India v England: What did we learn from the first test?

England rounded off a dominant performance on day 5 of the first test in Chennai, bowling out India to secure a 227-run victory. From day 1, the tourists looked in complete control, building a formidable first innings total that shaped the rest of the test match. A dominant batting performance has been a rare sight for England fans in the past few years, but the likes of Joe Root and Dom Sibley put on a brilliant display that juniors should pay close attention to.

The second test will start on Saturday 13th February, taking place in Chennai once again. Before then, let’s discuss what we learned from the first test and how the rest of the series may play out.

The toss is crucial

As always when playing in the subcontinent, winning the toss will be a significant factor in determining the outcome of the game. Joe Root winning the toss allowed England to build the intimidating first innings lead which put his team into the driving seat early on. There were only 2 likely outcomes after England’s first go with the bat – an England win or a draw. Virat Kohli will be hoping for better luck come Saturday morning.

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If the turbulent day 5 pitch is anything to go by, batting last will be a significant challenge for either team. Let’s see if the pitch for the second test follows the same trend.

Kohli is under pressure 

The first test was Virat Kohli’s 4th consecutive loss as captain. Yes, you could argue that losing the toss was a significant blow to India’s hopes of winning, but more is expected of a team led by one of India’s greatest ever players. 

His opposite number, Joe Root, is in the form of his life and every decision went his way over the course of the test match. Alongside a tremendous batting display, Root showed his maturing captaincy skills to delay the second innings declaration and throw Jimmy Anderson the ball at the perfect moment on day 5 for some world-class reverse swing bowling.

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Both sides need a balance of seam and spin

India looked short of a seam bowler and perhaps another quality spin option in the first test match. Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah did a decent job of supporting the workhorse that is Ravi Ashwin. But India’s junior spinners couldn’t quite maintain the pressure applied by the senior bowlers and were picked apart by the spin-playing specialists in England’s line-up. 

India will most likely look to bolster their bowling attack in the second test, to be more competitive at either end of the test match. England stifled India’s lacklustre bowling attack on the fresh wicket and used the deteriorating pitch in India’s second innings to finish the game with a glorious combination of seam and spin. So, a little more bite from a revamped Indian bowling line-up should make for an interesting test match. England will be missing Jofra Archer in the second test, so it will be intriguing to see who will replace him.

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