England started the first test against India at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot as underdogs but outclassed India on all five days as the Indians did not look or play like the number one Test side in the world. England did not have sufficient time to get the final four wickets and the first test ended in a stale draw.
England batted first and ended up scoring 537 at a brisk pace with Root, Ali and Stokes all hitting centuries. While some might say that the Rajkot pitch wasn’t a result oriented pitch, one must point out that India dropped a number of changes on the first day and England also spilled chances. India responded well but at a slower pace scoring 488 and in the process switching the odds in favor of a draw.
Credit must go to England captain Alistair Cook who declared after lunch on the 5th day to set India a target in excess of 300 with around 49 overs to get them. England managed to take six wickets and cause a few nerves in the Indian lower order but Captain Virat Kohli was at the crease to make sure that India did not end up losing the first test.
In a statement, Kohli said “Good opportunity to find out new things about your game. Couldn’t get a better chance to practice other aspects of your game (towards the end). Important to convince yourself you can negotiate what’s thrown at you. We could have been much better on days 1 and 2. We dropped five catches. England are a side we are not going to take for granted. Good to get things done in the end. Need to correct the things we need to. England’s bowlers put constant pressure. We need to accept what happened.”
England will take confidence from this draw when they play the second test. They could end up playing James Anderson if he passes a fitness threat and could have a more potent attack. India on the other hand will also make two changes dropping A Mishra who had a poor match and bringing in either H Pandya or B Kumar. G Gambhir could also lose his opening spot if K Rahul clears his fitness test.
The second test match starts on the 17th of November in Visakhapatnam and is it highly likely that the pitch will offer a lot more assistance to the spinners.