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Birmingham letdown: It may be part of a trend, much-vaunted Indian pace attack’s inability to strike in the fourth innings of an overseas Test

Head coach Rahul Dravid has pointed out that India have been unable to maintain their intensity and fitness levels over the five days of these three Test reversals.

Birmingham letdown, Birmingham, Brendon McCullum, Test cricket, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia, Indian express, Opinion, Editorial, Current AffairsIt is perhaps too early in Dravid’s tenure for harsh judgments, and India did go into the Edgbaston Test with a stand-in debutant captain in Jasprit Bumrah.

England’s newfound, free-flowing style of play, also called “Bazball” after coach Brendon McCullum’s nickname, is all the rage in Test cricket. It has now brought about an astonishing four consecutive successful chases, the least of which has been a substantial 277 against New Zealand at Lord’s. But their latest effort, in which they chased down 378 at Edgbaston on Tuesday, with unbeaten centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, has to also count as India’s missed opportunity. Even as England ran away with the game for a series-levelling victory on the final morning, it was India which had held the upper hand with a healthy first-innings lead.

The Birmingham letdown is the third in a worrying trend — the much-vaunted Indian pace attack’s inability to strike in the fourth innings of an overseas Test in the so-called ‘SENA’ (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries. In Johannesburg and Cape Town at the start of this year, India failed to defend targets of 240 and 212, as hosts South Africa won comfortably by seven wickets twice. Again, it was India that had taken the initial lead on that tour as well, with a win in Centurion. The batting has also had a role in squandering these three positions of strength, with indifferent performances in the third innings.

Head coach Rahul Dravid has pointed out that India have been unable to maintain their intensity and fitness levels over the five days of these three Test reversals. It is perhaps too early in Dravid’s tenure for harsh judgments, and India did go into the Edgbaston Test with a stand-in debutant captain in Jasprit Bumrah. But nearly eight months after Dravid took over from Ravi Shastri, it is still unclear what this Indian team’s style is going to be.

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First published on: 07-07-2022 at 03:37 IST
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