The earlier instance also came against England at home during the 2016 series, when a flat surface at Rajkot produced a high-scoring draw. It goes to show the success that India’s bowlers have had in recent years in curtailing opposition batsmen.
However, on a flat surface at Chepauk – which is only gradually starting to show signs of deterioration – all the Indian bowlers have been put to the test by an England batting unit that is well prepared for these conditions.
The Indian camp puts it down to the conditions on offer. “The pitch is still very good for batting. I am sure our batsmen will also score a huge total,” left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem said on Saturday, after bowling 44 overs and taking 2/167.
While the pitch hasn’t come to their aid yet, the one area where the Indian bowlers have perhaps let themselves down is in their discipline. There have been a total of 19 no-balls by India’s bowlers so far, with spinner Nadeem bowling as many as 6.
Nadeem conceded that it is an issue he needs to sort out in the nets. “I am jumping a bit late in my delivery stride. Because of that, I am having a problem. It is an issue I need to work on in the nets,” the 31-year-old admitted.
In addition, out of the 122 overs that the Indian spinners have bowled so far, only 11 have been maiden overs. It points to the fact that England batsmen have been able to keep the scoreboard moving and not get bogged down at any stage of the innings.
“We didn’t just look to survive out there. We didn’t look to sort of eat into the overs and make India stay out there. We also looked to be positive in the way that we scored. As a whole, we’re very happy as a batting unit,” England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who smashed 82 off 118 balls, noted on Saturday.
From India’s perspective, Nadeem informed that the plan was to stay patient and stick to bowling in good areas rather than go searching for wickets. But Nadeem himself was guilty of erring in length on too many occasions, going at more than four an over for most of the day.
Stokes suggested that they have learned from the way India bowled and will look to ensure that they don’t give away any easy scoring opportunities to the Indian batsmen.
“We have just got to keep bowling in the right areas. Sometimes out here, it’s a game of patience to see who can stay boring the longest,” the talismanic all-rounder mentioned.