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“I was surprised to hear the cheer when they won the toss. The game was still to be played,” Virat Kohli shot back at the English fans, who cheered the side after Alastair Cook called it right at the toss in Mohali. English domination in the Rajkot Test led to the toss-talks. They won the toss and batted, put up a big score and almost sneaked out a win. They lost the toss at Visakhapatnam and lost the game, so the verdict according to many was: ‘win the toss, win the game’. But like Kohli said that the game was to be played and India played better to ensure an eight-wicket win to take an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the series, which means England have now lost two on a row. Suvajit Mustafi evaluates the visitors’ Mohali performance on a scale of 10.

Alastair Cook, 2.5/10: Let’s give him a mark for winning the toss and another for making a desperate attempt in the second innings to stay at the wicket in contrast to some of his colleagues who preferred to throw it away. And I will be considerable enough to give him half a mark for instilling the belief in Ben Stokes that he is as good as any strike bowler. Stokes repaid with a five-for.

Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 3rd Test at Mohali

Apart from these, he did nothing right at Mohali. He did not make use of the dropped catches and close shaves to construct a meaningful knock. For all he managed was a chancy 27 and a struggling 12.

On both occasions, he succumbed to the wiliness of Ravichandran Ashwin.

His leadership was unimaginative. He let India slip with a win after having them at 204 for 6. And the most baffling part was why did he play Gareth Batty? The young man at 39 was playing as a specialist spinner. He was brought into bowl after 46 overs. By the time India had played 108 overs, he had bowled just 5.

Moeen Ali, who according to Ravindra Jadeja was as menacing as Muttiah Muralitharan in England in 2014, was under bowled too.


Haseeb Hameed, 7.5/10: Rightly, Kohli called him the “future of English batting”. He fell for 9 in the first innings courtesy a brilliant and fast spell from Umesh Yadav in the first innings. Despite a broken finger, the 19-year-old walked out to bat at No. 8 in the second innings and held England’s fort by consuming 156 balls before running out of partners.

His 59 not out had two parts, one where he dead-batted everything to buy time for his team and once he ran out of partners, Hameed stepped up the tempo and batted intelligently to keep strikes. Unfortunately, the talented little boy will no longer play a part in this series.

Joe Root, 7/10: One of the best batsmen in contemporary cricket, Root committed a sin of throwing his wicket in the first innings which in hindsight cost them the game.

Rewind to Rajkot, it was Root’s hundred that propelled England to advantage. He was set and looked good but he tried to over-aggressive on the first day of a Test.

However, the 25-year-old made amends in the second innings and batted with patience and caution. He deserved a hundred but was nabbed courtesy some brilliant bowling from Jadeja and a stunner at first slip from Ajinkya Rahane.

He had occupied the crease for over four hours for his 78 and that saved England from the embarrassment of an innings defeat.


Moeen Ali, 1/10: When he bagged the Man of the Match award at Rajkot, Indian fans had reasons to fear Moeen again, who reminisced the ghosts of 2014. The English all-rounder failed miserably at Mohali.

He managed 21 runs in both innings and threw it away in the second innings despite the promotion in batting order. His bowling was underused. He better forget this game.


Jonny Bairstow, 7/10: He is having a dream year and by the time it ends, he is expected to surpass Michael Vaughan’s English record of most runs in a calendar year. His wicketkeeping has improved as well but at Mohali, he wasn’t at his best.

His 89 was England’s saving grace in the first innings but he paid the price for staying on the back foot in the second innings on a surface that had just begun to turn.

Bairstow’s role will be crucial for England’s fortunes in the two Tests to follow.


Ben Stokes, 7.5/10: His lips made more movements than the bat and it was sssh-ed with an ICC reprimand.

A good little partnership between him and Bairstow was building in the first innings before he threw it away. However, he bowled with lot of heart, got the ball to reverse, got vital breakthroughs and for a pacer to claim a five-for in these conditions, it is commendable.

He has grown over the years as one of England’s mainstay and his batting could have made a difference for the visitors.


Jos Buttler, 5/10: Buttler seems to be very fond of his Test average of 30. He scored 61 runs at 30.5 in this Test. In his comeback Test, he looked good till his 43 before throwing it away and in the second innings, he fell looking to counterattack when England were still trailing behind and the need of the hour was a good partnership between him and Root.

As a senior cricketer and for someone with experience in these conditions, more maturity was expected from Buttler.

He was good in the field without his usual gloves and affected a brilliant run out that sent back debutant Karun Nair for 4.


Chris Woakes, 6/10: Filling in for Stuart Broad was never going to be easy but Woakes bent his back and toiled at Mohali without any luck.

However, he showed good intent with the bat. He scored 25 and 30 in the Test and in both innings he fell victim to the brilliance of Indian pacers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami respectively.


Adil Rashid, 6.5/10: Rashid is one bowler who has caused some discomfort to Indian batsmen. He foxed Rahane with a googly that would have made Shane Warne proud.

He claimed 5 wickets in the game but bowled the longhop too often and though he got Cheteshwar Pujara out to it in the first innings, the Indian batters otherwise feasted on it.

Rashid has 10 hundreds and an average in mid-30s in First-Class and therefore more is expected out of him when he bats. All he managed was 4 and 0, and that did not help England.


Gareth Batty, 0.5/10: A run with the bat from two innings and underused as a bowler, why in the first place England played Batty? They could have gone for a batsman instead. No?

Batty, 39, got no wickets and early on the Indian batsmen made merry of his spell. Heading to Mumbai, it will be highly optimistic of England to foresee his off-spin replication Graeme Swann of 2012 or even Shaun Udal of 2006. Remember?


James Anderson, 2.5/10: When all chips are down, you look up to your best. In such situations, India stare at Ashwin at Kohli. And for England it is Anderson, their senior-most cricketer.

There were the odd balls that caused discomfort otherwise even Ashwin and Jayant Yadav were happy to present the straight bat. It was a rare wicket-less game for the English maestro. And perhaps that hurt them the most.

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur, philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully [Twitter] and rivu7 [Facebook].)