IND vs WI: Batters have to perform well for India to finish Test series on a high
While Virat Kohli has been exceptional on the consistency front, his fellow batsmen will do well to log in some tall scores in the second and final Test against West Indies which kicks off in Uppal today
Virat Kohli's men will have one final shot this season to get rid of the 'lions at home, lambs abroad' tag. After failing to overcome challenges in South Africa and England, Team India will go to Australia in a few weeks from now in a bid to conquer their overseas demons. But before they set foot Down Under for the four Test-series, Kohli & Co would do well to go there on a high.
The second Test against World No. 8 West Indies today will be India's last game before the Australia tour. While the bowling has been consistently top-class, it is the poor batting performances that has let the team down.
Having runs under one's belt before any Test tour is a healthy sign. However, for India, those healthy signs are only demonstrated by skipper Kohli. He was the top run-getter in South Africa with 286 in six innings. The Indian captain was once again in the forefront during the five-Tests against England where he notched 593 in 10 innings. In the two-Test series against the West Indies, Kohli has already notched a century in the first game at Rajkot.
A worrying sign
While Kohli has been steering the ship singlehandedly, contributions from his other two batting mainstays have been lukewarm. Kohli has scored 532 runs in his last five Tests [nine innings] while his deputy Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have 281 and 364 runs respectively in equal number of matches. It is this growing gulf between Kohli and the rest of the batsmen that is a worrying sign for the Indian team management.
KL Rahul seems to be a certainty for the Australia tour, but the Bangalorean's indifferent form is also a cause of concern. Barring his 149 in the second innings of the fifth and final Test at the Oval, Rahul's highest score on the England tour was 37. He was out for a duck in the first Test against the West Indies in Rajkot where all Indian batsmen were among the runs.
India tried a new opening combination against West Indies after doing away with Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. Prithvi Shaw scored a century in his debut Test at Rajkot, but Mayank Agarwal warmed the bench against the West Indies. Shaw is already the toast of the nation after his dominating show against the West Indies in Rajkot; now being compared to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. But skipper Kohli appealed to cricket lovers to refrain from any comparisons.
Shaw is supremely talented: Virat
"I don't think he should be rushed into anything yet because you need to give a youngster space to grow. This guy is supremely talented and he has got great ability as everyone saw. We shouldn't compare him to anyone yet. We shouldn't put him in a space where he feels pressure of any kind and he should be left in a space where he enjoys his cricket and slowly grows into a player we all believe in," Kohli stressed.
Gone are the days when taking 20 wickets was a concern in a Test match. It is India's batting which is under the scanner.
Cricket lovers! Here are India vs Sri Lanka Test records and numbers you need to know