New Delhi: Australian great Ian Chappell feels that by not declaring their second innings in the opening Test, England captain Joe Root missed out on sending a message, which could have given him a “valuable psychological advantage” later in the series.
Despite their overall lead going past 350 on a deteriorating pitch, England surprisingly chose to carry on batting until they were bowled out in their second innings.
“Despite having a brilliant all-round game in the first Test, Root failed to take full advantage of England’s superiority at a critical time in the game.
“Instead of oscillating between all-out attack and inexplicable defence in the late stages of their second innings, England should have pushed on aggressively in order to declare and set a target,” Chappell wrote in ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
Having batted deep into the final session of the fourth evening, England, eventually, set India a world record target of 420.
The visitors, though, claimed victory with plenty of time to spare on the final day.
But Chappell, a former Australia captain, said, “This (declaration) would have sent a strong message to India: we are not worried by your much-vaunted batting line-up.
“If Root had declared instead of being bowled out, it could have provided him with a valuable psychological advantage later in the series.
“In sending a message of confidence it could easily have had an effect on a decision Virat Kohli has to make later in the series.”
While he has lauded Root for improvements in captaincy and his consistency with the bat, Chappell said he can still learn the “art of perception and psychology”.
“One aspect of captaincy where Root can improve even further is in the art of perception and psychology – two crucial aspects of Test match captaincy.
Speaking about captaincy, Chappell felt that it is as much about skill as it is about luck.
“I think the balance is more like 50-50. Take the first India-England Test in Chennai as an example.
“Winning the toss was a lucky break for the England captain, Joe Root. However, his innings exemplified the adage “You make your own luck”. His monumental innings of 218 ensured England posted an imposing total that eventually led to a comprehensive victory.
“The decisive win was built on a strong foundation provided by the captain’s high degree of skill with the bat.”
To highlight Root’s smart captaincy, Chappell cited the example of James Anderson being kept to work his magic with the reversing ball.
“… Then Jimmy Anderson, deliberately denied the new ball, sliced open the Indian second innings to set England firmly on the victory path with a burst of brilliant swing bowling.
“This was a specific plan to take advantage of the tendency of the ball to start reverse-swinging at around 25-30 overs. That was clever planning with little luck involved,” Chappell said.
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