Team India led by Virat Kohli couldn’t prove their mettle in red-ball cricket on English soil as they lost the five-match Test series 4-1. It was India’s second successive failure in overseas Test series after the 2-1 series defeat in South Africa earlier this year.
Considering the way India lost the grip on Test matches from the position of strength, legendary batsman VVS Laxman has cautioned the team against repeating mistakes. Laxman mentioned it is not the hallmark of a No.1 Test team to lose the key moments every now and then.
“The Indian think-tank will, I am sure, introspect and look inwards in the aftermath of the series defeat. The one thing they will recognise is that they kept repeating mistakes – allowing the tail to wag after making serious inroads into the top order, and not getting off to starts which is not the hallmark of the number one Test team of the world,” Laxman wrote in his column for TOI.
“The 4-1 scoreline in England’s favour might not necessarily be a true reflection of the quality of the two sides, but it reiterated the fact that in Test cricket, you can’t take your eyes off the ball for even an hour. India had their opportunities, but except in Trent Bridge, they didn’t take them,” he explained.
Highlighting the difference in the attitudes of both the teams, Laxman said England players raised their game in crunch situations whereas the visitors failed to cash in on the opportunities, except for the third Test at Trent Bridge.
“By contrast, England raised their game a notch or two when it counted the most. The manner in which they bounced back in Southampton after the Trent Bridge hammering, and in the intensity with which they approached the dead rubber at The Oval, is something India must seek to emulate,” he stated.
Laxman was in full of praise for the two youngsters – KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant – who shared a 204-run stand for the sixth wicket to give India a glimmer of hope in the final session of the fifth Test at The Oval. While Rahul played a possible career-saving knock of 147, Pant registered his maiden Test century (114) in Test cricket.
“I was delighted with the attitude of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant in a daunting run-chase at The Oval. From a position of no hope, they batted with freedom and expressed themselves beautifully with some of the best stroke-making of the series. Both men needed the hundreds; Rahul had had a disappointing tour till that point, while Pant faded away a little since his promising Trent Bridge debut. Their conviction and positivity is something India should take heart from,” Laxman wrote.
“India could have looked for a draw in the immediacy of Rahul’s dismissal, but they kept going for the target till Pant was around, like they had done in Adelaide in 2014 in Virat’s first Test as captain. That is the character of this team — to strive for a result, no matter what. Their shot at redemption will come later in the year in Australia,” he concluded.