India’s batting performance in the series in England has gone from bad to worse with every innings. With only one innings left in the five-match Test series, India may have already thrown in the towel. Here’s a look at how India’s batting has disintegrated over the course of five Tests – from a promising start to what, in what all probability, would be a disastrous end.
First Test at Trent Bridge: India began the series on an impressive note at Nottingham, notching up 457 in their first innings batting first. Murali Vijay made 146, MS Dhoni 81 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami also contributed half centuries. India were good again in the second innings, finishing on 391 for 9, Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara striking half-centuries at the top of the order. Lower down in the innings, Stuart Binny made 78 in his debut Test while Bhuvneshwar Kumar remained unbeaten on 63, his second fifty of the Test as the match ended in a draw.
Second Test at Lord’s: England inserted India in under tough batting conditions. Even as the top and middle order floundered, Ajinkya Rahane held things together for India with an attacking century. His 103 coupled with a crucial contribution of 36 from Kumar took India to a respectable 295. In spite of Kumar’s 6 for 82, England replied well with 319 courtesy Gary Ballance’s ton. In the second innings, Vijay’s dogged 95 and half-centuries from Ravindra Jadeja and Kumar helped India set a set a tough target of 319 for England. Ishant Sharma’s 7 for 74 blew them away.
Third Test at Ageas Bowl: England batted beautifully to post 569 for 7 decl. India’s batsmen now needed to stand up to the challenge. They managed only 330 in reply; Rahane and Dhoni got fifties but couldn’t convert them into big scores. Many of the others also got out after getting starts. India were set a mammoth 445 to win in the second innings, and the batting completely succumbed under pressure. Rahane was unbeaten on 52, but the rest failed to make any impression. India were bundled out for 178. India lost the lead, and the momentum as well.
Fourth Test at Old Trafford: By now, England had a stranglehold over India’s batsmen. India chose to bat at Manchester, but lost the Test inside the first six overs when they collapsed to 8 for 4. MS Dhoni made 71 and R Aswhin 40, but India were still cleaned up for 152. India conceded 367 to England while bowling, and couldn’t even wipe off the deficit batting second. The team was cleaned up for 161, and lost the Test rather embarrassingly inside three days in spite of knowing that it was supposed to rain heavily over the next two days.
Fifth Test at The Oval: Like at Manchester, India again batted first and collapsed miserably. Dhoni was last man out for 82, but India overall managed only 148. 3-1 defeat seems on the cards for India.
--By A Cricket Analyst