England vs India 2018: Three players who repaid Kohli's faith
Ahead of the third test between England and India at Trent Bridge, we discussed three players who must not be dropped for the third test. Despite middling performances and indifferent form running up to the start of the test, we pointed out the reasons for them to be backed.
It turns out, the three players were indeed worth their weight in gold. Virat Kohli stuck to these crucial players and they delivered.
Let us review their performance in the third test. Also, we will have a brief look at what to expect from them going forward in the series.
#1 Lokesh Rahul
Finally, India had a 50-plus opening stand. That too, twice in the same Test. This is only the third time this has happened for India in a Test match in England.
While 59 runs in a Test match is not an extraordinary performance by any means, KL Rahul showed signs of getting back to form. Especially his approach in the second innings was heartening where he looked positive from the word go. His 36 from 33 balls set the tone for the entire innings.
As soon as the openers get runs, the entire complexion of the game looks different. The confident start was capitalised by the batsman that followed and India as a batting unit clicked for the first time in the series. A lot of credit has to go for the team management for sticking to Rahul.
Rahul's biggest contribution in the match was in the field. He took seven catches in the slips - A record for any Indian fielder in England. eclipsing Virender Sehwag's six catches at Headingley in 2002. Given India's poor slip catching overseas, KL Rahul's performance should come as a relief to the team.
But for all his capabilities, Rahul must not be scoring 30s. There still seems to be some issue around the off stump line. If he can overcome this and bat long, India would have finally found an ideal opener who can score runs and catch at slips as well.
With Murali Vijay being already dropped in favour of Prithvi Shaw, it is up to Rahul to cement his place in the Test side.