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Domination in England to Flooring Sri Lanka at Home - Team India Ends Test Season 2021-22 on a High

By: Aakash Biswas

Last Updated: March 15, 2022, 10:00 IST

Team India Ends Test Season 2021-22 on a High

Team India Ends Test Season 2021-22 on a High

A dominant series win against SL signals the end of the Test season for India for the year, and while the wins in England and against NZ will boost India, missed chance in South Africa will surely hurt India

Team India on Monday completed a 2-0 series sweep on Sri Lanka, ending their Test season on a high. A journey, that began after an unsuccessful campaign at the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand, ended with a remarkable 238-run win against the Island nation.

Under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, the team registered their fifth-biggest Test win in Mohali and a few days later, they jumped a place up in the WTC points table. With this win, India also ended their cricketing season 2021-22 at home unbeaten.

From a change in leadership to the axing of some dependable cricketers, this team has gone through a lot of ups and downs in the past months. The captain’s face may have been changed but the zeal of winning remains the same. After falling short in the WTC final in 2021 against New Zealand, India surprised many taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the 5-matches series against England before the final match was postponed due to a Covid outbreak within the team. Incidentally, India will complete the series playing the remaining match in July this year - their last Test of 2022 with a chance at shot at history.

Back home in India, they would have loved a series sweep, but NZ put up some good resistance at Kanpur, only to be drowned down at Mumbai. South Arica presented India with a golden opportunity to once again create history and their win at Centurion in the first Test rekindled memories of the historic Tour Down under just a year back, but the Proteas, led by the dogged Dean Elgar, fought tooth and nail to beat a much more fancied India and in the course of the series unearthed some future talents in Keegan Petersen and Marco Jansen.

For India, even though Shreyas Iyer stepped up against NZ, he could not find a place in the XI for SA Tests with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane getting couple more opportunities to possibly save their Test careers. However, that was not to be and come Sri Lanka series, Iyer at No.6, Hanuma Vihari at 5 and Rishabh Pant at No.5 signalled the change of guard, and none signified it better than Rohit Sharma taking charge in the longest format as well after Virat Kohli stepped down amidst the SA debacle. Kohli’s search for that elusive 71st century is still on, while the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj continue to soar.

Sri Lanka series also recemented Ravindra Jadeja’s value in Test XI as the all-rounder took the top spot in ICC rankings during the course of the series, while the indomitable R Ashwin went past legends of the game to carve out his own special place the pantheon of great bowlers the game has seen.

India’s will not be playing at Test series this year, barring that one-off Test in England and even though the original FTP (2018-23) has India playing six Tests against Australia and Bangladesh later this year, the rescheduling of ICC T20World Cup 2022 means India and the rest will be busy with the marquee T20 event til the first week of November, giving little space for BCCI or ICC to accommodate a full-fledged series.

A look at what India achieved since July 2021.

Scripting history in England: After losing the WTC final, India squared off against England in a 5-match Test series that started in Nottingham. India were eyeing an easy win to start with but poor weather and drizzling spoilt the mood on the final day and the first Test. Ultimately, it ended in a draw. The tourists arrived in London with the same spirit and thumped England by 151 runs, taking a 1-0 lead.

The hosts managed to level the series in Leeds, winning the game by an innings and 76 runs. However, they were humiliated again by Team India on returning to London. Kohli’s men took an unassailable 2-1 lead at Kennington Oval and before they could script history, a Covid breakout in the Indian camp forced the series to be finished in 2022. The conclusion will be out in July 1st week when both teams will face each other in Manchester for the postponed encounter.

If India manaafrica will ge to win 3-1, it would be the first Test series to be finished under two different coach-captain combinations.

1-0 Revenge against New Zealand: India sought the revenge of WTC final loss against New Zealand by thrashing them at home. Following a horrible T20I series, the Kiwis geared up for 2 Tests. The series saw the rise of Shreyas Iyer who bagged an opportunity in the absence of Virat Kohli. The youngster scored a hundred and a fifty-plus in Kanpur to put the hosts at a comfortable spot but the Kiwis managed to draw the first encounter.

In the next encounter in Mumbai, Mayank Agarwal stole the show with a couple of promising knocks. He scored a 150 in the first innings and followed it up with a 108-ball 62 as India set a mammoth 539-target for the Kiwis to chase. India bundled them out for 167, winning the series 1-0.

The South Africa Debacle: India were considered the firm favourites on their arrival in the Rainbow Nation. Living up to everybody’s expectation, the visitors scripted history with a 113-run win in Centurion. The South African fortress was breached and they moved to Johannesburg, India’s home away from home in the country. But there the fortunes took a steep turn and the favourites were receiving flaks from fans.

First Johannesburg and then Cape Town, India lost both the games by 7 wickets and their dream of conquering South Africa never turned into reality. Kohli resigned as captain the very next day after the conclusion of the final Test.

Happy Ending against Sri Lanka: Moving ahead, India now welcomed Sri Lanka in a 2-match Test series. The team was almost same but scenarios were different. Rohit Sharma was ready to begin his test captaincy stint. On the other hand, India was about to play a Test without Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara after a decade. In addition, Wriddhman Saha and Ishant Sharma also faced the axe as the selectors now wanted to try out something new.

India began with a boom in Mohali. It was also Virat Kohli’s 100th Test but the limelight was garnered by Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja. Their knocks powered India in such a way that Sri Lanka lost the game by an innings and 22 runs in just the third day.

The pink Test in Bengaluru saw the wizardry of Sri Lankan spinner but their batter could hardly create a difference. After Pant’s fastest fifty, visiting captain Dimuth Karunaratne fought tooth and nail with Indian bowlers. But that wasn’t enough to shift the momentum in his team’s favour. Despite a resilient century, Sri Lanka lost the game by 238 runs.

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first published:March 15, 2022, 10:00 IST
last updated:March 15, 2022, 10:00 IST