Murali Vijay, India’s leading run-getter in the series so far, failed to shine with the bat in the fouth Test at Manchester © Getty Images
India conceded a 1-2 lead to England after a humiliating innings and 54-run loss at the fourth Test at Manchester. R Vishal looks back at at the defeat and rates the Indian players on a scale of 1 to 10, aside from highlighting the highs and lows of their performances.
Indian batsmen have gone through many a nightmare overseas since 2011. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman may have been in the twilight of their careers, but India collapsed. Session after session, and one series leading to another India consistently surrendered and their woes continue to seep into the new generation of Indian batsmen. Let us look at how India fared in their abject innings and 54-run loss to England at the fourth Test at the Old Trafford.
Murali Vijay – 1/10: After being among the pick of Indian batsmen in the first three Tests, Vijay came a cropper at Manchester. James Anderson though was in full cry in the first innings and dismissed Vijay off a gem of a delivery.
Gautam Gambhir - 2/10: Much was expected from Gambhir, who returned to the Test side after a gap of 20 months. Instead, it turned out to be a return that Gambhir would want to forget in a hurry. The tentative prod outside the off-stump in the early part of his stay at the crease continues to be his Achilles heel. An experienced player like him has no excuses for the manner in which he was dismissed in the second innings. This may turn out to be his last appearance in the series.
Cheteshwar Pujara - 3/10: Pujara played a terrible shot — a line that can seldom be used with the Saurashtra run-machine. Fishing wide outside off, Pujara threw his wicket away in the first innings and was looking good in the second essay. However Umpire Rod Tucker gave him his marching orders off Moeen Ali when replays showed that the ball was going slightly above the stumps.
Virat Kohli – 2/10: Kohli’s woes in the Old Blighty continues and James Anderson’s near-perfect seam position and late swing had India’s poster boy of the current generation all at sea. Kohli also dropped a relatively easy catch at second slip off Jos Buttler. Yet another match to forget and swords are already out on his technique
Ajinkya Rahane – 4/10: Rahane was his gritty self and was resurrecting the Indian innings after the visitors slumped to 8/4. The Mumbai batsman failed to replicate his Lords heroics at Manchester.
MS Dhoni – 6.5/10: Dhoni’s hair might grey completely by the end of the fifth Test if India continues to perform in this manner. In both innings, the Indian skipper was the pick of the batsmen. His captaincy though, continues to raise eyebrows, especially some of the field placements in the second innings to hand the initiative to England through a solid partnership between Joe Root and Jos Buttler.
Ravindra Jadeja - 1/10: Neither does he impress as a batsman nor is he reliable enough to be called a frontline spinner. The shot selection in the second innings in particular, was abysmal and his bowling proved to be easy pickings for the English batsmen. Anderson dismissed him in the first innings of a peach of a delivery and Jadeja had his revenge against the English pacer by dismissing him to signal an end to England’s innings. A replacement may be on the cards for the final Test.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 6/10: English batsmen played Ravichandran Ashwin brilliantly in India in 2012/13 and it was the same in Manchester as well. His batting continues to grow exponentially and rescued India from the blushes in both innings. Wickets, though continues to desert him away from home and was unfortunate to miss out on a half-century in his team’s second innings.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 7/10: Yet again, Bhuvneshwar continues to highlight his value to the team and was superb with the ball. Just like his fellow bowlers, he had no answer to Root and Buttler’s counter-attack.
Varun Aaron – 6/10: Varun Aaron was impressive on his return and had quite a few telling moments with the ball. Being one of the few Indians with genuine pace, Aaron got bounce and had English batsmen in a spot of bother. He was taken apart in his second spell though. Overall, it was a good return to the Test fold for the Jharkhand speedster.
Pankaj Singh – 4/10: All heart and no luck makes Pankaj a miserable boy — atleast on most occasions in his first two Tests. After all the toil and near misses, Pankaj Singh steamed in, determined and eager to impress but it was no avail. He finally got his maiden Test wicket by dismissing Root. He can work on his lengths a bit though.
(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)