IND vs ENG, 1st Test: India has no set target in mind, says Mhambrey after England’s fightback on Day 3

The Indian bowling coach said that the side is not thinking too far ahead and will stick to its plan of bowling well early in the morning session on Day 4.

Published : Jan 27, 2024 19:33 IST , HYDERABAD - 4 MINS READ

Team India walks back at the end of the third day of the first Test between England and India
Team India walks back at the end of the third day of the first Test between England and India | Photo Credit: AP

Team India walks back at the end of the third day of the first Test between England and India | Photo Credit: AP

Paras Mhambrey, India’s bowling coach, insisted that the team hasn’t set any specific target to chase after England erased the deficit and took a vital lead at the end of Day three of the first Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Saturday.

After bowling out India for 436, England rode on Ollie Pope’s unbeaten 148 and finished the day on 316 for the loss of six wickets with a lead of 126 runs. India will be batting last on a tricky surface in an attempt to take a 1-0 lead. Although the lead isn’t massive, the home side will be tested if the England tail supports Pope, having unlocked the key to play on the slow, turning surface.

“We are not looking at a particular target as our objective is to come tomorrow and bowl well in the morning, try to get early wickets as quickly as possible and limit the total. So we are not putting us under any sort of pressure by giving a target,” Mhambrey said during the post-match Press conference.

READ | Ollie Pope’s century “one of the better knocks I’ve ever seen”, says Joe Rootv

When asked if the pitch is still assisting the bowlers, he said: “It still has something for the bowlers. If you look at the last session and the last few overs there is still little turn from the stump line. It will be the same tomorrow and won’t change much. The pace got a little bit slower and was easier to negotiate the turn but still enough to keep the bowlers in.”

Pope set up a batting masterclass with a counter-attacking century, and along with Ben Foakes forged a century-run stand to keep the Indians at bay. The batsman successfully negotiated the spinners and pacers alike to force the Indians to alter their plans.

“England played well especially Pope who accessed the square, fine-leg area as well, played the sweep and the reverse sweep as well and he did play it consistently and credit must go to him. They took on the attack at a stage where it was needed and sometimes that happens. Someone who plays these shots consistently will get the bowler under pressure. But we have to be patient with our lines, hit the right areas and hope to get a wicket. We hope to get them out as quickly as possible,” Mhambrey said.

The bowling coach further stated that the team was not surprised by England’s batting approach and that they were expecting a counterattack at some stage of the game.

“Over the past months, we have noticed how England has batted and we were expecting that they would come and play those shots and show the aggression like they did. But as I said the credit goes to them to be brave enough and play those shots and get away as well. Some of the shots that Pope played were really brave and put the opposition under pressure. It was a good know.”

While the spinners did the bulk of the bowling, Jasprit Bumrah bowled a 12-over spell and accounted for the wickets of Ben Duckett and Joe Root. However, his bowling counterpart, Mohammed Siraj bowled just three overs.

Explaining the reason behind the move, the bowling coach said: “Eventually in a game, you need to decide who is your best bowler and who is going to be more useful in the conditions, and sometimes when you have two seamers, one will get over bowled. You expect the spinners to do the bulk of the job and that’s what they did. Rohit felt Bumrah was bowling well at that particular point and using the conditions well, and unfortunately, Siraj didn’t get those many overs.”

Mhambrey further praised Bumrah for being the leader of the attack.

“I think he is just a quality bowler, a very special bowler and we have seen what he can do in different conditions. Overseas, he has been brilliant, and every time he turns up, he gives his best; the conversations that he has in the dressing room, the energy that he brings on the field. But it’s pure skills is what I can say.”

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