India v England Test Series 2016: Is Vizag the Beginning of the End for England?

After a brief interruption at Rajkot, normal service was resumed by India at Vizag. The second India v England test match ended with a resounding victory for India by 246 runs just after lunch on Day 5.

We pick five great performances from the Vizag Test and preview the third test at Mohali.

  1. Winning the toss: Kohli won the toss at Vizag and had no hesitation in batting first. India have still not lost or drawn a match after batting first at home under Kohli’s captaincy. Remember, India are yet to lose a test at home under Kohli.
  2. Kohli dominates with the bat: After winning the toss, Kohli compounded England’s misery by scoring a magnificent 167 in the first innings. Some would say his knock in the second innings was even better – he scored a classy 81 on a pitch that was deteriorating quickly to allow India to pile on the runs and put  pressure on England.
  3. The return of Rashwin: Ashwin roared back to form with the ball after a mediocre game at Rajkot taking 8 wickets at Vizag (including a five-for in the first innings). You could see that Rajkot had hurt him. At Vizag, his celebrations were intense and one was worried he might sprain his bowling shoulder while punching the air too hard. Boy, he looked up for the fight! Oh, and for those saying he is batting too high in the order, Ashwin scored a crucial 58 in the first innings.  Welcome back, Rashwin.
  4. Yadav: Jayant, not Umesh. Contributed with the bat (35 and 27*), ball (1-38 & 3-30) and in the field (run out Haseeb Hameed in the first innings). His delivery to dismiss Stokes in the second innings was a beauty. This guy is useful and is going to be around for a while.
  5. Catches win (some) matches: You just cannot keep Ben Stokes out of the game! His catch to dismiss Kohli in the second innings was one for the cameras (check out the background as well)!

Ben Stokes Kohli catch Vizag

The next test starts at Mohali on 26 November 2016. The big news for India is that Parthiv Patel has replaced Saha and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is also back in the scheme of things. Other than that, the Indian side once again looks settled.

England are not quite in disarray yet but will be forced to re-jig their line-up and bring in some fresh faces. Butler for Duckett (woefully out of form) and Woakes for Stuart Broad (injured) are the likely changes but with Ansari out of sorts as well, playing Gareth Batty will be an option. Depending on the pitch Mohali rolls out, Steven Finn may get a look in.

Will the Indian juggernaut roll on? Is this the beginning of the end for England? Or can England spring a surprise on what will almost certainly be one of the more friendly pitches for seam on this tour.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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India v England, Day 4 at Vizag: England Won’t Back Down

Here is our wrap-up of the fourth day of the India v England Vizag test.

A wicket-heavy morning

India started the morning at 98/3, with a lead of 298, and their star batsman Kohli at the crease on 56 off just 70 balls. A brilliant morning of bowling from Broad (4-33) and Rashid (4-82), combined with a catch for the highlight reel from Ben Stokes took India from 98/3 to a disappointing 162/9 at the stroke of lunch. England had the hosts reeling, and though a 362 is still a sizable lead, it could have been a lot worse.

Shami and Jayant stay steady

With 9 wickets gone, England had one foot back in the pavilion ready to attempt a record 4th innings chase in a day and a half; but Shami and Jayant had other plans. The pair hunkered down and added 42 runs in their 9.3 overs together, including 5 fours and a six. While not necessarily a significant number of runs, test cricket is often about momentum, and extending the morning session gave India some momentum back.

 

England’s openers don’t give up

The opening pair of Haseeb and Cook just refused to give up, putting together just 75 runs in 50 overs to give themselves a chance at a draw. While much is expected from Captain Cook, with 30 test centuries and over 10,000 test runs, his partner 19-year old Haseeb has truly impressed in his debut test series. Haseeb had amassed 25 off 144 deliveries before it took a stunning off-break from Ashwin to sneak under his bat and dismiss him LBW.

The pendulum swings back

The Cook-Haseeb partnership had worn down the Indian bowlers, giving England back some momentum after we’d said it would need a miracle at the end of Day 3. After Ashwin picked up the wicket of Haseeb, Jadeja picked up the big wicket of Cook on the final delivery of the day. Though Cook did review, it was clearly a hail mary, with the ball hitting him plumb on the pad. For the second time in one day, India had gotten back momentum at the end of a session.

An unsuccessful day for DRS

Every day this test, DRS has played a part, and we believe it will continue to do so for the remainder of this series. Day 4 saw the highest number of reviews, 6 in one day, but 5 of those were struck down with only Ashwin using the review successfully while he was batting against Broad. Of the 17 reviews so far this test, only 4 (23.5%) have been upheld.

Verdict

Day 4 clearly belonged to England, from quick wickets to an outstanding opening partnership; however, needing another 318 on Day 5 with your openers back in the pavilion, continues to be a tough ask. The match still heavily leans in India’s favour, but England will have faith in Root, Ali, Stokes and Bairstow to take them to at least a draw.

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India v England, Day 3 at Vizag: Ashwin and Kohli Power Forward

Here is our wrap-up of the third day of the India v England Vizag test.

A successful English morning with the bat

England’s lower order batsmen have had an outstanding year; Bairstow & Stokes currently have the most runs by a test pair in 2016, with 772 together in just 7 innings at an average of over 110. The Indian bowlers’ hope was to wrap up the tail quickly after getting England to 103/5 at Stumps on Day 2, but the lunch session piled on 88 English runs for just 1 wicket.

The Ashwin Factor .. Continued

Right after lunch, Ashwin decided to come to the party, picking up Stokes with a perfect leg-before, Broad and Anderson perished in quick succession. In the process Ashwin racked up his 22nd five-wicket haul, his first against England. We at 1Tip1Hand have covered Ashwin’s stats in depth before, but he just continues to have a sublime understanding of his opponent and control over his variations with the ball. He will return in the 2nd innings on a hat-trick.

India’s Opening Woes Remain

Kohli had exactly enough runs on the board (200) to enforce a follow-on, but chose not to, presumably to apply a day of pressure with the bat and give his bowlers a break. However, another test innings, another opening partnership failure; Rahul scored a cumulative 10 in this test, and Vijay has struggled since his century in the first innings at Rajkot. From ’04 to ’12, Sehwag and Gambhir together racked up 4,412 runs for the first wicket, and Kumble will be hoping he can find the next quality opening pair fast.

Does Kohli bat on a different pitch?

India’s Captain supreme, Kohli averaged over 50 in the New Zealand series, and has scores of 40, 49*, 167 and 56* so far this series. 44 more runs on the morning of Day 4, and Kohli will pick up his 15th century in 50 tests, an astonishing record by modern-day standards; only Steve Smith has done so faster in the last 50 years (and Smith’s ODI record is is not even close to Virat’s). Vijay, Rahul and Pujara all perished early, but Kohli pressed on to rack up 56 off just 70 balls, unfazed.

4 Reviews by England in 23 overs

From just before the Tea break to just after, England used 4 reviews in the span of just 23 overs; the first 2 by their batsmen were unsuccessful, but 2 reviews in just 5 balls bty
Over 90.4: Review by England (Batting), Batsman – BA Stokes (Struck down)
Over 95.1: Review by England (Batting), Batsman – ZS Ansari (Struck down)
Over 8.3: Review by England (Bowling), Batsman – M Vijay (Upheld)
Over 10.1: Review by England (Bowling), Batsman – KL Rahul (Upheld)

Verdict

At the end of the third day the India v England test at Vizag, India remains in the driver’s seat thanks to brilliance from both Ashwin and Kohli. Barring a miracle, India should take this game home early on Day 5.

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India v England, Day 2 at Vizag: India continue to capitalize

Here is our wrap-up of the second day of the India v England Vizag test.

Diverting from Rajkot

After Day 1, the match was set up in a nearly identical fashion to the 1st Test at Rajkot. A mere 24-hours later, things are wildly different; the side batting first was dismissed for 82 fewer runs, and the side batting second lost 5 more wickets. The Vizag pitch, as expected, is getting tougher to bat on, unlike Rajkot which remained flat.

The Ashwin Factor

Ashwin picked up his second 50 of the series, quieting some naysayers who felt he didn’t belong at #6, and more importantly picked up 2-20 in his 13 overs. Success for Moeen and Rashid around lunch, and Ashwin after tea, means there will be more for the spinners in days 3, 4 and 5.

A 3rd Spinner who can bat?

India’s 2 lead spinners in tests for a few years now have been Ashwin, who bats at 6 and has 4 test centuries, and Jadeja, who bats at 8 and has a first class average over 43 including 3 first class triple centuries. In giving Jayant Yadav his test cap, India might have just found a 3rd spinner who can bat too, he came in at #9 and added a useful 35 before perishing on a crumbling track.

Ben Duckett

In our match preview, we mentioned that Duckett needed to pull his weight in this test. England’s #4 has managed scores of 14, 15, 7, 56, 13 and 5 in his last 6 test innings, all in the sub-continent, which is just not good enough. By contrast, India’s #4 (Kohli) has a list of last 6 test scores that reads 45, 211, 17, 40, 49*, 167. Unless something spectacular happens in the 2nd innings, expect Duckett to make way for Buttler or maybe even Ballance for the 3rd test.

DRS, DRS, DRS

The biggest talking point ahead of this series was India’s first real test with DRS; thus far it has certainly been an active participant, but we’re hard pressed to say whether overall it has helped or hurt India. Saha reviewed his LBW call incorrectly, Jadeja failed to review his dismissal – and replays showed he would have gotten a reprieve. However, the debutant Jayant Yadav used the system to perfection, reviewing Dharmasena’s not out decision of Moeen, which DRS quickly overturned, sending one of Rajkot’s centurions back to the pavilion.

Verdict

At the end of the second day the India v England test at Vizag, India will be the much happier side. The pitch has already begun to show signs of breaking up, and as Pujara mentioned, India’s goal will be to not bat again.

They picked up the first 5 wickets for 80, they need the next 5 for less than 152 on Day 3 to enable a follow-on. Bairstow and Stokes will need to build a magical partnership.

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India v England, Day 1 at Vizag: India sitting pretty

Here is our wrap-up of the first day of the India v England Vizag test.

Similarities to the first test at Rajkot

India ended at a healthy 317/4, including centuries from Pujara and Kohli. After the first day of the Rajkot test, England were quite content with 311/4, including one centurion (Root) and one batsman not out on 99 (Moeen). In both cases, the captain who won the toss chose to bat first.

Pujara picks up the pace

After much criticism of his career strike rate (48.85) and showing lack of intent, Pujara has scored 2 centuries in the first 3 innings of this series, at strike rates of 60.19 and 58.33, noticeably quicker than history would suggest. He has been using his feet beautifully against the spinners. It is worth noting that he was also India’s highest scorer in the series against the Kiwis, though headlines were dominated by the bowlers.

Kohli makes it count

Virat raced to his 14th Test Century alongside Pujara, ending the day on 151*. His first 7 centuries were small in comparison, with his average 100+ score being 109 and the next 6 have averaged 162. His last two 100+ scores have both been double centuries.

India’s opening dilemma continues

Although Rahul came off a stellar patch in domestic cricket, it was yet another failure for the opening partnership. Between Dhawan, Rahul, Gambhir and Vijay, no one pair has really clicked at the top in recent test matches. Kohli and Pujara came together with the score at 22/2 with both openers back in the hut.

Jimmy Anderson returns

Expectations were low given Anderson’s absence with a fractured shoulder since August. Then again, can you ever really write off a fast bowler with nearly 500 test wickets? Replacing Woakes in the side, Anderson led from the front, picking up 3-44 in his 16 overs. Jimmy’s  dismissal of Rahane in the penultimate over the of the day with the new ball was a lesson in swing bowling. With Broad not quite 100%, Anderson will key for England on day 2.

Verdict

At the end of the first day the India v England test at Vizag, India will be much happier than they were after the first day of the first test at Rajkot. The pitch has already begun to show signs of breaking up so India will only want to bat once, and bat big.

Day 1 of the Vizag test belonged to India but there is still work to be done.

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