Indian batting looked solid in the first innings of the first Test against England apart some odd failures. But, had the pitch to do anything with that? Let us find out.
India straightaway decided to bat in the first Test after winning the toss. It looked a great decision when India scored 457 runs in their first innings. The performance was studded with scores like 146 from the opener Murali Vijay and a patient knock of 82 runs by the captain M S Dhoni.
However, the surprise package was right down at the bottom. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami scored half-centuries each to add 111 runs for the last wicket. They scored 58 and 51 runs respectively. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane played handy knocks of 38 and 32 runs.
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were failures as they didn’t impress with their batting chances.
However, the last pair of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami overshadowed the efforts of all the other Indian batsmen. What was the reason or secret behind this?
Does the Indian batting line up go all the way down to number 11? Or was it indeed a great resistance to cross 450 runs when the ninth wickets had fallen on 346? Or were there still any other reasons for this dramatic 100+ partnership? All were talking about the pitch being flat; could this probably be the cause?
After the fall of Ishant Sharma, Kumar and Shami joined hands to put on one of the most frustrating partnerships for the opposition. Initially, it was Kumar who was shielding Shami from the England attack and so consumed more balls than him.
Bhuvi scored 58 runs (with five fours) off 149 balls, which shows a strike rate of a tad less than 39. On the other hand, Shami scored 51 runs from just 81 balls with a rate of slightly less than 63. Moreover, he hit one six and one four more than Kumar.
In the middle of the innings, Vijay and Dhoni put up a decent batting show. But the scoring rate was well below 3 runs per over. Vijay was nearing his 150-run mark and was cautious in his stroke play. However, being over cautious cost him and was out on 146.
In between, the scoring needed a push as India was literally crawling. In came Ravindra Jadeja and gave the much needed pace. In 24 balls, he scored 25 runs with the help of two fours and an equal number of sixes.
Debutant Stuart Binny failed with the bat as he scored just one runs off 11 balls – the same number of runs as Kohli and Sharma.
As we are already into the second Grand Slam (French Open) of the year and the third one (Wimbledon) is not so far, let us review the mid year performance and progression of India's top ranked singles players. All these players have already spent years on ATP circuit and gained good enough experiences at the highest level of the sport.
On an overcast wicket, the English pacer Anderson broke the back of the vaunted Indian batting line-up with 5-20. The weather cleared and England hit 396 but again the Indian batting was exposed to Anderson and Broad and it was a dismal 130 all out and a defeat..
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