Will India make a comeback in the series?
The series has been well set up with India's win over the English in a dominant way, as the fans, the captain and the coach couldn’t have asked for more, especially after the debacle at Lord's. The scoreline now reads 2-1 in favor of the Three Lions, even as India look to press on the momentum they have obtained with this morale-boosting win over Joe Root's side.
It was a controversy-free game at Trent Bridge unlike the ones in the past. In 2007, it was Jelly beans incident which marred the joy of victory or the Jadeja-Anderson fight in 2014, the Indian team was in the news for the wrong reasons when it came to Nottingham.
This time though it was different. Defying all odds, the team defeated England in astounding fashion after a strong display in all three departments of the game. The much talked about team selection was again in the news, as the two changes had a positive impact on the result, with Dhawan getting back into the team in place of Vijay and Jasprit Bumrah instead of Kuldeep.
Comparing the two teams, it’s pretty clear that England has more problems than India. Even though looking at the larger picture, the former is leading the series which gives them a psychological advantage over the visitors. This was the game where all the Indian problems reduced and the issues in the English camp started to emerge.
The opening slot is where England is having a lot to worry about. England’s leading run-getter in Test cricket Alistair Cook is struggling to be amongst the runs while Keaton Jennings is almost certain to be dropped for the Southampton Test.
The former though, has been under tremendous pressure as he has failed to score runs ever since his 244 in the Boxing Day Test in the Ashes. On the other hand, India looks to have finally found the right combination with KL Rahul and Dhawan notching 50 plus stands in both the innings of the Trent Bridge test.
The middle order of both the sides has lacked consistency. India would be happy for time being as Pujara and Rahane were back amongst the runs. From England's point of view, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were the only bright spots in the middle order as the duo put up a 169 run stand in the 2nd innings lasting over 57 overs.
The bowling department is where India won the game. As Indian batsmen applied themselves better, Anderson and Broad had to work hard to get the wickets. Rashid was not effective as England made a mistake by benching Sam Curran. The Indian fast bowlers have been clinical this series.
Like the series, the battle between Hardik Pandya and Ben Stokes has come alive. After an impressive display by Stokes in the 1st test, Pandya was at the receiving end of the criticism. But come England’s 1st innings, Pandya hit the peak.
Within five overs, he completed his five wicket haul as England were bowled out for 161. He also scored a fifty while batting in the 2nd innings as he completed an all-round display on the field.
One of the most important reasons for India’s win was the fielding especially the outstanding display in the slip cordon. Both Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul were perfect in their catching while Virat Kohli too pulled off some blinders. England were sloppy as they dropped the Indian captain four times over the innings, as he went on to pile 200 runs in the match.
Personally, I think it's Kohli outperforming Joe Root as a batsman where India has had a slight advantage over the hosts. Kohli has scored 440 runs so far including two hundreds and a 97 while Root has been out of form with only 142 runs next to his name. If the form is anything to go by, India can brighten their chances of equalising in the 4th test if Root fails to return to form.
It was termed as a nearly impossible task for India to come back in the series after the humiliating loss at Lord’s, but after the win last week at Nottingham no one can write off Virat Kohli and his men from coming back in this series, as the issues look to mount on the Three Lions.
Don Bradman's Aussies are the only team till date to come back from 2-0 down in a five match series. If India continues to perform well in all three departments, and with a leader like Virat who refuses to give up, India has a strong chance to emulate the Australian team of 1936-37.