'Tourist-unfriendly' India dim England's 'Bazball' aura

February 27, 2024 5:15 am

[Source: Reuters]

India have remained test cricket’s most tourist-unfriendly destination for over a decade and even England’s gung-ho ‘Bazball’ approach could not change that reality on Monday.

India’s five-wicket victory on a spiteful track in Ranchi was not really a cakewalk, thanks to England’s never-say-die spin attack.

But it fetched Rohit Sharma’s team an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, and consolidated their second place, behind New Zealand, in the World Test Championship standings.

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This was India’s 17th consecutive test series win at home, where they have not lost a test series since an Alastair Cook-led England bested them in 2012.

For England, who won the opening test in Hyderabad and have been competitive as well as entertaining in Visakhapatnam and Ranchi — it was their first series defeat under captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum.

India will be particularly happy they clinched the series despite the absence of batting mainstay Virat Kohli (personal reason) and frontline seamer Mohammed Shami (injury).

Middle order batter KL Rahul missed tests after hurting himself in the Hyderabad opener, while they rested pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah for the match in Ranchi to manage his workload.

It forced India to field four debutants in the first four matches and three of them — wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel, batter Sarfaraz Khan, and seamer Akash Deep — impressed immediately.

Player-of-the-match Jurel struck 90 in the first innings to kept India alive in the contest and his unbroken 72-run stand with Shubman Gill on Monday helped India pull off a nervy chase.

“Obviously it’s a big challenge to play test cricket. We all know that,” Rohit said.

“Dhruv Jurel, playing his second game, showed solid composure and calmness.

He has got the shots as well and played all round the wicket.”