About the Match
The thumping 95 run win by the visitors over the home side at Lords has clearly tilted the balance of strength in India’s favor 1-0 as they prepare for the 3rd Test at Southampton that starts from 27th July. England was beaten in all departments of the game, especially the depth in batting including the contribution by the tail enders and the exploitation of the conditions by the fast bowling trio of Ishant, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. Application by the top order in batting and maintaining good line and length by the fast bowlers seem to be the weaknesses of the home side, which they must examine thoroughly before the next match and come up with some remedial solutions.
Cook, with a dry patch in scoring, is not able to lead by example and the top order is not responding to the needs of the team except for Ballance demonstrating the will to stay at the wicket and Rot bridging the top and the tail. Prior has been replaced by Buttler who is yet to play a test match; however, he has been playing ODIs and T20 matches at international level. Ali is fine coming at No.6 and playing the role of an all-rounder but is not effective enough with the ball. England needs more penetrating slow bowlers and disciplined fast bowlers who can bowl at the wicket instead of straying away too much with the anticipation of achieving success through the batsmen’s mistakes, than taking wickets by intelligent bowling. They are capable but are lacking in ideas and in assessing the needs of the situation, an aspect which Cook needs to address quickly. Plunkett, Broad and Stokes played well in the 1st test but did not exert in the 2nd test, which cost them the match. They will be under pressure to deliver as a team, improving standards in all departments, to face the confident and composed Indians.
It was a total team effort and Dhoni leading from the front, which speaks volumes on application of experience, command, commitment and discipline. A word of advice to Ishant Sharma by Dhoni at the correct time just before lunch on the final day changed the complexion of the game resulting in a well-deserved win to India with Ishant’s career best figure of 7-74. Fast bowlers Ishant, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami are learning with each ball and improving continuously while Ashwin, who can be effective as an all-rounder, is still waiting in the wings. Kohli has been failing with the bat consecutively but he may get one more chance to come up with a big score, which he is capable of, lest he may have to give way to Ashwin, to add variety in bowling. Pujara, Vijay and Rahane have been consistently delivering for the good of the team and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who took 6 wickets in the first innings and scored a half-century in the 2nd innings, is developing as a good all-rounder, strengthening both in bowling and rear guard batting.
England has a lot to worry about at this stage but they do have the home advantage to their side. However, with the youngsters demonstrating good resilience and team spirit, India should be able to repeat their win at Southampton too.
India, 4.00 @ Bet365