Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Young, old combine to script one of India’s finest series wins at home


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Dharamshala, Mar 10: The thumping series win over England on sporting pitches was not only one of India’s finest at home, it also reaffirmed their supremacy in the longest format with young and old combining to smash ‘Bazball’ out of the park.
The likes of Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami were not available throughout and injuries to KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja after the shock loss in the series opener threatened India’s enviable dominance at home but Rohit and Co found a way to put pressure back on their aggressive opposition over the next four games.
Four out of the five debutants – Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel, Akash Deep and Devdutt Padikkal – showed they were ready for the big stage while the pillars of the team like the captain himself, Jasprit Bumrah and R Ashwin also stood tall with timely performances.
The future does look bright for a team in transition.The standout performers that allowed India to maintain their upper hand over England were young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal and wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
It was India’s 17th straight series triumph at home, a remarkable feat that is often taken for granted.
“I think sometimes we just take it for granted. What is especially heartening is over the last 10 years or a decade or so, India have had this dominance and has been able to string together successful series and have not lost a lot of Test matches inspite of the fact that the exposure that the foreign players get in this country, compared to what they would get in the 90s or the 80s or even early 2000s, before the IPL is not comparable,” said head coach Rahul Dravid.
He was speaking after the innings and 64-run victory in the fifth and final Test here on Saturday, which gave India a 4-1 series win.
“I know it is a different format but it is about familiarity. A lot of the English players or Australian players spend a lot of time here in these conditions, they know people. So that’s made it a lot easier. But inspite of that, the fact that we’ve been able to maintain that record and the standard is a real tribute to the players.”Jaiswal came of age in the series and ended up with as many as 712 runs, becoming only the second India batter to scale the 700-run peak in a series after the great Sunil Gavaskar.
However, the gargantuan numbers won’t be enough to measure the decisive impact he made in the series.
His back-to-back double hundreds in Vizag and Rajkot went a long way in keeping the English at bay. Especially in the second Test in Vizag, his 209 was the only reason India got to 396 in the first innings, with the next best score being 34.
The way he was able to absorb pressure and change gears was the hallmark of his batting and a phenomenal 26 sixes in the series spoke a lot about his power game.
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin bowling in tandem in home conditions instill fear and doubts in the mind of any opposition and they lived up to their reputation with 26 and 19 wickets respectively.Kuldeep Yadav operating at his best in the last four Tests also added to the lethalness of the spin attack, not giving any breathing space to the confused opposition.His performance in Dharamsala summed up his invaluable contribution to the team’s cause. On a flat day one track, he got the ball to turn a lot more than others to end with a five-wicket haul as England collapsed to 218 all out from a promising 100 for one.
His improved fitness has allowed him to bowl at a faster pace with a straightened run up and that has made all the difference.
Wicket-keeper batter Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan made instant impact in their debut game in Rajkot.
Jurel got a handy 46 at the back end of the first innings before effecting a sharp run out of Ben Duckett in the second. He then secured himself a spot in India’s next Test series with a rearguard 90 that allowed the hosts to get close to England’s first innings score of 353.Sarfaraz, who had to wait for years for his big break, felt at home from the get-go as he made a fifty in each innings of the Rajkot Test. (PTI)


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