Five major reasons for India's debacle

Five major reasons for India's debacle

India’s lamentable effort in the Test series against England culminated with an innings and 244-run defeat at the Oval on Sunday.

A variety of reasons have contributed to that and here’s a look at some of the significant slices.

Virat Kohli’s poor run: The 25-year-old from Delhi was touted as the spine of India’s batting line-up. But James Anderson’s unerring accuracy outside the off-stump left him paralysed. His series tally of 134 runs from 10 innings at an average of little over 13 severely hampered India’s chances of putting up a competitive total on the board. He won’t forget this series anytime soon, and will require a big effort to regain his confidence.

Lack of stable opening pair: M Vijay, one half of the opening pair, did well to aggregate 402 runs at 40.20 with a hundred. But the other half was never in picture.

India started with Shikhar Dhawan and replaced him after 122 runs in six innings at 20.33. But Gautam Gambhir, his replacement, made Dhawan’s effort look like a golden run. In four innings, Gambhir made 25 runs at 6.25, facing just 80 balls. The unsteady opening alliance meant that India’s number three and four – Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli – got exposed to new ball very early and they stumbled.

Catching in the slips: The series, perhaps, turned around because of India’s inefficiency at the slip cordon. Alastair Cook was batting on 15, and he edged Pankaj Singh to Ravindra Jadeja at slips. It was a straightforward chance but Jadeja grassed it. The England captain never looked back, amassing 95 runs.

Had Jadeja exploited that chance Cook’s lean run would have extended, piling more pressure on him. But weirdly Joe Dawes, the bowling coach, tried to justify the shoddy catching. “They are some of the best fielders. Even Mark Waugh and Mark Taylor had dropped catches at slips,” said Dawes in a press do. Hope they will see the reality soon.

Mohammad Shami’s modest effort: The Bengal paceman was expected to lead India’s bowling attack. He has the pace and ability to move the ball, and it was natural to anoint him as India’s leader. But India forced to drop him after three Tests in which he managed just five wickets at a whopping average of 73.20.

His strike rate was a hugely disappointing 115.2. His pace colleague Bhuvneshwar Kumar pitched the ball up and let it swing to reach good rewards. But Shami never could find the right line or length on English pitches. He needs to work on the rhythm of his run-up too.

Dhoni’s wicketkeeping: This is a more of a hidden factor. Dhoni looked uncomfortable while collecting the ball and conceded 35 byes over the five Tests. At Southampton, he missed a chance to stump Joe Root (56) and to run out Ian Bell (167) in the nascent stages of their innings and it proved crucial. The series showed the need for him to tighten the act behind the stumps.

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