India didn’t even last 90 overs in their two innings combined at Old Trafford © Getty Images
Much has been written about India’s abysmal display in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Manchester. The fact that India were bowled out twice in less than four sessions showed a complete lack of application and grit. Shiamak Unwalla looks at how the match might actually have been saved had they shown more courage.
India lost a Test match inside three days. That in itself is not shocking given their current overseas form. Losing a match in the way they did, however, is inexcusable. First, there was the now-iconic “eight for four” in the first session of Day One. And then there was the shameful performance on Day Three that saw nine wickets crumble in less than a session.
However, as abject as the performance was, the fact that Day Four could well have been washed out due to rain makes things all the more frustrating for Indian supporters. Michael Vaughan tweeted a picture of Old Trafford on what would have been the fourth day of the Test.
As seen above, with the torrential downpour and obviously unplayable conditions, India could have — at the very, very least — taken the game into Day Five. Had any of their batsmen shown an iota of the skill displayed by their No 8 batsman Ravichandran Ashwin, this article would not have existed. Instead, the Indian batsmen — barring MS Dhoni it must be said — put in a collective performance that was laughable at best, and pathetic at worst.
None of the batsmen showed the kind of grit and application that one would expect from players of their obvious calibre. Gautam Gambhir, one of the most scrappy, determined cricketers in the game, failed to convert his second-innings start. Murali Vijay seems to have lost the intensity he displayed in the first two games.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have looked a far cry from the batsmen they were in South Africa merely a few months ago. Ajinkya Rahane, the one batsman who has consistently scored for India, also failed when perhaps an innings of substance was needed the most. MS Dhoni battled valiantly, and is the only batsman to come out of the unmitigated disaster at Old Trafford with any self-respect.
Had even a couple of the Indian batsmen shown some guts and weathered the storm, then it would have been a massive psychological boost for India. Had they survived Day Three, India might still have been tied 1-1 with their tormentors.
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(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)