Mumbai Test: What a Keaton Jennings of an innings on debut!
The Wankhede witnessed a new kid on the block arrive on the big stage. A Test century on debut is a huge achievement. It's now all about taking that confidence forward and raising the bar
England opener Keaton Jennings plays a shot during the first day of the fourth Test against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
A first-class average of 35 is at best, modest. Keaton Jennings will have better accomplishments to look forward to from here on. Coming into the team for the injured Haseeb Hameed, Jennings batted the way the team would have wanted him to — positive, unfazed and yet prudent.
The Wankhede has helped bowlers in the first session. A bit of moisture, albeit on a water-starved pitch, did provide bowlers, both seam and spin, assistance but Jennings stood tall.
He looked unfazed by the huge occasion of his career. Precise footwork, a smart sense of leaving the ball on length and his constant endeavour to look for runs through his innings, was a quality that stood out.
If one is 65 not out at lunch as Jennings was, it embodied his intent of occupying the crease to score runs with a sense of judiciousness. Mumbai, the home of cricket without a local boy in the team list is not something that has happened before. But watching Jennings was watching a Mumbai batsman bat. The Wankhede witnessed a new kid on the block arrive on the big stage.
A Test hundred on debut is a huge achievement. It's now all about taking that confidence forward and raising the bar.
England batted the way they may have wanted to in this series, but hadn't been able to. Moeen Ali is a talented player. He can be sublime when on song and ridiculous when he gets out. But watching him, one tends to endorse his method of madness.
He will disappoint in the way he gets out but will score briskly as he does only if he bats the way he did. His dismissal after an authoritative 50 may have had some frustrated.
He must play the way he does because he will play his best in that way. If England are get to 375, they give themselves a better chance to put pressure on India.
The batting must be smart for the better team to win. The first innings batting display will decide which team will have their backs to the wall because the second innings could be a struggle for batsmen.
This Test match is as much about the bowlers being patient as it is for batsmen being smart in their approach.
The writer is a former Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain
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