4 reasons why Ravi Ashwin-Ravindra Jadeja should open for India in at least one Test
The Indian Test team, after putting up a fight, fell short by 60 runs in the fourth Test of the ongoing five-match series against England. They started the Test on the front-foot, having England down at 86-6 on the first day of the Test. Things, however, started to spiral down from then on as Sum Curran and Moeen Ali put up 81 runs for the seventh wicket.
Though the spin-allrounder failed to keep up, Curran kept going and was the last wicket to fall after having scored 78 runs and taken England to a respectable first innings total of 246 runs.
Now, the Indian openers' job was to provide a platform good enough for the middle order to capitalise on. And they did seem to be on the right track until Stuart Broad's incoming delivery caught KL Rahul (17) stuck in front of the stumps with India at 37. Shikhar Dhawan (23) soon followed and a total of 40 runs was what both the openers could manage in the first innings. Cheteshwar Pujara's century somehow saw India post a first innings lead of 27 runs.
In the second innings, Jos Buttler's half-century and Curran's 46-run knock took England to 271, leaving India with 245 runs to chase down. Again, it was up to the openers to make early inroads before the trio of Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane could take it upon them to chase down the score.
Rahul-Dhawan duo, however, failed yet again and managed only 4 runs for the first wicket before the Karnataka batsman fell to Broad yet again. This match further highlighted how poor India's opening has been in the Test series.
Three batsmen, Murali Vijay, Rahul and Dhawan have taken up the top two places for India so far in the series and not one of them scored even a half-century. Vijay managed to score 26 runs in four innings, Rahul managed 113 runs in eight innings and Dhawan 158 runs in six innings.
All three of these batsmen have had a below par series and the Indian management would definitely want a change to the top of the order. Though they have Prithvi Shaw to take up the opening mantle, they can go in with a completely different and out-of-the-box pair, that of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
India, in the past, has had the likes of Sanjay Bangar, Irfan Pathan, Manoj Prabhakar and Ravi Shastri himself open the innings in Test matches. Though these experiments have not always worked, here are four reasons why Ashwin-Jaddu can be tried for at least a game.
Team India have missed an attacking opener in overseas conditions ever since Virender Sehwag decided to hang his boots. The focus has been on saving the wickets and allowing the middle order to do the bulk of the scoring. This ploy, however, has backfired and it's common knowledge that if one of the opening batsmen had scored a quickfire half-century, it would have been easier for the likes of Pujara, Rahane and Kohli to take the team across the line.
Ravindra Jadeja is one such player who can play that role to perfection and on the other hand, Ravichandran Ashwin can play as the perfect foil for him. This pair will have a surprise element associated with them as well and the opposition, surely, wouldn't have planned for the duo as opening batsmen.