India vs England: Why India lost the first Test | Cricket News


2021-02-09 08:46:59

NEW DELHI: Not too many people would have expected an India loss in the first Test of their four Test series vs England in Chennai. After all, Team India have just come off a huge series win in Australia and were playing in home conditions. They also had key personnel like Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and R Ashwin fit and available for this Test.
Though England are ranked fourth in the current ICC rankings for Test teams, two places below India, Joe Root and his side have shown that they are up for the challenge in Indian conditions. England were the last team that beat India in India in a Test series (2012-13) and have now taken a 1-0 lead in the current four Test series.
Virat Kohli in fact admitted after the match that England were more professional and consistent than India.
TimesofIndia.com takes a look at some of the factors that contributed to India’s shock loss in the first Test:
Toss – Needless to say, in hindsight it was a very bad toss to lose for India. England’s decision to bat first was the right one and they made the most of the early conditions. 578 in the first innings is a mammoth score. England captain Joe Root in fact had said that they were aiming for 600-700 in the first innings. England batted for 190.1 overs in their first innings before being bowled out.
England batted sensibly in the first innings – The English batsman went about their business sensibly in their first innings. Rory Burns and Dom Sibley gave them a steady start (63 for the first wicket) and then Sibley and Root put on 200 runs for the third wicket. Ben Stokes (82) and Root then added 124 for the fourth wicket. These two partnerships took the wind out of India’s sails. There were no rash shots as such and they stuck to their game plan of trying to put on a big first innings score on the board. Some very useful contributions by the likes of Ollie Pope (34), Jos Buttler (30) and Dom Bess (34) continued to frustrate the hosts and took the visitors to a very big first innings total, which is always a huge psychological edge
Chennai Pitch – Though India did manage to bowl out England in their first innings, it was hard work for the Indian bowlers on a flat track which was very good to bat on once the batsmen settled in. England, fresh off a 2-0 series sweep in Sri Lanka were not intimidated by the pitch at all. There was no overt home ground advantage as such for India. Virat Kohli used six bowlers in England’s first innings, including Rohit Sharma, who turned his arm over for two overs. It was a slow pitch and helped England keep the scoreboard ticking. But the visitors had to put in the hard yards in order to do that.
Indian bowling performance in England first innings – Though barring Washington Sundar and technically Rohit Sharma every other Indian bowler was among the wickets in England’s first innings, there just wasn’t enough pressure applied on the English batsmen. The Indian bowlers really have to go back to the drawing board and draw up the strategies that will help them bounce back hard. The second Test remember will also be played at the same venue.
Joe Root in ominous form – To say that the England captain is on very good form would be an understatement. Joe Root scored a total of 426 runs on England’s tour of Sri Lanka and finished as the highest run getter, at an average of 106.50 and a highest score of 228. He had two centuries on the tour of the Emerald Isles and he brought that form lock stock and barrel into the India series. He was the rock for the English batting once again, scoring a majestic 218 off 377 balls in the first innings in Chennai. His knock was pivotal for the visitors and helped England hold the upper hand in the contest right from Day one. Root in fact became the first cricketer to score a double century in his 100th Test match. The England captain was also adjudged the Man of the Match. After the match Root said that once they realised the pitch would be a good one to bat on, it was all about making big contributions.
India conceding first innings lead – Thanks to England’s big first innings score, India were under pressure from the word go in their first innings. Overhauling 578, even in subcontinental conditions is not the easiest thing to do, especially when the opposition has the likes of Anderson and Archer in their ranks. India managed to get to 337 in their first innings, thanks largely to the knocks played by Cheteshwar Pujara (73), Rishabh Pant (91) and Washington Sundar (85). Between Rohit Sharma (6), Shubman Gill (29), Virat Kohli (11) and Ajinkya Rahane (1), India scored just 47 runs. The hosts conceded a big 241 run first innings lead.
Ishant Sharma rusty – Ishant Sharma looked rusty. The veteran Indian pacer missed the entire Australia tour with an injury and this was his comeback Test. The two England innings combined, Ishant took 3 wickets. In the first innings he sent back Buttler and Jofra Archer and in the second he accounted for Dan Lawrence. Ishant though did get to the personal landmark of 300 Test wickets.
Rohit Sharma’s form – India would have expected more from Rohit Sharma at the top of the innings. His two scores in the Chennai Test were 6 (first innings – caught behind off Archer) and 12 (second innings – bowled by Jack Leach). India couldn’t get off to a solid start off the first wicket in either innings.
Ajinkya Rahane’s form – The Indian Test Vice captain, who was instrumental, both with his batting and his captaincy skills in taking India to a memorable series win in Australia hardly troubled the scorers in Chennai in the first Test. Coming in at number 5, Rahane’s big responsibility was to secure one end, which he couldn’t do. In the first innings he walked out with the scoreboard reading 71/3 and made 1 run. In the second innings, when India were down to 92/3, facing a daunting target of 420 and in desperate need to grind out the English bowlers, Rahane fell for a duck. In his defense it was a terrific delivery by James Anderson.

James Anderson and the art of getting better with age – There was some talk before the first Test about whether England would play Stuart Broad to partner Anderson in the first Test. But no one talked about whether Anderson would find a place in the playing XI. That’s because it is a given. England’s all time highest wicket taker and the pacer with the most wickets ever in Test cricket history is just getting better with age. He might not have the same pace he had as a younger bowler, but Anderson can be lethal in any given scenario and in any conditions. On Day five, his first over broke the back of the Indian second innings, when he removed a well set Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane in the space of four deliveries. He then came back to send the dangerous Rishabh Pant back to the hut for just 11 to reduce India to 110/5. Overall Anderson finished with match figures of 5/63. After the match Anderson said, “Feeling good. Excited to be a part of this team. We have to rest well now and come back hard again in three days time”.
Inexperienced England spinners troubled Indian batsmen – That Indian batsmen are usually very good players of spin bowling is very well known, especially in home conditions. In that context English spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach, who were touring India for the first time did very well. Between the two bowlers they took 11 of the 20 Indian wickets that fell. The tour of Sri Lanka of course must have done wonders as far as preparing for a tougher assignment of India was concerned. England technically had just two specialist spinners in their ranks, while India played three. The combined Test experience of Leach and Bess is 26 Tests.





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