Sunday, 12 June 2016

Zimbabwe need batting improvement for series turnaround

KL Rahul 100*

A KL Rahul century on debut and some fine execution of plans from the rest of the Indian side on the field proved one thing - Makhaya Ntini & Co. have a lot to ponder, and as the interim coach would've learnt it the hard way, India's decision to field a second-string team should now be least of his concerns.
The inexperienced visitors put Ntini's pre-series disgruntlement over the lack of senior pros in perspective as they schooled a 'much experienced' home side to take an all-important 1-0 lead in the opening fixture of the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series. With just a day's break and a lot to work upon, as per batting coach Lance Klusener's admission, Zimbabwe have their backs to the wall ahead of Monday's fixture.
All is, however, not lost for Graeme Cremer's side. If the first game was a glimpse of what is to follow in the series, then they're just some sensible batting away from putting on a competitive show. First and foremost on their agenda should be the need to adapt to early swing, specially generated by Barinder Sran, the left-arm pacer. The likes of Peter Moor and Chamu Chibhabha need not look too far beyond to find inspiration and the skill to tackle the bowlers on a two-paced surface. The undefeated 162-run stand between Rahul and Ambati Rayudu in the first ODI qualifies as a fine case study.
On slow burners like Harare, there cannot be enough emphasis on needing to keep a steady head and not letting concentration waiver, irrespective of a lull in scoring. A dedicated effort towards that will help the hosts build partnerships that will in turn pave the way for a challenging total.
After an ideal start to the series, India will look to carry on their good work from Saturday. With Zimbabwe batsmen having gotten the first taste of their bowling attack, the onus will be on Dhawal Kulkarni, Sran, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel to keep the pressure going.

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Zimbabwe need batting improvement for series turnaround
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