In a series that began as a close contest between two sides searching for confidence and form, England eventually blew the tourists away as they reigned victorious in the last 3 tests to take the series 3-1. We take a reflective look back at 8 things we learned from this latest series between these 2 great cricket nations.
1) Cook’s form is crucial for how England perform as a whole –
After a torrid year or so, England‘s captain finally regained his form in the third test of the series, which would act as a launch pad for the whole team to regain it’s winning ways. With the hosts 1-0 down after defeat at Lords, Cook‘s 95 was crucial in the beginning of England’s revival in Southampton. Almost immediately the team began to find its confidence as finally it’s star man was back back in good nick. This shows just how England missed an inform Cook during the test matches in which they had been searching for a leader. Cook’s form coincided with the impressive fight back to take the series and many players regaining their form which had deserted them.
2) Dhoni is crucially important to India’s batting performance –
During a series which was calamitous to say the least for India’s batsmen, the only man to come out with any credit was their captain. On numerous occasions Dhoni had to come in earlier than expected due to batting collapses and regained some pride or battled hard with steady and impressive performances. Without him holding things together so often you can only imagine how much worse it could have been for India.
3) Ballance will be a top class international batsmen –
Having had a hard time in what was a disastrous series for England in the Ashes on debut and then shown glimpses of his precocious talent against Sri Lanka, Gary Ballance had a wonderful series against India. The Zimbabwe born batsmen played some masterful innings and really looked comfortable as well as confident in that England shirt. Now he needs to push on from this as more potent bowling attacks will be on the horizon in the form of Australia and South Africa.
4) Moeen Ali can be England’s much needed spinner –
Going into the series many where concerned that England lacked a specialist spinner on conditions that looked suited to sub-continent teams and that Moeen Ali was not the man to fill the huge void left by Graeme Swann. However after a difficult start, Ali posted spectacular figures across the last 3 tests, finishing with more wickets than Swann did the last time England hosted India.
5) India lack 5 test match series experience –
This was a point brought up before the series, that with the exception of Dhoni, none of the India team had played a 5 match test series before. This proved to be crucial as India really collapsed in the last 2 tests against an England side used to series of this length following numerous Ashes clashes.
6) Sam Robson isn’t up to the required standard of an England international –
Following a series against Sri Lanka that saw him make his first test hundred, Robson would have been looking to make more forward strides in this series against India. However he still doesn’t look comfortable in an England shirt as runs came for him at a premium. From the outside he appears to be to cautious and defensive, whilst perhaps not confident enough to make runs slightly quicker or play riskier shots that need to be executed at this level.
7) Even the best can lose confidence easily –
This was a point proved by the shortcomings with the bat of Virat Kohli throughout the series. He came to England with a reputation as one of the world’s biggest stars but he never got going as he just couldn’t overcome the supreme bowling of Anderson and Broad. In a five test series there is no hiding place if bowlers have your number but his demise showed what a confidence sport Cricket is and that he may not be the finished article just yet.
It is the richest and most lucrative cricket league in the world, yet India’s love for the shorter form of the game may well come at the expense of it’s test side. Not enough young players are practicing how to be test cricketers as was seen by some of the shots and low scores of the team throughout the series. However this is for the benefit of the T20 and One Day sides, who have performed impressively in recent years.