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3 reasons why India won the 2nd Test against England

Indian captain Virat Kohli played a knock for the ages in the second innings
Indian captain Virat Kohli played a knock for the ages in the second innings
Sai Krishna
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 16 Feb 2021
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Virat Kohli's India put in an all-round performance in the 2nd Test against England to win by a whopping 317 runs and level the 4-match series 1-1.

Almost every player contributed to the victory, and Kohli and the team management will have selection dilemmas on their hands heading into the pink-ball Test at Ahmedabad.

Irrespective of who takes to the field at the newly built Motera Stadium, India will look to repeat the strategies they employed in the 2nd Test. The hosts had a clear plan against spin, and bowled to their fields consistently. Kohli himself was spot on with his bowling changes and field placements.

Here are 3 major reasons why India pulled off a convincing win in the 2nd Test against England.


#3 India's fielding (and keeping) was top-notch

Rishabh Pant was solid behind the stumps
Rishabh Pant was solid behind the stumps

It's no secret that catches wins matches, but the way India went about their business on the field in the 2nd Test was admirable.

Rishabh Pant, who has been criticised constantly for his sub-par keeping, showed marked improvements in his skills behind the stumps. He snaffled a couple of diving catches off the pacers, and although he made a couple of mistakes against the spinners, he was solid overall.

Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli were superb in the slips, while Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal were reliable close-in. Even Cheteshwar Pujara was found grinning from ear to ear after making a couple of sharp stops in the circle.

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The only inexcusable blip for India on the field came late in the closing stages of the game, when Mohammed Siraj shelled a straightforward chance off Joe Root's bat at backward point.


#2 India had clear plans with the ball

Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed almost every left-hander effortlessly
Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed almost every left-hander effortlessly

After struggling with two off-spinners in the 1st Test, India brought in Axar Patel, who had recovered from a niggle. The left-arm spinner was expectedly accurate, and hit the right areas consistently. He got rid of Joe Root in both innings, with the England skipper failing to deal with the extra bounce and pace on the sweep.

Axar proved to the perfect foil for Ashwin, who was the pick of the bowlers on his home ground. The Chennai man scalped 8 wickets, and tormented every left-hander in the England batting lineup.

The pacers did their job too, even though they weren't needed for most parts of the Test. Ishant Sharma got the ball to reverse whenever he was brought on, and he - along with Mohammed Siraj - constantly attacked the stumps.

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Even Kuldeep Yadav, who was a mere spectator for a long time, chipped in with a couple of wickets in the second England innings. It was an all-round bowling performance from India.


#1 India trusted their strengths with the bat

Rishabh Pant counterattacked to perfection in the first innings
Rishabh Pant counterattacked to perfection in the first innings

The most notable feature of India scoring around 600 runs in the Test was the contrasting approaches their batsmen took.

Rohit Sharma employed the sweep on the regular basis, and was one of the only Indian batsmen to resort to the shot. He was happy to get outside the line of the ball and even padde on occasions, greatly putting off Jack Leach and Moeen Ali.

Virat Kohli made some technical adjustments for the second innings, and put in a masterclass in the second innings. Decisive with his footwork and solid in defence, the Indian skipper notched up a fighting fifty that showed his class.

Ajinkya Rahane hasn't looked too convincing with his footwork against spin over the last few years, but used his feet well and got to the pitch of the ball frequently. Rishabh Pant was his counter-attacking self, and feasted on anything in his arc.

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Each batsman approached the game in different ways, and almost all of them were successful. In other words, the team management let their batters play their natural game, and this worked to perfection.

The same couldn't be said about England, though. Stokes was far too defensive, while Root didn't have an answer to Axar Patel after the sweep was taken out of the equation. The rest of the batting lineup didn't offer much resistance either, and most batsmen were dismissed while defending.


Published 16 Feb 2021, 16:48 IST
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