England 2014 to England 2018: India make big strides in Test cricket

first_imgIndia have established themselves as a team to beat with their ruthless performance in the last four years since their disastrous tour of England. Back in 2014, the likes of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were all at sea as India lost the five-Test series 1-3.However, things changed after that tour. India travelled to Australia and still lost but there were signs of improvement.The top-order has made runs and the Indian middle-order (provided they can avoid excessive changes and chopping) has looked firm. The lower-middle order has also stepped up at times while the bowling unit is fantastic.The pace arsenal has the right firepower and has adequate experience to come out trumps in pressure situations just like they did it in South Africa in January.India vs England: Will India’s top-order overcome old issues in Test series?The spinners are in top form and with the emergence of Kuldeep Yadav, the Indian team management has a pleasant headache of picking the right combination.In the past four years, India have worked hard to build a strong core group that can last for many years and become a world beater team. Be it Anil Kumble or Ravi Shastri the motive has been to keep the Indian cricket moving in the right direction non-stop.So far, so good.India suffered a 3-1 defeat the last time they toured England in 2014. Four years later they are in England again under a new captain and coach. In between these two tours, India lost only two Test series and won an unbelievable 10 of 13 series.advertisementFor Australia, Virat Kohli is similar to Steve Smith: Pat CumminsThe two defeats that were handed to India came in Australia (2-0) in 2014-15 and South Africa (2-1) in 2017-18 seasons.In 2014, India also toured Australia and there they lost 2-0 in the four-match series. However, India looked a different unit altogether. The competed well and showed the Australians that they will not give up easily.After the Australia tour, India payed a one-off Test in Bangladesh and it was draw.India then went to Sri Lanka and bounced back after losing the first Test to win the three-match series 2-1. It was a historic win for India as it came after 28 long years in the island nation.Virat Kohli since England Tests of 2014: 15 hundreds, 3699 runs in 37 TestsIt was just the beginning of good things to come India’s way.India then destroyed their oppositions and were beating sides for fun — South Africa (3-0), West Indies (2-0), New Zealand (2-0), England (4-0), Bangladesh (1-0), Australia (2-1), Sri Lanka (3-0), Sri Lanka (1-0) and Afghanistan (1-0).India’s victories came in familiar conditions as 7 of 10 wins were registered at home while two in Sri Lanka and one in West Indies.However, India’s real test came in South Africa earlier this year. Even though India lost the closely-fought series 2-1, but the Virat Kohli’s team showed that they have it in them to fight it out in the alien conditions as well.India’s top batsmen in the last four years have been Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane. Come August 1 India’s hopes will be pinned on these five men to fire and take the team out of trouble as and when required.Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha injuries raise several questionsIndia’s bowling unit, especially the pacers, did a wonderful job in South Africa and showed signs of how they would perform with the ball in England.India will be without the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar in at least first three Tests while Jasprit Bumrah will continue his recovery from a thumb injury by missing the first Test.The absence of both these pacemen may hurt India but they still have frontline fast bowlers who have it in them to change the course of the game in no time. Ishant Sharma will have to shoulder the responsibility with Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami giving the senior pro good support.Indian batsmen were in good touch in the one-off tour game against Essex with Kohli, Vijay, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya scoring fifties.These are good signs as India look to win their first Test series in England since 2007.After the first Test at Edgbaston, India and England will play Test matches at Lord’s (August 9 to August 13), Trent Bridge (August 18 to August 22), The Rose Bowl (August 30 to September 3) and Kennington Oval (September 7 to September 11).last_img

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