Can Dhoni pull a rabbit out of the hat?

Team India’s sporting integrity is intact even if their batting dignity was dented badly despite Rahul Dravid, with his remarkable qualities of technique and temperament, once again proving what it is to put a value on your wicket in Test cricket.
In the collective decision to recall Ian Bell after the batsman had allowed his body and mind to wander from the crease, Team India saved their image as contentious events flowed one upon another.

Dhoni — under Sachin’s prompting if we are to believe insider tabloid news — did the right thing in being able to correct a decision taken in the heat of the moment even if the laws of the game fully supported the appeal India made.
Cricket balls flung in anger may break bones or take wickets but names do hurt in an environment in which India are viewed as the Frankenstein of the game. No wonder dressing room diplomacy worked off the field. In the arena, Team India were seen at far below par in too many areas to be able to sustain their intensity over all five days of a Test match on sporting pitches.
It would have been soul-destroying had India been beaten without standing any chance of winning. Of opportunities there was at least one in each of the two Tests. Alas, both were allowed to slip from sheer lack of will to win.
While the simplistic theory about the lack of killer instinct in Indian teams is floated every time, the postulation is hardly relevant to a team who still stand on top of the Test rankings. The world’s top Test team are listing badly and will go down soon and not even the captain with the Midas touch can call up the magic in time to make the difference now.
Many things went wrong again for Dhoni’s men with the exception of the winning of a crucial toss given the excellent conditions for swing and seam. Gautam Gambhir pulling out damaged the batting order, thrusting Dravid once again into the opener’s role which, despite his success with a century, he despises.
The hazards of opening were once again stressed as Dravid fell early to a great delivery with the new ball in the second digs. Even the semi-UDRS system India chose boomeranged when yet another umpire had a problem adjudicating against Indian batsmen whose inside edges are never, for whatever reason, that clear cut to officials. But who can BCCI blame except themselves for steering such an obstinate course against the advancement of scientific aids to error-prone umpires?
However, all talk of Hot spot being fooled by Vaseline is so much hot air from a media-saturation series.
The Broad hat trick could not have come at a trickier moment as India were poised to take a lead big enough to worry the home team. It is another matter that India did not bowl out England for under 150 on Day One, a distinct possibility after running through the specialist batting order and coming up against only the bowling all rounders. No performance could have made a broader difference to the Test as Stuart’s. The nicked Harbhajan LBW takes nothing away from his great performance.
Given Dhoni’s personal batting form and that of the little master who at least passed the half century mark, it is hard to see how India are going to avoid defeat in the series. And the tainting has begun with David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd having already predicted a 4-0 sweep.
He sees a yawning gap between the two sides, which is hard to contest considering the margin of victories in the two Tests. Can Dhoni and his men pull a rabbit out of the hat now?

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