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India's Trent Bridge Report: Most Pass With Flying Colours in Memorable Win

Ashish Pant |Cricketnext | Updated: August 23, 2018, 10:11 AM IST
India's Trent Bridge Report: Most Pass With Flying Colours in Memorable Win

(Twitter/ ICC)

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Down 2-0 and with odds severely stacked against them, the fight shown by India to stage a comeback in the third Test with a thumping 203-run win over England has been admirable. The batsmen were ready to graft it out, the bowlers stuck to a plan, and most importantly the fielders took almost all the chances that came their way. All the chinks that were so glaringly visible in the first two Test were ironed out nicely by the visitors and suddenly things have started to look up for them.

Sent into bat, the visitors — after the disaster at Lord's — ensured mistakes weren't repeated with half-centuries by Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane helping India to a formidable 329 in their first essay. Hardik Pandya then produced a masterclass in swing bowling, returning figures of 5 for 28 to bundle out the hosts for just 161. With the cushion of a 168-run lead, the Indian batsmen batted far more freely in their second innings, finally declaring at 352 for 7 to set England a mammoth 520 runs to chase. Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes issued some resistance but Jasprit Bumrah's 5 for 85 ensured the hosts never came close to the target.

Here's Cricketnext report card of the Indian players:

Shikhar Dhawan - Rating: 5.5/10, Verdict: Average

After being dropped for the second Test following a below-par performance in the opening game, the way Dhawan curbed his natural instincts at Trent Bridge was heartening to see. He did not chase balls outside the off stump and tried playing with soft hands as much as possible. The left-hander made 35 and 44 in the two innings, forging 60-run opening stands with KL Rahul in both the essays. Having said that, with the starts he got, he should have ideally converted one of the two scores into a three-figure mark. He was once again dismissed poking at a Chris Woakes delivery outside off stump in the first innings, something he will have to be mindful of as the series progresses.

KL Rahul - Rating 6.5/10, Verdict: Good

India's Lokesh Rahul, left, catches out England's Ben Stokes as teammate Virat Kohli looks on during day two of the third Test match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. (AP) India's Lokesh Rahul, left, catches out England's Ben Stokes as teammate Virat Kohli looks on during day two of the third Test match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. (AP)

The only reason Rahul gets an extra point is because of his exceptional catching. Stationed primarily at second slip, the opener hung on to every chance that came his way, becoming the first fielder to take seven catches in a Test in England. Catches going down in the slip cordon has been a long-standing problem for India and they will be delighted to have someone reliable guarding that area for now. With the bat as well Rahul looked in good touch giving India a solid foundation alongside Dhawan. He scored 23 and 36 in the two innings but was dismissed to in-dippers both times. He was out in a similar fashion in the second innings of the Lord's as well. With Murali Vijay woefully out of touch, the England tour is a golden chance for Rahul to cement his place as India's first-choice opener and with two Tests to go, he will be keen on achieving that.

Cheteshwar Pujara - Rating: 6, Verdict: Good

Pujara came to Trent Bridge by his own admission "under pressure" after two disappointing outings in the second Test. He did not do himself any favours in the first innings, falling to an uncharacteristic hook shot off the last ball before lunch on Day 1, leaving his captain Virat Kohli visibly upset. However, the Indian No.3 went back to the basics bringing out the grittiness he is known for in the second innings to score a valuable 208-ball 72. He forged a 113-run stand for the fourth wicket with his captain helping India extend their lead. With plenty of stroke-makers in the side, Pujara's ability to bat time and hold anchor will be extremely crucial to the visitors' chances in the last two encounters.

Virat Kohli - Rating 9, Verdict: Very Good

Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring century in the second innings. (Image: AP) Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring century in the second innings. (Image: AP)

The Indian captain after a sub-par effort in the previous Test once again showed why he is undoubtedly the best player going around currently in world cricket. While he scored a magnificent 97 in the first stint, the agony of falling three short of a century was clearly visible on his face. But like all great players manage, Kohli, with plenty of time on his hands in the second innings made sure he did not miss out again as he cracked his 23rd Test ton to take the game completely out of England's grasp. On the field as well, he made the right bowling changes at the right times, and his bowlers backed him up pretty well.

Kohli has already scored 440 runs in just the three Tests so far, miles ahead of Jonny Bairstow who is second on the list with 206 runs. What a turnaround for a man who could manage just 134 runs in 10 innings the last time he was playing Test cricket in England!

Ajinkya Rahane - Rating 7, Verdict: Good

He is the overseas specialist of the side but with two disappointing outings, there were question marks being raised over Rahane's place in the side. The vice-captain, however, made sure he answered all his critics in style. Coming in at a wobbly 82 for 3, Rahane dug in alongside his captain forging a 139-run stand for the fourth wicket to take India to safer shores. He was wary of the pokes outside the off stump that got him into trouble in the first two Tests and once he got a start he looked more and more self-assured. His 81 was crucial in India getting past the 300-mark in their first innings, while in the second innings as well, he looked comfortable right from the outset.

Hardik Pandya - Rating 9/10, Verdict: Very Good

India's Hardik Pandya (L) celebrates taking the wicket of England's Joe Root. (AFP) India's Hardik Pandya (L) celebrates taking the wicket of England's Joe Root. (AFP)

Is he a batting all-rounder? Is he a bowling all-rounder? Is he an all-rounder at all? There were all sorts of questions about Pandya's role in the side with experts all over his performances in the first two Tests. On the second day of the third Test, Pandya made sure he responded to them in kind. He made the ball do all the talking in a dream spell where he took 5 for 28 in just six overs to rip apart the English middle-order. He bowled at a particular length - not too full, not too short - and got the ball to move in both directions. His wickets included that of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad as England were shot out for 161. With the bat as well, in the second innings, Pandya scored a run-a-ball 52, stomping his authority as in fact the 'all-rounder' of the side.

Rishabh Pant - Rating 7/10, Verdict: Good

The debutant had possibly the most audacious start to his Test career seen in recent times. Walking in front of a packed Trent Bridge crowd, the 20-year-old stepped down to Adil Rashid second ball smashing the leg-spinner over his head for a huge six becoming the first Indian to get his Test career kickstarted with a six. Coming in as replacement for Dinesh Karthik, the left-hander did not once look out of place playing 51 balls for his 24. Behind the stumps as well, Pant looked fairly safe picking up six catches in the match. For someone in his first Test in England where the ball wobbles around a lot more after passing the bat, Pant certainly looked at home. Not at all bad for a debut!

Ravichandran Ashwin - Rating 5/10 Verdict: Average

Well, to be fair to him, Ashwin did spend most of the time off the field with a hip injury. He bowled just the 23.5 overs (one in the first innings, 22.5 in the second) in the match picking up one wicket and did not look threatening at all with the injury clearly hampering him. With the bat as well, Ashwin could only manage 14 & 1* in the two innings. Thankfully, the other bowlers stood up and did the job but the off-spinner is a vital cog in this Indian lineup and Kohli will be sincerely hoping he regains fitness before the start of the fourth Test in Southampton.

 

Jasprit Bumrah - Rating 8/10 Verdict: Very Good

Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after taking a wicket on the fourth day of the Test. (AFP) Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after taking a wicket on the fourth day of the Test. (AFP)

Having missed out a lot of matches due to a thumb injury Bumrah's inclusion for the third Test took a few by surprise. However, the speedster repaid the faith put on him by the captain with a match-winning spell in the second innings. He first broke the 169-run stand between Stokes and Buttler trapping the latter lbw for 106 and then sparked a collapse with the wickets of Bairstow, Woakes and Broad in no time. The one blemish though was his outing with the new ball. He was guilty of spraying a lot of deliveries down leg, giving the openers easy runs although he was prolific once the ball lost its shine. With seven wickets in the match, Bumrah seems to have cemented his place in the side for the final two Tests.

Ishant Sharma - Rating 7/10 Verdict: Good

While Bumrah and Pandya stole the limelight, Ishant's contribution with the ball was equally important. The lanky pacer gave India the early breakthroughs after the hosts had threatened to break away. He snapped up Alastair Cook both times (eleventh time in his career!) and not once allowed the England batsmen to get away, finishing with a match-haul of 4 for 102. The most experienced player in the current Indian setup, Ishant's stint in the County Championship seems to have done him a world of good. He will remain a key component in the Indian lineup as they look to make further inroads in the remaining Tests.

Mohammed Shami - Rating 4/10 Verdict: Poor

Shami, by far, had the poorest outing amongst all Indian bowlers. He wasted the new ball in both innings, bowling both sides of the wicket and let England get off to a good start each time. He managed just two wickets in the match and had the worst economy rate for a pacer going at 5.60 and 4.11 in the two stints. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar out of action, Shami is undoubtedly the most skillful swing bowler in the current Indian unit as he displayed in the Lord's Test where he had the England batsmen in all sorts of strife. He will be keen to put in a good show in the matches to follow.

*Rating chart: Very poor 0-1, Poor 2-4, Average 5-6, Good 7, Very good 8-9, Excellent 10.
First Published: August 23, 2018, 9:10 AM IST
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 India 4016 115
2 South Africa 3712 106
3 Australia 3499 106
4 England 4722 105
5 New Zealand 2354 102
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