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'Had Zaheer got three we'd have had a good day'

Last updated on: July 22, 2011 10:27 IST

Fletcher concerned after Zaheer's participation in doubt

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Bikash Mohapatra in London

The opening day of the first Test between England and India at Lord's saw the visitors seize the initiative early on and let it slip, courtesy some patchy bowling and inept fielding, as the day progressed.

- Match report

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Even as he settled down for the presser, coach Duncan Fletcher looked palpably concerned, the reasons being two-fold.

On one hand there were doubts about his key bowler's (Zaheer Khan) further participation in the match. Zaheer pulled a hamstring while bowling.

On the other, his other bowlers had done precious little to suggest they could pitch in should Zaheer become unavailable.


Image: Duncan Fletcher

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'We would have been probably happy with three wickets'

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As inclement weather and bad light ensured an early finish, it was England (placed at 127 for two) who had regained the advantage. This, after India had got both their openers cheap (62 for two).

"From our point of view, we would have been probably happy with three wickets," admitted Fletcher.

- India's tour of England

"Two probably indicated we could have bowled a better length," he added, before proceeding to defend his bowlers.

"With the ball swinging around it was difficult for some of our bowlers to get their line right," he reasoned, adding, "Coming from Somerset, where it didn't swing much, it was probably difficult for them to re-adjust.

"Zaheer bowled very well. It was the other bowlers who lacked the experience."


Image: Zaheer Khan celebrates after dismissing Alastair Cook

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'Zaheer going off was quite a loss for us'

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India's coach admitted that Zaheer going off the pitch (after bowling only 13.3 overs) was a blow for his team.

"Him going off was quite a loss for us, as he was the one who could have got us that third wicket," said Fletcher, before also admitting that India's back-up bowling could be a concern in these swinging conditions.

"We have discussed this and they (the bowlers) are aware of this.  It's one of the areas which can affect us, when you do run-up the ball.

"Players who have been bowling in England quite often also get affected when they came back after a break."


Image: Zaheer Khan leaves the field with a hamstring injury

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'If Zaheer had got three we would have had a very good day'

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Fletcher, however, agreed with his captain's (MS Dhoni) decision to put England in having won the toss.

"Yes, I think he has got it right," said the coach.

"If Zaheer had got three we would have had a very good day."

Fletcher, though, refrained from committing on the extent of his key bowler's injury, preferring to wait and watch.


Image: Duncan Fletcher with Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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