CHENNAI: England need to wrest nine wickets on the final day to trounce India in the first Test in Chennai. But they have, in the words of Shane Warne, perhaps made the task difficult by not going for quick runs or declaring their innings.
For the record, Joe Root's side were skittled out for 178 in their second innings, leaving Virat Kohli's men an unlikely target of 420.
Warne questioned why the visitors allowed "the game to drift". ‘‘What is going on? What on Earth are they doing just letting the game drift? Why aren't they bowling?
Warne was surprised at the visitors' decision to not declare in the second innings even after having a mammoth lead. The spin legend also fumed at England's sluggish approach with the bat on day four of the first Test.
In a series of tweets, Warne explained how England was following in Australia's footsteps of playing "timid and cautious cricket" against India.
The former spinner pointed out how the decision to not declare will put a lot of pressure on England's bowlers.
"England's mind set is let's not lose this test match - rather than, what's the best way to win this test match and how many overs could we need!’’ Warner tweeted.
Sir Alastair Cook, a former England captain, summed up the dilemma of the declaration on Channel 4. ‘‘England knows that people are watching, pundits and media will be shouting 'declare, declare, declare,' but they will do it their way. They are the ones who will face the consequences if they get it wrong and time will tell if they were right. If you're asking me I would have pulled out once the lead got to 400…’’
Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday bagged his 28th five-wicket haul; he started the proceedings for Team India with the new ball and took a wicket off his first ball, thus emulating a 114-year-old record. Ashwin became the third spinner and first since South Africa's Bert Vogler to pick up a wicket off the first ball of an innings in Test cricket. Vogler had achieved the feat in 1907 in a Test match against England at The Oval.