India defeated England by nine wickets in the first Test match to take a 1-0 lead in the four math Test series. Everyone expected India to do well as their home record is phenomenal but it will only be fair to say that the Indian team was stretched and it looks like the coming three Test matches will be more close than this one.
England team through a brave comeback showed that they are not going to be pushovers and the Indian team will have to be at their best to do what England did to the Indians last year.
The Test match witnessed some strong performances and some pretty weak ones, let’s have a look at some of the hits and flops from both sides.
Cheteshwar Pujara: He played very well in the last Test series against New Zealand and looked in good form in the practice match prior to the England Test. Pujara in this match batted exceptionally well and never looked like getting out. In the first innings he came into bat after a solid opening partnership and straight away found his rhythm. He looked good against both pace and spin and played a marathon innings of 206, he remained unbeaten in the second innings as well scoring 41 of the 77 runs required by India. He was awarded the man of the match award for his brilliant batting.
Virender Sehwag: There were a lot of questions asked about Virender Sehwag before the Test match started. He was not in the best of form and his ways of getting out made people question his place in the team. But Sehwag started brilliantly in this match and looked focused. He looked settled and avoided playing any rash strokes. He made a fine run-a-ball 117 in the first innings.
Pragyan Ojha: The focus was on R Ashwin before the Test match, but it was Ojha who stole the show as far as Indian bowling was concerned. He flighted the ball beautifully in the first innings and took five wickets. In the second innings when the pitch slowed up and England had a major partnership, it was Ojha who came to rescue team India. He got both Prior and Cook and ended with nine wickets in the match.
Yuvraj Singh: His has been a remarkable journey. He was good for India in T20s after his return but it has always been Test matches that Yuvraj has most struggled in. He came in to bat when India lost two quick wickets of Kohli and Tendulkar and played a sensible innings. He took his time and attacked the bowlers at the right time. He scored 74 runs in the first innings.
Sachin Tendulkar: Sachin needs to score big in this series but he missed the opportunity in this match. He came in to bat when India were in a strong situation, the top three batsmen got runs and it was a perfect opportunity for a big one from the master. But Sachin messed up the opportunity trying to slog Swann over the long-on boundary. He scored only 13 runs in the match.
Alastair Cook: His innings was one of the best played by a foreign batsman on Indian soil. England were in with a chance till the time he was on the crease. He played a fabulous knock of 176 runs of 374 balls in the second innings. Cook hardly played a bad shot in the innings and showed that one can score runs on Indian pitches if the player is ready to grind it out in the middle. His entire team can take a lot of pride in the innings he played.
Matt Prior: Prior is undoubtedly one the best wicket-keeper batsmen in the world when it comes to Test cricket and he showed why. In the first innings he batted well with the tail and scored 48 runs. In the second he played a monumental innings. He made 91 runs and brought England back in the match along with his skipper Cook. He truly deserved a century and will be a threat to the Indians for the rest of the series.
Kevin Pietersen: There was a lot of hype around Pietersen as he was making a comeback into the England squad after his controversial exit, but he emerged as the biggest disappointment from the England team. Pietersen is adamant about the fact that he has no problem against the left-arm bowlers and was once outsmarted by a left armer in both the innings. He looked in hurry in both the innings and played a truly horrible shot to get out in the second innings. He scored 19 runs from in innings.
Tim Bresnan: It is true that Indian pitches are not conducive for fast bowlers and all the pacers struggled on the pitch, but the way Bresnan went about his business was truly disappointing. He cut down his pace and was in the low 120s most of the time. He looked like a part time bowler and missed the zip that one associates with him. He might find it difficult to keep his place intact for the Mumbai Test.
By Indian Sports News Network