Vijay makes a statement of intent, Kumar shines

Tags: India tour of England, 2014, India, England, Murali Vijay, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Published on: Jul 15, 2014

Going into the Trent Bridge Test, if India were told that they would finish the match on an even keel with England, they would have taken it without any complaints.

Going into the Trent Bridge Test, if India were told that they would finish the match on an even keel with England, they would have taken it without any complaints. Irrespective of the surface that was on offer, the baggage of history on India was extremely heavy. The last time they visited the country, they were thrashed 4-0, literally annihilated in each of the Tests. This was followed by the embarrassing loss at home as well to same opponent back in 2012. Against that backdrop, the Trent Bridge draw would be a sigh of relief for India even though there were occasions when they could have undone England.

India can take out a number of positives out of the high-scoring Trent Bridge stalemate. With his performance in the Test, Murali Vijay further cemented his spot at the top of the order. Going into the series, there were still question marks as to whether Vijay was good enough to be India's opener in the long run. The query should now be put to rest at least for the next few Tests. The defiant manner in which Vijay batted was a wonderful example of an opener setting up the game for his team. The manner in which Vijay left balls outside the off stump was particularly impressive, a clear demonstration that he had his mind in the right place.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is another player who put his hand up for India. Given his lack of pace, and England's proficiency against medium pace bowlers, there were worries over whether Kumar would be able to stand up to the challenge in England. And, while he did not run through England during his five-wicket haul, he managed to move the ball around and trouble the Englishmen, which was a definite achievement. It was his batting effort though that stood out. In the first innings, with India staring at a mediocre score following an embarrassing collapse, Kumar stood up to the task, and ensured India finished in the safe zone. In the second essay, he gave further proof of his batting ability.

Another tick in the box for India was the performance of captain M S Dhoni. There were numerous doubts over how Dhoni would fare in the series given his horrendous batting record away from home. Aided by a pitch that did not play a lot of tricks, and some positive stroke play, Dhoni managed to put up an acceptable performance in the first innings. His dismissal during his second visit to the crease was worrying again, especially under the circumstances in which it came, but the draw and a first-innings half-century mean Dhoni can breathe lightly for now. Stuart Binny also put his hand up in his debut Test. Though he did not have much to do with the ball, it was his dogged knock that rescued India on the final day.

Among the disappointments, two big names Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli registered twin failures. But too much shouldn't be seen into it as both the players have tasted success recently. Dhawan has a hundred and 90 plus score in his last two knocks, and Kohli has been consistency personified throughout. Ajinkya Rahane had a disappointing Test as he too failed after getting starts in both innings. But all these are minor hiccups. For now, they must be pleased that they would go to Lord's unscathed, at least as far as the scoreboard is concerned.

--By A Cricket Analyst

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