India vs England | Winners and losers ft. Chris Woakes, Ravindra Jadeja and British media

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India vs England | Winners and losers ft. Chris Woakes, Ravindra Jadeja and British media

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SportsCafe Desk

08/05/2018

Sam Curran's brilliance eventually proved to be the difference as England went 1-0 up in the series against India at Edgbaston yesterday. However, it was also Virat Kohli’s turn to silent British media, who thought the Indian skipper would not be successful in the English country ever in his career.

Winners

Ravindra Jadeja

One might wonder how! The wicket for the first Test didn’t have a lot of turn to offer and it was a track that offered Ravichandran Ashwin as less as 2.4° of turn. It must be remembered that Ashwin has been able to extract as much as 4.3° of turn in his entire career, which makes it clear that his prime nature was completely neutralized by the conditions that Edgbaston had to offer in both innings. But, due to the bouncy nature, he exploited left-handers’ weaknesses completely and herein lies the catch.

England stacked the team with as many as seven left-handers for the first game and with Ben Stokes set to attain the trial for the allegations of affray, will miss the Test at Lord’s. In that case, a right-hander in the form of James Vince will return to the team, in all probability, which might force India to take the help of the services of Ravindra Jadeja due to his agile left-arm orthodox bowling. Considering England’s apparent weakness against slow-bowling and the heatwave that is prevalent in England at the moment, Virat Kohli may throw in a surprise and include Jadeja as well to partner Ashwin. 

Ishant Sharma

If there is one thing one can associate with Ishant Sharma, for everything that the man does any day, is that he can be mocked. Maybe for crossing the line - both the crease and the behavior time and again - or making those faces that would make Ram Gopal Varma interested in him for a villain role in his Hindi movies, or just by being Ishant Sharma. It doesn’t matter, for he has delivered one of India’s best victories overseas, nor does it matter that his pace and bounce has been India’s biggest hope for the last few years outside the sub-continent. Ishant Sharma knows that the public perception has been against him ever since and it hardly matters to him. However, he also knows one more thing. When the captain trusts him to go with his instinct, he can deliver and intimidate the opposition with equal measure.

Remember Lord’s 2014. When MS Dhoni needed someone who could hit the pitch hard to exploit the uneven bounce, Ishant had his tail up. He dished out the bouncers, as is his wont, and led the charge to put India 1-0 ahead in the series. What happened after that in the series is a discussion for another day, but Virat Kohli certainly believed that this is the guy who could win him this series. After Ashwin’s magic, Kohli allowed Ishant to go all-out in his approach from the get-go and the pacer vindicated that hope.

When he came round the wicket, that made him easier for him to use that normal outswinger to perfection against the left-hand batsmen, which created an awkward angle due to Ishant’s front-on action. He has managed dismiss two right-handed batsmen as well by holding the line against the angle from over the wicket. It was an excellent demonstration of pace bowling and arguably even better than his performance at Lord’s.

Losers

Chris Woakes

England’s glaring problems in the longest format of the game recently came out wide open when Australia beat them in the Ashes Down Under. The team has just one victory from their last nine matches (excluding this one) despite having a large number of talented players in the team. However, for too long, England have been overly reliant on the duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad to deliver success for them and the lack of proper third bowler in the team meant they have been leaking runs for years. If one player came close to nail down the spot, it was Chris Woakes, but a thigh injury ruled him out of the first Test. Apart from Woakes, however, England have a lot of other fast bowlers who are yet to make the grade, but Sam Curran made sure that he belongs to the level.

With his left-arm spin, he angled the ball into the Indian batsmen and thanks to Indians’ propensity to struggle against the left-arm bowlers, he remained the stand-out performer by sending the Indian top-three and Hardik Pandya back to the pavilion. Not only that, the Surrey all-rounder, who was drafted into the team as a late injury replacement for his elder brother Tom Curran, showed a sense of purposeful fluidity with the bat as well and scored a feisty half-century to drag England's lead, which eventually proved to be the difference. While such a performance has given England some solace, it must be a headache for Woakes, who harbors to make a comeback to the Test team soon. 

English media

“134 runs, 10 Test innings, average 13.40.” 

“Jimmy’s bunny arrives in England, again”

Virat Kohli was ridiculed left, right, center by the English media ahead of the Test series, but everyone seemed to have forgotten one thing - this is the Virat Kohli of 2018, who swears by runs and here is James Anderson, whose instinct is no more threatening. And boy did he just prove that!

Kohli had his fair share of struggle in the game and edged and missed more deliveries in this game than any other, but he applied himself on the wicket to show the world that what strong determination can do a batsman. Kohli brought about a wholesome change to his stance and made the crowd sit up and take notice. He basically stood outside the crease and shuffled across the stumps to counter James Anderson’s away-going deliveries and in the process, scored his first 50+ score in England and ended up scoring a total of 200 runs in the match - a fantastic answer to the British media who wrote him off just because of his one failure series.

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