‘Shami will be fresher and ready for day two’ – Sanjay Bangar © AFP
On a day that India lost the toss and conceded 311 for 4, there was little consolation for them at the end. Mohammed Shami, who had hobbled off during the middle session with what at the time looked like a hamstring issue, came back in the final session to continue bowling despite obvious discomfort. That he was even taking the risk, suggested it was not a hamstring trouble. India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar confirmed at the end of the day that it was a cramp, and that Shami was expected to bowl on day two.
“As the physio has told us, it was actually muscular cramps,” Bangar said. “And he took an ice bath in that break [when Shami went off before tea]. He was fine to bowl after that. He is being monitored closely. And apart from the cramps, I don’t think there is much to it. Hopefully he will be fresher tomorrow. He will be fitter and raring to go tomorrow in the first session.”
That Shami was available in the final session was part of the reason why India didn’t take the new ball even though they bowled 93 overs. In what should be a good sign for England, the ball was reversing even at 80 overs old, which was why India persisted with it, according to Bangar.
“You must have noticed that at that time there was a lot of reverse swing on offer,” Bangar said. “Mohammed Shami was available to bowl, even Umesh Yadav put in a valiant effort. Once Shami was not available before tea and after tea for a particular amount of time, Umesh ran in well and got us that breakthrough [Root’s wicket on 124]. He was pretty impressive, getting the ball to reverse both ways. So was Shami. That was the reason we felt that the wicket-taking possibility with the old ball was higher at that point.”
India dropped both openers in the slip cordon early on the first morning © AFP
Bangar was hopeful India could turn things around on the second morning. “The game changes very quickly,” Bangar said. “A couple of wickets – obviously they are four down at the moment – a couple of wickets and we could make inroads quickly and wrap them up hopefully within a session and a half. So you never know in cricket. It’s just day one and we would have still been in a good position had we taken probably six wickets and conceded 30 or 40 fewer runs.”
Instead of the second morning, though, India had the chance of making those early inroads on the first day when they dropped both the openers early. “The first session of day one of a Test match, there is always something in the wicket,” he said. “Whether you bat first or bowl first you have to make the first session count. Send the right message across. Couple of dropped chances unfortunately didn’t allow us to make those early dents into their batting. They have been actually losing their openers pretty quickly in the couple of Test matches they have played [in Bangladesh]. That set us back a little bit. By lunch we still managed to take three wickets, but we would have taken that at the start of the Test.”
On a day that questions were asked of India’s bowling on a pitch that was not turning big, fielders dropping catches and a few of them generally looking listless, the batting coach was left to answer the press conference. He put up a brave face, saying England made the most of the conditions, but also ended it with a rider “on day one”, which could suggest conditions are expected to get worse for batting significantly. “Had we taken those catches our bowlers would have asked questions about their middle order pretty early in the innings,” Bangar said. “Apart from that, due credit to their batsmen who applied themselves really well and made full use of the conditions on offer here on day one.”
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.