The only way India could have squared the home series against England was if they managed to dominate the proceedings at Nagpur. At while there were moments where India were on top, they failed to drive home the advantage at crucial moments, which cost India the chance to win the Test, and with it end the series at 2-2. The draw not only cost India the series, in which they were supposed to take revenge for the 4-0 humiliation in England last season, but also ended India’s dominance at home, which lasted for nearly a decade. A lowdown of key moments when India let England slip away:
England recover after losing openers: Batting first after winning the toss, the visitors lost their in-form openers Alastair Cook and Nick Compton with only 16 runs on the board. The Indian bowlers had a chance to put England under severe pressure. However, they allowed Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen to build a handy partnership. They had another chance to put the Englishmen on the back foot when they were five down for 139. England, however, once again recovered courtesy some tenacious partnerships even as India’s bowlers to build on their gains. Debutant Joe Root, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann all made vital contributions to take England to 330.
Dhoni, Kohli’s untimely loss: After stumbling early on in the first innings, Virat Kohli and M S Dhoni batted incredibly well to put India on top. They raised India’s score from 71 for 4 to 269. It was a position from which India should have built a sizeable lead. Instead, they lost four wickets in quick succession, and with it the significant advantage they had gained through the Kohli-Dhoni partnership. Although India got nearer to England’s first-innings score, the pressure was pretty much off the English batsmen knowing they were 2-1 up in the series.
Last chance gone begging: Thanks to Dhoni’s sporting declaration, India’s bowlers got one final chance to try and upset the English equation. There was a semblance for hope for the Indians when Cook, Compton and Pietersen fell before the lead crossed the 100 mark. Yet again though England found a way out while the Indian bowlers failed to apply thepressure on the English batsmen. The final day was all about England enjoying themselves at India’s expense. Trott and Ian Bell, the two men who hadn’t had a great series till date, took the opportunity to get among the runs, and make it a complete experience for the visiting side. Their double hundred partnership only piled on the agony for India. That even Gautam Gambhir came on to bowl two innocuous overs was symptomatic of England’s unprecedented dominance in the series.
--By A Cricket Analyst