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Ind vs Eng, Ranchi: India showed why they are invincible at home

India gets them back in the game

The third and moving day started with all the predictions of how many would India gather for the rest of the three wickets in the first innings, and how big a lead they would give away to England. There were so speculations of whether India would be able to pack up the tourists for a cheap total, and how many would they be happy to go for!

But at the end of the day, India again showed why they are invincible at home Tests, and is yet to lose a series in this format for the last 12-years. Whether it comes to their fielding, or bowling in both pace or spin department, or it’s their batting in the lower order, they have all the solutions prepared for each and every moment.

England came into the series with a goal to challenge their ‘Bazball’ approach, but by the close end of the series, they realized, no matter how hard you go against India at their den, they came up with various plannings and dominance.

Stubborn Jurel and Kuldeep pushed India close to England

At 177/7, when Kuldeep Yadav walked out to bat with still over 170-runs behind of England’s first innings score of 353, it felt like on a pitch where the ball is staying low and doing all sorts of things, England might run away with a lead of around 150 runs, and might end up batting before the close of third day.

Jurel's stubbornness takes India close to England
©- Cricbuzz/ Twitter

By the time, they stretched India to 219/7 at the end of the day, there were hopes and anticipations of some brightness. The challenge for India was to dominate the first session, for which playing out the new hard ball was the vital job. Both Kuldeep and Dhruv Jurel shared the firing job.

They saw off the first seven overs quite easily, as England opted to go for the new cherry straightaway. Shoaib Bashir was bowling beautifully but what India and specially the batters did well is understanding the value of the moment. Kuldeep played out 90% of Bashir’s new ball spell in the morning from the end where there wasn’t much help off the surface. On the other end, Jurel saw off James Anderson, who found himself in a fabulous rhythm.

Anderson kept Kuldeep quiet for sometime and broke the long frustrating partnership of 76-runs. Kuldeep trying to guide the short ball away got it played on to his three sticks as India pushed back to 253/8. Around 50 more, and the lead for England will come under 50, which is a huge positive keeping their initial situation in mind.

Jurel showed immense maturity from there on. He played most of the deliveries, and as most of the batters do in playing with number 10 and 11, he survived most deliveries. Whenever he saw the ball up into his arc, he never got shy away from punching it for a boundary or even a six. He firmed the strike at one end and took the game deep for India as the famous hometown Ranchi boy used to do whenever India was under tremendous pressure.

At 90, he was undone by a Tom Hartley spin delivery, that sort of licked the lips of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep from the change room. The ball was still spinning and England’s aim was to go beyond 200, and made India chase north of 250, exactly what Joe Root discussed in the presser at the end of the second day’s play.

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Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep- India turned the table with spin trio

The scrutiny was there over Ravichandran Ashwin, and to an extent it’s Ashwin’s brilliance that have grown more questions around him, even when he has done decent enough job throughout the series. The first ball he bowled with the new ball drew Zak Crawley forward and went past his outside edge.

India was missing trick for the whole series by not giving the hard new ball to Ashwin against the England bowlers. When they did, they got the result straightaway. If bowling with the new ball is an art, then Ashwin is the principal of the university.

Not many have the thinking of doing so, leave out even trying to attempt so. He, kind of, split the seam like a spinning racket with the new ball to get the elevation, while by the time the ball got older in the ninth over, he cut the seam into 60-degree angle and put it towards the second slip against the left hander, and Ben Duckett put feet on the trap. The very next ball he opened up Ollie Pope, on a golden duck, square and hit the pads, as the umpire’s call did the rest of the job.

The way he set up Root was fabulous, taking the ball away from the batter and on the last ball of the over, he bowled with slow, and turned it in to hit the pads, which in a controversial way got three reds. Crawley’s hard hitting was pushing India back against even after those three wickets, as Johnny Bairstow too looked to show good intent.

England found zero answer before India's spin attack
©- BCCI/ Twitter

Kuldeep left out the off-side field open, and bowled a googly, as Crawley looking to play the ball in that side saw the stumps getting rattled. India and the crowd got their voice back. Ben Stokes, who has been awful with his batting since the Hyderabad Test, was undone by the chainaman, as the ball rolled onto his stumps after trapping him plumb LBW.

Just after the break, Jadeja bowled slowly and Bairstow couldn’t resist himself from driving away from his body. Ben Foakes was looking in good touch and with every run the Indian heart rate was going up. But it was again Ashwin’s smartness. He bowled a carrom ball, slow in the air, which Foakes looked to guide in the leg side for an easy single, but the ball hit the crack and bounced and that was enough to get the outside edge of the batter’s willow.

Ashwin’s record 35th Test five wicket haul blew away England for just 145, and by the time, India finished on 40/0 at the end of the day, with 152 runs more to get, one would believe that it’s India who at the moment is ahead in the race.

Where is Bazball- India threw questions at puzzled England

Did he arrive? Who? Where did he go? We haven’t seen him from the moment India pulled the card and Root played that lap shot and England felt before them in the blink of an eye. Where is Bazball man?

England played like pre-covid era England, and India skittled them for a mere score in the second innings of Rajkot to earn a huge victory. India again destroyed them for 112/5 in the first innings of Ranchi, but it was Joe-ball that rescued them from that situation. Even with a 46-run odd lead on a track where one or two ball did do something and got you out, Bazball was perhaps the right and brightest solution.

India blew away Bazball approach
©- England Cricket/ Twitter

When Ashwin was spinning the ball in both ways, it was only Zak Crawley to looked to take the initiative and took the aggressor mode. None gave him the contribution in that zone. When Kuldeep was doing the damage at the end of the second drinks break of the day, Bairstow looked to show intent, but that too was away from Bazball. Why didn’t they try?

The 145, they scored at the end could have been 200, and that extra 55 runs could have given more pressure to the Indians mentally. India found their job very simple, which was to bowl at a simple line and keep on bowling for a long time. One England mistake, and they would get the reward anyway.

With 152 runs to get, India are clear favorites, but one would be fool enough to count England out of the contest at the moment. They have done it in the past, and with the record of India in the 4th innings chase, they know their job. It’s now or never.

That Mad Writer
Author: That Mad Writer

Someone who loves how Steve Smith from being Australia's future Shane Warne has become present Don Bradman, gets inspired by Anderson's longevity, gets awed with Kohli's drive and Southee's bowling action. Never gets excited with stats and records, and believes in instincts, and always questions spinners bowling with the new ball.

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