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78 all out: A day that the Indian team should never forget

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Roar Guru
26th August, 2021

At the end of day 1 in the Headingley Test, India were 78 all out, and England were 120 for no loss. A day to forget for the Indian fans.

However, this is a day that the Indian cricket team should never forget. This day happened because they seemed to have started to believe all the words written about their performance on day 5 at Lord’s. The great game brought their haughtiness down to earth with the loudest thud.

I remember watching a YouTube video where AB de Villiers speaks about how he plays within a box, showcasing the art of playing under seaming conditions.

In this video, ABD talks about an imaginary rectangular box around his legs and tries to keep his hands and the bat within this box. This technique allows him to play every delivery late and below his eyes. It stops him from following the ball with his hands and does not let him play expansive drives away from the body.

Another video shows how Kane Williamson plays tight and late using the same imaginary box technique. I am sure the Indian batsmen would have seen these videos. However, they don’t seem to have internalised any of those lessons.

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

KL Rahul batted at Lord’s and Trent Bridge exactly as ABD and Williamson had showcased in the video. However, ever since that glorious first day at Lord’s, he seems to have forgotten the fundamentals and has started to drive expansively, early in the day.

Rahul would do well to remember Murali Vijay’s performances in the 2014 England series. Vijay played two brilliant knocks in the first two Tests of that series, built on patience and leaving plenty of deliveries outside the off stump.

Soon after those two knocks, he forgot what brought him success and started to play expansive drives in the subsequent Tests. No wonder Vijay lost his form during the rest of the series. Rahul seems to be going in that direction from day 2 of the Lord’s test.


Virat Kohli perished in the Headingley Test driving expansively at James Anderson’s sucker full-length delivery. Rishabh Pant displayed horrendous technique following the ball with his hands. The less that one says about Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, the better it will be.

If these batsmen don’t like to learn from foreign players, I would advise them to watch Sachin Tendulkar’s double-hundred in Sydney in 2004. Sachin played an innings built on denial outside the off stump. That Sachin innings looked ugly, but champions learn to win ugly. If they don’t learn the lessons fast, this series may go the same way as that 2014 English series.

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More than the batting performance, the bigger disappointment of the day was that the team management allowed the miraculous win at Lord’s paper over the terrible form of the batting middle order. A proactive captain and team management would have changed the batting line-up for Headingley.


I don’t believe that a captain loses his right to question other batters if he is personally out of runs. Only a poor captain would let that happen. Mark Taylor spent many months in the mid-1990s out of form but remained a great captain.

If Virat can ask an in-form Ravichandran Ashwin to sit out three matches, I am sure he can ask Pujara and Rahane to make way for other batters in the squad.

Doing the same things and expecting different results is foolish, according to a great physicist. Now that the disaster has happened on day 1 at Leeds, I hope the team management makes the much-needed changes in the batting unit for the fourth Test.