India being reduced to 8/4 in five overs in Manchester is sure to linger in the minds of Indian cricket fans for a long time © Getty Images
India’s performance only went downhill after that high at Lord’s in the second Test. Since then, they looked a shadow of the side that trumped England on a green surface. Nishad Pai Vaidya discovers some numbers that reflect India’s surrender in the last three Tests.
India have had a miserable time in the three Tests since the victory at Lord’s. They have failed in just about every department since and have allowed the home side to bully them into submission. England dominated almost every session after their defeat at Lord’s and allowed India no chance of a comeback. There are a few compelling numbers that reflect India’s abject surrender in the last three Tests. Here are some of them:
1. Average opening stand: 21.90
India’s opening stand never quite got going through the series. Murali Vijay was in form early in the series and scored a lot of runs to build his reputation. But, the partnerships rarely came. The second half of the series coincided with Gautam Gambhir’s horror return and Vijay’s loss of form. Dhawan and Vijay averaged 29.33 in the first three Tests. Gambhir and Vijay averaged only 10.75, which was largely inflated due to the lone stand of 26 at Old Trafford
2. Average Indian total in the last two Tests: 138.75
England’s bowlers brutally exposed India at Old Trafford and The Oval. In their last four innings, India averaged only 113.75. With top order collapses becoming an epidemic, skipper MS Dhoni had a lot to do and it was due to his efforts that India managed to cross the three-figure mark on two occasions. Their totals in the last four innings read as follows: 152, 161, 148 and 94.
3. Average runs put up by England’s last five wickets in the fourth and fifth Test: 242
Traditionally, India have had a problem in dealing with the tail. On many occasions, they get through the top order with ease and then let the advantage go by allowing the tail to wag. At Manchester, England’s last five wickets put up 227. From bring in a spot of bother at 140 for five, they managed to surge to 367. At The Oval, they were 229 for five before Joe Root took them to 486. The Lord’s Test was the only game where the Indian bowlers did a better job. At Southampton, England declared in the first innings and lost only four in the second. What to say about Nottingham? The last five wickets put up 299, with Root and James Anderson putting up that world record partnership for the last wicket.
4. Average number of overs England took to bowl India out in fourth and fifth Test: 45
India’s batting in the last two Tests was appalling. As discussed earlier, they put up scores of 152, 161, 148 and 94 at Manchester and The Oval. The lack of fight was shocking and they didn’t show the intent to stay in the centre. At Manchester, they did not last for a combined total of 90 overs across two innings. Though they did manage to hold on for around 62 overs in the first innings at The Oval, the surrender under 30 overs in the second essay summed up India’s woes.
5. Rough time lost in the series: 5 days
India were bundled out inside three days at Manchester and at The Oval. Hence, two full days of play were lost on both occasions. At Southampton, India lost the game in the first session of Day Five. If one adds it all up, we lost potentially five days of cricket due to India’s ineptitude.
6. Moeen Ali, the part-timer’s series tally: 19 wickets
Indian batsmen play spin well they say! But, part-timer Moeen Ali made life difficult for the Indian batting line-up. On many occasions, the Indian batsmen lost their wickets in an attempt to smash himout of the park. They otherwise looked too cautious and allowed him to gain a hold over them. It was a case of two extremes and Moeen certainly showed that he can be a threat with his spin. He finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the series. And, he picked up those wickets in the first four Tests as he wasn’t needed at The Oval.
7. Average score when MS Dhoni walked out to bat in the last two Tests: 35.50
India’s top four looked brittle and they collapsed like a pack of cards in the last four innings. In the first innings at Manchester, they were eight for four at one stage. In the second essay, it was a better performance in comparison as they put up 61. Things didn’t change much at The Oval as they were 28 for four in the first essay and then 45 for four in the second. The fun stat doing the rounds on the social media is that they were 66 for six in each of those four innings.
8. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara’s combined average: 17.80
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were said to be India’s batting mainstays heading into the series. With his solid technique and sound temperament, Pujara was supposed to be the Rahul Dravid-like figure whereas Kohli was the enforcer who set up victories. However, Kohli had a horrid run of form and Pujara struggled after the first two Tests. India’s No 3 and No 4 averaged a combined 17.80 in the series.
9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s batting and bowling averages after the Lord’s Test: 6.33 and 40.12 respectively
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was India’s star in the first two Tests. With the bat, he hit three half-centuries which were crucial in context of those two results. His swing bowling caused numerous problems to the batsmen as he picked up two fifers. However, after the Lord’s Test, he averaged only 6.33 with the bat and 40.12 with the ball, which reflects how much India relied on him in the first two. His decline coincided with India’s.
10. Average runs scored by India’s last five wickets in the first two Tests: 170.75
The lower order’s performances during the first two Tests covered up for the top order’s failures. At Nottingham, the last five men added 218 to save the game. And, at Lord’s they were buoyed by the lower order in both the innings. In the first innings, Ajikya Rahane was given good company as they stretched India’s score. In the second essay, it was Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s knocks that helped them take India’s challenge beyond 300. Once the lower order failed, the top order was exposed.
11. Murali Vijay’s aggregate in the last five innings: 50
Like Bhuvneshwar, even Vijay’s downfall mirrored India’s decline in England. In the first five innings, he hit 352 runs, but only managed 50 in the last five. This too sums up India’s decline in England as Vijay was a major factor in their success in the first two Tests.
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)