Mohali, Nov 6: Indian captain Virat Kohli's tactics were questioned by former cricketers on the second day of the 1st Test against South Africa here at PCA Stadium on Friday.
On Thursday (November 5), India were bowled out for a paltry 201 on a pitch that helped spinners. When it was the turn of the South Africans to bat, the hosts' slow bowlers troubled them and reduced the visitors to 28/2 in 20 overs.
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja claimed a wicket each yesterday. They were India's best bowlers on Thursday. And everyone expected Kohli to start the 2nd day today (November 6) with either Ashwin or Jadeja. But he surprised all by introducing leg-spinner Amit Mishra in the first over of the day. The other end saw paceman Umesh Yadav running in.
The tactics of Kohli and the team management were baffling. The TV commentary panel of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Kepler Wessels and others questioned Kohli holding back Ashwin and Jadeja.
It took 8 overs of play to see the introduction of off-spinner Ashwin. By that time, overnight batsmen Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar had settled and were comfortable at the crease. However, once Ashwin came on, things changed dramatically.
Jadeja was given the ball only after 55 minutes of play in the 1st session. Ashwin and Jadeja bowled in tandem and even the best batsman at the moment, AB de Villiers struggled.
Manjrekar was surprised that Jadeja, the "main threat" for South Africa was not given the red ball earlier. Gavaskar spoke of South Africa getting "crucial runs" before the spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja was brought on.
"Initially India got their strategy wrong," Proteas' former skipper Wessels said during the lunch break.
All 3 wickets - Amla, Elgar and Dane Vilas, which fell in the morning session went to Ashwin. South Africa went to lunch at 127/5 still trailing by 74 runs. However, many wondered what the score would have been if Ashwin and Jadeja had started off early?
Kohli learnt from his mistake and started the post-lunch session with Ashwin and Jadeja. And Manjrekar, on commentary, said, "I am relieved to see Ashwin and Jadeja (starting the session)".