Apart from the focus on two high-profile teams going into battle, there was a lot of interest around the use of the Decision Review System in the opening Test.
Apart from the fact that it is being tried out in a Test series in India for the first time, the excitement was also because the Indian spinners were expected to benefit.
After two days, however, that curiosity still remains. The England batsmen, with their fine display, hardly allowed the spinners to come into play. India had the chance to use four referrals (two are added after 80 overs), but three remained unused. The one captain Virat Kohli sought was turned down.
To bat cleanly through a marathon effort which fetched 537 runs is mighty impressive. In the process, the England batsmen served a warning to Ashwin and Co — they won’t have it as easy as they did against New Zealand.
For the first time since 2009, a visiting team has got three hundreds in an innings in Tests in India. Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes emulated Sri Lanka’s feat achieved at the Motera, Ahmedabad.
Having run through batting line-ups in the last seven games at home, Rajkot provided a lesson to the Indian spin troika that there is a huge difference between bowling on a good, first day track and a turning wicket.
The mindset has to be different, field placements have to be better and the bowler should know how to control the flow of the game when the batsmen are set. None of these was seen in England’s first innings.
Let to toil
Ashwin, who came into the series after taking 57 wickets in his last two series, toiled for 46 overs to take 2/167, local star Ravindra Jadeja had a return of 3/86 in 30 overs while leg spinner Amit Mishra conceded 98 runs in 23.3 overs with only the No 10 batsman’s wicket to show for.
Jadeja admitted it has been tough: “They are also a good side. It happens in a Test, you field long. We fielded for two days, it’s a learning experience for me.”
The left-arm spinner said it would be unfair to single out Ashwin for India’s inability to keep the England batsmen in check.
“We were five bowlers, including me. All of us have the responsibility to take wickets, it’s not just Ashwin. Some days, (even) good bowlers don’t take wickets. Half-chances (go abegging) and catches are dropped. It’s part of the game. It is everyone’s responsibility to take wickets.”