India vs England: Takeaways from an emphatic series win for Virat Kohli’s men

Takeaways from yet another home test series win for India as they completed a 3-1 victory on the third day of the fourth test in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

India clinched a spot in the World Test Championship final through a commanding win by an innings and 25 runs against England on the third day of the fourth test in Ahmedabad. The Indian team eventually clinched the 13th consecutive test series win at home since 2-1 defeat against England in 2012.

The test series started badly for Virat Kohli’s men as they suffered a big defeat in the first test. However, the Indian team as did in Australia responded strongly in the next three tests to outplay England in all departments. Before looking forward to the WTC final against New Zealand, let us look at the key takeaways for India from 3-1 win against England.

India’s outstanding depth in the spin bowling department

India came into the series without one of their leading bowlers in home conditions as Ravindra Jadeja missed out due to a thumb injury he suffered in Australia. His absence was severely felt in the first test as India struggled to contain runs and allowed England to post a big total in the first innings.

Jadeja’s direct replacement Axar Patel missed the first game in Chennai due to a niggle. In the next three matches, Patel showed exactly why he can be a big asset to this team while going ahead. The 27-year-old off-spinner managed to take four five-wicket hauls in six innings and ended the series with 27 wickets. He formed a mind-blowing partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin to create doubts in English batsmen’s minds in all three games.

Patel’s emergence gives India quality depth in the spin-bowling department. He can also contribute with the bat lower down the order as he did in the fourth test. The spin quartet of Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Washington Sundar gives India ample options in different conditions.

Rishabh Pant’s consistent improvement with gloves and bat

The hero from historic victory in Australia continued to enjoy an upward trajectory in his development during the series against England. Rishabh Pant continued to shut down criticism regarding his work behind the wicket by having near flawless four games against Joe Root’s men. On challenging pitches, Pant didn’t commit errors behind the wickets and pulled off some magnificent catches and stumpings.

In the batting department, Pant continues to provide the x-factor in the middle order. He managed to score 270 runs at an average of 54 runs with two half-centuries and a maiden test century in India. Most importantly, Pant scored runs at crucial junctures of games to change the complexion of the game. His century in the fourth test helped India to bat England out of the game. Pant’s consistent improvement bodes well for India ahead of challenging away tour of England later this year and the WTC final against New Zealand at Lords.

Rohit Sharma’s strong form in red-ball cricket

After a terrific home series against South Africa in 2019, Rohit Sharma had become the first choice opening batsman for India. He was unfortunate to test himself in New Zealand due to injury, while the tour of Australia was frustrating as he looked well set for big scores, but poor shot selection led to his downfall.

In the series against England, Sharma delivered the goods and cemented his place in the team. He was India’s top scorer in the series with 345 runs at a healthy average of 57.50. The Indian opener’s 161 runs on the first day of the second test in Chennai changed the course of the game and series. Sharma looked the most comfortable player on all challenging surfaces, which bodes well for India going into a couple of tough overseas assignments.

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