Indian batsmen were solid while building their first innings total of 457 © Getty Images
Unlike their poor starts in overseas Test matches in the past, India have began the all-important tour of England 2014 with a positive intent with the bat. Whether the total of 457 in the first innings is more than enough or not only time can prove, but India should be lauded for the start that they have made, says Devarchit Varma.
When India reached Australia for a Test series back in 2003-04, their captain Sourav Ganguly sought the expertise of former cricketer Greg Chappell on his batting and various other tactics. Ganguly was immensely benefitted with what he learned and went on to score one of his most memorable centuries in the first Test of the series at Brisbane.
There are many examples in cricket history where a first move, a first century, the first wicket or even a wide ball – examples being Steve Harmison’s delivery during the first Ashes 2006-07 Test and Zaheer Khan’s first ball in the ICC 2003 World Cup final – setting the tone for the game early. With good performances, irrespective whether from the ball or the bat, a team is able to gain momentum early on and can build on it.
Similarly, India’s performance in the first two days of the marathon England tour should be the ‘setting the tone’ moment for them. All of their batsmen looked positive, and big contributions coming from Murali Vijay and Mahendra Singh Dhoni should not only cheer them up, but India should also draw a lot of confidence from it.
Vijay did not have the best of the build-ups for the tour and Dhoni too did not do well in Test cricket after his monumental 224 against Australia at home last year. But both the batsmen produced quality innings that not only helped India to recover from a tough situation, but also to build up the platform for a strong total. Both Vijay and Dhoni would be pleased with their efforts. Vijay got to a fine century with his impeccable approach, while Dhoni, who has always been guilty of fishing outside the off-stump was disciplined enough to not to prod his bat on the ones that were inviting him to.
To top it off, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami added 111 runs for the final wicket. Their stay at the crease not only helped India go past the 400-run mark, but it grinded the opposition, and highlighted their failures. It must be noted that India’s failure to score 300 or more in an innings was among the reasons they were blanked 0-4 the last time they toured England.
The batsmen have done their bit to make a positive beginning for India, it’s over to the bowlers now.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)