The first Test between India and England ended in a draw at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot, a venue which hosted its first-ever Test match, with England walking away as the happier of the two teams.
Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain, lost his first-ever toss in a home Test match and the last time India, in general, lost a toss at home was way back in 2013. Alastair Cook happily decided to bat first on a pitch that had a tremendous level of grass covering on it. For an Indian pitch to have so much grass was extremely eccentric!
Having won the toss and gained a significant advantage, England didn’t squander the opportunity and piled on 537 runs in their first innings, with Joe Root (124), Moeen Ali (117) and Ben Stokes (128)—who were and are going to be crucial players for the visitors in this ongoing five-Test series—scoring centuries and really nullifying the five-man Indian bowling attack.
India responded well, though, to England’s 537, putting up 488 and more importantly, occupying the crease for 162 overs and keeping the Englishmen on the field for 731 minutes. Murali Vijay (126) and Cheteshwar Pujara (124) were the centurions for India, who also had Ravichandran Ashwin playing a crucial knock of 70 at No. 7 in the first innings of the first Test against England. The visitors, in their second innings, batted with the intention of putting India under pressure on day five in Rajkot.
And, by declaring just after an hour into the post-lunch session on day five and with a 309-run lead, the Poms would have wanted to play on the psyche of the Indian batsmen, especially considering that India, historically, have struggled to draw Test matches when asked to bat a portion or the entirety of day five.
The Sydney Test in 2008, known for the “monkey gate” incident, the Bangalore Test against Pakistan in 2005, the Adelaide Test in 2014 and, most recently, the Galle Test in 2015 being prime examples of how India’s batting has tended to implode in the final innings and on the final day of a Test match, even during the days of “Fab Four”.
In Rajkot, India stood their ground, although they had lost more than half the side (172/6) at stumps on day five of the first Test against England.
In the video below, Cricfooty’s author has taken a look at the major talking points from the Rajkot Test.
Listen and enjoy!