Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India captain feels that India is similarly prepared for the fifth Test this time, unlike what was the case before the WTC final in 2021, as they arrived in England a couple of weeks before the start of the match and played a warm-up game as well.
India will be looking to seal a first Test series win in England since 2007 when the fifth Test starts on July 1. A first Test series win since 2007 in England is what India will be aiming for when the postponed fifth match of the series starts on Friday. India leads the series 2-1, with the final Test being postponed last year due to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases within the visitors’ camp.
Dilip Vengsarkar : India Didn’t Play Warm-up Matches Befoe WTC Final Unlike This Time
India’s tour of England in 2021 had effectively started with the inaugural World Test Championship final against New Zealand. While a large chunk of the match was washed out, India was hardly a match for the Kiwis, who won the Test by eight wickets. Virat Kohli’s men were a different beast during the following series against England, taking a 2-1 lead with some aggressive cricket.
“In the last tour, India did not play any warm-up matches before they played that first Test. If you tour countries like England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies you have to play some games before you play the Tests to get acclimatised,” Dilip Vengsarkar told a select group of reporters.
“That is why we lost that first game. But now they have played a warm-up match and so I expect them to do well. They also know that there is only one match left now. If they win that, they win the series straightaway, ” Dilip Vengsarkar said.
A lot has changed for both teams, with both India and England operating under new head coaches and captains. India was led by coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli last year whereas those positions have been taken up by Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma respectively.
India’s warm-up game vs Leicestershire ended in a draw after the foxes, led by Shubman Gill and Louis Kimber, went on to make 219/4 before the teams decided to shake hands. As many as five Indians turned up for both the teams during the four-day practice match.
Dilip Vengsarkar: Every Session In A Test Match Is Important
Meanwhile, England seems to have taken an ultra-aggressive batting approach under new captain Ben Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum. They recently did a 3-0 whitewash at home against New Zealand in a series that was characterized by England often playing at run rates one would find in limited-overs matches. Batter Jonny Bairstow scored 394 runs at a strike rate of a whopping 120.12.
Thanks to the win in the third and final Test, England not only swept the three-match series but also created history. They become the first-ever side in 146 years of Test cricket to chase over 250 three times in a series. The hosts chased down 277 at Lord’s, 299 at Trent Bridge, and 296 at Headingley.
However, Dilip Vengsarkar said that just reliance on aggressive batting may not always pay dividends.
“Test matches are a five-day affair and the T20s are different completely. You can’t do the same kind of batting in both unless you have to win the match at the end, which England did in the last Test match. But that is very rare, every session in a Test match is important. You have to plan things in Test cricket, skills matter a lot. Mental toughness also matters,” Dilip Vengsarkar said.
The fifth Test will be played at Edgbaston and will be followed by three T20Is and as many ODIs that will be played between the two teams.