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Scintillating Team Game Paves Way As India Stun England With Epic Trent Bridge Triumph

August 23, 2018

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When was the last time India put up such a complete as well as a dominant performance outside the subcontinent? Beating West Indies back in 2016 was never a big deal, it was always on the cards. Victory at Lord’s in 2014 came at the back of a stunning 2nd-innings-bowling-effort. Durban 2010 was a closely fought affair while Perth 2008 was perhaps a bit closer than the scoreboard suggests. So in order to find as dominating a performance as here at Trent Bridge one would have to go as far as Headingly 2002. Forget about total domination, India’s victories outside the subcontinent are rare occurrences as it is. But just imagine from where this one has been plucked. After a heart-wrenching defeat in the first test and an absolute hammering one in the second, had this game slipped out, a 5-0 scoreline would not have been far away. But as they did in South Africa having lost two in a row, here they do it again. And the good thing is that this series is still on with a couple of games to go – a situation from where all three results are possible.

India have largely banked on individual brilliance to bail them out outside Asia – most of the time a big hundred from one of their batting saviours, sometimes a daunting spell of fast bowling from a seamer or may be a match-defining partnership between a batting-pair. On the other hand, here in Nottingham the team stood up as a whole and that too from being 0-2 down. Naturally this victory will go down as one of their finest victories of all time.

It all started with Shikhar Dhawan. The left hander was making a comeback after being dropped in the second test, perhaps not for the scores he had in the first game, but for the ways of his dismissals over there. Here, being a naturally attacking player, he could have chosen to go all guns blazing straightaway, but he approached it with a lot more caution, maturity and planning.

It was important for India to get a steady foundation. Having perceived the urgency Dhawan took the drives out of his game and brought different gears to it, probably three of those. In the first gear he looked to play as late as he could and thereby reducing his bat-speed, making sure that he doesn’t go hurrying into the shot, rather the ball comes in to meet his bat and hence giving himself the chance to make adjustments in case of any late swing. At this point he would leave anything wide outside the off stump. In the second gear, he would still play late, but wait for those wide deliveries that he was leaving in the first. Here he brought the cut shot into play and whenever there was any width on offer Dhawan would simply latch onto such deliveries to send them screaming to the fence. And then arrived gear three in the second innings, when he was fully confident. Now the drives came back to him as well, as he didn’t have to worry about his bat-speed.

Though Dhawan would still be kicking himself having been dismissed in both the innings for scores of less than 50 after being set and would like to improve on this if he has to cement his place in the test side, but one will have to say that his changed tactic helped his team to get the start they wanted and allowed the middle order batsmen to build on from there. Not only that, Ajinkya Rahane, who had been going though an absolute horrible form for the past 13 innings or so, learnt his lesson from the opener too. During his old-fashioned knock in the first innings the Mumbai man hardly looked to drive, not even when the balls were full, he was quite happy to offer the full face of the bat. Though he missed out on what would have been a well deserved hundred, but the innings served as a morale booster to him. After a very un-Pujara like dismissal in the first innings the Indian number three put a big price on his wicket in the second, while the skipper just continued his pristine form. I think should spare at least one full article on Virat Kohli given the way he has batted so far and that’s something what I am looking forward to come up with anytime sooner.

A more than impressive show with the bat seeped confidence into Indian fielding which in recent times has been far from impressive. KL Rahul had a storming time in the second slip as he cupped 7 catches and showed how potent the bowlers can be made to look when the catches are held on. Virat Kohli added his stamp as well with a stunning catch diving to his left in the third slip. And to top it all, Rishabh Pant enjoying a dream debut with the gloves, showing great reactions and composure behind the stumps. Except his dropped catch of Buttler in the second innings he looked all at ease during his first essay.

And then to mention the bowlers. England may have the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad in their ranks, but in this test match the Indian bowling led by Jasprit Bumrah proved itself to be more adaptable.  The Indians quickly learnt from bowling too short with the new ball in the first innings as later on they started bowling much fuller, especially Hardik Pandya. As a result,  England got blown away within a session and were reeled for just 161 in reply of India’s 329. In the second innings, it was an extremely sensible call from Kohli to start the proceedings with Ishant instead of Shami considering the former’s angle to left handers and success against Cook. It immediately worked as he removed both the openers in quick succession. With Root, India came up with a definite plan. They kept bowling full on a consistent basis until one ball that was short and wide as the English captain fell to the trap by edging it to the slip cordon.

Even when a marathon partnership was going on between Buttler and Stokes, India were patient. They didn’t feel any need of changing their strategy. They knew that they had the runs on the board to play with, time in their hands to work on. They just kept waiting for a wicket that would shift the momentum towards them, and when Bumrah eventually struck with the new ball the visitors wiped out the rest of the English tail with minimum fuss.

After going 0-2 down Ravi Shastri asked for some accountability from his boys and the players came up with a perfect response to an almost no-hope situation while the captain himself led by example. With this win India have kept their good record at Trent Bridge intact, a venue where they won in 2007 and drew in 2014. But most importantly they have kept the hopes alive for themselves in a series which otherwise would have been done and dusted with a defeat.

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2 Comments
  1. AYAN ROY permalink

    Exactly !! So there remains a bit possibility to win the series by clearing rest two games !! This memorable sub continental victory will also boost them up for the rest !!

    • Not a sub-continental victory it was, it was a tremendous show from the subcontinental giants outside the subcontinent

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