The build-up was immense prior to the most anticipated Bazball v Spinball series.
5-0 in India’s favour is what some experts predicted and why not, given the host’s unparalleled domination as in their own backyard in the last decade.
Now that margin is out of question after the defeat in Hyderabad, much against the run of play orchestrated by England’s spinners and a monumental knock of 196 by Ollie Pope.
Tom Hartley’s Debut Delight
Tom Hartley must be in seventh heaven after taking those 7 wickets, running through India’s strong batting lineup in the second innings.
And the enormity of what he achieved can only be gauged from the fact that he was making his Test debut.
To take matters in perspective, all the England spinners including Hartley, Jack Leach, Rehan Ahmed and Joe Root combined now have a Test wickets tally of 209.
Indian Spin Dominance
Now, compare that to what the legendary Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and the highly effective Axar Patel have together: 829.
That speaks volumes about the wealth of experience possessed by the Indian spinners while operating in different conditions and especially at home, where they thrive decimating visiting batting attacks at will.
With injuries to KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja ruling out these two key players and Virat Kohli already opting out owing to personal reasons, Team India is in a spot of bother.
Trailing an England team who are playing fearless cricket with ‘Bazball’ and their spinners showing more bite and spark than India’s, the home side would be looking to conjure their own mojo from the second Test onwards.
India’s Squad Adjustments
With the addition of Washington Sundar, Sarfaraz Khan and Saurabh Kumar to the squad, India would be exploring their options to maintain the balance as much as possible.
Although, it’s virtually impossible to find a replacement who can fill the shoes of Jadeja, the most likely option would be Washington Sundar given his ability with the bat as well which can retain India’s depth down the order.
Hyderabad Wake-up Call
India will have to get their batting smarts back on track and play the English spinners better to avoid a collapse of the Hyderabad kind.
The onus lies on the top order to a large extent with the likes of skipper Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer expected to come up with some big knocks and hopefully daddy hundreds.
Rajat Patidar might get a look-in given his ability to counter the spinners but Sarfaraz Khan’s Test debut cannot be ruled out either given his current prolific form against the England Lions.