Under the passionate and aggressive leadership of Virat Kohli, India has taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match Test series against England. The win in the second Test at Lord’s was praised from all quarters as India came back from staring at defeat to saving the game and finally, winning the Test on the last day. This looks like India’s best chance to win a Test series in England since Rahul Dravid and his men won it 1-0 in 2007.
Cricwizz takes a look at the reasons.
India has a great pace bowling attack in ages
India has never been blessed with such a great pace bowling attack before. All the four pacers in the Lord’s Test were capable of running through the England line-up single-handedly, and yet it was a complete pace bowling effort that sealed the win for India. All but 1 English wicket (the other was a run-out) was taken by Indian pacers, with newcomer Mohammed Siraj bagging 8 wickets in the match. The other three senior pacers were also among wickets.
This Indian bowling line-up attacked relentlessly at England batsmen who have had no escape route. With Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur waiting for their chances, there is healthy competition among the Indian pacers, and that bodes well for the team in the next three matches.
India’s openers are finally firing overseas
Openers set the tone of the match, and Indian openers – KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma – have done a fabulous job so far that none of the other Indian opening pairs have been able to achieve in recent overseas tours. Both complement each other well and know their strengths and weaknesses, having opened in limited-overs cricket before.
Their well-paced stand has eased the burden on slightly out-of-form middle-order, and if they continue in the same vein, India has the best chance to seal a series win in England. But their middle-order needs to fire on all cylinders to complement the efforts of the openers in the series.
India is ready to give it back to England
The Lord’s Test showed India will not take insults, sledging, or attempts to demoralize Indian players lightly. After James Anderson allegedly accused Jasprit Bumrah of “cheating” for deliberately bowling faster and more bouncers to hurt him in the first innings, India replied with their efforts on the pitch, bowling out England in just 2 sessions on the last day to silence them.
Even when England players, led by Jos Buttler, tried to unsettle 9th-wicket pair of Shami and Bumrah, the Mumbai Indians bowler gave it back, and the two stitched a match-winning stand and remained unbeaten. Later, captain Virat Kohli took on the role of squaring things up with a verbal duel when England batted in the fourth innings. With this attitude, India is set to go to all extremes to counter any tactics from England to win this series.
India has great reserve strength
With R Ashwin, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, and Umesh Yadav warming the benches, it shows India has a great reserve strength, and if given the chance, they can easily replace the first XI players and do a great job as well. India can take inspiration from the 2-1 Australia series win when they lost most of their first XI players and still came back to win the series on the back of their reserve strength.
England is not at its best
This is a weak England team that is battling injuries to key players such as Stuart Broad, and the unavailability of star all-rounder Ben Stokes due to mental health issues. Except for Joe Root, England batting looks extremely vulnerable, and a full-strength Indian bowling team would be itching to have a go at them to win just their second Test series win in England in 14 years.