India vs England: Team India report card - How Virat Kohli and Co. fared in Southampton
The over-reliance of the Indian team on skipper Virat Kohli once again came to the fore on Sunday as the visitors failed to chase down 245 in the fourth innings on a dry and slightly two-paced wicket in Southampton. The loss in the fourth Test also means that England have taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
Hindustan Times takes a look at the performance of the Indian players in the fourth Test at Southampton.
Shikhar Dhawan - Rating: 4/10, Verdict: Poor
After an inspired show in the third Test in trying conditions, Dhawan once again looked over-confident in this game and wasn’t willing to play time — a must for opening batsmen in Test cricket. While he looked slightly more composed in the first innings during his 53-ball 23, it almost looked like he was in a rush to catch the train in the second innings while chasing 245 on a difficult wicket. He ended up getting dismissed for 17 as the new ball moved enough to take the edge of his bat and fly to Stokes in the slip cordon. Dhawan’s knock was a clear case of lack of application in the first session of a day’s play in seaming conditions.
KL Rahul - Rating: 1/10, Verdict: Very Poor
Just a mark for his brilliant catching. Handed the job of opening the batting in English conditions, Rahul was expected to rework his game to suit the situation. But the opener has failed to do that and has looked like a fish out of water in these conditions. 19 in the first innings and a duck in the second, there are already cries of handing young Prithvi Shaw a debut in the next game. Just like Dhawan, Rahul has looked to be way too aggressive rather than looking to play out the new ball in testing conditions. The only consideration for Rahul could be the fact that the ball kept really low in the second innings and it was unfortunate that it crashed into the stumps.
Cheteshwar Pujara - Rating: 6/10, Verdict: Average
After a brilliant century in the first innings, Pujara was expected to gain in confidence and hold fort in the chase after Rahul was dismissed in the fourth over of the innings. But Pujara failed to rise to the occasion and was dismissed for just 5 as Anderson used the new ball to great effect. Getting the ball to move in after pitching, he had Pujara stuck at the crease. In fact, the DRS couldn’t save him and the ball was shown to be clipping the stumps. It was undoubtedly a beauty from Anderson, but then, that is what makes batting against quality pace bowling an art.
Virat Kohli - Rating: 8/10, Verdict: Very Good
You cannot expect him to win you every match, but then, cricket is a ruthless game and the scoreboard will show that Kohli got out after getting his 19th Test fifty. The result will show that England won by 60 runs and the brilliant show of batsmanship from Kohli will all go to waste as nothing matters more than a victory. After a quality 46 in the first innings, filled with vintage Kohli shots, the second innings saw the grit and determination that has seen him score over 500 runs in this series. But then, just when it looked like Kohli and Rahane will run away with the game, Moeen Ali struck and that was the beginning of the end of the Indian fourth innings.
Ajinkya Rahane - Rating: 6/10, Verdict: Average
After scoring just 11 in the first innings, Rahane showed his class in the second innings when he played time and kept defending the good balls from the England bowlers in Kohli’s company. But unfortunately for India, he too could not continue the good work and was dismissed for 51. It was for the deputy to step up and make it count after Kohli’s dismissal, but that wasn’t to be. Having done all the hardwork and faced 159 balls, Rahane failed to lead the charge and finish the game for the visitors.
Rishabh Pant - Rating: 5/10, Verdict: Average
After a dream debut in the third Test of the series at Trent Bridge, the reality of Test cricket hit Pant on the face in the fourth game as the ball started wobbling after pitching and keeping became a difficult job. Still early days for him and after the struggles of keeping on the opening day, he was out for a 29-ball duck on the second day. But known for his grit, life has just begun in the big league for the youngster.
Hardik Pandya - Rating: 1/10, Verdict: Very Poor
An all-rounder who bowled 17 overs, picking 1 wicket, and scored 4 runs in the game clearly cannot be considered to be one suited for the job. But such has been the dearth of pace bowling all-rounders in the country that Pandya is the best that the team has. But clearly, Pandya doesn’t have the confidence of the captain when it comes to bowling tight spells and that was evident from the fact that he was given just 17 overs to bowl. When it comes to batting, the lesser said, the better. Seeing Kohli and Rahane put up such a gritty effort before his eyes, Pandya should have shown little more application that lasting just seven balls in the second innings.
R Ashwin - Rating: 1/10, Verdict: Very Poor
In a game where Moeen Ali stole the show with the ball and picked 9 wickets to be adjudged Man of the Match, R Ashwin could manage to get just 3. More than the wickets, it was the turn and bite that Moeen managed to get from the Southampton strip that impressed all. Also, for a lower-order bat who is known to apply himself in the middle, Ashwin’s decision to play the reverse sweep against Moeen in the first innings came as a shocker. Clearly, a lot more was expected from a senior player like Ashwin.
Mohammed Shami - Rating: 7/10, Verdict: Good
Having looked slightly off colour in the third Test, Shami came back with quite a bang in the fourth Test as he finished with 6 wickets. He was especially lethal in England’s second innings as he kept hitting the right areas and got the ball to move off the wicket. After Curran’s gritty show on the third evening, Shami came back really well to first dismiss Adil Rashid at the stroke of stumps on the third day and then to send back Stuart Broad off the first ball of the fourth morning.
Ishant Sharma - Rating: 8/10, Verdict: Very Good
Ishant has been a revelation in this series for India and even though he didn’t set the stands on fire with his bowling display in the fourth Test, he did pick 4 wickets and also became only the third fast bowler after the legendary Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan to pick 250 Test wickets. The best part about Ishant’s bowling has been his line and length. Known to perennially bowl short, he has been on the mark from the word go in this series.
Jasprit Bumrah - Rating: 8/10, Verdict: Very Good
Another fast bowler who has shown his worth in this team ever since making a comeback in the third Test. Out with a thumb injury in the first two Test matches, Bumrah has actually taken to the English conditions like he is bowling in his own backyard. Hitting the right areas and getting the ball to move just enough, Bumrah’s setting up of Keaton Jennings in the first innings to dismiss him leg-before wicket is stuff legends are made of.