The first test between India and England is set for a thrilling contest at Nottingham. The Virat Kohli-led side requires 157 runs. On the other hand, the hosts need 9 wickets.
Indian team will again look towards their premier batsman, Virat Kohli to take them through. But the Indian skipper is neither having a good test match nor he has been consistently performing since 2020 in Tests. Kohli averages around 25 in Test matches which is considered poor for a batsman of his quality.
After the duck in the first innings, Kohli also surpassed MS Dhoni’s tally of most ducks by an Indian skipper in Test cricket. Even as Dhoni held the dubious record, having scored eight ducks, Virat has toppled him to nine. Overall, Kohli has gotten 13 ducks in Test cricket with five being golden ducks.
In the first innings, Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul gave an excellent start. They stitched a 97 run partnership. But then Rohit and Pujara fell in quick succession. Then in came Kohli to face his nemesis, James Anderson. Virat Kohli did not play any practice game before the test match due to a stiff back.
After the WTC final, out of the 40 days, Indian team was on vacation for three weeks. Hence, the skipper was lacking in match practice. This was evident in the first ball that he faced. The 32-year old flirted with a ball that was on the fifth-sixth stump which caught his edge on the very first. Now, the former Test No.1 would like to redeem himself in the second innings and take India home.
Prior to his batting, the Delhi-born is preparing hard to improve his batting. After the end of the fourth day’s play on Saturday, Virat was seen practicing batting.
— CricketMAN2 (@man4_cricket) August 7, 2021
India’s underperforming middle order of Virat Kohli, Pujara and Rahane will be tested again
Once considered India’s most dependable trio, Kohli, Rahane and Pujara have not been performing consistently. Pujara hasn’t scored a century in 3 years. His technique in England is also questionable as always gets either bowled or caught behind. Rahane has been performing only occasionally. Scoring one big score per series has been his pattern. Whereas Kohli is having the worst time of his test career.
In this uncertain phase and in a tricky run chase, Indian fans would be hoping that the three batters come back to form before it’s too late.
India have bottled similar run chases in the past. In 2018, India failed to chase a similar score against South Africa in the first test. Then again in 2018, India choked a similar chase in the first test match against England at Edgbaston. Coincidentally, this is also the first test match of a series with a similar target. Let’s hope Indians learnt from their past mistakes and are able to cross the line this time.