Five takeaways from the England vs India first Test
The first of the five-match Test series ended in a draw with rain playing spoilsport on the final day at Nottingham.
India ended Day 4 at 52-1, needing 157 runs with nine wickets in hand. However, persistent rain on Day 5 forced play to be abandoned with the match declared as a draw.
However, the action-packed first four days produced some remarkable performances from both teams.
On that note, let us look at five key takeaways from the first Test match.
1. The resurgence of KL Rahul as an opener
Replacing the injured Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul was the top performer for India in the opening Test. The Karnataka player scored a well-constructed 84 in the first innings, helping India gain a crucial 95-run lead over the hosts.
The 29-year-old, playing his first Test match since August 2019, looked a class apart with his audacious stroke-play.
The right-hander’s form at the top certainly augurs well for Team India ahead of the second Test at Lord’s.
2. Shardul Thakur’s inclusion pays dividends for India
One of the surprise inclusions for the first Test was the inclusion of Shardul Thakur in the lineup. The Mumbai pacer played the perfect foil to the pace troika of Bumrah, Shami and Siraj contributing with some important breakthroughs.
Thakur picked up four wickets in the Test match including the wicket of dangerous-looking Joe Root for 64 in the first innings.
Picked ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin, the 29-year-old justified his selection with noteworthy contributions.
3. Jasprit Bumrah back to his lethal best
The first Test saw India’s pace ace Jasprit Bumrah back among the wickets tally. After an underwhelming performance in the WTC final, the Gujarat pacer led the bowling attack with nine wickets in the opening Test.
Bumrah troubled the English batters especially with the new ball and was the pick of the bowlers from both teams.
Virat Kohli and Co. will hope Bumrah continues his wicket-taking spree in the forthcoming Test matches on the England tour.
4. Joe Root torments India yet again
Joe Root proved to be a thorn in the flesh for the Indian side yet again. The England captain’s valiant hundred in the second innings helped the home side save blushes.
Root’s ton at Nottingham was the Yorkshireman’s first on English soil since September 2018 and sixth overall against India in Test cricket.
Despite lack of major support from other batsmen, the 30-year-old steered England past 300 to set up a reasonable total for the home side to defend.
Root’s form has been the major takeaway for England from the first Test.
5. India exploit England’s fragile middle-order
One of the hallmarks from the first Test of the series was the Indian bowlers' domination over England. Barring Joe Root, none of the other English batters could make a significant contribution and fell prey to some clinical Indian bowling.
The absence of star all-rounder Ben Stokes further exposed the inexperienced hosts’ middle-order.
The Indian seamers will look to capitalise on England’s batting weakness going into the Lord’s Test match.
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