Virat Kohli- The Captain

icyman

National Board President
Joined
May 17, 2004
Location
Hong Kong
Profile Flag
India
I can appreciate your thoughts here. I posted earlier that perhaps MSD still is India’s best captain ever. Thanks for the explanation.
Perhaps in the early 2010's, yes! He started losing his touch thereafter and wasn't capable of building a team for the future. With MSD, a same crop of players would play, whereas a majority of budding stars were left in the lurch.
Similarly I can sense Rohit being the better option as a captain for India in blues. Again he is not MSD but he is quite there*. Like almost.
Agree! Over the last few years, it seems that Rohit has led India in more T20 than Virat. Plus, his style of captaincy would free up Virat. Personally, I feel Virat needs to let go of the reigns if he is unable to bring home the WT20 this time round.
 

NILAYSHAH60

TPCL management
India
NZ....
Mumbai Indians
DD.....
Avengers
Joined
Aug 4, 2012
Location
Thane, India
Profile Flag
India
I think few members aren't pleased with the things I have put up in this thread. I've clearly mentioned in the first post that these are my views and I am open to accepting other's thought out opinions. Also I don't think I have ever promoted any hate against Virat Kohli in any of my posts. There is not one post where I have been open about my hate regarding Kohli(just to state the fact that I don't hate him either). Also you can clearly see most of the things I have written are just mere facts.

I would actually welcome any counter arguments if there are any but those doesn't include illogical trolls or getting personal with someone's likes/dislikes about a particular player.
 

Untouchables_666

Banned
Wild Force
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Location
Heaven
Profile Flag
India
I have engaged some short arguments with other members of this thread, including Nilay. It is a very well designed thread with some very good, useful information.

We need to appreciate the great work and research done in this thread by @NilayShah60 and its unfortunate that some are accusing him of ‘hating Virat’. Thats not cool man and need to stop making @NilayShah60 upset about being ill equipped and unable to debate with other members who may seem ‘trolling’ because they share an opposite thinking to him.

So back on the subject at hand. Any overseas captaining a side in England for 5 test matches is a difficult task and this series could be the one that cements Virat’s legacy as the greatest Test captain India has produced.
 

NILAYSHAH60

TPCL management
India
NZ....
Mumbai Indians
DD.....
Avengers
Joined
Aug 4, 2012
Location
Thane, India
Profile Flag
India


Chapter 24: First ever series win in South Africa

272777.jpg

The 3-match Test Series in South Africa were going to be a followed by a 6-match ODI series and a 3-match T20I series. Kohli and his men were hungry for a victory after being humiliated in the Test Series and making a dream comeback in Johannesburg. AB de Villiers was injured before the series and was ruled out for the first 3 matches. So this was a good chance for the Indians to conquer South Africa.

The first match of the series was going to be played at Kingsmead in Durban. India had a poor record playing in Durban against South Africa losing 6 out of 7 games and one match being abandoned. South Africa won the toss on a dry pitch and elected to bat first. They were off to a good start scoring 30 runs off 7 overs but just when they were looking to accelerate Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Hashim Amla for just 16. De Kock and du Plessis brought South Africa into a decent position as they were 83/1. Kohli decided to bring in the spinners into the attack and it paid off as Chahal got De Kock ofr 34. Couple of overs later Chahal got Markram out for 9. Kuldeep Yadav got out JP Duminy from the other end for 12 and David Miller for 7. Suddenly, South Africa were reduced to a 134/5. South Africa needed a partnership now. du Plessis and Morris did just that as Morris made 37. The South African skipper du Plessis went beserk in the last 10 overs as he went on to score 120 taking South Africa to 269/8 in their 50 overs. Probably 30-40 more runs than what it looked like at one stage. This could've well been the difference. However, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were off to a flyer as India scored 30 in just 5 overs. Rohit went for a shot one too many as he got out for 20 trying to hit Morkel over mid-off. Dhawan also ran himself out for 35 on Kohli's call. At 67/2, it seemed like the Indians were panicking and South Africa seemed like a couple of wickets away from putting enormous pressure on India. Rahane joined hands with Kohli. Both rotated the strike sensibly until few overs. As India took a commanding position both Rahane and Kohli started to hit boundaries all around the park and South Africa lost their morale. Rahane was dismissed for 79 but Kohli went on to score 112. India chased down 270 in just 45.3 overs winning the match by 6 wickets.

The second match was going to be played at Centurion. South Africa lost their skipper Faf du Plessis just a couple of days before the match. Markram was given the Captaincy which was actually pretty hard on the youngster. Markarm had hardly established himself in the ODI team and to give him the Captaincy could've proved to be disastrous. India won the toss and elected to field first. The pitch seemed similar to the one at Durban so probably this was a good call. South Africa was off to an extremely slow start. Just went they tried to enforce the scoring they lost Amla on 20 caught behind by Dhoni off Bhuvi's bowling. Kohli brought Chahal in the 13th over. Chahal got De Kock and Kuldeep got stand-in skipper Markram from the other end. The other Proteas batsmen looked clueless to the turning ball as they collapsed from 51/1 to 99/5 and eventually were bowled out for a miserable 118. This still happens to be South Africa's lowest score in their ODI history. Chahal's 5/22 and Kuldeep's 3/20 took South Africa apart. India comfortably won that match by 9 wickets.

Another injury to the South African camp as De Kock was now ruled out for the rest of the series along with Faf du Plessis. South Africa were almost an inexperienced team now. The 3rd ODI was to be played at Cape Town which is South Africa's fortress in this format as they had won 28 of the 33 matches played here losing just 5 matches. South Africa won the toss and elected to field first on a slightly quicker surface than the last 2 matches. India lost Rohit without a run on the board. At 4/1, Kohli was given out by the umpire and it seemed India were in a spot of bother for the first time in the series. Kohli reviewed the decision and a big inside edge was found on the ultra-edge technology. Dhawan and Kohli put on 140 runs for the 2nd wicket. Dhawan scored 79 runs. However, India just lost their way as they were now 236/6 in 43 overs. Kohli scored his 33rd ODI hundred. He and Bhuvneshwar Kumar put on an unbeaten partnership of 67 run for the 7th wicket and Kohli was unbeaten on 160. This was the highest ever score in an ODI match by an Asian batsman in South Africa. South Africa lost Amla in the 2nd over. Markarm and Duminy put on 78 for the 2nd wicket but it was once again those 2 leg-spinners who made life incredibly difficult for the Proteas. David Miller and Khaya Zondo joined each other at 95/4. They added just 34 runs in 64 balls for the 5th wicket. As the required rate kept on increasing South Africa had to go for big shots which resulted in lost of wickets all around. South Africa were bowled out for 179 losing the match by 124 runs. India were just a win away from winning their first ever series in South Africa.

The 4th ODI was going to be played at the Wanderer’s in Johannesburg. AB de Villiers joined the South African team returning from an injury. India won the toss and elected to bat first on a flat pitch with decent bounce and good carry. Shikhar Dhawan was playing his 100th match. Rohit Sharma was once again dismissed early and he seemed to carry his poor form from the Test series. Dhawan and Kohli once again put on a big partnership in the series. They put on 178. Kohli unfortunately missed his 34th ODI century by just 25 runs!! Dhawan went on to score 109 becoming the first batsman to score a 100 in his 100th match for India. India failed to accelerate in the end overs as they managed just 289/7 in their 50 overs. South Africa were off to an aggressive start chasing 290 scoring 43/0 in just 7 overs. A rain interruption meant that South Africa had to chase 202 in just 28 overs. They were soon 77/3 and needed someone to step up. AB de Villiers took on Kuldeep Yadav hitting him for a couple of boundaries and a massive six. This really shook up India. Bowling with the wet ball the 2 leg-spinners were suddenly under pressure. South Africa carried this momentum forward and eventually won the match by 5 wickets. Klassen scored 43 while Miller scored 39. Phelulkwayo also scored 23 off just 8 balls!!!!

The 5th ODI was played at Port Elizabeth. India had never won a match at Port Elizabeth against South Africa. South Africa won the toss and elected to field first. India were off to a quick start. They scored 44/0 in just 7 overs. Dhawan got out to a bouncer trying to pull a short ball over the fence off Rabada scoring 34 off just 23 balls. Rohit Sharma was playing well this time around as he hit a six off the first ball of a new spell from Tabraiz Shamsi. Rohit Sharma and Kohli put on 105 for the 2nd wicket before Kohli unfortunately got run out for 36. Later, Rahane also got run out for 8. Rohit Sharma scored his 17th ODI century. He got dismissed for 115. India failed to accelerate in the end overs for the 2nd consecutive match as they finished on 274/7 in their 50 overs. Lungi Ngidi had figures of 4/51 in his 9 overs. South Africa just like the last match began positively. Markram scored a run a ball 32. Hardik Pandya got wickets in consecutive overs dismissing Duminy and the dangerous de Villiers. South Africa were now 65/3. David Miller and Amla put on 62 for the 4th wicket and it looked South Africa would win this one. But after Miller got out Amla was dismisssed soon after. South Africa collapsed from 162/4 to 201 all out. India won their first ever series in South Africa under Kohli. A big credit should go to the spinners for the way they bowled. Hardik Pandya was equally effective with the ball in middle overs while Bumrah and Bhuvi were effective with the new ball. So this was more about the way Indian bowlers had performed.

The 6th ODI at Centurion was more of a formality now. India won the toss and elected to bowl first. South Africa followed the same negative approach as they got bowled out for a mere 204. Khaya Zondo top scored with 54. Chahal took 1/38 in his 10 overs being extremely economical with the ball. India cruised along chasing 205 as Kohli scored another century. His 3rd for the series and his 35th overall. He finised with a tally of 558 runs in the series averaging 139.50.

It was time to switch over the format. Suresh Raina joined the Indian squad. The first T20 was played at Johannesburg. India were put into bat by South Africa. Rohit Sharma completely unleashed himself scoring 21 off just 9 but was dismissed by Junior Dala caught behind. Raina also scored 15 off 7 dismissed by Dala. Kohli scored 26 of 20. Dhawan went on to score 72 off 39!!!!! India just like the ODI series failed to achieve a strong finish which was becoming a bit of an issue now. They scored 203/5 in their 20 overs. South Africa failed to keep up with the rate all throughout as they lost by 28 runs scoring just 175 in their 20 overs.

In the 2nd T20I at Centurion, South Africa once again won the toss and elected to bowl first. Rohit got out for a duck. Raina and Dhawan took on the attack to the bowlers before Dhawan got out on a low full toss off Duminy for 24 off 14. Raina scored 31 off 24 and Kohli was dismissed for just 1. At 79/4 in walked Manish Pandey who joined hands with Dhoni as both of them scored their respective half centuries. Pandey scored 79 while Dhoni scored 52. India scored 188/4 in their 20 overs. South Africa were off to a slow start as they scored 38/2 in 5 overs. Klassen and Duminy got together and once they got their eyes in they went beserk. This is where Kohli as Captain looked absolutely helpless. He just wasn’t able to break that partnership by making the right bowling changes and having the fielders on the right place. Duminy and Klassen scored 63 and 69 respectively as South Africa won by 6 wickets in just 18.4 overs. Kohli was injured as he missed out the 3rd T20I and Rohit took over him. India won the third T20I by 7 runs winning the series 2-1. India did win the limited overs leg but South Africa not playing their full strength lineup along with an inexperienced Captain masked many issues that would’ve been existing in the Indian team as a whole. But nevertheless this was their best ever performance in South Africa in their history. So this was nothing short of an achievement.​
 
Last edited:

NILAYSHAH60

TPCL management
India
NZ....
Mumbai Indians
DD.....
Avengers
Joined
Aug 4, 2012
Location
Thane, India
Profile Flag
India


Chapter 25: First Assignment of England

Part 1- Limited Overs


Winning in England is always special for any side touring there, so as it was for the Indian team back in 2018. England is the country where the Test matches had birthed plus it offers one of the most difficult conditions in the world. So it is always a big achievement for any side in the world. Kohli and his men were probably looking to do the same.

But this series set brought with it a new set of challenges for the Indian side. The Asian teams are usually vulnerable to the swinging pitches because of their conditions being spin dominated and batting friendly on the other hand things were quite difficult in England and only those sides succeed over here who have strong bowling attacks. Although India too had a pace attack with them this time capable of taking 20 wickets in a Test match unlike the past years. There was an ever bigger challenge lying ahead of the Indian skipper
who had a horrendous tour in this country 4 years ago as he averaged just about 13.9 scoring 139 runs in 10 innings in a 5-match series.

So, India had to win this series to prove 2 things. The first was that they were now capable of performing Overseas and winning a Test Series against a quality opposition in alien conditions, while the second was proving their dominance in World Cricket.

The tour began with a 3-match T20I series. The 1st of the 3 matches was going to be played at The Old Trafford in Manchester. The challenge of playing in Manchester for the sub continent teams is to adjust with the bounce of the Old Trafford pitch. India won the toss and elected to field first. England had a really strong batting line-up in limited overs Cricket and they knew to dominate the bowling line-ups of any team in the world. And they did just that by scoring 53/1 in the first 6 overs of the innings. But, India ensured that they were up for facing this challenge as they brought Kuldeep Yadav in the 10th over of the innings. Both leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were instrumental in helping India win this first ever ODI series in South Africa just months before this series. Although this pitch did not have a huge turn on it but the occassional balls just stopped onto the batsman. Kuldeep first got Alex Hales bowled down the leg-side for 8(18), on his 1st ball of his 3rd over he got English skipper Eoin Morgan caught at deep mid-wicket for 7(6) and later on the 3rd and the 5th delivery he got Bairstow and Root out stumped on identical scores of 0(1). He got Jordan out c&b for a golden duck. Jos Buttler looked the only player causing troubles to the Indians as he scored 69(46) opening the batting. England finished with a score of 159/8 in their 20 overs. Kuldeep finished with figures of 5/24 becoming the first spinner to take 5 wickets in a T20I game in England. India lost Dhawan early in their chase of 160. KL Rahul was promoted up the order looking at the form he was in during the IPL. He made full use of this opportunity as he scored runs all around the park. He went on to score 101*(54). Kohli smashed a six as India won by 8 wickets in just 18.2 overs. Rohit also supported Rahul as he scored 32(30) in a partnership of 123 runs for the 2nd wicket. Rahul's innings was a statement in itself that India were up for something big on this tour.

Kuldeep Yadav said:
In the first over I checked the wicket. It was a bit dry. There was a possibility of a little turn, but it didn't turn to begin with. Chahal told me it was not turning. It was stopping. Accordingly, I varied the pace a little. The batsman would need to use his feet​
Eoin Morgan said:
Taking three wickets in an over really set us back. Probably cost us 30-40 runs.​
KL Rahul said:
I have a few international hundreds, but this means the world to me. This is very special because the last international hundred I got was about two years ago. I've been getting fifties in the IPL and Test matches, been in and out of the one-day team. It's been a rough road in the last one, one-and-a-half years with injuries, going out. I haven't chased anything this much, with so much heart and passion, so this innings means the world to me. Being out of form is getting out in single-digits, but that wasn't happening. I was getting starts, I was batting well. Obviously a couple of injuries, going in and out of the team . . . not finding a spot after some time has always been tough. So to get that opportunity and deliver, to get that three-figure mark - I've always said that I've not been somebody who has chased numbers, but when I wasn't getting the three-figure mark, that's when I really realised how important three figures was.​

The 2nd T20I was played at Cardiff on a seaming track. England won the toss and put India in to bat first. India got off to a worst possible start as they were 22/3 in 4.5 over losing Rohit, Dhawan and Rahul. Although, Raina and Kohli did help India recover from it as they put on 57 runs for the 4th wicket before Raina got out stumped off Adil Rashid on 27(20). Kohli went on to score 47(38). Dhoni really struggled to put the foot on the accelerator in the end overs as he just managed 32(24). India ended up on a subpar 148/5 in their 20 overs. England were just pacing their chase to perfection as India found it hard to defend their total. India did manage to get wickets here and there but the score was little too less. India were to defend 12 runs off the last over as Kohli gave the over to Bhuvneshwar Kumar who had figures of 1/7 in his 3 overs. Alex Hales held his calm and won it for England with 2 balls to spare as they won by 5 wickets. India probably lost this match in the way they batted and their batting clearly lacked intent when we compare it to their performance at Old Trafford.

The decider of this series was played at Bristol. The Indians were dealt with a huge blow before the match as they lost Bhuvneshwar Kumar to a back injury. India also made an interesting decision as they left out Kuldeep Yadav. India won the toss and elected to field first on a surface that looked grassy from the outset but had enough dryness and was a hard surface to support the batsman all throughout the match. Siddarth Kaul and Deepak Chahar made their T20I debut for India. England scored 94 runs for the 1st wicket stand. Kaul dismissed Buttler for 34(21) while Roy got out to Chahar on 67(31). The openers had set the tone for a huge score for England already. However, Hardik Pandya took 4/38 in his 4 overs and brought India back into the game. England scored 198/9 in their 20 overs. India got off to a great start scoring 70/2 in their first 6 overs of the innings. Rohit Sharma who had not made much of an impact in the series had come out all guns blazing hitting boundaries and sixes at will all around the park. Kohli got out to Jordan scoring 43(29). India just need 49 in 36 balls now. Rohit went on to score his 3rd century in T20I Cricket(2nd batsman to do so in T20Is) in just 56 balls. Hardik Pandya hit a massive six towards the sight screen as India chased down 199 in just 18.4 overs winning the match by 6 wickets. It was clear from this match that India were going to be really a tough team for England to beat as we go through the series.

The T20I series was followed by a 3-match ODI series. England was probably one of the top-notch ODI sides in the world so beating them at home was going to be a daunting task. However, India had not lost an ODI series to England after 2011. The first of the 3 ODIs was played at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. India won the toss and made a bold call of wanting to field first especially considering the fact that England had scored 444/3 and 481/6 in their last 2 matches batting first at the Trent Bridge with the latter coming just a month ago against Australia. But the decision to field first suited the team balance of the Indian team. England scored 71/0 in Powerplay 1. Kuldeep Yadav was introduced into the attack in the 11th over. He dismissed Roy caught at point on 38(35) trying to hit a reverse sweep. He also dismissed Root and Bairstow out lbw on 3 & 38 respectively. Morgan got out to Chahal scoring 19(20). England were suddenly 105/4. Kuldeep and Chahal literally spun a web around the English batting line-up. England found it better to play out the remaining overs as they scored just 268 all out in their 50 overs. Kuldeep Yadav took 6/25 in his 10 overs achieving the best bowling figures by an Asian bowler in England. India had no troubles into their chase as they won by 8 wickets in just 40.1 overs!!! Courtesy a brilliant 137* by Rohit Sharma who carried his form from the T20I series into this match. Kohli also scored 75(82) while Dhawan scored 40(27). Kuldeep Yadav proved to be the difference between these sides. The criticism was more towards the English side since they had faltered miserably to spin bowling not reading the ball out of the bowlers wrist. It seemed as if India was going to use this as an advantage against the English team in this series.

From Trent Bridge we now move to Lord’s-The Home of Cricket. England won the toss and elected to bat first on a flat batting pitch. Just like Trent Bridge, England made the full use of the 1st Powerplay scoring 69/0. India once again repeated their tactics of killing the game in the middle overs introducing 2 of their leg-spinners. England once again lost both their openers to Kuldeep Yadav’s left-arm wrist spin as they were now 86/2. England knew that if they had to score big runs they will have to try something different against the Indian spinners. Initially Root and Morgan were watchful and as they got their eye in they started to find gaps on regular basis and made sure that they atleast got 5-6 runs every over. They were successful with their approach as Root and Morgan put on 103 runs for the 3rd wicket stand. Root went on to score 113* while David Willey contributed with a 31-ball 50 batting at 7. England scored 322/7 in their 50 overs. India got off to a slow start losing both their openers in the first 10 overs as they were now 57/2. KL Rahul also got out for a duck. The experienced pair of Raina and Kohli put together 80 runs for the 4th wicket before Kohli got out lbw to Moeen Ali scoring 45(56). Raina also got out bowled to Adil Rashid as he scored 46. At 154/5, Hardik Pandya joined Dhoni at the crease. Neither of them were able to help the scoring rate as India scored 236 all out in their 50 overs. England won the match by 86 runs and proved why they are one of the strongest team in the world. Good teams know how to bounce back when the odds are stacked against them and this is what England did.

The decider match was played at Headingley. England won the toss and elected to field first under the Overcast skies. India struggled to get runs in the early overs and lost Rohit Sharma on 2(18). Kohli and Dhawan started to build on a platform to help the Indian middle order explode in the end overs. Just when things started to get better for India, they lost Dhawan run out for 44. Dinesh Karthik joined Kohli at the crease at 84/2. They both put on 41 for the 3rd wicket before Karthik got out bowled for 21 to Adil Rashid. Rashid later got Kohli out bowled for 71 off a delivery the pitched on middle and leg and hit the top of off-stump. A dream delivery to get rid of one of the best in the world. India collapsed from 125/2 to 158/5. They failed to recover from this as they managed only 256/8 in their 50 overs. Courtsey Shardul Thakur’s cameo in the end overs. Although, there was still a little help for the spinners which would’ve kept the Indian spinners interested and gave India a chance to be able to defend their score. England got off to a flier as Bairstow scored 30 off just 13 balls. It seemed that India’s decision to rush Bhuvneshwar Kumar back into the side was a blunder as he struggled for rhythm and got taken for easy runs. England just like Lord’s played Kuldeep and Chahal sensibly as they looked helpless and failed to get any wickets. Joe Root hit the winning boundary when batting on 96* as he hit his 2nd consecutive 100 in the series. Morgan also scored 88* as England won by 8 wickets with 5.3 overs to spare. They also won the series 2-1 and certainly left India with a lot of questions to answer.

 
Last edited:

NILAYSHAH60

TPCL management
India
NZ....
Mumbai Indians
DD.....
Avengers
Joined
Aug 4, 2012
Location
Thane, India
Profile Flag
India


Chapter 25: First Assignment of England


Part 2: Test Series



India were greeted with a new set of problems ahead of the Test Series as Bhuvneshwar Kumar aggravated his back injury by playing in the Final ODI. Jasprit Bumrah hadn’t recovered from the finger injury that he sustained in Ireland. India’s Test wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha who was injured during IPL 2018 had not recovered on time so Dinesh Karthik was supposed to be the wicket-keeper for India. So a lot of problems already. Although they also had something good coming their way since the weather in UK was unusually hot that year. So it meant Indian spinners could’ve come into play.

The first of the 5-match series was to be played at Edgbaston in Birmingham. India made a really interesting call to drop Pujara ahead of the 1st Test for in-form KL Rahul since the Indian team management felt that Pujara lacked intent to score runs in England which could’ve proved to be detrimental towards scoring big runs. England won the toss and elected to bat first. England lost Cook early bowled to Ashwin. They had scored 83/1 at Lunch on Day 1. Shami got Keaton Jennings bowled for 42 and Malan lbw for 8 just few overs into the post Lunch session. Root and Bairstow put on a good partnership of 114 runs for the 4th wicket before Root got run out on 80 to a direct hit from Kohli from the boundary. This lead to a collapse as England finished Day 1 on 285/9. They eventually got bowled out on 287. Ashwin made full use of the slowness of the pitch as he finished with figures of 4/62. Shami also got 3/64. India began their innings positively scoring 50 runs on the board in just 11 overs. England brought Sam Curran into the attack and it worked in England’s favour as India were reduced to 59/3!!! Not having Pujara at 3 proved to be costly for India. India were soon reeling at 100/5. Although Kohli put in the hard yards as he stayed on the crease as long as possible. He batted with some good discipline being aware about his off-stump as he played the ball late with soft hands. A perfect example of how to bat in England!! Kohli had put behind his horrors of 2014 tour as he looked to be India’s best batsman that day. He went on to score 149 runs and was involved in a 57-run partnership for the 10th wicket with Umesh Yadav. India failed to take a lead as they were bowled out on 274, but it was an incredible fightback from them from the position they were in. Ashwin bowled an identical delivery to Cook that got him out in the 1st innings. This time Cook scored 0(14). Indian bowlers were all over England as they were reduced to 89/7. Although they made a blunder by dropping Sam Curran and allowing him to settle in before he went for the big shots. He went on to score 63(65). India now needed to score 192 runs to win which at one stage looked like a 140-odd target. Nevertheless, India were off to a terrible start to their chase being reduced to 46/3. Kohli and Hardik Pandya put on 29 runs for the 6th wicket as India just needed 53 runs to win. Ben Stokes dismissed Kohli on 51 as he finished with a tally of 200 runs for the match. India lost the match by 31 runs and probably lacked a batsman who could hold one end. They did have one in Pujara who was dropped for this Test.

The 2nd match was played at The Home of Cricket-Lord’s. The Day 1 of the match was washed out. India decided to play both Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav despite of the Overcast skies and dampness in the surface. Another poor call in back to back matches. England won the toss and chose to field first. Day 1 was washed out due to rain. On Day 2, India got off to a worst possible start being reduced to 15/3. Rain stopped play for about 4 hours. India continued to crumble under windy conditions where the ball was swinging about 5 inches. Facing a bowler of Jimmy Anderson’s quality was always going to be really tough. India got bowled out on a poor score of 107!!! Anderson took 5/20 and was supported by Chris Woakes who took 2/19. Indian bowlers struggled to get their lines right as England scored close to 5 runs an over on Day 3. India did get early wickets and England went to Lunch on Day 3 scoring 89/4. Mohammed Shami dismissed Buttler for 24(22) as England were now 131/5. India could’ve tried to cut down the lead but instead they kept bowling their spinners as Woakes eventually made it to his maiden Test century while Bairstow scored 93 put on a partnership of 189. Sam Curran played another cameo of 40(49). England declared their innings on 396/7. With the conditions on offer and a trail of 289 runs meant India hardly had a chance of winning the match on Day 4! Pujara showed why he was important to the Indian side as he played about 87 balls in the 2nd innings showed what kind of difference he could’ve made to India’s batting in the last match. India eventually got bowled out for 130 losing the match by an innings and 159 runs. India did not even bat the number of overs in both innings combined that England did in their 1st innings. Kohli’s leadership was under a massive question now since he along with Ravi Shastri had called this Indian side as the best in the world when they lost the series in South Africa and guaranteed an improved performance on India’s part. So all the talk now seemed to have gone in vain as India had faced the reality of the English conditions. The terrible team selection further added to the misery.

If trailing the 5-match series by 2-0 wasn’t enough then the miseries were further aggravated with questions looming over Kohli’s presence in the 3rd Test since he was having a stiff back. Indian team management made sure that Kohli was fit before the 3rd Test.

The 3rd Test was going to be played at Trent Bridge. England won the toss and elected to bowl first on a bright sunny day. Probably not the best of decisions but was more influenced with how India had played in the series thus far. India though batted with a positive mindset this time as they put on 60 for the first wicket. England bounced back and reduced India to 82/3 at Lunch on Day 1. Rahane joined Kohli at the crease after Lunch. Both batted sensibly and started to build on a very good partnership. They did not lose any wicket in the 2nd session of Day 1 scoring more than a 100. Rahane got out on 81. Kohli got out caught in the slips on 97 off Rashid’s bowling missing the 3 figure mark by just 3 runs. Rishabh Pant on debut struck a six on the first ball he faced in Test Cricket. India ended the Day 1 on 307/6. They got bowled out on 329 courtesy 3/72 from Stuart Broad. Indian bowlers struggled to bowl at the right spot as they conceded 48 runs in 10 overs before Lunch on Day 2. Ishant and Bumrah dismissed the England openers. This was followed by a sensational spell from Hardik Pandya who got 5/28. England were bowled out for 161 giving India a lead of 168 runs. India started off in a blazing fashion as they scored 124/2 by the end of Day 2. Kohli and Pujara added 70 runs in the 1st session of Day 3 with Pujara scoring his 2nd half century in England. Virat Kohli went on to score 103 equalling his tally for the first match scoring 200 runs in a match for the 2nd time in the series. Pujara also scored 72. Hardik Pandya’s cameo further helped India’s cause as they declared their innings on 352/7 giving England a target of 521 runs. Ashwin had injured himself in the 1st innings by straining his back, but he still managed to bowl 22.5 overs finishing with figures of 1/44. Jasprit Bumrah on his return took 5/85 in the 2nd innings. Buttler and Stokes put on a 169 run partnership for the 4th wicket which was a highlight of the innings. Buttler went on to score his maiden Test hundred. England were bowled out on 317 losing the match by 203 runs. India had given a strong reply to the world that they still can win matches abroad. But the series was still yet for the taking.

The 4th Test was played at Southampton. England won the toss and elected to bat first. India in their must-win game decided to continue with a not so fully fit Ashwin since he was their best Test bowler over the years. And leaving out him would’ve meant risking the series. Indian bowlers especially Jasprit Bumrah was all over the English line-up as England were struggling at 86/6. In walked Sam Curran who joined Moeen Ali who was coming back to England’s Test team after a while. Both batted with a calm approach and looked to build on partnership and stay in the middle as long as it was possible rather than going after the bowling. Moeen Ali was dismissed by Ashwin on 40 as he attempted a slog sweep mistiming it and ended up hitting into the hands of Bumrah. Curran continued on his way to the rescue mission as he started playing his shots taking on the attack to the bowlers. He took England from 167/7 to 246 all out by scoring 78. Both Dhawan and Rahul got starts but failed to convert their scores. The Indian skipper joined Pujara at 50/2. Kohli however got out to Curran on 46. India collapsed from 142/2 to 195/8. It was Pujara who had held his end all this while as he lofted a full length ball from Moeen Ali to get a couple and score his 1st ever century in England. Batting with Bumrah he added 46 for the 10th wicket before Bumrah got himself out to Broad on 6. Pujara scored a magnificent 132* giving India a lead of 27 runs. England ended Day 2 on 6/0. India started Day 3 positively as they had England on 92/4 at one stage with a lead of just 65 runs. India found it hard to get Stokes out neither they managed to make use of the footholes on the pitch to get the ball to turn. The decision to play Ashwin had comeback to haunt India as England set India a target on 245 on a worn out pitch. Sam Curran once again scored 46 while Buttler scored 69. On a pitch that Moeen Ali had got a 5-wicket haul, Ashwin just managed to pick one wicket in his 37 overs. England made use of the unpredictable bounce in the surface as India were reduced to 22/3!!! The experience of Kohli-Rahane pair helped India to recover. India required just 122 now. Moeen Ali came in and bowled on the foothole as the unpredictability came into play. Kohli was caught at forward short leg by Cook. This opened up one end which England made full use of. They bowled India out for 184 winning the match by 60 runs. Yet another series was lost as Kohli and his men failed to bring improvement to India’s performance. Moeen Ali ended up getting 9 wickets for the match which was the difference between the sides. In the hindsight, India could well have played Jadeja who would’ve been an incredibly tough bowler to face on a worn out pitch rather than unfit Ashwin who failed to pitch the ball at the right spot.

Following an average form for an extended period of time Alastair Cook had made it public on the 3rd Day of the 4th Test that he had decided to retire after the India series. So this was a special match for England to repay the tribute to their best ever player with a winning performance in his last match. England won the toss on a flat pitch and elected to bat first. India were forced to bring in Jadeja for Ashwin while they dropped Hardik Pandya for an extra batsman. Hence, Vihari made his Test debut. England put on 60 for the 1st wicket and 73 for the 2nd. Cook scored 71 as he was bowled by Bumrah. Moeen Ali scored 50 batting at 3. England collapsed from 133/1 to 187/7 as they got out Curran early this time. But again it proved to be not much of use as Buttler scored 89 and took England to a good score of 332. Jadeja got 4/79 and proved his worth. With a loss of regular wickets, India were reduced to 160/6. It was once again Jadeja but this time with the bat who tried his best to bring India to a competitive position into this match. Vihari on debut scored 56(124) while Jadeja played possibly the innings of his career scoring 86*(156) showing great resistance in difficult batting conditions. India got bowled out on 292 runs. England ended Day 3 on 114/2. They were leading India by 154 runs and a good session of bowling would’ve possibly brought the match back in India’s grasp. Unfortunately, Ishant Sharma injured himself as India were left with just 3 bowlers and a part-timer Vihari on Day 4. Cook in his final Test innings scored 147 while English Captain Joe Root scored 125. England declared their innings on 423/8 giving India a target of 464 to win. Anderson got 2 early wickets in Dhawan and Pujara while Broad dismissed Kohli on a golden duck(the first time in the series he scored less than 10). Kohli finished an incredible tour scoring 597 runs averaging 59.70. India ended Day 4 at 58/3. An England victory seemed unavoidable at this stage unless India put on a dream fightback. Rahane got out on 37 while Vihari scored a duck as it seemed India would falter in an hour’s time at 121/5. Although KL Rahul and Pant defied all odds playing their natural game as they took on the bowlers. India were 298/5 at Tea needing 166 to win off 41 overs. KL Rahul got dismissed on a ball that pitched way outside leg-stump on the foothole and turned viciously as he got out bowled to Rashid on 149. Pant got dismissed on 114. England wrapped up the tail quickly and won the match by 118 runs.

Virat Kohli said:
Definitely think we will sit down and think about, if we had taken those opportunities, we missed quite few. When both teams are going for wins, you can have a result that looks like that [4-1], they don't go for draws. They played fearless, you hardly have draws in these tense series and that's what the scoreline shows. I'm not saying it wasn't a fair scoreline, because they played better than us, but we can take a lot of heart and apply lessons to how we play Test cricket.

The Captaincy flaws:-

  1. Not able to break partnerships in ODIs.
  2. Over reliance on 2 leg-spinners.
  3. Forcing Bhuvneshwar Kumar to play in the 3rd ODI despite injury.
  4. Dropping India’s best number 3 in the 1st Test and replacing him with an opener in KL Rahul who looked in good form in the limited overs leg.
  5. Playing 2 spinners on a damp pitch in Overcast conditions and bowling them for 40 overs when England had no overs of spin.
  6. Expecting Hardik to perform the batsman’s role and trying to play him as the 3rd seamer in the First 2 Tests.
  7. Playing Ashwin inspite of injury and not backing Jadeja when required.
  8. Sam Curran’s continued dominance throughout the series when the top order had collapsed. No additional plans to get him out.

Positives:-​

  1. Continued backing of Fast bowlers after success on South Africa tour.
  2. Promoting the fitness culture. (Ironically played injured players)
  3. Expecting a fightback from the players in turn motivating them to perform better.

Hardik's incredible spell in the 3rd Test followed by India's batting on Day 2.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top