‘A tactical error’: Sanjay Manjrekar slams Rohit Sharma’s decision-making process

England were bowled out for a below-par 319 in their first innings.

Sanjay Manjrekar slammed Rohit Sharma's tactics?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4
Manjrekar was critical of Rohit Sharma's decision to bring in R Ashwin late during England's first innings.

Former India cricketer and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar was visibly displeased at Rohit Sharma's decision to delay Ravichandran Ashwin's introduction in England's first innings. England got off to a flyer, thanks to their openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett. Both the openers collected 89 runs for the first wicket in just 13.1 overs before Crawley was dismissed by Ashwin for the latter's 500th Test wicket.

Ashwin came in as the fourth change after Kuldeep Yadav which didn't go down too well with Manjrekar.

"I didn't understand that move," Manjrekar told ESPN Cricinfo when asked about Ashwin's late arrival. "I thought it was an error. A tactical error. Ashwin bowled the first ball when the score was 72 and that's a lot. Among the Indian spinners, Axar Patel included, I think Ashwin is the only one who started to find a way to counter this new English approach of playing spin. He would have been my first-choice spinner. I couldn't understand Kuldeep Yadav coming in at that stage. There was a fair bit of pace bowling too when you could see that the fast bowlers weren't really creating any impression at all."

Zak Crawley becomes R Ashwin's 500th Test scalp

Ashwin was introduced in the 12th over when England had already raced to 72/0. Kuldeep Yadav, who was brought in before Ashwin into the attack, was hit for plenty of sweeps and reverse-sweeps from Ben Duckett. The veteran offspinner struck in the first ball of his second over to remove Zak Crawley to break a dangerous opening partnership.

"These are the things that Rohit Sharma has got to be careful about. He's got to treat this opposition, who are very dangerous, ruthless. Ashwin coming after 72 runs on the board, may come back to haunt him and maybe Jadeja as well who came on to bowl when there were 100 runs on the board. He invested in pace a bit too much. He's got to be careful," Manjrekar added.

Read: Can India replace Ravichandran Ashwin in the Rajkot Test match?

R Ashwin had to withdraw from the Test midway after Day 2 due to his family medical emergency. But Indian bowlers put on a spirited bowling performance, led my Mohammed Siraj, who picked up 4-84. Despite being in a dominant position, England could not capitalize and were bowled out for just 319, handing the home side a lead of 126 runs.