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Just a bad patch: Penney

India’s fielding coach insists the batting collapses are not due to flawed techniques

After the twin horrors at Southampton and Manchester, India’s batting collapsed once again on the first day of the Oval Test. Put in to bat by Alastair Cook, India got bundled out for 148 in 61.1 overs. The top five batsmen scored 18, 0, 4, 6, 0.

Facing questions over the team’s dismal show was fielding coach, Trevor Penney. He credited the England bowlers for their effort and insisted this is only a bad patch that the batsmen will get through.

“It was a good toss to win (for England). The ball did a bit today and the English bowlers bowled really well,” Penney said. “The first session was crucial. We lost too many wickets and that set us back to have a really poor day.”

Penney denied any technical flaws causing India’s batting downfall in the last five innings. “In the first two Tests our batsmen were getting big scores,” he said. “We’ve just have a couple of bad games. England have bowled better and fuller, are making our batsmen play more often and watch out where their off-stump is.

“The guys are practicing hard at that. We travelled to New Zealand and South Africa where the guys got good scores. So, it’s not too much of a technical thing. We’ve just got to play positive cricket and not let the bowlers dominate.”

While the rest of the batsmen struggled to put bat on ball, MS Dhoni, like he did in the first innings of the Old Trafford Test, forged a lone battle with a fighting and gritty 82. Dhoni scored 55.40 per cent of the team’s total, which is most by an Indian captain in a completed Test innings.

Penney said the top-order batsmen will do well to take lessons from their captain. “He had a great day. With the way he batted, he showed our top order how to do it.”

Another problem that has plagued India in this series is the slip catching. A number of catches have gone down and the positioning and techniques of the slippers has often been questioned. There is also a lack of uniformity in the slip cordon due to the changes in playing XI.

Penney said about the matter, “It’s always difficult because you want to keep your slip cordon the same throughout the series. But with people left out and changes made in the team, you’ve got give practice to the other guys and try different combinations.

“We have dropped a few and taken a few. Slips is not the easiest place to field. But we are working on different combinations.”

“We are happy with all the techniques and there are going to be dropped catches in cricket. There haven’t been so many that we start panicking yet.”

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Stats Highlights: Eng vs India, 5th Test - Day 1

Dhoni's 82 is the most percentage of the team's total in a completed Test innings by an Indian captain

The Oval Test marked the second instance of India starting a Test on August 15- first since gaining independence. The earlier instance was in 1936 also at the Oval!

Interestingly India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka have played a Test starting on their Independence Day for the first time- all in 2014! Sri Lanka played vs Bangladesh at Chittagong on February 4 and Pakistan vs Sri Lanka at Colombo SSC on August 14.

MS Dhoni was leading India for the 15th time in a Test against England- most by an Indian captain. Sunil Gavaskar held the previous Indian record of most appearances as captain against England.

Alastair Cook was playing his 107th consecutive Test. Now only Allan Border (153) has appeared in more consecutive Tests than Cook. Australia’s Mark Waugh also had a streak of 107 matches on the trot.

Gautam Gambhir made his sixth duck in Test cricket-. However it was first time that he got out to the very first ball he faced.

James Anderson has now inflicted 55 ducks in Test cricket. He is now only three away from Bob Willis’ England record of dismissing most batsmen for a duck.

It has now been 32 consecutive innings outside India that the opening pair has not managed a fifty-stand for India since Abhinav Mukund and Gautam Gambhir put on 63 at Lord’s in July 2011. India’s average opening stand in overseas Tests in this period has been only 17.78. Interestingly during the same period India’s average opening stand at home is 58.46. Out of 17 innings the opening pair has gone past 50 on 8 occasions.

Out of India’s total of 148, 82 came off MS Dhoni’s bat only – a percentage contribution of 55.40. This is the highest contribution in an all-out innings in Test cricket by a player performing the dual duty of captaining a side as well as keeping wickets. The details:

Highest contribution by a keeper-captain in an all-out innings

% Player Runs Total For vs Venue Season


55.40 MS Dhoni 82 148 Ind Eng The Oval 2014

53.50 T Taibu 153 286 Zim Ban Dhaka 2004-05

47.88 A Flower 113* 236 Zim WI Port-of-Spain 1999-00

46.71 MS Dhoni 71 152 Ind Eng Old Trafford 2014

44.18 A Flower 129 292 Zim SL Harare 1999-00

42.53 A Flower 74 174 Zim SL Harare 1999-00

Dhoni’s effort is the best by an Indian captain. He is, in fact, the first Indian captain to contribute 50% of team’s runs in an all-out innings.

Highest contribution by an Indian captain in an all-out innings

% Player Runs Total vs Venue Season

55.40 MS Dhoni 82 148 Eng The Oval 2014

49.52 M Azharuddin 103* 208 NZ Wellington 1998-99

49.06 M Azharuddin 182 371 Eng Kolkata 1992-93

48.74 SR Tendulkar 116 238 Aus Melbourne 1999-00

48.35 SM Gavaskar 205 424 WI Wankhede 1978-79

MS Dhoni has now scored 12 fifties against England without ever reaching a hundred. He now holds the Test record of most fifties against a side without reaching the three-figure mark. South Africa’s Dave Nourse had scored 11 fifties against England without ever scoring a hundred.

In successive Tests now Dhoni has scored more runs than the combined aggregate of other 10 players in an innings! in the first innings of Manchester Test Dhoni made 71, while other 10 batsmen scored only 69. At the Oval, Dhoni made 82 with others contributing only 59.