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By Julian Guyer
London: Aug 18, 2014
Below AFP Sport highlights five key reasons why the series finished it as did.
1. Runs on the board
To win a Test a team must take 20 wickets, but bowlers need runs to play with. India were dismissed for under 200 five times in a row. Since they made 178 in the second innings of England’s 266-run third Test win at Southampton, they were skittled out for scores of 152, 161, 148 and, on Sunday, 94. Not even a team with an all-time great bowling attack could do much in those circumstances.
2. Packed schedule
India pushed for five Tests in 42 days without any tour matches in between and paid the price, both in lack of practice and an injury to fast bowler Ishant Sharma that ruled the star of their second Test win at Lord’s out of the next two matches.
3. Catches win matches
It is unfair to pin a series on a single incident but if one moment did change the course of the campaign it was when Ravindra Jadeja dropped England captain Alastair Cook on 15 in the third Test at Southampton. Cook, who had been struggling, went on to make 95 and England won by 266 runs.
4. Review blues
India’s ongoing opposition to the Decision Review System did them few favours. At Southampton, Pankaj Singh produced a wonderful, swinging delivery to Ian Bell when the England batsman was on nought. But the umpire said not out and there was no way for India to challenge the decision. Bell went on to make 167 and the unlucky Singh returned the worst wicketless figures by a Test debutant.
5. India in a spin
It is often said that India batsmen are fine players of spin but such is the glut of one-day cricket faced by their leading players they get increasingly less chance to face it at domestic first-class level. While the threat of home new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad was well-known to India, the fact England off-spinner Moeen Ali — primarily a batsman — took 19 wickets was something they had not foreseen. And even when he didn’t bowl, as on the last day at The Oval, Ali starred with a run-out and the match-clinching catch.
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