India survive England scare in first Test

India survived a scare before managing to draw the first cricket Test against England, who gained the psychological advantage after enjoying the upperhand for the better part of the five days.
India survive England scare in first Test
Virat Kohli played a gritty innings to help India to draw the first Test against England

Rajkot

Set a target of 310 in a minimum 49 overs, India managed to reach 172 for six in 52.3 overs and were never really in the hunt. Skipper Virat Kohli showed patience as he consumed 98 balls for his unbeaten 49 that had six boundaries and Ravindra Jadeja (32 not out) also hit some lusty blows after the sixth wicket had fallen at 132. 
Earlier, Alastair Cook scored his 30th Test century with England declaring at 260 for 3 in the second innings. That India had literally no chance of winning was ensured by a 180run opening stand between Cook (130) and young teenager Haseeb Hameed (82) earlier in the day. On a fifth day pitch that didn’t show considerable signs of wear and tear, the Indian spinners barring a brief spell by Amit Mishra (2/60 in 13 overs), were rendered ineffective by Captain Cook, who batted for nearly five hours to hit 13 fours in 243 balls. 
The first Test once again raised serious questions about the ability of the Indian spinners to bowl on pitches that aren’t exactly rank turners. Ashwin, India’s premier strike bowler, in all bowled 69.3 overs across two innings getting only 3 wickets giving away 230 runs. 
Ravindra Jadeja got three wickets in 47 overs in the match while Mishra also had 3 scalps to this credit having bowled 36.3 overs but not before giving away as many as 158 runs. On the day, Ashwin at one point of time was bowling a negative line to both Cook and Ben Stokes (29 not out) outside the leg-stump in order to stem the flow of runs. The other worrying aspect will be veteran opener Gautam Gambhir’s form and technical deficiencies that were again exposed in front of some quality seam bowling. 
After succumbing to an in-swinger from Stuart Broad in the first innings, the left-hander awkwardly dabbed at a short ball to be dismissed for zero in the slip cordon. With Karun Nair waiting in the wings and KL Rahul back with a bang from injury scoring a 75 in Sunday’s Ranji Trophy game, the Indian team will need to figure out their winning combination at Visakhapatnam for the second Test, starting November 17.
We know how to draw Tests: Kohli
India skipper Virat Kohli said the critics now cannot question his team’s ability to force a draw from tough situations as he dug his heels to lead the side to a draw.
Kohli played a fighting unbeaten 49-run knock and together with Ravindra Jadeja (32) ensured that the team come out unscathed. “Well, at least we know how to draw games now. Before that, some people obviously were skeptical about our side knowing how to draw games. We won games or we lost games,” the captain said. “I spoke with Ravindra Jadeja out there that it was an opportunity for both of us to improve on another aspect of the game. Maybe in Test cricket in the future, we will have this situation again. Maybe we will have to apply ourselves again and show character, show intent to get runs in between, but play percentage cricket, figuring out areas where you want to take ones or hit boundaries but at the same time be sure of your defense as well. It was a challenging situation but one that we counted really well,” Kohli added. The Indian captain though made it clear that he was surprised to see the tinge of green on the track. “I was quite surprised to see that much grass, to be honest. It should not have been the case,” he said. 
Kohli though said the track was not as unplayable and did not hold demons as it looked from outside with the fall of quick Indian wickets. “We saw from day 3 onwards, the last hour, the ball did quite a bit for the spinners. That stayed consistent on days 3, 4 and 5. I don’t think it was similar throughout the day,” he said. He got annoyed when asked whether the visiting team’s spinners out-performed the Indian trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja and Amit Mishra. “I don’t think so. They bowled well but it’s not that they outperformed our spinners. It’s not that they took five-for and totally turned around the game. They should have won the game if they outperformed our spinners,” he said curtly.

Related Stories

No stories found.