Indian Allowed England To Wriggle Out Too Many Times

However much one may want to talk about what might have been, the bottom line is that India lost the just concluded Test series 4-1. That’s what history will record and nothing can erase that. Okay, it could have been 3-2 and not 4-1. Yes, it could have even been 3-2 in India’s favour. After all two matches were lost by relatively narrow margins. And yes India dominated so many sessions, so many phases during the five Test series. But then why could they not build upon this advantage? Why did they allow England to wriggle out?

It is here that the series was won and lost. England won the big moments and came out trumps in the most crucial positions so full credit to them. Their bowling was more incisive, the batting despite their own problems at the top of the order was superior thanks to the late order propping them up time and again. They were better led and made the right selections for each Test the only flaw being dropping Sam Curran for the third Test at Nottingham.

India on the other hand had problems right down the order. Much has been made of the batting failures but the bowlers while otherwise performing heroically were guilty in not displaying the killer instinct when England were down in the dumps in every Test that they won. But other than this aspect the pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami did cover themselves with glory with only Ravi Ashwin’ s bowling in the second innings at Southampton being the one serious letdown.

But yes, it was the batting that was a collective failure. Except Virat Kohli no other batsman lived up to his reputation though Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane had their moments. Lokesh Rahul’s hundred at the Oval, while being handsomely compiled came too late to make a difference to the result. In any case before that 149 he endured harrowing time collecting just 150 runs in nine innings. The repeated failures at the top of the order put tremendous pressure on Kohli and the rest and while the captain was a beacon of light in the gloom the others succumbed meekly. But if as a batsman Kohli in fact enhanced his reputation, he did have his failings as captain making the wrong selections and being strangely defensive in his field placings which to a large extent allowed England to stage their escape act once too often.

What makes the scenario for Australia later in the year even more frightening is the fact that this was not by any means a great England side. They were gaping holes particularly in the batting and fielding but they made the most of their chances that came their way and won the series handsomely. Much is being made of the fact that Australia too are not at full strength and this could well be India’s best chance to win a Test series there for the first time. After what happened in England hopes of such a result are already receding.

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