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India loses five one-dayers at Lord's.

by Naked Cricket

This test, India lost, day after day after day, all five days; if there was a rest day, they would have conceded that too.

Day 1, first ten overs, India opened the bowling with the weather. Just put the ball there, anywhere, the conditions will missile the ball to an outside edge.

The lines Zaheer bowled were Bhajjilike, wide. That the hamstring retired him after he knocked two over was a surprise. They should have credited those wickets to his aura.

In the early overs, Zaheer close-in, at short-midwicket, failed to touch his toes and missed an easy ball. Did Zaheer go through a fitness test before the game, could he touch his toes? Do they make you touch toes?

It appeared Zaheer's injury was the game. Much like a dementor, it sucked the joy out of the boys, at least the bowlers. Praveen Kumar, who opened the bowling, went on to be India’s stock and strike bowler – he bowled more than 40 overs to Bhajji’s 35.

India was three bowlers short in the first innings.

And then Raina (MS will tell you he can turn his arm), arrived to usher KP’s double hundred.

This was a friendly, and India had turned the other cheek.

In exchange, England was hostile. India’s second innings’ top order dismissals seemed innocuous, but they were a mere detail in the plot – the build-up, shake-up, even the reprieve each received, made the batting Gods more mortal.

Sure, the bowling was sharp, but more than that, the bowler's engaged, not quite an Aussie sledge, more an English taunt – “think you’re better than us?” You could almost eavesdrop on No. 1 banter.

On the last day, the only shot that reeked of an Indian defiance led to Bhajji’s dismissal.

So what lessons from Lord’s

1) Three bowlers don’t draw you matches

2) A less influential fully-fit fourth bowler gives you the added option of bowling your strike bowler after lunch on the 5th day (in case he isn’t too human or too tired)

3) If over-rates are a problem, play both Yuvraj and Raina

4) If the captain finds the 2nd new ball hard to handle (dismissed in 83.4 and 85.2 overs after 102 and 77 minutes, he could consider batting higher up, midway between the two new balls)

5) Bhajji will play, so how do you humour him – bad enough he sulks with the ball.

6) Gambhir close-in?

7) If you want Dravid to open and keep wickets, no use being discreet – ask Sourav what he said, still better, ask Sourav to say it again. Haven’t you heard it often enough, Rahul Dravid is a team man.

This would be ideal, the fairytale batting line up on paper – the Star cricket boys will read it out with aplomb - without having to stop and start at Abhinav Mukund.

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