IND/ENG India win the series

#INDvENG India win the series 4-0! Sounds great if you are an Indian fan who has lived through the last 3 series against England and series we had…

India rightly went into the series as favourites, No.1 in the world and a recent record which stretched to 13 matches unbeaten home and away but could they avenge England from the last time the visitors landed on Indian soil?

Many felt winning the toss would be crucial to the outcome of the series…Well, a pat on the back to the Indian board who ordered and delivered fair cricket wickets that challenged batsman and bowlers throughout the series.

Having won the toss in Rajkot, England started the series with serious intent with three batsman recording centuries in a total of over 500. This start would have many Indian fans wondering if they were about to see a repeat of 2012 with a decent first innings of the series by England.

However we saw early signs from this Indian side they were not about to lie down and accept another defeat by the English. They battled out a well earned draw however England drew plenty of confidence from the first Test, with many pundits feeling England had finally found the answer to their spin problems with Rashid bowling exceptionally well. However Man of the Match went to Moeen Ali for a century and 3 wickets in the match and the series level 0-0 after the First Test.

The second test in Visak was pretty much won in the first innings as Virat Kohli stamped his mark on the series with a superb man of the match innings of 167 to help India post a total of 455, he was also helped by an excellent 119 by Pujara. India bowled out England for a below par 255 in the first innings and after an Indian wobble in the second innings the rest was left to the Indian spin attack who led by Ashwin bowled out England for 158 in the 2nd Innings resulting in India winning by a massive 246 runs. Man of the Match Virat Kohli. India 1-0 up after 2 Tests.

The 3rd Test in Mohali started with England winning the Toss to a massive premature cheer from the travelling Barmy Army!

England let their faithful down and delivered a below par 283 batting first with the Indian pace attack showing tremendous accuracy taking 5 of the 10 wickets to fall. India took control of the match and possibly the series in their first innings posting 417 runs with over 200 coming from the lower order – not the last time we would see the lower order making a significant contribution in the series.

Another all round bowling performance by India led to England being rolled over for 236 and India completed the formalities to win by 8 wickets. Man of the Match, Jadeja for 90 runs and 4 wickets. 2-0 after 3 Tests.

The 4th Test in Mumbai was crucial in the context of the series. Historically a result wicket and a ground where India didn’t have the best record in Tests – not forgetting what England did to them in 2012 The Barmy Army turned up in big numbers only to be matched by a very vocal Indian crowd and of course this was the match The Bharat Army chose to make their presence felt…

Once again England won the toss but this time posted what many thought was a very competitive and potential match winning 1st innings score of 400. However, what followed was something that will go down in history. A superb response by Team India who were now playing with the confidence and swagger all No.1 Teams in the world should play with. A superb 136 by Vijay followed up by one of the best innings by an Indian captain in recent times, 235 by Virat Kohli help batter England for almost 2 days with the help of an excellent maiden test century by Jayent Yadav. India posted 631 in reply to England’s first innings 400, a lead of 231 and plenty on the board for Ashwin to take 6 wickets and help India win by an innings and 36 Runs. Difficult not to give Kohli his second man of the match award after his sublime innings however let’s not forget the contribution of Ashwin who took 12 wickets in the match and played a key role in England’s destruction. This was the first time a team posting 400 in the first innings lost a match at the ‘W’ and took India to a 3-0 series winning lead after 4 Tests!

Battered and bruised, confidence at a low playing an Indian side in top gear the teams went to Chennai for the final test of the series – could India win 4-0 or could England leave with some pride?

England won their 4th Toss of the series and once again must have thought they posted a match winning innings of 477 in the first innings thanks to a fantastic 146 by Moeen Ali. By now this Indian team were emulating what all great teams do, they responded with a record score by an Indian team – a massive 759/7! Unlike the previous tests the pleasing accept of this score was the contributions made by those who hadn’t yet made a significant mark in the series… KL Rahul delivered a majestic 199 but will kick himself for falling one short of what would have been a well deserved double ton. However little would he have known he was about to be upstaged by Karun Nair, a lad with huge potential and someone who has been waiting patiently on the sideline came of age.  Scoring a stupendous triple hundred (303 from 381 balls) Karun delighted the home crowd moving up the gears after he passed the first ton and batting England into submission – Karun Nair had arrived!

England once again fell apart and were bowled out for 207 in the second innings this time it was Jadeja who was chief destructor taking 7 wickets in the innings and 10 in the match. Man of the match went to Karun Nair for his maiden triple test century!

India had won the series 4-0 and that after losing the Toss 4 times!

The series on the whole was dominated by the bat with 15 hundreds scored along with 28 fifties including 1 double hundred and a triple hundred.

Let’s however not forget the contribution of the the bowlers – Ashwin 28 and Jadeja 26,  between them delivered 54 wickets in the series including Four 5 wicket hauls and Two 10 wicket matches – No England spinner delivered a 5 wicket hall in any of the  matches – a significant stat in comparison.

For all of his early success Rashid ended with 20 wickets with a best of 4/82 but lacked control and confidence from his skipper and went for over 3.7 runs per over compared to Ashwin who went for 2.7.

Man of the series went to Kohli for amassing 655 runs at an average of 109 across 5 matches, more than just his contribution with the bat, he lead the side superbly with the right level of controlled aggression and timely/impactful decision making. He took the game to the opposition and where his team were met with challenges he ensured they stood tall.

What was most pleasing was not just the end result but the manner in which the victories came with almost every member of the squad contributing in someway in the series including India’s 12th Man off the pitch – The Bharat Army!

This is by no means a one man team, this is a “family” this is Virat Kohli’s Team India and we are No.1 in the World!