Well, India certainly showed England why they haven’t lost a series at home since 2012 AND why they are the best on spinning pitches at home. England were also taught a lesson on how to play spin and the spinners were reminded on why they needed to be consistent.
First Test – 5th February – Chennai – England won by 227 runs
Second Test – 13th February – Chennai – India won by 217 runs
Third Test – 24th February – Ahmedabad – India won by 10 wickets
Fourth Test – 4th March – Ahmedabad – India won by an Innings and 25 Runs
In the first test, England capped off a magnificent win against India, this was a shock win following India’s win against Australia and how good they are at home. England performed their perfect game, everybody contributed from Joe Root and the batters getting a mountain amount of runs, the spinners coming into the game when the pitch suited them, and Jimmy Anderson showing why he is England’s greatest ever seam bowler. However, India were not at their best, Virat Kohli was a bit subdued in the field, he is normally shouting and ordering players about however this match he was a bit quiet, perhaps the effect of missing the last 3 tests against Australia. India also bowled several no-balls throughout both innings, and this is unacceptable for a professional cricket team, this allowed England to ease the pressure on them and put that pressure on India. England won the first test by 227 runs. However, the pitch was not spinning in the first few days when England batted therefore this did not feel like the India conditions they were expecting.
In the second and third test, the pitches were a lot more spin-friendly, with the ball turning square in the first few days, this was terrible news for England as they have a reputation for not being able to play spin particularly well. In Both the second and third test, the England batsmen were scared of the fact that the ball was spinning past their outside edge so they decided to play for the turn however many balls skidded straight on and many of the batsmen were out by leg before the wicket. This meant that England struggled to put any sort of big total on the board, they failed to make a score bigger than 200 in all 4 innings, this is disappointing as England had shown promising signs of improvement with their batting of spin in Sri Lanka, however, Ashwin and Patel were better bowlers than the Sri Lankan ones and they showed why India are the best in Indian conditions.
Heading into the 4th test India, were leading 2-1 therefore they could not lose the series, England had to go out and prove that the criticism about the team selection and the rest and rotation policy was wrong, however, England seemed mentally scarred from the previous matches and were playing for a spin on a non-turning pitch. This time they managed to just scrape 205 runs however, this was about 100 runs under par as it was a good pitch to bat on, there was little help for spin and seam bowlers. England bowled well against the India batsmen leaving them 156 for 6 and it looked like England may be able to go into the second innings with a lead, however, a wonderful inning of 101 from Rishabh Pant, which included an outrageous reverse scoop shot off Jimmy Anderson with the new ball in hand, put that thought to bed. Washington Sundar played an amazing support act to Pant and he made 96 not out, India managed to make 365 runs all out. England woes with the bat continued in the second innings with England’s opening partnership making 8 runs between them, Joe Root made 30 and Dan Lawrence made 50 but apart from that the rest of the team crumbled. India won by an innings and 25 runs.
Where Do England Go From Here?
England were massively outplayed in all areas of the game in this series so they need to pick themselves back up for the 2 Tests against New Zealand, 5 Tests against India, and 5 Tests against Australia, later this year.
I think that Dom Bess needs to go back to Yorkshire and play a season of County Championship to get some wickets under his belt and build up his confidence, Dom Bess was too inconsistent in this series; he bowled too many full tosses and loose delivery’s which enabled the Indian batsmen to alleviate the pressure and score freely. The England Management did not make this problem easier by asking Moeen Ali to stay and play when he was scheduled to go home, this sent out the message that England did not think he is good enough. Therefore, I think it would be best if he goes and works on his consistency with Yorkshire.
I believe that England need to find a good opening partnership that does not crumble within the first 10 overs. Joe Root, England’s star man often comes in inside the first 20 overs, but this isn’t ideal as the bowlers and ball are too fresh; Joe root is likely to get out early therefore meaning England need openers who can make at least a 50 partnership each innings and survive at least the opening 20-30 overs to allow the top and middle order to score freely, especially when the bowlers are tired.
What Positives Can England Take?
Jimmy Anderson showed why he is the best seam bowler and he continues to improve; he is now bowling well in conditions that don’t suit him and this is a great positive to take into a year where the ashes are crucial and he will be vital.
Joe Root is scoring big hundreds and getting on form, this will also be crucial in Australia where big first-innings runs are needed as well as batting for long periods of time.
Jack Leach is looking a better and better bowler each test, he is constantly improving and looking like he has the potential to be an excellent bowler. England have struggled to find a good spinner since Swann and Panesar, so I reckon this will boost England’s chances of winning in Australia.
Dan Lawrence looked impressive in the last test, making scores of 46 and 50 when the rest of the team struggled. Lawrence is only 23 years old so has plenty of years ahead of him.