Home > Features >

India tour of England 2014: Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane need to bat long

India-batsman-Virat-Kohli-pulls-a-ball-towards-the-boundary-during-day-four
Virat Kohli (Batting) will be keen on getting a big score after missing out in the first essay © Getty Images

By Arunabha Sengupta

The strange Test match between India and England has entered the fifth day with just a slim outside chance of a result. The near-miraculous last wicket association between Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson has put England in the ascendancy, and the two quick strikes towards the end of the day have added some much needed oxygen to the dying game gasping for breath.

However, the same Anderson-Root partnership has played its part in almost killing the Test match.The curious tactics of shielding Anderson when he was well past his fifty resulted in slowing down the momentum, wasting precious time as well as reducing England’s chances of wresting the initiative with some attacking cricket. It was quite strange to hear Root voicing during the post-day press conference that the plan had been to bat as long as possible and eat into the time.

With the partnership taking England close to the Indian total, one would have expected aggression rather than occupation to have been the objective. Especially after the hosts had taken the lead. Anderson and Root, amazing though the partnership was, could not have been expected to go on and procure a 200-run advantage – at least no management would have banked on that. The number of runs Root turned down and the number of deliveries Anderson was not allowed to swing at with his tail-ender’s tactics could well have amounted to far more pressure on India.

Right now, a result seems possible only if the Indian batting undergoes a collapse on the final morning. Whereas the performances of the number elevens in the match have given enough evidence of the absolute kill-joy nature of the wicket, the inexperience of the Indian line up and the lack of the extra batsman do not totally rule out the chances of some excitement.

If the England bowlers pick up a couple of quick wickets in the morning and get through to the likes of Stuart Binny and Ravindra Jadeja, there is all the potential of excitement. While the pitch has refused to help the spinners – and England does not have a real spinner in any case – reverse swing and cutters have occasionally touched the England bowlers with some incisiveness. However, one has also got to take the weather into account. Showers, which have benevolently stayed away for four days in spite of ominous predictions, are supposed to interrupt proceedings today – multiple times if the weather channels are to be believed.

For the Indians, it is of utmost importance for Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to bat together as long as possible, preferably through the morning session. Wickets have been a rare commodity in the first two hours in this Test match, the four days have witnessed just two of them. If the two Indian batsmen put their heads down it may prove very difficult to dislodge them.

With England burdened with Moeen Ali’s apology of off-breaks – the two wickets he picked up yesterday afternoon were granted to him by some magnanimous Indian generosity– the burden of the bowling have to be borne by the pace bowlers. If India make them bowl long and hard today, it can render them stiff and sore before the next Test match at Lord’s begins on Thursday.

Even if winning the Test match is almost impossible, the Indians do have good reasons to bat for long today.

Catch all the stories from India’s tour of England 2014 here

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry.He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test Day 4 at Dubai

Pakistan vs Australia, Live Cricket Score, 1st Test Day 3 at Dubai

Live Scorecard: Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Live Cricket Score, 1st Test at Mirpur

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: BCCI awaits Wriddhiman Saha’s fitness report before searching for replacement

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here