IND vs ENG: Virat Kohli a hit? England batsmen good enough? 10 things we learned
From Virat Kohli having a breakthrough series to Alastair Cook bidding adieu to international cricket; Let's revisit the series and look at some defining moments
Virat Kohli and his men will fly back to India after competing with England for over two months in a long and trying tour. The England 2018 series which featured T20 internationals, One-Day Internationals and a 5-match Test series has finally come to an end. Though honours were equally shared in the T20I series and the ODIs, the English team won the Test series 4-1. Leading 3-1 in the Test series, the two teams met for the final Test at the Oval. England beat India by 118 runs in the Oval Test to wrap up the five-Test series 4-1.
Here are 10 things we think defined the 2018 five-match Test series between India and England.
1. Indian openers had a nightmarish tour:
There is an old saying in cricket that if you want to be a successful batting team then your openers will have to give you a sound and solid start. But, the trio of Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, and KL Rahul, the openers for India in the England 2018 Test matches, collectively failed to contribute significantly, which was one of the reasons why India could not get the results in their favour in the series. Though KL Rahul came good in the last innings of the Test series with a solid 149, it was too late to change the outcome.
2. Virat Kohli the lone ranger:
Indian's skipper Virat Kohli, once again, proved his class by becoming the highest run-getter of the series for both sides. He wiped out the horrors of his previous England tour in 2014 with solid performances in this year's Test series. Kohli took the bulls by the horns and scored a staggering 593 runs, that included two centuries. Unfortunately, Kohli did not get consistent support from the other batters that led to the downfall of India's batting.
3. Indian fast bowlers delivering for the team:
Unlike the previous touring Indian squads, the current Team India side is armed with a battery of quality quick bowlers and they made their presence felt in the Test series against England. India's fast-bowlers bowled with pace and aggression and looked good throughout the series. The pace unit of Ishant Sharma, Jaspreet Bhumra, Mohammad Shami, Hardik Pandya and Umesh Yadav tormented the English batsmen in the series.
4. English batting is in doldrums:
Though the England team won the Test series 4-1, their batting has left a lot of questions. Just like India, England's problem started at the top of the order and apart from the 2nd innings of the last Test match, where Alastair Cook and Joe Root scored hundreds, England batting has looked very thin and weak. In fact, crucial contributions in batting for England came from the lower order by the likes of Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and the bowlers, which in the end proved to be the difference between two teams.
5. Indian wicket-keeping is going through a rough patch:
At the start of the series, Dinesh Karthik was the incumbent wicket-keeper having come in as a replacement for the injured Wriddhiman Saha. However, Karthik lost his place to Rishabh Pant after poor performances in the first two Test. The 20-year-old Rishabh Pant has shown promise but lacks consistency, he has a long way to go before cementing his place in the test side.
6. What exactly is Hardik Pandya's role in the team?:
Hardik Pandya is a genuine all-rounder or a fast-bowling all-rounder? This is a question perhaps best left to the Indian captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri to answer as they have backed the Baroda cricketer Hardik Pandya by including him for the better part the Test series before dropping him for the fifth and final Test match. Hardik Pandya has shown sparks of brilliance but his problem has been his lack of consistency. Hardik Pandya is still finding his feet in international cricket and has to really buckle up if he wants to go ahead in Test cricket.
7. Alastair Cook proves his class in his farewell match:
161 matches, over 12,000 runs, including 33 Test hundreds! When you look at these numbers, you realise Alastair Cook's class and he showed us in his final innings why he was rated so highly. Alastair Cook never believed in the hype and retired with dignity and showed that nice guys don't finish last all the time.
8. Indian spinners not living up to the potential:
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav as compared to Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid on paper would have been no contest. But the English spinners proved that cricket is not played on paper and their performances were a notch higher than our spinners, that proved to be a vital contribution in deciding the series result.
9. All hail James Anderson and Stuart Broad:
Glenn McGrath-Jason Gillespie, Shaun Pollock-Allan Donald, Wasim Akram-Waqar Younis. These are some of the greatest fast bowling pairs and it would not be an exaggeration to add James Anderson-Stuart Broad's name to this elite list.
Both Anderson and Broad bowled well throughout the Test series. Anderson, who perhaps was at his best this series, tormented the Indian batting line-up ball-after-ball with his swing bowling. On the other hand, Stuart Broad kept the intensity going with his knack of picking up wickets at crucial junctions. Together James Anderson and Stuart Broad made contributions to help England finish the series with a win. James Anderson also became Test crickets most prolific fast bowler when he picked up his career's 564 wickets to overtake Glenn Mcgrath's long-standing record of 563 Test wickets.
10. When will this Indian team win overseas?:
Ever since he became a captain, Virat Kohli has been adamant on winning overseas and creating a legacy. Indian team has played well in patches but still lack the killer instinct to wrap up series wins in overseas conditions consistently. The Indian team has won matches here and there but have to play well as a unit and sustain pressure for a large period of time to achieve results overseas.
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