Team India succumbed to a rare loss at home by 227 runs to an English side which outplayed them on all fronts, on the back of Joe Root’s magnificent double century! India never recovered after England posted a mammoth first-innings total and from there on the visitors were always in the driver’s seat. However, from the second test onwards, the Bharat Army will be there with the 'Comeback Kings - Team India' to ensure and reclaim the throne again. Continue to read on an in-depth review of the first test match in the Pataudi Trophy and also on how to get the tickets for the second test match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium-
Key Moments that led to India's Downfall in the Battle Royale:
1. India lost the toss, again:
England won the all-important toss and expectedly batted first on a wicket which didn’t offer any assistance to the bowlers on the first two days of a Test match. The batsmen, led by Joe Root, didn’t break a sweat on the first day as they scored 263 runs for the loss of just 3 wickets.
The first two wickets fell at the fag-end of the first session in the 24th and 26th over as R Ashwin dismissed opener Rory Burns and Jasprit Bumrah scalped his maiden test wicket in India as he trapped Dan Lawrence in front of the wicket. But post that it was a long wait on the first day as India kept searching for a wicket until the final ball when Bumrah picked his 2nd wicket as he dismissed opener Sibley after he made a gritty 87.
2. Rocky Road and Dropped Chances:
If the Men in Blue thought that Day 1 was bad, then the following day got worse as fortunes weren't on the side of the Virat Kohli-led side. The first spell from Bumrah was threatening and it troubled Ben Stokes at the start of his innings. The southpaw faced a yorker which could have dismissed any batsman 99 out of the 100 times but this was perhaps the one time in which the batsman got lucky. Unlike the last session of Day 1, Root was the batsman who put extra value on his wicket and the all-rounder was the aggressor.
Stokes did the damage as he piled on a 124-runs stand for the 4th wicket along with the skipper but was dismissed by Shahbaz Nadeem for a well-made 82. Root completed his double century as England ended the day with 555 runs on the board.
Unfortunately for the Indian Cricket team, there were more negatives than positives. Stokes was dropped twice during the course of his innings, there were 20 no-balls as the number for front-foot no-balls called have ameliorated post the ICC’s decision to give the responsibility to the 3rd umpire. Nadeem was perhaps the most inconsistent bowler with his line and length and didn't aid India’s cause who were already bowling on a track as flat as a road.
3. India's Top Order Falter:
As India came out to bat, the wicket had deteriorated but not ls much as India’s scores suggest. Rohit Sharma was dismissed after he was chasing an Archer delivery which was pitched outside off while Shubman Gill, who scored a sublime 29 didn't build on the promise as his innings was ended by a diving catch by an acrobatic, 38-year-young James Anderson.
Captain Virat Kohli showed some promise, but, he was dismissed by Bess while his deputy Ajinkya Rahane was back in the hut a couple of overs later as India were in deep trouble at 73-4. Rishabh Pant joined hands with a familiar partner and someone who he enjoys batting with, Cheteshwar Pujara. At Tea on Day 3, Pant and Pujara had registered half-centuries in contrasting fashion as it seemed like a song of ice and fire on a cricket pitch. Both of them were back to the pavilion by stumps on Day 3 as Bess had the last laugh after dismissing Rishabh Pant for a score of 91.
(4) A Sundar resistance by the Chennai boys:
As Day 4 started, the Chennai boys, Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar showed great composure as they powered India to a total of 337 which looked pretty unlikely at one stage of the game. Sundar was the last man standing as he scored an unbeaten 85, which included a plethora of shots against all the England bowlers.
England didn’t enforce the follow-on on the hosts as they batted again but the innings didn’t begin on a positive note as Ashwin dismissed Burns on the very first delivery of the innings. Ashwin picked a 6-fer as England folded for a total of 178 runs. Another highlight of the innings was Ishant Sharma’s 300th Test wicket as he became the 3rd Indian pacer to get the milestone after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan.
(5) No repeat of the historic chase:
A total of 420 was always going to be a mammoth task for the hosts. The pleasant memories of a repeat performance of something which happened at the same venue against the same side more than a decade ago became a talk on social media. However, nothing of that sorts happened. Towards the fag-end of the penultimate day, Rohit Sharma was dismissed by a peach of a delivery by Jack Leach which hit the top of his off-stump.
In the first session of the final day, Jack Leach took Pujara’s wicket and soon after the wickets started falling as James Anderson unleashed two reverse swinging deliveries in the same over to dismiss half-centurion Gill and to send back Rahane for a duck. Virat Kohli scored a resilient 74 but he kept running out of partners at the other end as India was bowled out for 192 and lost their first Test at home since 2017.