India blew away a golden opportunity to clinch the first Test of the five match Test series against England. In a gripping contest England held their nerves to beat India by 31 runs to take a 1-0 series lead.
India had two days time chase down the England target of 193 . But filed miserably yet again. Their top order failed to fire – Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, K L Rahul Ajinkya Rahane flopped and it hurt the team badly .
The swinging ball, bounce exposed the weakness of again. India found the likes of James Anderson , the star Sam Curran , Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes just too much .
India were still in the hunt on 141 for six, needing another 52 runs, but Stokes’s double-wicket burst turned the tide in England’s favour. He claimed the big wicket of Kohli, who was trapped leg before wicket for 51 and then got Shami caught behind for a duck in the same over. Stokes ended the match with the wicket of Pandya to finish with wonderful figures of four for 40.
The only stand-out performers for India in this forgettable Test match was skipper Virat Kohli. After an imperious 149 in the first innings he scored 51 in the second. He waged a lone battle and battled hard as wickets fell around him.
The 5/51 haul by Ishant Sharma in the second innings was a superb effort. Ravichandran Ashwin also was very impressive with figures of 4/62 and 3 / 59 . Sadly they had to end on a losing side.
It will take time for Team India to re- group after this disaster. They had plenty of time at their disposal but they simply messed it up. Team India head coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli will have lot to ponder ahead of the second Test that starts on August 9 at Lords.