England’s Christmas has come early and it appears Santa Claus too has got into the action a touch earlier, answering some English “all-I want-for-Christmas-is-a-win” pleas. A 2-1 series win they got!
The stalemate in Nagpur ensured England won a Test series in India after 28 years and India lost their first home series since Australia got their hands back on the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2004-05.
India don’t lose Test series at home often, but South Africa (1999-2000), Australia (2004-05) and this England team have chipped away at that rarity. Series losses are apart from the odd Test matches which the above visiting countries have managed to clinch on earlier tours. Those gave them a high, but India still boasted of being formidable at home, where the ultimate series scoreline was considered. England’s series win indicates that those days are well and truly over.
India didn’t play the kind of cricket needed to beat a formidable side like England. India’s poor catching let the team down badly and invariably the side that drops the most catches ends up losing. Dhoni did not have the luck of the green on some occasions and that was viewed as the captain’s inability to back the right horses. When Yuvraj Singh went out of favour, in-form batsman Ravindra Jadeja was brought in, but he couldn’t hit the high notes on debut. Would Mumbai’s Ajinkya Rahane, who was part of the squad right from the first Test, have been a better choice? Probably. With due credit to Ishant Sharma’s lion-hearted display in Nagpur, he didn’t come into the Test smelling of roses. He beat two domestic successful pace toilers — Ashok Dinda and Parvinder Awana — for a place in the fourth Test XI.
The series loss to England must provide some big lessons. One of them is that you ignore the young and restless at your peril.