Congratulations to the Indian cricket team for reaching the World Test Championship final.
No one really gave England a chance to win a game in India even though they won a remarkable Test series in Sri Lanka just a week or so ago.
But in the first game of the series on a batting-friendly wicket, they out-performed India, which is rare.
Let’s put that rarity in numbers. From 2013, Virat Kohli and his men have lost only two games in 35 home Tests. The last team who won a game in India was Australia, but still lost a series by 2-1.
And in the second game of the series, India showed why there is no team in the world as dominant as they are at home.
Not only did they beat England convincingly, but they showed the real gulf between them in these conditions.
But if you had presented the option to Joe Root to play a day-night Test at Motera Stadium with the series at 1-1, he would have taken it with both hands.
With Motera expected to provide assistance to the pacers, especially under lights, England’s chances of having a fight back have increased dramatically.
Here are a few things that would probably help the Englishmen get a lead in the series.
1. Not so much spin
India have just played one pink-ball game in home conditions so there is a small sample size to go by, but still the spinners’ numbers from that game are as follows. In the whole match, the Indian spinners bowled only seven overs without any wicket and Taijul Islam took one wicket for the visitors after bowling 25 overs. If we go by that theory, England will be a much happier side and that would open the door for their competency in the game.
2. Assistance for the pacers
In the form of Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Oliver Stone, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood, England have the firepower to match India’s Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Siraj. Bumrah, Shami and Ishant are world-class, but the experience of Anderson and Broad still gives England a bit of an advantage.
3. Exploit India’s five batsmen
The theory of the Indians to play with only five batsmen can backfire, especially when the ball dominates a game. With a high class of Indian batting, there comes fragility and a bit of inconsistency.
England need to prove that their win in the first Test wasn’t a fluke – not in this little golden and sweet period of Test cricket where India, with a hugely depleted side, won a series down Australia, and where West Indies, the team always criticised for their T20 attitude, chased down 395 in Bangladesh.
Can this English team write their own magical moment of drawing a series in India (this is as good as winning a series). If they don’t get bogged down by the way India hammered them in the last game, they certainly can.