Test series
Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have been rested for the Test series keeping in mind the upcoming South Africa tour.

Having put up an excellent performance to win the Lord’s Test, India went into the Headingley Test on a high. However, they capitulated in inexplicable fashion, getting bowled out for 78 in the first innings. India, eventually, went on to lose the Test by an innings and 76 runs as England squared the five-match series 1-1. When the series began, many pundits had predicted an easy win for India considering England’s weak batting. However, after Headingley, that has changed. India have failed to win a Test series in England since 2007. Although they have put themselves in a position to do so on multiple occasions, they haven’t managed to put the finishing touches. We look at five reasons why India have been struggling to win Test series’ in England.

1. Failure to capitalise on the winning momentum

India went into the Lord’s Test on a high. England seemed down and out at the end of the Lord’s Test but India could not capitalise on the momentum and lost all the advantage with a tepid show at Headingley. Something similar transpired back in 2014. India registered a famous win at Lord’s courtesy Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma to go 1-0 up but ended up conceding the series. During the last series in 2018, India recovered after losing the first two Tests to clinch a professional win at Nottingham. Again, they went to lose the series 1-4.

2. Inability to seize the big moments

During the course of Test matches as well, India have failed to seize the big moments in England. If we go back to the 2011 series, India found itself in a decent position in the opening Test at Lord’s. They were 158 for 2 in response to England’s 474. They could have challenged England and created a situation similar to Adelaide 2003. However, the middle and lower-order crumbled and India were all out for 286, leaving Dravid stranded on 103. During their last tour, they constantly put England’s batting under pressure but failed to get past the lower-order, Sam Curran in particular, and ended up conceding the series by a rather comprehensive margin.

3. Virat Kohli’s inconsistency

Yes, he had a fantastic series in 2018, but in the wake of his struggles in 2014 and in the ongoing series, the previous tour sounds like an aberration. On his maiden tour in 2014, he scored merely 134 runs at an average of 13.40 and a best of 39. He was stupendous in 2018, amassing 593 runs at an average of nearly 60 with two hundreds. On the current tour though, he has managed only one fifty from four Tests (WTC final included). There has been a disappointingly similar pattern to Kohli’s dismissals, flirting outside the off stump.

4. Below par performances of Rahane-Pujara

If Kohli has been average, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have fared worse. As a result, India have never been able to put enough runs on the board consistently. Pujara averages 28.54 from 13 Tests in England while Rahane has an average of 27.50 from 14. Their careers have run parallel and so have their struggles in England. Both Pujara and Rahane have managed only one hundred each in the country. A team will not win a lot of Test series’ with a brittle middle-order like that.

5. Pace bowlers’ inability to take advantage of the Dukes ball

Although India’s pacers have mostly been impressive, they have been outdone by England’s fast bowlers, who know how to utilise the Dukes ball better. It has often been stated that India have more seam bowlers than swing bowlers. In the current squad, only Mohammed Siraj is a genuine swing bowler and he was brilliant at Lord’s but he is still inexperienced. Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah have managed to find the right lengths but Ishant Sharma was completely ragged at Headingley. Thus, Indian pacers still need to figure out how to utilise the Dukes ball more efficiently.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *