An enthralling encounter unfolded in Visakhapatnam as India beat England by 106 runs over four days to pull level in the five-match series. Two Tests into the rubber, both teams now have one win apiece.
It was far from a perfect game for the hosts, despite the result going in their favor. There were plenty of individual performances that left a lot to be desired, and India were off the mark from a tactical standpoint as well.
Rohit Sharma and company now have a long 10-day break before the third Test at Rajkot, meaning that they will have time to reflect on their display in the victory. They will know that they need to be on point with their planning, given England’s obvious spunk and ability.
Here are two mistakes and one masterstroke made by Team India in the second Test against England.
#3 Mistake – India were one batter short, and it could’ve cost them
After a disappointing batting display in Hyderabad that cost them the Test, India suffered a further blow as KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja were ruled out from taking to the field in Vizag.
However, instead of making up for the weakened middle order by beefing up the batting, the hosts decided to go in with a bowling-heavy side. Mukesh Kumar replaced Mohammed Siraj, while Kuldeep Yadav slotted in for Jadeja. Meanwhile, Rajat Patidar made his debut in place of Rahul.
The end result was a very weak batting order that underwhelmed in both innings. If not for world-class efforts from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill, India wouldn’t have been able to compete in the second Test.
Instead of fielding Mukesh Kumar, Rohit and the team management should’ve played either Sarfaraz Khan or Washington Sundar. They can’t make the same mistake in the remaining three Tests, as England will make them pay.
#2 Masterstroke – India showed James Anderson the respect he deserved
The timeless Jimmy Anderson was picked for the Vizag Test after missing out in Hyderabad, and he was at his miserly best. The veteran fast bowler picked up five wickets in the match, with economy rates under two and three respectively in the two innings.
India, on their part, did their best to limit Anderson’s efficacy. They knew that he was playing as the lone seamer and tried to block him out while attacking the spinners at the other end.
Jaiswal was the primary implementor of this strategy in the first innings, right up until his dismissal. And in the second essay, even though Anderson sent both the openers back to the hut, India did their best to not take any undue risks against him.
#1 Mistake – Rohit Sharma opened the bowling with Mukesh Kumar in the fourth innings
England needed 399 runs to win in the fourth innings. While that is normally an impossible task, this visiting side is different from all others that Test cricket has seen before.
Rohit made a massive blunder in the closing stages of Day 2 as he opened the bowling with Mukesh Kumar, with 14 overs left in the day’s play. The 30-year-old fast bowler leaked two boundaries in his very first over, but the Indian skipper persisted with him, and he conceded two more in his second.
Rohit really should’ve partnered Jasprit Bumrah with a spinner, preferably R Ashwin. The offie eventually came into the attack and prised out Ben Duckett, but it could’ve gone horribly wrong on another day.