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Friday, April 19, 2024, 5:40 pm

Friday, April 19, 2024, 5:40 pm

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India was tested by England’s Bazball at home, but it was evidently the superior squad.

India was tested by England's Bazball at home, but it was evidently the superior squad.
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India continues to be an unstoppable force in Tests, particularly in its own home. As Rohit Sharma’s team won the fourth Test in Ranchi by five wickets with a day remaining, it was England’s turn to realise this fact. The victory enabled the host to take a 3-1 lead in the series with just the final Test to be played in Dharamshala on March 7. Regardless of the outcome of that final match, Rohit’s team will take home the trophy and the right to talk about this series, which has been an exciting story of highs and lows with India getting the last say. With their Bazooka style of play, which hurried games forward session after session with calculated aggressiveness, frantic run rates and unconventional pitch settings, England was always going to be tough to beat. Ben Stokes and his team won the first Test in Hyderabad by 28 runs, perhaps a foreboding sign. The reasons for England’s dominance were evident, even to the most seasoned English pundits, such as former captain Michael Atherton. In addition to leading a batting order devoid of experience, Rohit was without the services of Mohammed Shami, who was hurt, and Virat Kohli, who was absent due to paternity leave.  Nevertheless, India produced new heroes, such as Dhruv Jurel and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Rajat Patidar struggled, while most freshers did well. The occasion was also met by a few seniors. Even young pacers, like Akash Deep, provided a deft touch as spearhead Jasprit Bumrah bowled spells that endangered stumps. Since India is known for its slow turns and spin in cricket, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and R. Ashwin were all on record-breaking sprees. All of them were excluded from the discussion. It was thrilling to witness India rise to the challenge, despite the physical attributes that England’s hitters frequently displayed. Even though there may have been a slight temptation to bring up Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Rohit and coach Rahul Dravid relied heavily on the young batsmen. In the third Test at Rajkot, the skipper also smashed a century, but Sarfaraz Khan, Jaiswal, who has amassed 655 runs in this series, and Shubman Gill each had their moments. England, who was frequently on the verge of victory, came to the realisation that perseverance was a crucial attribute when playing on rough surfaces and in the scorching Indian heat. The host’s willow-wielders were continually put to the test by veteran James Anderson and a less skilled spin attacker. However, players like as Jurel, who were able to remain composed both in front of and behind the wickets, made sure that India’s winning streak in home Test series lasted for well over 10 years.

 

Abhishek Verma


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