Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Legendary West Indies pace bowler Michael Holding believes that India’s confidence levels have plummeted following their horrendous batting display against England on the first day of the fifth Test at The Oval.
India were skittled out for 148, but they wouldn’t have got anywhere close to that score if it hadn’t been for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s vital knock of 82.
“It was definitely a good toss to win but Alastair Cook did the right thing, irrespective of the conditions,” Holding said. “He had to insert India after their batting performance at Old Trafford. That was a nightmare and you have to continue the nightmare – and he did a good job!
“The confidence isn’t there, for India. When you see batsmen think about leaving the ball alone and get caught off the bat or get out lbw it’s because the confidence isn’t there. They’re trying to play at as few balls as possible.
“If the confidence is there, although the ball has been moving around, they’d be a lot more assured with their stroke play and with their foot movement. But it just wasn’t there.
“You have to say England bowled well. The conditions suited bowling but they kept the pressure on, they didn’t give away runs and when you’re bowling on a pitch like that eventually you’ll get a wicket.”
Holding also noted that he was pleased to see Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan take a majority of the wickets. The pair picked up three wickets apiece, while James Anderson and Stuart Broad claimed two wickets each.
“You don’t want Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad doing all the work,” he said. “We saw early on that the work load was being shared, Woakes and Jordan got their wickets and that gave the captain confidence to keep bowling them.
“He had to bring Jimmy Anderson back at the very end, which I’m not too sure he really wanted to do, but sometimes that happens, sometimes you get up against a stumbling block and you have to bring back your best bowler.
“But they earned their corn today, the ‘support bowlers’, as people say.”
In the post-match interview, Woakes revealed how he had learnt from his mistakes and worked on his game after playing against Australia last summer.
Holding added that it was only a matter of time before Jordan does the same thing.
“Woakes said he has learned since he made his debut against Australia and I think Chris Jordan is going to gradually get there as well,” he said. “Jordan’s still working on his action and still has some flaws, but the more wickets he takes, the more bowling he does, the better it will become.
“You can see him thinking about the action but once it gets to the point where he doesn’t have to think about it, everything will be a lot better.”
Holding finished off by saying that the conditions on day two should favour the England batsmen.
“With a slightly older ball, sunshine and the pitch getting a little quicker, which means it will come onto the bat better, it should be good for batting,” he said.