Former pacer Zaheer Khan reckons that India showed signs of self-doubt and lack of intensity as England gained the ascendancy with some terrific batting on Day 4 of the Birmingham Test on Monday (July 4).
Set to chase a challenging 378, England’s openers Alex Lees (56) and Zak Crawley (46) featured in a solid 107-run stand. Joe Root (76*) and Jonny Bairstow (72*) then added an unbroken 150 by stumps on Day 4 to put India completely on the backfoot in the Test.
Reviewing India’s disappointing performance with the ball in their second innings, Zaheer stated that the visitors’ body language dropped as England moved ahead in the contest. He said during a discussion on Cricbuzz:
“After a while, it seemed that doubts had crept into their (India’s) minds. Their body language showed it and they could not bring out that desired intensity on the field. It happens during a big partnership.”
The 43-year-old added that India will need to find some motivation heading into Day 5 in Birmingham if they want to compete. Zaheer opined:
“India need to put behind the bad day and come back with renewed vigor on Day 5. Someone needs to give them a pep talk or lift them somehow.”
Thanks to their excellent batting effort on Day 4, England now need only 119 runs to win the Birmingham Test with seven wickets in hand.
They were bowling with the mindset that we need to go after wickets: Zaheer on where India went wrong
Analyzing why the Indian bowlers looked completely ineffective on Monday, Zaheer pointed out that they lost focus in trying too hard to go after wickets. He elaborated:
“I think where India went wrong is that their bowlers were trying too hard. All of them were bowling with the mindset that we need to go after wickets. They lost focus on the process and were thus not bowling in the right areas.”
Admitting that things became easier for Root and Bairstow due to the lack of stability in India’s bowling, Zaheer concluded:
“There was desperation in the Indian bowling and, as a result, they were trying too many things. They kept changing their line and lengths and paid the price.”
Bumrah (2/53) was the only Indian bowler to claim a wicket on Day 4 in Birmingham. Mohammed Siraj went for 64 in his 10 overs, while Shardul Thakur conceded 33 in seven.