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IND vs ENG | Chepauk Day 4 Talking Points: Dan Lawrence’s harakiri and Virat Kohli’s proactive day out
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On a day that was about to get tough for England, Dan Lawrence didn’t do himself any help with his ‘harakiri’ to send Ravichandran Ashwin out of the ground. After that, it was just a case of formality for the rest of the day, as the Indian spinners wrapped the English batsmen by their spell.Dan Lawrence’s harakiri could cost himAfter what was considered a brilliant first tour in Sri Lanka for the young right-hander Daniel Lawrence, his task was cut out against the top-notch Indian bowling attack. His uncanny batting ability, combined with his footwork had the entire world talking, after his first knock at Galle, where he scored a scintillating 73. He then took the attack on once again, with an unbeaten 21 in the second innings. However, from thereon, he has succumbed under pressure, multiple times, all of which could be put down to his inexperience. In the first Test, he was undone twice by the seaming delivery - from Bumrah and Ishant Sharma. However, in the second Test, there was a different tale - one where his inexperience had taken precedence over his skills. After battling it out in the heat, against the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel, the right-handed jumped at delivery before poking it tamely to the short-leg fielder just before lunch bells came calling. While his dismissal might have been put down to extra bounce, his inexperience came into the picture, with his ability to not see through the tough session. Combine that with his second innings dismissal, where his dismissal was more because of him than the bowler.Lawrence, in a brain-fade moment, jumped down the pitch, aiming to take down Ashwin ended up getting himself humiliated and stumped by a brilliant piece of keeping from Rishabh Pant. Talent might only last as long as Lawrence converts and now with Bairstow and Crawley returning, who knows what might happen?Virat Kohli has been proactive, more than you would expect and more than you would think. Right from the first over of the day, where he handed the ball to Mohammed Siraj, Kohli has rotated and kept his bowlers fresh throughout the first session of the day. Be it Siraj bowling or Axar Patel accompanying him from the other end, Kohli was spot on with his tactics. The way he went about things, changing his bowlers, bringing them on from the end which would allow for them to flourish, Kohli had been immaculate on the fourth day. When Ben Stokes was looking more and more confident against the set of bowlers, he introduced Ravichandran Ashwin into the attack and set an ultra-attacking field, to see the downfall of the southpaw. As much as five fielders were within touching distance from the batsman, with constant chirping from the slip-cordon, who were assured that Ashwin would get his man yet again. He did, that was not just to Ashwin and his amazing 101 variations with the ball but also the constant decision-making from the Indian skipper. What was more effective was how he brought on Ishant Sharma just after that, knowing there were two right-handed batsmen at the crease. With Ishant’s ability to get the ball tail in back to the right-hander, his over against Pope and Root was a testament to his proactiveness, with three fielders on the leg-side, guarding the uppish drive, which was one of the percentage shot for the batsmen with the ball tailing. Later on, his change to bring Axar Patel back into the attack accounted for Ollie Pope. Incidentally, with this win, he also tied MS Dhoni's record at the top of the proceedings, with wins at home. Axar Patel has India covered but the litmus test is yet to comeWhen Axar Patel was unavailable for the first Test, with an injury, India had to change their entire game plan around - with the selection of Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar, to fill the gap left by the all-rounder. However, his return saw an aggressive India take the field, with Kuldeep coming back into the setup, with the left-arm all-rounder. He was at his best, with his ball often putting the English batsmen in a mind-block. They couldn’t quite fathom what he was doing, whether he was spinning the ball away from them or bringing it back in or just keeping it straight. If India have always marvelled at Ravindra Jadeja for his ability to puzzle the batsmen and entertain the fans, Axar Patel was living up to the expectations, that doesn’t mean he should be compared to Jadeja. His effectiveness in the second innings, well reflected by his statistics on the domestic scene - an average of 23.6. Earlier on the second day of the Test as well, Axar drew a 26% false shot from the English batsmen. In all, the way he is operating, India wouldn’t fret over their decision to have him in the Test setup, with his bowling performance, where he picked up a fifer. But invariably, his biggest Test - the litmus one - is around the corner, in conditions where there isn’t as much turn for the spinners. Come to the Ahmedabad Test, it would be one of Axar’s toughest tests but would he come out of it rather successfully? And the fact that he hasn’t yet stepped up with the bat, would come haunting for him on pitches that don’t favour spin-bowlers.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Ben Foakes – the specialist discussion in the age of batsman-wicketkeeper
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When the ball whizzed past Rishabh Pant, turning sharply past his inside edge, the ball rifled past the leg-stump only to find an equally alert Ben Foakes waiting by the millisecond to affect the stumping. Now imagine this on a third-day track where the ball has an uneven bounce?That’s the idea of having a wicketkeeper-batsman, a specialist wicketkeeper in the age and discussion of other wicketkeepers. In the age and day where wicketkeepers like Rishabh Pant and Jos Buttler - have thrived and succeeded in the role but, they have always had a comparison with the best keepers in the country. Thus walks Wriddhiman Saha and Ben Foakes into the debate, with the question that always surrounds them being, are they capable enough with the bat. But on the first day, it was evident what a specialist keeper has to offer when Foakes was flying his gloves consistently from one end of the stump to another, from the leg-pole to the first slip. He was consistently blinded by the presence of the batsmen but it didn’t faze him out, he remained at his own nonchalant self behind the sticks, swaying to the tunes of Chepauk. The razzle-dazzle around Foakes would have suggested that the wicketkeeper was perhaps making his debut but he wasn’t, hell it wasn’t even his first stint as a wicketkeeper in the sub-continent, not even India, for that matter of fact. Foakes, having made his debut against Sri Lanka, has shown the entire world how it is to have a specialist wicketkeeper behind the poles. The difference is quite important to know, it is almost the difference between a specialist bowler and an all-rounder, who bowls a lot. It’s that! Foakes on day three © BCCI "Not knowing where I stood with England played a part in adding to that mental burnout. It was tough," Foakes told the Daily Mail, after he was snubbed from the Test squad. The English selectors instead looked at honing Jos Buttler and his skills, deeming it enough to warrant him the No.1 status in the country. Just before the start of the India tour, Foakes had got the knowledge that he was going to replace Jos Buttler, as early as the second Test in India. And the second Test was in Chennai, one of the toughest places for a wicketkeeper. While the seaming and swinging conditions offer trouble, the spinning deliveries require as much or more attention at an even faster pace. The difference between a stumping and a missed opportunity to snap a 100-run partnership could be milliseconds, that’s where the pressure and the importance of a specialist wicketkeeper comes into the picture. Coming into the Test, Foakes had emphasised that he had played just two red-ball games, it didn’t matter though. On the first day, with the ball sharply turning away from Rohit Sharma, Foakes had the minute of opportunities - a sharp chance of getting a well-set batsman back to the hut. He did alright, he did more than alright, disturbed the timber and even was confident that he had sent Rohit back, only for the third-umpire to deny him of the glory. But despite that, he went on, at his best, even plucking deliveries outside the leg-stump on a sharp turning wicket.On the second day, early in the morning, his stumping to dismiss Axar Patel - another sharp piece of work - saw him hit the headline yet again. His stumping was compared to MS Dhoni, one of Chennai’s loved figures and in Chennai, where the heart of the lion is, made it even more special. But could he and would he bat, as good as a specialist batsman? Ben Foakes has been one of the best overseas keepers in Indian conditions. His right leg opens up when collecting from a left-arm spinner. Off-spinner bowls and his left leg goes slightly back @englandcricket #cricket #IndvEng (1/2) — Kiran More (@JockMore) February 15, 2021“Every game and opportunity I get, I want to take it and kind of prove what I can do rather than looking too far ahead at what I can try and cement down,” he said before the clash in Chennai. He wasn’t too bothered about dislodging Buttler as the first-choice, he was more bothered about making the best use of his opportunity. “I think every competitor wants to play. So when you go a long period without, it is a challenge. But luckily I get an opportunity now," luckily he did, he not just got an opportunity but made an immediate impact, not just with the gloves. When he walked in to bat, England were in shambles, at 52/5. Ben Stokes had just walked back to the hut, bowled brilliantly by Ravichandran Ashwin. The pitch was devilish but still had plenty of positives for batsmen who worked hard. Ashwin and Axar were tormenting, the top five had no clue. There was Ollie Pope at the other end, Foakes at the strikers end. The advice that he would have got from the top would have been to sweep the ball but he quite didn’t sweep it first up. That’s where he drew the line between practical and theoretical knowledge. Sweeping on the surface was one of the best options but even that wasn’t guaranteed to give you success. That’s where Foakes, the specialist wicketkeeper and his approach came right. "It was extremely difficult," Foakes told the host broadcaster, Star Sports, he didn’t mince words, not one bit after his innings. Having seen the ball rise, keep low and snarl across the batsmen in the first innings, Foakes stayed calm, composed. He wasn’t perplexed by not sweeping, not sticking by the plans but more focused on staying in the moment. The Surrey-man knew that patience was key, even before Ravichandran Ashwin specified it in the presser. He had played in Galle before, conditions similar but Chennai-Ashwin and India were always going to be a tougher ask."I was just trying to play for the ball that wasn't going to rag, try to play within my limits, and play the ball late, basically - not get too far outside my bubble,” he added."It's obviously extremely tough and it's probably not going to get any easier. Balls are going to spit past us, balls are going to keep low, and so we have to play within our own gameplans, our own limits, and try to put pressure on the bowlers where we can but also back our defence, too."It almost looked like he was the most experienced of batsmen, he looked assuring, he looked calm and most importantly, solid with his approach against the Indian spinners, who were simply relishing the bite off the pitch. Every run of his weighed in gold but the technique was diamond. He swept only when he grew in confidence and that was evident in the way he went about things. An unbeaten 42, where he ran out of partners, Foakes looked confident, assured and more importantly, looked like England’s best bat.On day three, just to make things better, Foakes got off a run-out to send back Cheteshwar Pujara and it didn’t end there. He later was involved in Rohit’s stumping, a similar one to how he nearly got him out in the first innings. This time around, he was milli-seconds quicker than the first innings attempt. His hands were right on point, his hips flexible enough to grasp that low down or high-up, Foakes was at his brilliant best. So when he inflicted Rohit Sharma’s dismissal, off a sharp stumping opportunity, it was - life coming to a full circle for him, not just as a wicketkeeper but as a cricketer, who was making his Test comeback after two years. The cherry to top it all, his stumping that saw the back of Pant showed that wicketkeeping is an art, a dying other rather in the age of batsman-wicket keeper instead of wicketkeeper-batsman. On his 28th birthday, with the Chennai crowd yelling 'Happy Birthday' at the top of their lungs, Foakes' performance surely resonated with the crowd. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Chepauk Day 2 Talking Points: Ashwin’s Chepauk connection and Pant’s maturity
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Well push the day three pitch to day two and that’s what you got on offer, Chepauk’s surface was turning square, triangles and even trapezium. On the day, there was Pant with his maturity, Ashwin with his posterity and Ben Foakes, who had triumphed others with his intensity in comparison to others.Rishabh Pant continues to mature and improviseCarefree, reckless and irresponsible - three words that started to define Rishabh Pant during his early days in Indian cricket. But since he made his Test debut, those words have been history and he has written several new pages in that book. The way he has matured since then has turned all eyes of criticism into appreciation, with rumours of adjectives running out of dictionaries. When he walked in during the wee hours on the first day, he played percentage shots, only attacking the ones which came his way. And the others, he defended, something he hadn’t quite been able to adapt in the other formats. Since his debut, Pant has an average of 45.92, just behind the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja. While the left-hander isn’t quite a century-scorer, his valuable contribution has quite made him the fan favourite, which was visible at the Chepauk. When he walked out to bat, he received the biggest applause and when he walked back, the magnitude of the applause became thunderous. What was more clever was his choice of shot, playing the percentage shots while still looking for doubles, to not leave his partner at the other end exposed. Even when wickets fell around him, he patted the backs of the bowlers, giving them a bit of confidence. Unfazed about the situation, Pant continued to explode and mature. Now, time for him to do the same with the gloves.Chepauk crowd continues to marvel at Ravichandran AshwinSometimes people wonder if they could get to witness wizardry in its pure form, searching all the places for attaining wisdom. While English fans found it via James Anderson and his blissful swing, South Africa attained that wisdom with Dale Steyn. Miles away from the two Western countries, there is India and the Chepauk which continues to marvel every time they look at Ravichandran Ashwin, at his pure best. His brain is well one of the best in the game, with his memory serving him right, including that time when he took a review, for a delivery that spun similar to the way he did in 2016/17, in Mohali where he accounted for Stokes. Ashwin knows the ground, at the back of his hand, he knows every dust that would turn sharply, every dust that would bounce and the other that would keep low. When you have so much information well versed, you just have to go out and implement. That’s what Ashwin does every time he steps on to the ground, sticks by his basics and puts on his wizardry mask. His wand-like spells create chaos, even when you are batting with a monk at the crease. Even if you had ice-packs all over your body, you would feel the heat. That’s Ashwin, that’s Chepauk and that’s indeed the magical connection between the two. It isn’t just love at first sight, it is a marriage of the highest order - one bound by skills, memory and love. And it was only fitting that he walked away with the match-ball, picking up five wickets. Ben Foakes brilliant, both behind the gloves and with the batWhen the English top-order struggled, the pressure was always going to be on the middle-order to resurrect the batting innings. However, the pitch wasn’t a tad bit English or hell, not even what it was in the first Test - it was turning all corners. When the ball turns haywire, shot selection becomes crucial. That’s when Ben Foakes was put under the pump, after having weathered all storms - of turn and bounce behind the stumps. And Foakes came in, he had to listen to all kinds of chirps, from Rishabh Pant to Virat Kohli, everyone was interested in his whereabouts. Not just that, they were even handing him warnings, dishing out flighted deliveries, asking him to go against his own patience levels. None succeeded, the English keeper looked certain, far more than the others in the line-up, with his display against Indian spinners, who were at their peak. Ashwin was flighting and turning, the ball seemed to turn every corner and at the other, there was Axar Patel who was ripping it flat. But none dazed or troubled Foakes, who looked to get to the pitch marks and knock the delivery. His drive against Ashwin, which went straight, was arguably one of the best shots of the English innings. Not just comfortable, Foakes looked seasoned and with a tone of having played in these conditions, day in and day out.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Haven’t seen the English team complain about the pitch or conditions, reckons Ravichandran Ashwin
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Following the second day’s play, Ravichandran Ashwin has reckoned that he hasn’t seen the English team complain about the pitch or the conditions on offer. He also added that it required incredible patience and skills to be playing on turning wickets, just like it does take on seaming wickets.On a day where wickets fell in plenty, the pitch and the conditions were under immense scrutiny by the English fans and the media. The ball started turning square, starting from the first over of the day, till the last over, where it was gripping and bouncing off the cracks. While the English team were bowled out for 134, the Indians lead by 249 runs with nine wickets in hand, going into day three. Indian off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, who picked up his 29th 5-fer in Test cricket, stated that he hasn’t seen the English team complain about the pitch or the conditions. However, he also insisted that facing someone bowling 140 clicks is more challenging than facing someone bowling at 85-90 clicks. “I have no idea if they (English team) have complaints about the pitches. It is usual and normal, in the seven days, they (England) have performed really well and played really well. I haven’t seen them complaining or anything. Time and again, there are conditions where the wickets will challenge, be it spin or seam. It is more challenging to actually face 140 kph than someone bowling 85 or 90 kph when the ball is spinning. The challenges are way greater than when you come up against spin,” said Ashwin in the online presser. He also reckoned that just like seaming wicket, batsmen need to show a great level of patience and skillset to get past the challenge. The off-spinner also insisted that the benchmark to face seam and spin should be set on the same level. “I think it is about being very patient, like you are playing on a seaming wicket, where you have to keep going at it and put runs on board. When it comes to spin, people expect conditions to be in their favour. But when it comes to a seaming wicket, you can’t play all your shots. The same kind of benchmarks needs to be set if you are playing on spinning conditions as well.”On his record of getting left-handers out, he revealed that it is a massive advantage for him to get the ball to turn away from the stumps. Alongside that, he also opened up that he’s learnt better, to vary the seam position and make maximum use of the pitch on offer. “I can’t really remember how it all started (Getting left-handers out). Obviously, the ball turning away from the left-hander was a big advantage for me. Over the years, the left-hand batsmen have received bowling from around the stumps. So, one thing that I have learnt better and started using more, varying the seam position. I have tried to use the crease, going wide off and trying to get the ball to spin. Over the stumps is something that I have used well in the last six months.”The Tamil Nadu off-spinner also admitted that the wearing of the SG ball in the first Test could have been because of the conditions on offer, with the hard surface. However, in this Test, he reckoned that there was a massive difference in terms of the ball’s condition, after day’s play. “Whenever you talk about it, my talks would go back to the domestic cricket days, where it was nice. That’s the expectation that you have of the SG ball, you had a benchmark and it would always be compared to that. To be honest, from the last game to this game, there was a massive difference. The pitch wasn’t as hard as the last game, so that might have helped.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Pant has been working incredibly hard on his keeping, insists Ravichandran Ashwin
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Ravichandran Ashwin, who had an incredible day-out in Chennai, insisted that Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant is working really hard on his glove work. There was criticism for India for using Kuldeep Yadav late but Ashwin stated that it is ought to happen given he's the third spinner.Indian gloveman Rishabh Pant continued to impress with his batting as he made fifty in the fourth consecutive Test. He remained unbeaten at the end of India's first innings on 58* and helped the hosts reach 329 hitting some clean sixes of the English spinners. But remarkably enough, it was his wicketkeeing today that stole the thunder as he took an exceptional diving catch to his left off Mohammed Siraj's bowling that left everyone in awe of his abilities. In the first Test, he had kept well but did make errors, not quite so today, even though it was a turner and the kind of pitch where his keeping remains under scrutiny the most. Pant had missed a simple stumping chance on the bowling of R Ashwin in the first Test after which the offie was seen telling him how to use his hands better whilst keeping. But after his good day out in the park, when Ashwin was asked about Pant's keeping, he revealed that the 23-year-old is working really hard on his glovework and also outlined that it's wrong to constantly compare him with others. “In terms of Rishabh Pant’s keeping, the name of the game is confidence. He has been batting well, he has been working incredibly hard on his keeping. Sometimes, when you are constantly compared with someone, it can be really hard. I really do feel for Rishabh, especially when he is playing the white-ball format, he was constantly compared with the great MS Dhoni. Now too, he is being compared with Saha and so on, sometimes it is better to give him a break. He definitely has the ability and will go on from strength to strength, which I have no doubts on,” Ashwin said in the virtual presser. Axar Patel, who is making his Test debut in the ongoing game was really good as well as he took the crucial wicket of Joe Root when the English skipper mistimed his favorite sweep shot to hand over Patel a memorable maiden scalp. The left-arm spinner also got rid of Moeen Ali later and finished with figures of 2/40. Ashwin also reckoned that taking Root's wicket, who had made a double-hundred last test, was crucial for the team.“Axar Patel is one of those players who has playing first-class cricket for a while now. He has had his share of good performances. Like I mentioned before about Washi, we see them in the limited-overs format and build our own perception. So with respect to that, getting Joe Root in his first Test must be a really good thing for him, very important wicket in terms of the game. And Moeen Ali too, it was crucial for us to get that wicket.”On a wicket which was turning square, Kuldeep Yadav was introduced late in the attack and bowled merely six overs while both Axar and Ashwin bowled 20 and 23.5 overs respectively. Reacting on the criticism that India received on bowling him late, the offie, who take a fifer today, asserted that he's the third spinner and in a five-man attack, it takes time to get to bowl. “Look sometimes, we just play the game and we don’t see how you guys are seeing the game. Anyone who has played the game will understand that there are five bowlers and he’s the third spinner. It will take time before he gets his turn. This is how the game goes, this is pretty much how it happens. I think it is more about the perception of what people want to see. I thought he bowled really well and I think you will see an increasing role for him.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Have played around the world but winning the Chennai Test incomparable, insists Jofra Archer 
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England's Jofra Archer tasted success in his very first Asia Test in India, which is rare, and the pacer has admitted that nothing compares to this win having played all around the world. He also termed the fifth day Chennai surface the worst he has seen, though he expected more fight from India.Winning in India remains the biggest challenge for Test teams in world cricket. No other team even comes close to India's crazy home record. They last lost a Test series in 2012/13 while, overall, they have only lost two Test series since the start of the century. In the last decade, Team India lost only three Tests at home. So, all these stats plus the high of winning Test series Down Under with a depleted side made Virat Kohli's men the topdogs to win the first Test against England. Unlike the Australia series, however, India didn't even show any fight let alone being in game to win. England were clinical enough throughout the game and never gave India a sniff for a fightback. Jofra Archer, who was crucial in England's first innings bowling efforts, taking two wickets in his opening spell, expressed his pleasure at winning the Chennai Test, a feeling and feat which he finds 'incomparable'. "I’ve played in tournaments around the world, and had success, but winning a Test is one of those indescribable feelings, especially against a really good team. Nothing compares," Archer wrote in his column for the Daily Mail, reported HT.There was a lot of hype around the Chepauk wicket. It was heavily criticized in 2016 when it hosted India and England for being excessively flat. But this time the newly appointed curator had promised that there will be sporting wicket with English looks that will support pace bowlers on first day, followed by two batting days and then the last two days in favor of spinners. On the contrary the first two days of the Test was akin to a graveyard for bowlers. There wasn't much carry on the wicket which was slow and turned tricky and unfavorable by the time India's first innings commenced on day three. Commenting on the surface, Archer stated that it was the 'worst surface' that he had seen. He also added that he didn't expect India to surrender so quickly on final day of the Test series opener. “On the fifth day, it was probably the worst surface I’ve seen — its orange colour, bits missing, rough patches for the bowlers to aim at. When we walked out in search of nine wickets on the fifth day, I was very hopeful we would complete the job — although these India players have big reputations and are at home, so should be able to cope with conditions better than anyone. So, I didn’t expect us to skittle them. Equally, I didn’t expect it to finish not long after afternoon drinks."India will take on England in second Test in Chennai again from Saturday onwards before the Caravan moves to Ahmedabad for the last two Tests of the series. At the moment, England have a lead of 1-0.  Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | There were times when Virat was hard to understand as captain in first Test, feels Sanjay Manjrekar 
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Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has stated that there were certain times in the first Test loss against England when Virat Kohli's captaincy was hard to decode. He  added that there were no issues with team selection but did concede that England were tactically superior to India. India lost a Test at their home which is as rare as a feat as you would see in cricket after they had lost only three Tests in the last decade. They received a complete mauling at the hands of the Three Lions, who didn't let the pressure evaporate and dominated extensively for first four days which culminated into a famous Test victory mid-way through the final day. India's bowling struggled greatly on a flat pitch in the first innings and then the batting was also not up to the mark after a historic Test series win Down Under.Former Indian batsman and famous cricket pundit Sanjay Manjrekar has asserted that there were times when he couldn't understand what Indian skipper Virat Kohli was doing, though he refused to admit that India had bad tactics overall. "Tactically, the small parts of the game where Washington Sundar I think bowled the wrong line to begin with. He is a great guy to bowl outside off stump and when he did that, it troubled the opposition batsmen. That's where Virat Kohli is a little hard to understand, with his overall strategy and team selection." Manjrekar said on ESPNCricinfo, reported HT.Shahbaz Nadeem, who had come in as last minute replacement in the team for Axar Patel, had a horrible outing as he was targeted by the English batsmen mercilessly throughout the Test. Manjrekar wasn't too happy with the way the field was set when the left-arm spinner was bowling. "His first few overs (Nadeem), he had two people on the drive. Maybe the bowlers weren't allowed to begin with to bowl to the field that he wanted. But more than tactics, India's ability in this match fell short and they would want to make amends in the second Test. Tactically, England were superior but I won't say that India blundered tactically," Manjrekar said.There was also quite a bit uproar when India decided to leave out Kuldeep Yadav for the first Test but Manjrekar felt the selection was fair. "I wouldn't say India had bad tactics or they blundered on tactics. Team selection I think was fair. People are talking about Kuldeep Yadav now because Shahbaz Nadeem hasn't bowled well. This was a tailor-made pitch for him," After losing the first Test, India will take on England in the second game of the four-match Test series from Saturday onwards at the same venue amid the crowd returning to the scene. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Moeen Ali has worked hard, we have full confidence in him, asserts Chris Silverwood
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English coach Chris Silverwood has full faith in experienced English all-rounder Moeen Ali's abilities should he play in the second Test against India. It was surprising to see the all-rounder missing out in the Test series opener after he had missed the last series against Sri Lanka due to COVID.Moeen Ali has been one of England's key players in Asia given he bowls off-spin and is pretty handy with the bat in the sub-continent conditions against spin. After missing out in the two-match Test series in Sri Lanka, it was expected that the all-rounder, who last featured in a Test as long back as 2019 Ashes, will feature in the XI in the first Test against India. But it was not to be as England surprisingly overlooked him. Now, for the second Test, he can come into picture if not as one of the two spinners then perhaps in place of someone like Daniel Lawrence, especially after the youngster failed with the bat.English coach Chris Silverwood revealed that Moeen has worked hard and should he play, he has full faith that the 33-year-old will do well."Moeen has worked as hard as he can with the facilities we have," Silverwood said. "Obviously he has not played in a game and we know that. We accept that those are the times we are in, but should he play, I would have every confidence in him," Silverwood said, reported ESPN. After an impressive first innings where he took four wickets, offie Dom Bess struggled largely in the second innings but the English head coach is confident that such things are part and parcel of the game. There were quite a few full tosses and long hops delivered by the young spinner, which isn't common when it comes to specialist spinners in Tests and were on display even in Lanka Tests. "I think he just had a bad day, which can happen to anybody. The top and bottom of that one is that we'll get in the nets on Thursday and we'll get bowling again and I'm sure he'll get straight back on the bike. I'm not concerned at this moment in time. Did he have an attack of the yips? No, absolutely not."I am not worried. I had a chat with him afterwards and he's still in good spirits. Everybody has a bad day and I can accept that. It's not through lack of effort. We get to the nets, work hard again and find him some rhythm: I am sure he will be fine," he said.With the second Test at the same venue, Chepauk, crowds are set to return back to the picture and Silverwood is quite excited about the same heading into the next game. "Am not concerned about the bubble aspect. They have been brilliant and we all feel safe. And from the crowd point of view, we will be having noise in the ground again and it will be fantastic," Silverwood said, reported TOI. "I mean if we get anything like that, like some sort of normality, it will make everything just a bit more buzz really and I think it will be great. We have got no concerns (on fans being allowed for the 2nd Test). Since we have been here, we have been very well looked after and we feel safe in the environment," he added. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Rishabh Pant is amazing to watch as a neutral, insists Ian Bell
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Ian Bell, ahead of the fifth day’s play, insisted that Rishabh Pant is amazing to watch as a neutral before crediting his clear game plan a reason behind his success. While he praised him for his calculative batting, he stated that if India gets a good foundation, Pant could be the difference-maker.Since Rishabh Pant has made his Indian debut, India have already become one of the feared chasing sides in the world, as seen in the series against Australia. Despite setting up mammoth targets both in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia were made to sweat to draw the Test in Sydney while conceding the Test in Brisbane, all the back of Rishabh Pant’s ultra-aggressive counter-attack. In just the one innings this series, the left-hander has already set the fear amidst the English bowlers - with Jack Leach bearing the brunt of his batting display. Former English batsman Ian Bell insisted that Rishabh is amazing to watch as a neutral. He also added that the left-arm spinner Leach would be unsure about what Pant would do, facing him. "As a neutral, Rishabh Pant is amazing to watch. That was just Test cricket. We saw Cheteshwar Pujara doing his own thing in his own way, and Rishabh Pant doing it in his way, which was great. Jack Leach would be sitting there not knowing what to do now when Pant comes in and whether we see Leach bowl to him a lot, I am not so sure in this series," Bell said on ESPNCricinfo, reported HT.However, from an English standpoint, Bell stated that if India does get a foundation, via their top-order batsman - the left-handed batsman would be dangerous and could hurt the Three Lions. "One thing that worries me from England point of view is that if India get a foundation, and he can come in on the back of good run score, he could be dangerous. That is what worries me in this series. If India got a good foundation, Pant could really hurt England in the back of an innings."Bell also expressed that Pant’s aggressive mindset wasn’t just reckless batting but it was the left-hander backing himself and taking on the right bowlers. "I think it is so important for a young player to understand how you are going to go and to have a clear mind. Pant showed an aggressive mindset, clear in his game plan, how he was going to take him down. It was not just reckless hitting, backing himself, picking the right bowlers. Yes, clearing boundary fielders but then rotating the strike along the way," he added.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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IND vs ENG | Chepauk Day 5 Talking Points: Jimmy’s reverse masterclass, Inconsistent Rahane and Leach’s fightback
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After Gabba, it won't be wrong to say that Indian fans hoped for a win. As for a draw, it was much expected. But England, James Anderson and Jack Leach had some other plans as the tourists registered an incredible Test win at Chepauk despite an exceptional 72 from Kohli, who didn't get much support.Master James Anderson arrives with his 'reverse-swing' in Chennai James Anderson is great with clouds or without it, with Dukes or without it, in England or Asia. He's a supremely skilled pacer and continues to awe us even at 38, running in and bowling peaches, showcasing how good he is. Winning in India is no joke. You can almost count them on fingers as India merely lost three Tests in the least decade at home. And today, the veteran seamer set-up the game for England.With a leg-side field, the plan was clear, Anderson was going to target pads and stumps. But Gill already had his eye in. But, he bowled a ripper of a reverse-swinging delivery to get the youngster out. One of the notable things was that, with his angle, the ball was going to come in, it was a fifth-day pitch, there was movement off the deck too, so he was able to get that very late reverse-swing. He was also bowling a lot of cutters and putting a lot of backspin. His wrist position was great as usual, the seam position perfect. He, shortly, accounted for the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant, using the angle really well. This was also the first time since 2008 that a bowler has bowled out two top-six India batsmen in one over. He finished his spell of five overs, giving six runs and taking three wickets, setting up for a rare Test victory in India. It was reminiscent of his classic spells in Mumbai 2006, Kolkata and Nagpur 2012. Elite!Ajinkya 'Inconsistent' RahaneThe team is under real pressure. Youngster Shubman Gill gets out to a James Anderson beauty. But India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane walks in. He had got out on a full toss in the first innings to leave India in trouble but he can amend the wrong today. He gets lucky on the second delivery he faces from a rampant Anderson and, despite a short-stride and getting caught in front, he survives. But the very next delivery, pretty much like an inexperienced Gill, there is a big gap between his bat and pad and he gets dismissed leaving India in a rut yet again. As remarkably as the 32-year-old was to lead India to a series win in Australia, his inconsistent batting performance did get overlooked. Barring the MCG ton and the Test, he managed scores of 42, 0, 22, 4, 37, 24 in the series. Since the start of 2020, across seven Tests and 14 innings, Rahane has accumulated merely 360 runs at a below-par average of 27.69 and only once has he crossed the fifty-run-mark. It doesn't reflect too well on as senior member as him given the responsibility he carries alongside Kohli and Pujara.And notably, it was only the 2019 West Indies tour from where he regained form and then did well at home against South Africa and Bangladesh respectively. As before that, in the one year or so, he had averaged 33.61. Quite inconsistent. So, this has been one feature of the Mumbaikar in Tests. He has quite a few such phases, where he gets away sans consistent performances. But given the rise of young Indian batsmen, it would be interesting to see how things pan out for him as there aren't a dearth of good options for the team in the middle-order.Jack Leach's incredible fightback As much as a dream it was for Jack Leach to play Test cricket in favourable Indian conditions, he was welcomed brutally by Rishabh Pant. At one stage, he was conceding runs at close to 10 RPO, after his first five overs or so, in India's first innings. On one hand, there was young Dom Bess putting up a brilliant show, on the other, a struggling Leach. He was hit for five sixes by Pant and conceded 4.40 runs per over ending with 2/105. India hasn't been easy to crack for even great spinners, Leach was experiencing the same. But, that is where your mettle and character comes into play. He was the senior spinner to Bess, had to a lot to prove after averaging 35.50 with the ball in Sri Lanka. And in the second innings, he just showcased that he is up for a fight and a Pant like assault won't outdo his years of hard yards in the county to earn the English cap. Late in the fourth day, he delivered a jaffa to Rohit Sharma. The ball drifted in, then straightened, hit the stumps. The dream was on again. But Pujara was one of the biggest challenges between a draw for India and a win for England. He just doesn't budge, keeps batting for hours. But he was also determined. Making full use of the fifth-day surface, Leach bowled a peach. The ball had turned and bounced enough to catch the shoulder of Pujara's bat, and jolted India's backbone. It was huge in the context of the game. Leach was not only bowling exceptionally but also making up for Bess' poor bowling. When Ashwin showed resistance with Kohli, he again struck and suddenly the horrors of the day three no longer mattered or existed for him as he was living the dream. To top it all off, he ended Nadeem's stay to bring an almost close to the Indian innings.After conceding nearly 70 runs in the first seven overs in India, Leach ended up with six wickets in the match. Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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