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India v England, 1st Test – 5 Talking Points

Ravindra Jadjea and Virat Kohli
Ravindra Jadjea and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Virat Kohli batted the length of the day as he led India to an unlikely draw in the first Test against England at Rajkot. After declaring shortly after lunch, it seemed as though the match was destined for a draw before the England spin trio of Zafar Ansari, Moeen Ali, and Adil Rashid were all over the Indians in the second innings, something that has now set the tone for the rest of the series. Perhaps, the Indians would be encouraged to take the Britons a tad more seriously than they did the visiting New Zealanders a few weeks previously. While there were a plethora of talking points on what was an entertaining final day’s play, here are five of the most illuminating talking points from the day.

1. Hameed and Cook make it count

The first innings saw Haseeb Hameed and Alastair Cook get lucky with the Indians dropping a few catches. The duo managed a partnership of 47 runs, something they had achieved for the first time, given the fact that it was Hameed’s debut Test match. However, the second innings saw a much-changed approach from both players as they faced the Indian spinners head-on.

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This saw both of them reaching half-centuries and stitching a 100-run partnership on the close of Day 4, something they could capitalise on in the first session of the final day’s play. While Hameed smashed 82 extremely valuable runs, it was Cook who cashed in with a ton as he went on to score 130 before being dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin.

2. Indians set a daunting target of 310

Although many predicted that the match was indeed tending towards a draw, the Britons had one eye on glory. This would not just be a win against the Indians. This, in fact, would be a win against the number one Test team and would keep one ground in the world where the Brits would have no blemish on their international Test cricketing portfolio. However, in spite of this, the Indian batsmen went about saving the match, something they had done previously on quite a few occasions.

3. Gautam Gambhir falls for the short ball yet again

While most of the Indian batsmen are success stories in recent times, Gautam Gambhir is one of those unfortunate players who comes from the era of Indian batsmen that are easily troubled by the short-pitched delivery.

The second innings at Rajkot once again saw the Indians well and truly on the defensive as they were on a fight against time to save the Test match. A short-pitched delivery from Chris Woakes setup Gambhir for the prod to second slip, something that the Brits will be wary of in the following Test matches to come.

4. England spinners run riot

The England spinners ran riot for the most part against the Indian batsmen. To put it mildly, the England spinners were all over the India batsmen in the second innings as they bowled the ball in the right areas, something the Indian batsmen could not do much about.

Moreover, the gaping cracks on the wicket were also something that the England spinners took advantage of as some of the Indian batsmen capitulated to the turning ball. Apart from the wicket of Gambhir, the rest of the wickets fell to the spin trio of Ansari, Moeen, and Adil Rashid. The latter concluded with 3 wickets to his name in the second innings.

5. Skipper Virat Kohli helps India save the Test

The Indian skipper Virat Kohli had a massive responsibility on his shoulders. As skipper, he has little or no blemish on his CV as skipper since he was given the reins of captaincy on a full-time basis from his predecessor MS Dhoni.

The 28-year old batted the length of the session and also remained unbeaten on 49 at the close of play as the hosts went ahead and kept the six wickets they had to secure a hard-fought draw against the brilliant English.

In spite of losing wickets at the other end, the Indian skipper played a rather uncharacteristic inning, something that saw him defend the ball on most occasions. This will give immense confidence to those who had earlier doubted the 28-year old’s ever changing responsibilities as captain and as skipper.

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