So here we have it, the first Test between England and India has completed. It was a fantastic 3 and a bit days of grueling Test match Cricket and in the end, the right team won.
England played the better cricket throughout and whilst India were in it till the last day, they really only have themselves to blame.
The whole world knew that India’s chances were in the hands of one man, Virat Kohli. It was a tall order but he had Dinesh Karthik with him, who batted so well the previous evening. Sadly for India, Karthik was dismissed in the first over of the day. England sensed a window and they were giddy with excitement.
Hardik Pandya was the next man in, and together with Kohli, they put on 29 runs. Kohli brought up his 17th Test half century as India’s deficit was slowly but surely whittling down, they had the deficit down to 53 runs, could they do it?
Ben Stokes was brought into the attack and it took him only three deliveries before he had the key to India’s chase trapped plumb in front. Kohli reviewed, he had to, but the dreaded 3 lines from Hawkeye meant Kohli had to go for a wonderful 51.
Kohli had been absolutely brilliant throughout this Test, he showed the fight and class that was needed from the top order, he was left alone to save India, and then get them to the win, which was evident by the fact he scored 200 runs in the match. He can be proud of the way he played, but he will be disappointed with his team.
India lost their last three wickets for 21 runs and Stokes finished with 4-40 . India were bowled out for 162 and England won by 31 runs and lead the five match series, 1-0.
In the post match interview, Kohli said:
“Lot to learn from the lower order – Ishant and Umesh getting stuck in there. Those sort of things make you look in the mirror as a top order batsman.”
This has been a problem for India, their top order has been miserable and it’s always left to Kohli to battle it out. As I type this, I realise you may think I am typing about the Proteas, as this is a problem they also have been dealing with. But it’s something India have to fix, it cannot be left to Kohli all the time. The rest of the batsmen have to do their jobs too.
Kohli, for all his faults as a player is gracious in defeat and gave credit to England:
“First of all I think it was a great game. Glad to be part of such an exciting Test. Lot of times we came back, showed character there. But England were relentless. They made us work hard for the runs”
England’s Sam Curran was the Man of the Match, and boy, didn’t he deserve it? His 4 wickets in the first innings, and his match winning 63 runs in the second were a major factor to England’s victory.
At the post match interview, Curran said:
“I can’t take it all at the moment. It feels like I’m dreaming. I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight coz I didn’t get any last night”
You can’t help but just love this guy, so young and so passionate about this game. He showed so much character that a lot of senior guys playing today could learn from.
This was an extraordinary Test match, yes it finished early, but it ebbed and flowed so much, it was exciting, enthralling and engaging. England were deserved winners, they played the better cricket and it’s up to India to come back strong in the second Test.
I am almost sad that this Test is over, it was a great game. But we don’t have to wait too long for the next chapter. The next Test begins on Thursday 9th August, at the iconic Home of Cricket, Lord’s at 11am local time.