Can India make it 2-2 in Southampton?
After the thrashing India got in Lord's Test, there was a talk of a 5-0 whitewash by England. India won the third Test match which has ruled out the possibility of whitewash. Now the question is - can India make it 2-2 in Southampton? or third Test was an aberration.
Flak that Indian team received after the second Test loss was justified. It was the way they lost which hurt the fans, without showing any intent or spine to fight. It seems that criticism made them go back to drawing board and think about their game, which augurs well for the remainder of the series.
The way Indian batsmen applied themselves during the third Test match is really heartening to see. Barring, Virat Kohli nobody was looking confident earlier. Ajinkya Rahane played a sublime knock to string a match-defining partnership with the skipper. Rahane was looking assured about his feet moving and he was playing freely, so much so that he was outscoring Kohli. Indian openers were not looking sitting ducks this time around, in fact, they played attacking cricket during both the innings, without taking many risks.
Hardik Pandya looked good as the third seamer, his five-wicket haul will give him confidence for rest of the series. Also, he found the length to bowl on English wickets, which will make him grow as a bowler. Pant looked much more assured behind the wicket in comparison to Dinesh Karthik.
It was not the genius of one person which brought India back in the series. It was a team effort, which sets the template for rest of the series. Now, batsmen know what it takes to make runs in England and bowlers are aware which length to bowl to get wickets. Also, nothing can give you more self-belief than a win. If India keeps the foot on the pedal and does not relent, a 2-2 score is very much on the cards.