August 05
04:07 2018

“ It’s always a wake-up call to get beaten”.

Joe Root, the England Captain, who was at receiving end of the Kohli’s sarcastic ceebration, after he ran out the England Captain on the first day, said “it all added some humour to the series”.

The statement was as straight as his straight drive, and never sounded offended to the “mic drop act” and mouthing a few unpleasant words in a send-off gesture by Kohli.

While Root might have felt he was “Humoured” out, but, by losing to a 31 run defeat, India was certainly “shamed” out, signalling how things would pan out over the course of the five match series.

Of course, the loss is an aberration. Nothing to crib about it, but something to learn more from it and hopefully a lesson from which Team India can learn a lesson or two from it.

The rest of the series will now depend on how well India would recover from the loss – not physically, that is the least of their worries, but mentally.

Well, the test could have gone both ways as each team outplayed the other at different stages of the match.

More importantly, it could have gone India’s way as at the start of the fourth day were trailing by 90 odd runs with five wickets in hand and most importantly with Kohli still at the crease.

The odds ought to have been with India, especially as the target was a mere 194 runs and skipper Virat Kohli is an acknowledged master of the chase….

But, there were gaps, the India’s top order which has no idea in which way the new ball swings, then there was a snoozing Ravi Shastri, the Indian coach, and that record of India in away series.

Except, the captain, rest of the batsmen did how badly they could have played on a lively pitch.

Sometimes, cricket is all about the little things. There is no need to overhaul the technique in a big way but just enough to show intent… to show your determination.

And that was what the little known 20 year old unknown cricketer called Sam Curran displayed when he showed that it is not the experience, but the ability to turn the match around that matters to win the Test Matches.

There was a demonstration of resolute hunger in him to excel while he navigated the team to safety away from the turbulence around him, which the experienced specialist players of team India lacked.

Virat’s masterful century had no doubt lead India’s recovery in the first innings, but, it was Sam Curran’s 61 ball 63, when his team was tattering with seven wickets down for 86 runs, that dictated how things would turned around in the course of the match.

His innings once again proved that to win Test matches a Century is not enough.

Why do Indian top order do well in limited over version of the game but struggle in the Test matches?

It is a question that many have pondered over, every time India losses a test match away from the home.

The answers that enthusiasts and experts arrive at, vary from mental resilience to sheer class, but perhaps the one that makes most sense is their ability to pace themselves.

The lack of that ability to show enough intent resulted in fixation in one batsman’s fortunes. Thus, the obsession with Virat Kohli was mirrored in the loss and it would surely affect the test series.

Amidst the predicament of Indian team, there was this banner displayed by two young kids among the crowd “Keep the Test Cricket live, for future generation fans”.

And the kids were not disappointed with the opening thrust to the series which has provided a wonderful example of why Test Cricket can be such an exciting spectacle.

Test cricket desperately needs these types of contests, regardless who wins, as long as it carries that uncertainty aspect throughout, with each team outplaying the other at different phases of the match and the team that kept its nerves winning.

In the End, an exciting test match was won by the better team of the day.

It was a match in which each ball of the chase was riveting as the last, each burst of triumphant activity from one side prompted tones of despair from the other.

And by God, the contest was overgenerous; eccentric even, as 21 of the 22 players (except Kohli) were seemingly unable to believe it was there for the taking…..

….. While reminding us that ” A Century is not enough”, to win a Test match, but a demonstration of resolute hunger to win it.

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