India Comfortably Controlling the Series
India were the victors of the second test in the Visakhapatnam stadium winning by 246 runs. Day four was a day of contrasting fortunes as India were bowled out for only 204, leaving the English needing 404 runs to chase down. However, the final day saw the England batting order collapse which handed India the first win in the test series. It was this batting collapse which would ultimately let England down, as their bowling was clearly not the issue. The return of James Anderson was an important factor in this, and was helped by Adil Rashid’s 7 wickets over India’s two batting innings. The key difference in the match was the first innings score England achieved: exactly 200 fewer than the first innings score of their opponents, leaving a mountain to climb for Alistair Cook’s men. As England ended up losing by 246 runs, it was clearly this lack of runs in the first innings that led to England’s failure in the test.
The impact of Virat Kholi and Cheteshwar Pujara was important for India as both put on centuries together which put India in an imposing position after winning the toss and electing to bat. Kholi would ultimately win the player of the match. The bowling impact of the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was another clear factor for their victory with his five-wicket-haul in the first innings and three wickets in the second; India used his spin well on a pitch which was well suited for the spinners, something England, even in spite of Adil Rashid, still struggle with.
This tour of the South Asian subcontinent has seen the international debuts of Ben Duckett and Zafar Ansari but both in this instance had a miserable test. Bowling only 12 overs for no wickets in the first innings and scoring five runs in total, Ansari did not add any spark for England. After only managing five runs in two innings, Duckett will be hoping that previous form will be enough to keep his place in the side. Twice bowled out by Ashwin’s brilliance, he will certainly be happy to leave the turning pitches of this tour behind.
In comparison, the English batting pairing of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes cemented their position as the highest average partnership score in international cricket. Their average of over 120 placed them ahead of other cricketing stars across the globe which not only reflects a triumph for English middle-order batting, but also highlights the fact that the team has failed to find a solid opening order batting duo. Many are following the progress of young Haseeb Hameed in his debut test series. While this one will not be remembered for his successful batting, he was unlucky with his dismissals and will almost certainly be given another opportunity in the next test. Going into third test on the 26th of November, India are ahead by one after the draw in the first test in this five match series. All is still very much to play for.
Photo Credit: Associated Press