The first Test between India and South Africa witnessed a tactical error in India’s bowling strategy, according to former coach Ravi Shastri. As bad light ended Day 2 early, South Africa had secured an 11-run lead with five wickets remaining, led by Den Elgar’s impressive 140. Shastri pinpointed a critical mistake in the post-lunch session when India opted for Prasidh Krishna and Shardul Thakur instead of the more experienced bowlers.
Shastri, during commentary on Star Sports, expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision to use Prasidh and Shardul immediately after lunch. “On any pecking order, these two would have been the last to start the proceedings (after lunch),” he commented. Shastri highlighted that starting with the best two bowlers at the beginning of the session had been a discussed and preferred strategy during his coaching tenure.
Sanjay Manjrekar, former India player, concurred with Shastri’s view, stating that India missed a trick in their tactical approach. He suggested that the team management, including Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma, might have reconsidered the decision during the break but ultimately went with Prasidh and Shardul.
Former South Africa pacer Vernon Philander speculated that India might have aimed to preserve Jasprit Bumrah after his earlier spell but noted that it resulted in a missed opportunity. India conceded 42 runs in the post-lunch session, allowing South Africa to gain momentum.
At the end of the day, South Africa reached 256/5, leading by 11 runs, with Elgar and Marco Jansen at the crease. Despite the runs from Elgar and Bedingham, India made crucial breakthroughs before play was cut short due to bad light. The strategic error in bowling choices has become a focal point of discussion as the Test match unfolds.
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