Dec 15, 2016
By MI Media
Before the commencement of the Test series between India and England, India were firm favourites due to the fact that their spinners were far superior to that of the opposition. Also, their batsmen were much better players of spin than their English counterparts. Moreover, the ineptitude of the English batsmen in playing the Bangladeshi spinners in the previous tour raised fears that India's spinners would run riot.
However, England got off to a good start at Rajkot and that led the critics to believe that this could be a closely contested series. To be fair to England, they did get themselves into some promising positions but were unable to land the knockout punch and hence they find themselves on the receiving end of a 3-0 score line. The main area where India have outplayed England is the contributions of their lower order with the bat. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav have all scored at critical moments whereas England in spite of having a lot of all-rounders have been unable to stitch the runs together from their lower order.
As far as the spinners are concerned, Ashwin and Jadeja have not given the English batsmen a moment's respite and have been relentless in applying pressure, ably supported by Jayant Yadav. Whereas, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali could not sustain the pressure for long periods of time and have been delivering loose deliveries far too often. India have also got the balance of the squad right by playing 3 spinners and 2 pacers and following a horses for courses policy.
England need to be clear in their minds and get the balance of their playing XI right. They need to formulate a plan and be clear as to whether they will play the additional spinner or go in with an extra batsman. For any team to get the better of India in Indian conditions, they need to get their combination right and eliminate errors.
The debutant, Keaton Jennings showed admirable maturity and along with Haseeb Hameed has been the find of the tour for England. England's cause has not been helped by the poor form of James Anderson. Stuart Broad was badly missed in Mumbai as he has the ability to bowl cutters and change his pace.
While spinners are expected to share the bulk of the workload in Indian conditions, they should not be over bowled and need to be given adequate rest. At the risk of stating the obvious, England needs to find a way of dismissing Kohli cheaply, which is easier said than done as he is in the form of his life. They also need to find a way to survive against the Indian spinners and rotate the strike.
Overall, India have played 31 Tests at Chennai and have won 13, lost 6, tied 1 and drawn 11. India has played England in 8 Tests at this venue and has won 4, lost 3 and drawn 1. India's 13 victories are the most they have achieved at any venue at home in Tests. In the last Test played between the 2 teams at Chennai, India won by 6 wickets thanks to a belligerent 83 off 68 balls by Virender Sehwag and an unbeaten 103 by Sachin Tendulkar. Here are some stats highlights of the 2 teams at Chennai in Tests.
Sunil Gavaskar has played the most Tests for India at Chennai with 12 matches to his name and has also scored the maximum number of aggregate runs with 1018. The highest individual score by an Indian is 319 by Sehwag against South Africa in March 2008.
Mike Gatting has played the most matches for England with 3 and has the maximum aggregate runs with 238. The highest individual score by an Englishman is also by Gatting when he scored 207 in January 1985.
Anil Kumble has taken the maximum aggregate wickets for India with 48. The best bowling figures for India are 8/55 by Vinoo Mankad against England in February 1952.
Neil Foster has taken the maximum aggregate wickets for England with 11, while the best figures are 7/49 by Hedley Verity in February 1934.
The highest individual score by India is 627 in March 2008 against South Africa while the highest by England is 652/7 declared against India in January 1985.
All spectators will be hoping that both teams can produce another cracker of a match at Chennai.