As India and England set themselves up for an enthralling fourth Test of the Anthony De Mello Trophy at the Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad, it seems like normal services have resumed.
After a shocker in the first Test at Chepauk Stadium in Chennai, the Indian cricket team has bounced back strongly to secure two comfortable wins against the English team. The Indian cricket team stars have been able to use the home conditions to the best of their advantage and the series now sits at 2-1, with a draw or win enough to ensure a place for the Virat Kohli-led side in the World Test Championship Finals.
India seem to have found their best possible combination for the conditions with Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin being the primary weapons in Kohli's armoury. Rohit Sharma too has excelled in tough conditions to give India some solid starts in these games. His 278 runs over the last two Tests have come on wickets where other batsmen have failed to get good scores.
England, on the other hand, have found the going tough in India. Other than the rotation policy which has increasingly come under the scanner, form of some of their key players has been a cause of concern. The runs seem to have stopped coming after the first test, even for the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes. This leaves a lot of questions for England to deal with on this India tour.
However, India would count out England at their own peril. As they have shown on previous tours, the visitors have the capability to make impressive fightbacks in these conditions. And no other place than Ahmedabad has been a witness to some interesting games between India and England.
Previous encounters between India and England at Ahmedabad
1. India v England in 2001
This game was the second match in a series where England acquitted themselves well. India emerged from the shadows of a controversial South Africa tour, where a number of their players had been banned on various charges ranging from excessive appealing to ball-tampering. While most of these were overturned, the Indian cricket team were without the services of Virender Sehwag in the first Test. However, this didn’t stop them from picking up a crushing win in the first Test at Mohali.
England, on the other hand, were missing a number of crucial players on the tour such as Alec Stewart, Andy Caddick, Robert Croft and Darren Gough (he returned for the ODIs). After the Mohali Test, it might have seemed that India would steamroll England, but Nasser Hussain's men showed great fighting spirit.
At the second test in Ahmedabad, Marcus Trescothick and Craig White ensured a good first innings total after which India were skittled for 291 despite a splendid 103 by Sachin Tendulkar.
India were eventually set a tall target of 374, but were able to bat out 97 overs without much trouble. England were able to continue their good form in Bangalore where they gave a much better performance. However, they couldn’t stop India from winning the series. Regardless, this performance by England was another example of the side’s improved showing in subcontinental conditions under Nasser Hussain.
2. India v England 2012
The last red-ball Test between these two teams is also coincidentally the last Test match in Ahmedabad before the pink-ball Test last week. Cheteshwar Pujara slammed a splendid double as India posted an imposing first innings total. England weren’t up to the task in the first innings and fell to some magical bowling from Pragyan Ojha.
A much better performance arrived in the next dig, as Sir Alastair Cook (176) and Matt Prior (91) ensured that England didn’t lose the game by an innings and India had to bat for a second innings. India managed to overhaul a target of 77 in merely 15.1 overs, with Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara taking the side over the line comfortably.
This victory gave India a 1-0 lead in the Anthony De Mello trophy. However, England fought back and handed the Indian cricket team their first series defeat at home in eight years.