India conceded the advantage to New Zealand on Day 3 of the World Test Championship final with a batting collapse followed by a disappointing start by the fast bowlers with the new ball. With two full days of play still remaining in the Test there is a chance that New Zealand might push for victory and according to former pace bowler Simon Doull it is the lack of match practice that has put India in this place.
New Zealand played a two-Test series against England prior to the start of the WTC final and also went on to register a rare series win in the country. India, on the other hand, played simulated intra-squad practice matches and this, according to Doull, was not sufficient preparation for a marquee event like the WTC final. India’s pace trio, especially Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma had a tough outing on Day 3 with the New Zealand openers putting together a fifty-run partnership.
“At times you look and overthink and say ‘did they (India) have enough preparation?’ I think they did. I am sure in the last 10-12 days they would have bowled enough deliveries to make sure they are ready and raring to go. But it is hard to simulate match practice. You can try in these intra-squad games but it just doesn’t quite work and that’s the key. It is genuinely hard to replace match practice that makes you better and get you ready for those matches,” said Doull.
The former fast bowler now cricket expert and commentator however stated that New Zealand had the same preparation as India ahead of the Lord’s Test and gave a fine performance.
“New Zealand went into their first Test match at Lord’s against England, they had the very same preparation that India had coming into this Test match. They were in Southampton for around 10-11 days, played intra-squad matches, training practices and when they turned at Lord’s they looked pretty set and ready to go.”
He added, “Tim Southee bowled beautifully, Devon Conway came straight out of 10 days of net session here and scored a double hundred at Lord’s. They looked like they were prepared and ready to go.”
Doull further stated that with the exception of Ishant Sharma, India did not have a swing bowler to exploit the conditions in England.
“They are not genuine swing bowlers. I know Jasprit Bumrah can swing the ball, Ishant is more of a swing bowler, he comes round the wicket with that angle wrist and takes the ball away. He does take the ball away from the left-handers and into the right-handers,” said Doull.
The New Zealander added that Shami was never known to swing the ball but was a very good seam bowler.
“Mohammed Shami has never really been a genuine swing bowler. He is a seam bowler and always bowls upright.”