Melbourne: Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has blamed India skipper MS Dhoni for "India's slide to oblivion" and questioned his "conservative" approach on the final day of the first Test against Australia in Melbourne.
"M S Dhoni set the tone for India's slide to oblivion on the final day at the MCG. He was extremely conservative when the situation cried out for him to attack in order to claim the final two wickets cheaply," Chappell wrote in his column for the 'Herald Sun'.
The senior Chappell was critical of the visitors' inability to polish off the Australian tail and said Dhoni needs to find a solution to the problem before the start of the second Test in Sydney from January 3.
"He (Dhoni) lamented India's inability to rid themselves of the Australian tailend batsmen in both innings. He only needs to pay attention when shaving before the SCG Test to find the solution to that problem," Chappell insisted.
He, however, maintained that Australians would need to find a solution to stop Sachin Tendulkar, who looked in ominous touch during his stay at the crease.
"The player the Australians haven't yet found an answer for is Sachin Tendulkar. He looked in top form, and with the SCG being his favourite venue in Australia, they'll need to find a solution quickly," Chappell wrote.
Chappell, in his column, seemed skeptical of Gautam Gambhir's form, as the Delhi lad looked in discomfort against the rising ball.
"Gautam Gambhir is in trouble, as he's discomforted by the extra bounce. If he continues to poke suspiciously at deliveries outside off-stump like a nervous mouse nibbling at the cheese, the Australians will have no trouble springing the trap," he pointed. Chappell also feels that Michael Clarke's men need to be cautious about the "belligerent" Virender Sehwag and get him out cheaply.
"Stopping Virender Sehwag is an important part of restricting India's scoring," he insisted.
Chappell though, was appreciative of the Aussie pace battery, who maintained a good line and length to Sehwag.
"The length the Australians are currently bowling is the most testing the belligerent opener can face. He loves it short outside off stump, but the Australians, operating on a fuller length, are more likely to exploit his lack of foot movement.
"Keep Sehwag quiet and you reduce the Indian line-up's effectiveness by around 50 per cent," Chappell said.
"If Australia can shut down both Sehwag and Tendulkar, then India could well be propelled on a downhill slide similar to their recent precipitous one in England, which ended in a 4-0 series thrashing," he added.
Chappell appreciated the manner in which the Australian captain Michael Clarke handled a "penetrative pace attack" in the Melbourne Test but said the skipper needs to work on his defensive technique.
"Clarke has shown himself to be a pro-active skipper. He has a good 'gut feel' for bowling changes and wasn't cowered into conservatism when Sehwag was firing in the first innings.
"Clarke just needs to tighten his own batting defences so the opposition doesn't put the skids under his impressive captaincy by making him struggle for runs," he said.