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Ind vs Eng, Rajkot: Jaiswal led India petrified England to go 2-1 up

England goes down, India fly high

For the very first time in the series, and surely in their Bazball era, England looked like a rabbit in the headlights, and that came on the back of what Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sarfaraz Khan did on the fourth day in Rajkot. It was until the very last half an hour when Mark Wood came and swung the bat for a few runs, before which, it was all about the dark views of ‘London Bridge falling down’ of pre covid time.

The loudest cheer from the crowd came on the moment Rohit Sharma declared India’s second innings on 430/4, the very first time someone declared against England under Ben Stokes, and set a target of 557 runs. The second loudest cheer came after Tea when Ravichandran Ashwin made his mark on the ground, after flying through a charter, arranged by the BCCI.

But the story of the Rajkot Test was two pointers- One of how India managed to pen down their biggest victory of the format (in terms of runs) by 434 runs, after being 33/3 at the first hour of the game, and Jaiswal crawled England all around the park, to make them petrified.

India's bowling gets fired up
©- Cricbuzz/ Twitter
The canny charm, and sheer joy in the batting of Jaiswal and Sarfaraz

In the third evening, Jaiswal left the field with back spasm, after carrying him to an unbeaten knock of 104 runs. England had no answer to how he bashed on their bowlers, and never looked to be under pressure against any of their plans.

By the time, a refreshed Jaiswal walked in the middle, India was under full control of the game, having being close to a lead of 400 runs. The only disappointment for the hosts, since the end of the second day, was watching Shubman Gill, ending on the country code (91) for the second time in his short career, sorry to a miscommunication between him and the nightwatchman, Kuldeep Yadav, who frustrated England for the most times in the morning.

Jaiswal walked in middle and looked in great touch from the start. He drilled a few boundaries, but the ease he displayed in getting those singles was making one feel the foolish statement, that batting is the easiest job. With the wicket of Kuldeep Yadav, Sarfaraz, who still would have been sad for missing a golden debut century in the first innings, walked in. In a blink of an eye, the lead went past 450, as Jaiswal celebrated his 150, all the times he has scored a century in his Test career, Jaiswal has made it to 150 or over.

With England starting to spread out the field, the thought process was to plug the runs and make the runs dried up. But the rain came, in mid-February, in the runs of Jaiswal. He picked up a small eye-to-eye conversation with Jimmy Anderson in Vizag, today in Rajkot, Jaiswal added more petrol in the burning fire.

Anderson and England came with a 7-2 field set up after lunch, but Jaiswal, and most of these Indian players who are well rich with T20 abilities, was up for the challenge. He went for Anderson; first scooping over fine leg for a boundary. Anderson’s low full toss was swept like a spinner for a six, before Jaiswal swatted him straight down the ground for three consecutive sixes. One was nearly getting to 23, other being 42ish.

Jaiswal and Sarfaraz bat together
©- Johns./ Twitter

Sarfaraz didn’t hold him back for too long, after watching his Mumbai partner going bonkers. He used his feet to slog the spinners for torturing boundaries. Both treated England like they used to treat the opposition in their school game at Azad Maidan.

With a single, Jaiswal marked his second 200 of the series, this time, he looked at the heavens with a close eye, without any fashionable Warnersque jump in the air. Sarfaraz celebrated the moment with Jaiswal, before sharing his own moment of the half century a few overs later.

India was surprised as was the whole world before England’s batting

It felt like the whole world has used that ‘Time Machine’ to go back in the pre covid era, when England used to play Test cricket like England. It was one of those heavy names who write about England’s overseas defeats that, “If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly,’

The constant part was falling down, but in a zombie manner. The run out of Ben Duckett, who perhaps imagined to follow the first innings heroics again, was the prime example of how pressure made one doing funny things. They closed their early shots, and once they smelt half of a run, they hurried to get the full taste. Duckett didn’t even try to come back on the first move.

Zak Crawley, with a fear of giving a few bucks of his match fee for throwing a few words to Umpire Kumar Dharmasena, left the ground with a unsatisfactory ‘umpire’s call’ decision. There was so much burden on Joe Root, especially on him after such an ugly shot in the first innings. He went to his shell, and looked to eat up balls.

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The pressure was mounting, and just when Jadeja put a ball under his eyeline, Root just played the sweep, even after knowing he was late on the shot and got the treatment. England seemed to go down quite quickly. Johnny Bairstow, very lucky to get away from a pair thanks to a misfield boundary, too had no clue, as was Stokes. Ben Foakes stayed a little but too was fishing on the dry surface.

The only one to follow the Bazball trend was Wood, as England fell further down. The 434-run defeat is now their second heaviest loss by runs after 562 to Australia, almost 90 years ago.

Bazball and England- Two metals hitting each other

This was just the only instance of Stokes losing two consecutive Tests, after he lost Edgbaston and Lord’s last year. But still, with those defeats, there were so many positives England could squeeze up and look for developments going deep into the Ashes.

But this Rajkot Test could list England a number of negatives to talk about, and that’s never going to be alright around the group, specially when you are travelling overseas and mostly in India. They would look back at their Rohit Sharma drop in the first hour, and many more game swinging plannings.

England falls down in their batting
©- Wriddhiman Saha/ Twitter

But as the talking point has been in the last few days, it’s all about Root and that one reverse sweep reversing England’s pendulum. The only think Root should think is whether that was the right moment for that shot, with India their most veteran spinner down, and Jasprit Bumrah was nearing towards the end of his opening spell in the morning. He could have played like he plays, and changed the gear from the second session. The issue with this England side is going with a same gear, and not changing with the ebbs and flow of the game.

With just four days before Ranchi Test, England needs to find a way of changing themselves, unless they do that, it would be 4-1 before taking the flight back home. India haven’t even played their best side, consisting of KL Rahul and Virat Kohli or Mohammad Shami, and with two debutants and an inexperienced side, the way the hosts came back with back-to-back wins, it’s time England thinks a bit smartly against quality side.

This England team has done fabulously, with 14 wins in the last 21 Tests, but their main challenge was always going to be the away India tour and an away Ashes. The medicine has been given. It’s time England plays Bazball, but with little more common sense.

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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