England Whitewashed Across Formats…
Valour, Valiance and Vengeance-few things that aptly sum up the long and gruelling tour. Though the latter is a strong word to be used in the cricketing context but the Indian team have now settled the score with their English counterparts. India won the series across all formats and Kohli managed to get away with his invincible record as the Captain of the side. The extensive quality cricket played over this period of more than two months was an unconventional amalgamation of retro and contemporary genres of the game which is a bit of a rarity nowadays.
India started off with a draw at Rajkot after some resistance from the English side but never looked back from there on. India seemed ruthless and went hard against the opposition. England also just gave in after a couple of Test matches and never looked formidable in whites, the winning margin just getting bigger with every game. With Pujara getting among the runs, the dry patch at the top just became a thing of the past. However, the high points for the Indian team were Jayant Yadav and Karun Nair. While Nair took only 3 innings to etch his name in the elite club, Yadav impressed one and all with his all-round skills and placid disposition.
Then came the limited overs format where England envisaged change in fortunes with plenty of crucial changes in the side. It was a remarkable series with more than 300 runs being scored in all the six innings and over 350 on four occasions. England came back very strongly under Eoin Morgan but struggled to contain the Indian team at defining moments and that costed them the series. They managed to get the better of the hosts in the last game after some splendid overall performance. Though Yuvraj and Dhoni showed the ‘Vintage’ style in the 2nd ODI at Cuttack, something that the fans were highly expectant of but the talking point had to be Kedar Jadhav who had incredible dexterity and composure on offer every time he came out to bat.
India beat the visitors even in the shortest format of the game but the drama was there to be seen. Indian batsmen suddenly looked out of touch on green Kanpur wicket and managed a meager score which England chased without any hiccups. It was a do-or-die at Nagpur where the bowlers saved the day after yet another dismal show from the batsmen. Bumrah and Nehra were astounding with the ball especially in the death overs. Finally it was the surface of M. Chinnaswamy where the batting unit showed tremendous firepower with Raina, Dhoni and Yuvraj giving a glimpse of good old days and it turned out to be a turkey shoot in the end with England losing last 8 wickets for mere 8 runs. Yuzvendra Chahal stole the limelight in the decider for his well deserved 6-fer.
In all, it was a striking display of grit and nerve from both the sides and the fans couldn’t have asked for more. With Dhoni finishing as the leading run scorer for India in ODIs and T20s combined followed by Yuvraj, Indian batting unit looks quite formidable with a perfect blend of age and energy going into the Champions Trophy starting in June. Bowling unit has also proffered lots of options and interesting combinations for the Captain to choose from and this is something that makes India one of the distinct favourites for the big Tournament. Cheers!