This Indian loss was coming. The inability to take advantage of the advantage in overseas tests has been a frequent feature of hitting India. In particular, getting stuck in the third rounds with the bats hurt them badly. Is it because of the new regime led by Rahul Dravid or has it been boiling for a while?
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First, the guide is from the here and now. In Birmingham on Tuesday, India lost only a test match for the second time after leading in the first rounds by more than 100 points. Another example was against Sri Lanka in Galle when Dinesh Chandimal played a blinder ball and took the match away before Ranjana Hirath knocked out India to turn the deficit 192 times. Incidentally, this was the first test under Ravi Shastri which will be interrupted after a year.
Now, for a proper look back. Since the start of 2020, India has lost nine tests and eight of them have been away from home. Remarkably, in all of these eight matches, India has struck first, which is something they would rather do. With the exception of the first Test of the 2020 series in New Zealand, in Wellington, and the third Test of the just-concluded series against England, in Leeds last year, in all six other defeats, breakdowns in the third innings have played a decisive role.
Christchurch 2020, Adelaide 2021, Southampton 2021, Johannesburg 2022, Cape Town 2022 and Birmingham 2022; These defeats should irritate the management of the Indian team. Another bitter fact is that India advanced in the first round in four of these six matches only to lose ground in the second half.
Birmingham was different, of course, as England had to break through a historic barrier in the pursuit of running. Archers will also have to get their hands on defeat but the wiggle of the third innings reappears.
India put 416 on the board in the first innings and beat England for 284 to comfortably lead by 132 innings. This was their chance to pile on more innings and take an England win out of the equation or make it look improbable. But as per usual, the batting ranks had another disappointing outing in the third innings of the game, as they went out for 245 to give England, on their Bazball honeymoon, more than just a sniff. In the end, the hosts chased down the 378th goal with complete ease and little disdain.
In the post-match press conference, India coach Dravid, whose team has lost three Away Tests in a row (two in South Africa and one in England), acknowledged the third-round problem facing the batting team. . Even as he hinted at the inability of bowlers to maintain the same intensity and physique throughout the match, Dravid seemed to suggest that hitting in the third innings was a huge area of concern for India.
“Also in all of these Test matches the batting was also not zero in the third rounds either. So in South Africa and here, we started well but couldn’t finish well. Sure, we need to improve on that and improve it.
It’s a problem that’s been getting worse for a while. As noted above, in six of the eight Tests India lost from 2020, breakdowns in the third rounds played a big role.
As a reminder, here are those six games.
Christchurch, February – March 2020
India lost 242 and 124 to New Zealand 235 and 132/3 (India led 7 games)
Adelaide, December 2020
India lost 244 and 36 to Australia 191 and 93/2 (India led by 53 points)
Southampton, June 2021, World Tennis Championships final
India lost 217 and 170 to New Zealand 249 and 140/2
Johannesburg, January 2022
India lost 202 and 266 to South Africa 229 and 243/3
Cape Town, January 2022
India lost 223, 198 to South Africa 210, 212/3 (India led 13 games)
Birmingham, July 2022
India lost 416 and 245 to England 284 and 378/3 (India took the lead with 132 points)
All of these tests were on the knife’s edge halfway. India cut themselves with the knife, sorry bat, in the third inning each time. Adelaide’s later disgrace 36 may have been overshadowed by a historic series win in Australia, but batting problems resurfaced in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. On day six of the reserve, under bright sunshine, India collapsed from 71/2 to 170 in the third round, paving the way for an easy win for the kiwis.
Not taking advantage of good beating conditions
The opponent’s margin of victory, with seven wickets while chasing over 200, in each of the last three outside losses may immediately indicate a bowling unit losing the plot in the fourth innings. While it is partially true, a more relevant aspect to note here is that speculators have failed to take advantage of better hitting conditions as these games have progressed, an undeniable trend across the courts in recent India’s overseas rounds, which has left no room for error for bowlers. in the last roles.
Besides the sparkling Rishabh Pant horn in Cape Town and the three half-century by Cheteshwar Pujara, there was no significant contribution from other third-round speculators to these losses.
The list can contain two more entries. At Lords, in the second Test of the England series last year, India was rescued by the unbeaten ninth wicket partnership between Jaspreet Bumrah and Muhammad Shami. They were reduced to 209/8 in the third innings, just ahead by 182 innings. The stands that spanned 89 times between the hijackers on the morning of the fifth raised what would have been a sub-200 goal to 282 and ensured that India would not lose the match. They eventually knocked out the hosts for 120 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Likewise, the players played the slots in the first Test against South Africa at Centurion after India went out 174 in the second rounds in a 113 win.
Bat always first?
India, instinctively, wants to hit first in exams, home or
far. It also brought them success. But the latest results could prompt them to change plans on the outside rounds given the nature of the wicket and their problems in the third innings. Since spin plays a largely supportive role only on most of these surfaces, it may be wise to choose the turn when conditions require it rather than being dogmatic about hitting first.