The first Test at the Chepauk between India and England (IND vs ENG) ended in a dominant performance by the visitors as they battered India in all three departments and deservedly took the lead in the four-match Test series.
After the extraordinary high of winning in Australia, India failed to live up to the high standards they set for themselves in this first Test match. England looked better prepared and were looking eager for the win than the opposition. Many things went against the Indian team in this Test match starting with the toss itself but England were the better team on all five days and now find themselves on the top of the World Test Championship table.
Here are the five important talking points from the IND vs ENG Test at Chennai:
JOE ROOT GETS A DOUBLE ON HIS 100TH TEST
It was a special Test for England’s captain Joe Root as he was playing his 100th Test for his country. He made sure that he’d remember this Test for a long time to come as he marked this special moment with an ultra special knock – 218, and was rightly awarded as the Man of the Match. The biggest win for Root was arguably the toss and it set the first innings up brilliantly for the Three Lions. We called it before the series that if England are to do well in this series then the English captain will have to outscore his opposing number and he did exactly that in the first Test.
JAMES ANDERSON IS THE GOAT OF ENGLISH CRICKET
Jack Leach may get all the recognition in the second innings for his four-wicket haul but it was James Anderson’s first over on Day five which was the game-changing moment for England. The ease with which he went through the defence of a well-set Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane exhibits the class of the fast bowler. The over was reminiscent of the over Andrew Flintoff produced at Edgbaston against Australia in 2005. Anderson was the X-factor in the 2012 series when India last lost a Test series at home and in this Test, he showed exactly how difficult it will be for India to win this time around.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR KULDEEP YADAV?
Back in the 2019 Sydney Test, Kuldeep Yadav was hailed as the number one choice in the spin department in Test cricket for India but post that, the left-arm chinaman bowler hasn’t found a game to feature in. He was part of the travelling squad to Australia but saw net bowlers like Washington Sundar and T Natarajan getting a chance ahead of him. In this game as well, Kuldeep was a part of the initial squad named but on the eve of the Test, Shahbaz Nadeem who was picked as a replacement of Axar Patel was named in the XI ahead of Yadav.
Virat Kohli in the post-match presser mentioned that they wanted variety in their bowling department hence Yadav was snubbed in this particular game. There’s also an argument to be made that Kuldeep would have struggled to adapt to the pace required while bowling on that slow Chennai track and his omission from the team is justified.
WIN THE TOSS, WIN THE MATCH?
In India, toss does play a key role especially on a track like Chennai. The pitch was extremely slow on the first three days and in benign conditions, England made the most of it by stacking up a colossal first innings total. England got the opportunity to bat in the best possible conditions and when it was India’s chance to bat then the pitch started to play some tricks. Toss is out of the control of the captains but sometimes you need the rub of the green to go your way in Test cricket.
FOURTH AND FIFTH BOWLER FAILED TO DELIVER FOR INDIA
India went into this Test with two fast bowlers and three spinners. The fourth and the fifth bowler in the squad were Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar respectively, both playing just their second Test match. Both the spinners struggled to keep things tight for the Indians in the first innings and the English batsmen went all guns blazing against the two inexperienced bowlers.
Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin were outstanding with the ball even in the first innings when the pitch was at its best behaviour but the same pressure couldn’t be replicated by Sundar and Nadeem. The control with the ball required to be successful at the Test level was missing from both the spinners and this was where India struggled to cut short England’s first innings total. Will we see a change of combination in the second Test? For that, we need to wait till the 13th as the second Test at the same venue kicks off then.
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