Read Editorial with D2G – Ep 520
Slow and steady: On India’s Test series win against England
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It was back to the tried and tested methods as India’s practitioners of the slow-art, especially R. Ashwin and debutant Axar Patel, helped Virat Kohli’s men clinch ( confirm or settle (a contract or bargain)) a 3-1 Test series triumph over England. India’s innings and 25-run victory in the fourth Test at Ahmedabad, concluded a series that was largely one-sided barring ( except for; if not for ) England’s win in the opening encounter ( an unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something ) at Chennai.
Like it did in Australia, India shrugged ( dismiss something as unimportant ) aside the early loss and turned around its fortunes in riveting ( completely engrossing; compelling ) fashion. The pitches on offer, especially for the third game, may not have been ideal ( satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable ), tending ( go or move in a particular direction ) to age faster besides providing the obvious ( easily perceived or understood; clear, self-evident, or apparent ) impetus ( something that makes a process or activity happen or happen more quickly ) to spin.
Despite the surface-tension, the strips were in no way diabolical ( disgracefully bad or unpleasant ) like some of the 22-yards offered in the past, especially in the 1980s when a few pitches made batting arduous ( involving or requiring strenuous effort; difficult and tiring ).
In the latest series, after skipper Joe Root’s double ton in Chennai set the stage for an England ambush ( make a surprise attack on (someone) from a concealed position ), a stung ( feel or cause to feel a sharp tingling or burning pain or sensation ) India mounted a fiery ( showing strong emotion, typically anger ) comeback and ensured that the Englishmen never repeated their heroics of 1984 and 2012, when they humbled ( cause (someone) to feel less important or proud ) the host.
This was not just another success at home as the four Tests were invested with the larger goal of qualifying for the World Test Championship final in England from June 18 to 22. Originally scheduled to be held at Lord’s, there seems to be some ambiguity ( the quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness ) as England is grappling ( struggle to deal with or overcome (a difficulty or challenge) ) with the COVID-19 pandemic’s second-wave and there is a push to have it at Southampton’s bio-secure Ageas Bowl, which also has a hotel within the premises.
Lord’s may still conduct the premier clash but India’s rival ( a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity ) is certain — Kane Williamson’s New Zealand, an opponent that stunned Kohli’s men in the 2019 World Cup semifinal at Manchester. Meanwhile, it is time for limited-overs cricket to take centre-stage. India and England will play five Twenty20Is and three ODIs before the Indian Premier League commences on April 9.
For now, Kohli and company besides the coaching staff led by Ravi Shastri deserve credit for a splendid performance. The flowering ( be in or reach an optimum stage of development; develop fully and richly ) of Rishabh Pant, Axar, Washington Sundar and Mohammed Siraj reflects a solid bench-strength. The excellence of youth and the terrific form of Ashwin and Rohit Sharma, papered over ( try to hide problem or disagreement ) the modest returns from Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Shubman Gill.
India has topped the ICC Test rankings but in June under low-slung ( lower in height or closer to the ground than usual ) clouds and on an English pitch laced ( trimmed or fitted with lace or laces ) with grass and against crafty New Zealand seamers ( a fast bowler who makes the ball bounce on its seam so that it will change direction ), a tougher scrutiny ( critical observation or examination ) awaits.