Every team touring the sub-continent knows that India are a really strong side in their backyard. And that is not an understatement by all means. The Indian team, especially after 2013 had shifted gears to another level and has dominated nearly every home series from then on. Let us see their record below of home series
|1. Hammered Australia 4 – 0||Feb – March 2013|
|2. Defeated West Indies 2 – 0||November 2013|
|3. Defeated South Africa 3 – 0||November- December 2015|
|4. Defeated New Zealand 3 – 0||September – October 2016|
|5. Defeated Bangladesh 1 – 0||February 2017|
|6. Defeated Australia 2 – 1||February – March 2017|
|7. Defeated Sri Lanka 1 – 0||November – December 2017|
|8. Defeated Afghanistan 1 – 0||June 2018|
|9. Defeated West Indies 2 – 0||October 2018|
|10. Defeated South Africa 3 – 0||October 2019|
|11. Defeated Bangladesh 2 – 0||November 2019|
|12. Defeated England 3 – 1||February – March 2021|
England knew that beating India in India would require a herculean task. Wanting to acclimatize with the foreign conditions, the English team timed the tour to what they thought would suit them. They toured Sri Lanka and defeated them comfortably in both the test matches. Then came the India tour and the visitors were delighted to bat first on a flat track.
While Sri Lanka may have slow and spin-assisting pitches, but the lack of quality spin bowlers gave a false sense of security to the English batsmen that they have conquered some of the daemons of spin bowling and therefore, would be able to tackle India.
Not to take any credit from the English batsmen, they played brilliantly, however the first innings lead dented India’s hope severely. England was up by 1- 0.
Out came the second test match and India not only were better prepared but also had the pitch curated much to their suitability where the ball would start to turn viciously from day 1st itself, a rare sight in test cricket which often is synonymous with ‘bad pitch’ by the westerners due to their inability to survive on such wickets.
England, in order to serve rest to their main players, did not play James Anderson in the second test match. While it was Ashwin’s skillful deliveries that woke the Englishmen up to quality spin bowling in the first innings, it was Axar Patel’s deliveries which goes straight through the arm and does not turn that rattled the English batsman in the second innings. India won the second test match.
The template of strangling the England batsman remained the same throughout the remaining two test matches and India came out victorious by 3-1. While the final scores may suggest a one sided victory, India knew how well they had bowled and (batted too against spin) to won the last three matches. Multiple reasons were given for England’s loss, the primary being the quality of pitch and the absence of their premiere players in accordance with rest-and-rotation policy.
Joe root in an interview has stated that “We have, rightly so, put the players’ welfare at the forefront of everything we have done. Let’s face it, it was to the detriment of performance in India”
Every time England have faltered in India, they have given reasons of pitch. The match ending in less than 3 days in English conditions bypasses any criticism whereas the same happening in India receives criticism such as “Bad advertisement for Test cricket”. The statement was said by Dileep Vengsarkar when India England 2nd test match at Narendra Modi stadium finished in less than 2 days. Only 842 deliveries were bowled and 30 wickets fell in two days.
Whatever excuses players can give to curtain their inabilities, the fact is that India plays to its advantages in home conditions just like the Englishmen, who are hell bent on preparing green, seaming conditions when India tours. When the Indian batsman falters in England, it is regarded their inability to adapt whereas the pitch is termed ‘bad’ when the English batsmen flutter at the spin conditions.