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Business as usual: India still a dominant force at home

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Roar Rookie
19th February, 2024

In the build up to the India vs England Test series, there were reasonable predictions that India would be the ultimate challenge for Bazball.

Not only do India win every Test series they play on home soil, but their conditions are almost diametrically the opposite of what England’s attacking style is best suited to. You might be able to take 33 runs off Ravindra Jadeja first four overs, but one suspects reality will eventually come home to roost. By the end of the third Test in Rajkot, the reality was painfully clear: India are going to win this series.

One could be forgiven for being slightly apprehensive about Team India in the lead up to this match. The batting is very young and inexperienced – certainly compared to what we’re used to – the wicket keeper was on debut, and the relatively full strength bowling line up had not been getting the job done with the usual ease in the previous two matches. But India has found their range, and their future.

Let’s start with Yashasvi Jaiswal. The youngster is currently averaging 71.75 after seven Tests. His two double centuries in this series already show an appetite for runs and the ability to build an innings.

VISAKHAPATNAM, INDIA - FEBRUARY 02: India batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates after reaching his century during day one of the 2nd Test Match between India and England at ACA-VDCA Stadium on February 02, 2024 in Visakhapatnam, India. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Yashasvi Jaiswal. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

That his stance and generally belligerent approach to his cricket feels more T20 than Test is working perfectly for him, and it gives an almost Bazballian sense to India’s top order; one that is slightly more reliable than the authentic one.

Gone are the days of Indian openers who saw the shine off the new ball, like Aakash Chopra, Wasim Jaffer and Murali Vijay. If the early 2000s saw India emerge as a force to be reckoned with by playing traditionally patient cricket and the Kohli era saw them become an a aggressive and dominant force, the Jaiswal era might just see India become a fast-scoring powerhouse that plays entirely without fear or anxiety, as is the wont of modern cricket.


After all, Shubman Gill at three has a different feel to Cheteshwar Pujara, and they just added Sarfaraz Khan to the middle order, whose average and strike rate are both in the seventies at First Class level. Goodness me.

The addition of Dhruv Jurel into the team also feels like a huge positive for the future. His batting record is very tidy, and he displayed some brilliant glove work in the run out of Ben Duckett, as well as some incredible reflexes behind the stumps throughout the match. A relatively late starter to wicketkeeping, Jurel already feels like a magnificent option going into the future. If he can become a consistent performer with the gloves, they’ve found yet another part of the puzzle for the next ten years.

But experience came to the fore as well; showing the old heads still have a lot to offer India. Rohit Sharma’s 131 in the first innings was a timely reminder of his class, having come in for a lot of recent criticism. Then Jadeja ensured India would have a foundation from which they would always be difficult to beat, notwithstanding the horrific run out of Sarfaraz. It’s hard to fathom that a man who has taken 300 Test wickets at an average of just over 24, could also come out at five with the bat and score a slow, patient century.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

With the ball, India were getting Bazballed, until they weren’t. Duckett’s century late on day two ensured England went to stumps with genuine hope, showing that even a first innings of 445 in 130-odd overs is not enough to dissuade England from aggressively pursuing victory at all moments. But as it turned out, that approach cost them badly.

It doesn’t matter how many times it works, if you reverse-lap Jasprit Bumrah straight to slip, you’ll look a little silly. And whilst England have selected their team largely around who is best suited to this style, Joe Root was already an incredible player well before Bazball, and a consummately traditional one at that. Play this way in India at your peril. It went downhill fairly quickly after that, with seam and spin taking five wickets each.

As for the day four collapse, what else did we expect? Bazball hasn’t heard of playing for a draw, and if that’s what they were doing, they looked slightly under qualified for it. Jadeja ran through the top and middle order, which restored that familiar feeling of how Tests are India are meant to be, and everything just reverted to what we all knew deep down.


England were never going to win this series. India are still a dominant force at home.