s. Captain for the upcoming ODI series versus West Indies, the 36-year-old played out over 20 dots before falling for 9(26) to a Topley delivery.
"Very unlike batting display. Shikhar Dhawan again, although he got a not out in the first game, he still looks rusty. He hasn’t found his touch because he hasn’t played a lot of cricket,” Jaffer said.
The two batsmen will be keen to redeem themselves in the series-deciding ODI on Sunday at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.