It seemed a strange decision in many ways when India decided not to impose the follow on, even after getting a first innings lead of 319 runs.
They bowled out England for 345 after amassing a mammoth 664 in their first innings, but quite strangely they opted to bat again. India struggled in their second essay as they made it to 180 for 6 in 58 overs, far lesser and far slower than they would have wanted.
India were leading 1-0 in the series and had a strong hold on the third and final Test, but they seemed to have let England with a chance to save the match with their defensive tactics on day four.
India's manager for the Test series, Chandu Borde, also seemed clueless and failed to provide any concrete reasons to justify India's decision of not imposing the follow on.
His reasoning that teams batting last have done well also contradicts the team's decision.
Here is what Borde said at the press conference and decide for yourself what the team planning was.
Was it the right decision to bat?
Well, knowing the history of this particular wicket, in the past we chased nearly 400-odd runs and we nearly won that time. English and South Africans have also chased nearly 400 on this wicket and they performed quite well.
The wicket is playing beautifully as you have seen today. It is not turning or helping the spinners as much as we expected. So taking into consideration the wicket and our bowlers, who were also tired, we didn't want to bring them again. We wanted to bring them back fresh so we could try and attack the English batsmen. So that's why we delayed it.
Whose decision was it?
It was our decision. We had a discussion. It was not a question of chasing. We thought of getting more runs and putting pressure on the England team. That was our intention and we did that.
Why Dravid batted slowly?
We were 3 down for 12 and somebody had to keep one end going. He played the innings for the team. He kept going, going, on and on...
Is it impossible for England to win?
It all depends on the wicket here. The wicket is not helping the bowlers as of yet and we are hoping on the last day it will certainly help. This will give us an opportunity to perform better and do well. We are hopeful and quiteconfident of performing well.
Were you helping the England team to draw this match?
Itwas not a question of helping them to draw. Our intention is to win the match. But knowing the history of this wicket, we delayed the declaration. Our bowlers were also tired.
Ican't influence what the general impression is, but let me tell you we will try our best to perform well.
Could you explain about the historical thing on this wicket?
Inthat case imposing the follow on would have been better since teams have done well batting last. Well, knowing the history of this wicket and the past history of this particular wicket where you can score 400 and odd runs easily.
So England can get 500?
Itis possible. The wicket is good for batsmen. It is a very, very good wicket.
Did you also consider the weather conditions?
Wethought of scoring more runs and putting up pressure because of our spin bowlers, particularly on the last day.
Is Zaheer Khan ok?
Heis fine, he is ok.
How was he when the decision was taken?
Hewas fine, alright.
Is the champagne ready? Where is the party tomorrow?
Youare most welcome. All are welcome.
If the pitch historically supported batting last, why didn't you do it?
Seeit has got both the sides. Suppose if you were to get out, then this is what happened today... we were 3 down for 12. So we didn't want to take a chance.
Was India scared of losing?
No,we were not scared of losing. We were making ourselves absolutely sure to beat them.
So it was safety first?
Notnecessarily. We were trying positive cricket. Today also the way they (Indians) were attacking while bowling. You must have seen silly mid-off, silly mid-on, they were there. We are trying our best and we will definitely try. We will play positive cricket to win. Our aim is to win the match.
Does a 1-0 or a 2-0 victory make a difference to you?
I will be happy to go with a 2-0victory.
Why should it make any difference since we are 1-0 up already?
Wewould be delighted since it is a wonderful achievement because we will be winning after a long time.