England inflicted an innings defeat over the mighty Indians in the 3rd Test at Headingley. The Indians lost the match on the 4th day itself as the English bowlers were too dominant for the Men in Blue to face. To everyone’s surprise, Virat Kohli finally won the toss, and the Indian skipper elected to bat first. The visitors lost the game in the first innings itself. The Indians had no answer to Jimmy Anderson’s lethal swings as they made a mockery of their heroics in Lords’ IND vs ENG 3rd Test.
IND vs ENG 3rd Test: What went wrong for the Indians
- The Ghost Of The Middle Order Continues
The current Indian Test team, which is tipped to be one of the best red-ball teams assembled in this generation, does have one weak spot. The middle-order batsmen for team India have not been consistent enough to lift the side during the time of crisis. The fingers can be directly pointed towards Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and also skipper Virat Kohli.
Let us be clear, the Indians lost the game in the first innings itself. And we are aware of the fact that Pujara (91) and Kohli (55) played a strong inning in the second innings. However, they failed miserably in supporting the team in the 1st innings, where it was actually needed.
Pujara went for 1 and Kohli got out for 7 runs in the first innings. Rahane, however, fought a small war as he scored 18 runs, the second-highest score after Rohit Sharma in the first innings.
Adding to that, India’s trump card, Rishabh Pant also failed to launch in both innings. Pant scored 2 and 1 runs in the first and the second innings, respectively.
2. Virat Kohli’s obsession with fast bowlers
For the 3rd straight game, the Indian skipper decided to play four fast bowlers instead of opting for a Ravichandran Ashwin. Everyone, including the fans, were expecting Ashwin to replace Ishant Sharma at Leeds. However, Kohli stuck to his plan A and played the same combination of fast bowlers who failed to put any dents in England’s innings.
The English batsmen looked comfortable as they scored a total of 432 runs in the first innings to seal their win in the 3rd Test. Ashwin, being a legendary spin bowler, is also handy when it comes to batting. The inclusion of Ashwin in the team gives India an extra pair of batting hands. We might see him in the 4th Test at the Oval.
3. An overall batting disaster
Skipper Virat Kohli admitted that the Indians failed to display a solid batting performance in Headingley as compared to the hosts. England wrapped up the game at the start of the 4th day itself as the Indians looked hapless at Leeds. Virat Kohli and Co. got out for just 78 runs in the first innings.
“Basically, I will put it (collapse) down to scoreboard pressure. We knew we are up against a massive (354-run) lead after getting bowled out for 78. The pressure from English bowlers was too much, they bowled at areas which troubled us,” said Kohli in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Batting collapses (like 78 all out in first innings) can happen. The pitch was good. Pressure from their bowlers was relentless, their discipline forced us to make mistakes. It was quality bowling for long periods,” added Kohli. “It was difficult to deal with spells where we weren’t getting runs. We didn’t make good decisions as a batting side,” said the 32-year-old who was dismissed by Ollie Robinson (5/65 and man of the match) for 55 on Saturday.
Virat Kohli stated that the Men in Blue do not have enough depth in the batting department. He added that the top and the middle order batsmen will have to take the initiative and make sure that the team is in the right place batting-wise.
“You could say that we don’t have enough batting depth, but the top order has to give enough runs to the lower middle order to step up. The lower order can’t bail the team out all the time. We don’t have much other than the batting in the second innings to take from this game in terms of positives,” said Kohli further. “Other than batting in the second innings we don’t have many positives,” he added.