India have taken a 1-0 lead in the ongoing Test series against England with a memorable Test victory at Lord’s. Team India have been dominant throughout the series so far – they were on course for a victory in the first Test at Trent Bridge before rain played spoilsport. After defeating Australia at their own backyard in spectacular style earlier this year, England remained the last summit for Virat Kohli’s men to overcome, and they look on course to achieving that this summer.
As Team India looks forward to a series victory in England, we take a look at the top performers from both teams so far:
#5: MOHAMMED SIRAJ
Mohammed Siraj’s inclusion in the team raised many eyebrows among Indian fans – especially as he lacked experience in English conditions. But Siraj has not only managed to silence critics, but he has also made his case for a more permanent role in the Test team. Despite being energised by his on-field antics and verbal brawls with Anderson, Siraj maintained discipline and focus on his line and length throughout both Tests.
Mohammed Siraj’s best performance came in the second innings of the second Test at Lord’s when India needed wickets on the last day to register a win. Siraj picked up the scalps of Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, crippling England’s middle-order. In the process, he surpassed legendary Kapil Dev to record the best bowling figures for India at Lord’s.
#4: JAMES ANDERSON
James Anderson has donned many roles for his country over the years – from a young and angry seamer in his early days to a mature leader in his prime and now as an experienced veteran. The absence of Stuart Broad from the series due to injury has left Anderson as the sole experienced hand in England’s pace attack, which otherwise lacks any significant depth. Despite being 39, Anderson did the bulk of the work for England in the first two Tests, as Joe Root looked time and again to the veteran to deliver results when they most desperately needed wickets.
The threat posed by Anderson to Team India was crystal clear in the first Test itself when he became the nemesis of India’s top-order to dismiss Rahul, Pujara and Kohli in quick succession. By picking up four wickets in the Test, Anderson surpassed Anil Kumble to become the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests. He once again shined with the ball in the second Test, where he took a fifer to keep England in the game. Three Tests are remaining in the series, and if Anderson remains fit, we can see some more memorable spells from the legend.
#3: JASPRIT BUMRAH
Jasprit Bumrah’s less-than-impressive performance in the World Test Championship final was lambasted by critics. But that is the cost of success – high expectations. Nothing short of a fifer will satisfy the expectations Jasprit Bumrah has set in recent years. India’s dominance in Test cricket in recent years has been led by their pace department, and Jasprit Bumrah is its unequivocal leader. India needed Bumrah to perform well in the first two Tests, and he more than contributed his fair share to the team.
With figures of 9/110 and 3/112, Bumrah is the leading wicket-taker of the series. His fifer in the second innings of the first Test put India on a winning course, but unfortunately, the last day was lost to rain. While it was Mohammed Siraj who championed India’s bowling in the second Test, Bumrah gave him crucial support with his economic spells. But it was in the batting department that Bumrah surprised everyone as he added 28 and 34 runs to the team’s total in both Tests and extending India’s lead.
#2: KL RAHUL
KL Rahul’s repeated inclusion in the squad despite poor performances in recent months has been questioned time and again, but Kohli has placed his faith in Rahul’s ability to build solid innings alongside Rohit Sharma. Rahul has certainly lived up to the expectations his captain had for him by putting on a batting masterclass in the home of cricket. His 129 will remain one of the most memorable centuries by an Indian in England. By scoring 244 runs with an average of 61, Rahul is the top performer for Team India with the bat.
Rahul’s contributions to the team are especially noteworthy as he managed to stay at the crease when veterans like Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have struggled, and the opener has now secured his spot in the playing XI for the rest of the series. He will be hungry for more runs, however, and as long as India’s middle-order struggles against the attack of James Anderson, India needs KL Rahul to perform.
#1: JOE ROOT
There was a time when people argued for Joe Root to be removed from the list of ‘Fab Four’ – citing a lull in his form. But the English captain has silenced all such talks with his spectacular display with the bat in recent Tests – be it in Sri Lanka, India or now at home. In a Test series where India’s bowlers are playing havoc with English batsmen, Root remains the solid rock of the team – resisting India’s attacks and stitching together critical partnerships to keep England in the game.It is no surprise that Joe Root is the top scorer of the series so far. With an average of 128.66, the English captain has amassed 386 runs so far in the series – 122 runs more than KL Rahul. Root has totalled 1277 runs so far this year in Tests, moving to the second spot in Test rankings behind Kane Williamson. The next batsman in the rankings for England is Rory Burns at 28 – showing how critical Joe Root is to the English team.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES