For second time in as many test matches India has faced the situation of being “so near, yet so far.”
India did dominate the second test right from the word go and if it had not been for the rain gods the series would now have had been 1-0 instead of 0-0. Even so, I would like to point out a few crucial errors that India made during the course of the match.
First of all, for the umpteenth time now it has been established that Kaif is not a good fielder in close catching positions and yet Dravid would have him field there. He has missed crucial chances there, and that is because of his natural instincts being a cover fielder, which has cost India dearly.
Second, the Indian field placing was pretty tame on the last day considering that India had nothing to lose and there was no way that India could have lost the match. Also defying logic was the placing of fielders at certain positions they are not suited for. Dravid himself was fielding at second slip, a departure from his usual first slip position for no apparent reason. Even Sehwag, a pretty good slip fielder, was missing from the slip cordon. Dravid grassing a catch (imagine Ganguly in the same position) in the closing stages did not help matters either.
Third, and most importantly, India failed to think out of the box. As Prem Panicker suggests (here), India could have replaced Laxman (why is he in the team again??) with Suresh Raina and could have thought of more unconventional field placings. Also Yuvraj could have been made to bowl a couple of his ultra slow ones just as a change. But then such things come with experience, and I sure hope Dravid is learning fast.
The rain, the lbw decisions (first Australia and now here, they do have something against us these damned lbws’) and at times the limited experimentation by Indian think tank have let the Carribeans pull off a Houdini yet again.
As Gaurav Sabnis puts it (here) in the words of the inimitable Crime Master Gogo “haath ko aaya, moonh na lagaaya.” Lets hope that the next one would be more like another of his famous quips “Aaya hoon, kuch toh leke jaoonga.”