The last day of England’s disappointing tour of India best demonstrates the superiority of Virat Kohli’s men. England slumped from 103-0 to 207 all out in a batting collapse all too common in English cricketing history. Once again Chennai showed the vulnerability of the English batting line up against spin in the sub-continent. This meant England slipped to a 4-0 defeat, while they’ve lost six of the last eight tests. In stark contrast India have extended their already impressive record to 19 home tests undefeated – winning 16 of them.
Preparations for the tour were less than ideal with a first test defeat at the hands of Bangladesh. However, just over a week later the tour of India started on a positive note for England. The first test in Rajkot began with what England hoped would provide a good omen for the rest of the tour – winning the toss followed by a big first innings score. Three superb hundreds from Root, Ali and Stokes meant England posted 527 in the first innings and were ahead of the game. India were unable to recover and were set a target of 310 in a minimum of 49 overs; only coming away with a draw. England were left feeling optimistic about the rest of the tour, especially after teenage debutant Haseeb Hameed’s 82 in the second innings, which showed application well ahead of his time.
Virat Kohli was seemingly invincible and his 167 was a perfect example of how to bat in the conditions
Unfortunately, this trend wouldn’t continue. The second test in Visakhapatnam was the first time two points were proven. First, Virat Kohli was seemingly invincible and his 167 was a perfect example of how to bat in the conditions. Also, it showed how India’s spinners were a class above England’s – Ravi Ashwin achieved figures of 5-67 and 3-52. Moreover, the test highlighted the batting frailties, especially in the middle order. A second innings collapse saw England go from 115-4 to 158-10. Ben Duckett was particularly criticised for his technique in playing spin – planting his front foot on leg stump which made him extremely susceptible to Ashwin. A defeat by 246 runs gave India a 1-0 lead in the series.
1-0 became 2-0 in Mohali, with England unable to post a substantial first innings score and no batsmen making a significant impact. Lower order contributions by Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant Yadhav meant India were well ahead after both teams had batted. Even with another impressive 59 from Hameed – with a broken hand – India cruised to a second win.
KL Rahul’s 199 and Karun Nair’s 303 not out demonstrated India’s strength in depth
After a long break between tests, England still hadn’t learnt from the mistakes of Mohali. Even with an impressive debut hundred from Keaton Jennings and England posting 400, India still took a significant lead into the second innings. Captain Kohli posted 235 in another fantastic innings and hundreds from Vijay and Yadhav meant India led by over 200. A 10 wicket haul for Ashwin and another middle order collapse meant England were unable to force a second innings out of India.
So with nothing more than pride to play for, England headed to Chennai with another debutant – Liam Dawson. However, this inspired little change in performance from Cook’s men. Even when posting 477 after a brilliant Moeen Ali 146, England’s bowlers were unable to carry the momentum on. KL Rahul’s 199 and Karun Nair’s 303 not out demonstrated India’s strength in depth. Another disappointing collapse led to England losing by an innings, rounding off a miserable tour.