Birmingham, Aug 11 (IANS): India coach Duncan Fletcher attributed his batsmen's poor show on the opening day of the third cricket Test here to the tough conditions and expressed his surprise at the consistent swing and seam the three pitches in the series have produced.
Put in to bat, the Indian batting line-up once again failed to live up to its reputation and was reduced to 111 for seven on the first day Wednesday before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brisk 77 saved them the blushes. The visitors were all out for 224 after which Andrew Strauss (52) and Alastair Cook (27) took England to 84-0 at stumps.
Fletcher, who was a former England coach, admitted that his batsmen are struggling to adapt to the swing and seam. India trail 0-2 in the four-match series and will lose their World No.1 position if they lose this Test.
"Our guys are finding it difficult at the moment to handle the swing and seam," he said. "They've practised, and there's not much more they can do.
"I've not seen three pitches... that have swung and seamed around as much as these have in three Tests."
England pacers Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad took four wickets apiece as they rattled the Indians with accurate line and length.
"It was pretty tough," said Fletcher, the former Ashes-winning England coach.
"Unfortunately that toss was pretty important. Those two wickets that England got just before lunch really put us on the back foot. It's been pretty difficult for the batsmen to adapt."