Former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar believes Virat Kohli and company missed a golden opportunity to create history in England after making a stellar comeback in the third Test at Trent Bridge.
Indian batsmen once again faltered under pressure as England registered a series-clinching 60-run victory in the fourth Test at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
Chasing 245 for victory, India were bundled out for 184 in their second innings while they had put on 273 in the first essay.
“It’s been a story of missed opportunities here in England too as India lost a chance of creating history by coming back from a 1-2 deficit and win the series. Like in South Africa, India’s bowlers put the opposition down only for the batsmen to mess it up. No praise can be too high of our seamers who have bowled their hearts out," Gavaskar wrote in his column for TOI on Thursday (September 6).
India’s batting unit except for Kohli (544 runs) and partially Cheteshwar Pujara (241 runs) have failed miserably in this series. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul have performed miserably, scoring 158 and 113 runs respectively.
Gavaskar emphasized on the lack of support for Kohli that has proved to a massive factor behind India’s another overseas Test series loss. Notably, Virat (286 runs) was the highest run-scorer in India’s 2-1 series defeat against South Africa earlier this year.
“The shining exception on both tours has been the skipper Virat Kohli who has looked from a different planet altogether as he has made batting look like a walk in the park. Yes, even in a park, one comes across the odd rough patch and obstacle, but he has skirted round that with ease and with over 500 runs, has shown the doubters that he is by far the best in the world,” Gavaskar wrote.
“Unfortunately, he has had little support from the others and so, like in South Africa, the moment he is out, the rest of the batting collapses like the proverbial deck of cards. Sure, the ball has moved much more, but by stubbornly not playing practice games, the team has denied itself the chance of getting good match practice against the moving ball,” he elaborated.
He was surprised to see the struggle of Indian batsmen against Moeen Ali. The English off-spinner had bamboozled the visiting batters in the first innings, scalping 5 for 63 and he followed it up with 4 for 71 in the second essay.
“Then, there was the ineptness against Moeen Ali which was harder to stomach especially as Indians are supposed to be good players of spin bowling. Where was the use of the feet to get to the pitch of the ball? Too much white ball cricket with its stand and hit method is ruining batting techniques,” Gavaskar stated.
The fifth and final Test between England and India will be played from Friday (September 7) at The Oval.
“Oval provides a good pitch for the batsmen to salvage some pride, but it won’t be easy if the conditions remain overcast and as long as the bat speed is not curtailed, the struggles will continue,” Gavaskar concluded.