After being severely criticized for going down in the first two Tests, the Indian unit showed nerve to bounce back and gain a massive 203-run win over England in the 5-match series. Playing with renewed zeal and energy, the visitors proved that they are no pushovers, sending the home team to the back foot and then ensuring they were never allowed to get away.
The return to form of some of India’s premier batsmen, the fine form of the seamers and the catching remained the biggest taking points for India in the game.
The other batsmen finally rise up
For a change, it was India’s batting and not the bowling that was the weak point coming into the series. True to doubts, all the players sans Virat Kohli had horrible outings in the first two matches, which further pushed the Indian squad into the hole. Not only were the openers, led by Murali Vijay, struggling, the number 3 and number 5 – Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane – were equally horrendous. Hence, though Kohli continued his blazing streak, he was hardly given a cushion to fail that only mounted the pressure on him.
However, not only did the openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan found some sort of momentum at Trent Bridge, the biggest positive was the way that Rahane batted. Jinks had been coming into the match after a poor run of form, but his footwork and his temperament displayed how he was eager to put it all behind him. Cheteshwar Pujara too grinded it out for his 72 that was later praised by the captain. With the series set up at 1-2, India should be pleased by the efforts of their gallants and hope that they can level the series.
The tough mindset comes knocking again
It has so often happened in the past that the fight evaporated from the Indian squad after they had been pushed to the wall. Till the days of MS Dhoni, the Indian unit found it tough to bounce back after they had been outplayed with the now infamous 0-8 scoreline that was achieved against England and Australia in 2011 popping to mind. But ever since Kohli took over the reigns, the change in outlook has been visible.
It was on display when the team was trailing in South Africa, when they had come back to script a memorable win on a tough pitch. It was displayed in Kohli’s first match as captain, when the Indian team scared the Australians at Adelaide and once again, the never-say-die attitude that has become the hallmark of the present side was on display.
Bumrah emerges as the future leader of the attack
When Umesh Yadav was dropped for Kuldeep Yadav at Lord’s it was met with its own criticism. The fast bowler had done nothing wrong to warrant getting dropped and once Jasprit Bumrah was fit, Umesh was sure to make way. Caught up in debates over his success in the Test format – for he was considered only an LOI bowler – the bowler with the unusual action has proven in his last two Tests that he is here to stay.
After picking up 5 wickets at Johannesburg, Bumrah stole the show in the second innings as he unleashed his pace and variety on the baffled English batsmen. The bouncers were nippy and the length balls cramped up the players for room. He forced the rivals to edge, nick and play across the line and his spell with the second new ball, in particular, was one of the best spells in the recent past. His bouncer to bounce out Chris Woakes was termed as the best bouncer in a long time by Michael Holding and with the show, it is clear that Bumrah is here to stay.
Hardik tides overall criticism
Is he a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder? What is his exact place in the team? With growing questions over Pandya’s role, the onus was on the youngster to prove his worth. He shut all questions to rest by not only taking 5 wickets but also getting to a run-a-ball fifty that proved handy for India. His spell with the ball in the first innings was mesmerizing and as England were pushed deeper and deeper to the ground, a hero in Pandya emerged.
Catches did win matches!
For long, the slip catching has been a major problem in the Indian team with them being guilty of flooring the simplest of chances that allow England back into the game. At Trent Bridge, then, it was refreshing to see the slip cordon at their toes, with newbie Rishabh Pant impressing with his keeping skills as well. KL Rahul snatched up 7 wickets while Pant grasped as many as well. With Kohli and Rahane too pitching in, a long-standing woe for India was finally converted into a strength.