Sanjay Bangar, the India batting coach, heaped praise on the batsmen after their fine show on day one of third England vs India Test at Trent Bridge.

The Indian batsmen did not take long to show that the batting debacle at Lord’s was not a part of their habit in overseas Tests.  India needed a solid start in the game which they cannot afford to lose. And Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul provided the team with a brilliant start on a pitch which did its bit early on. The duo came out to bat with intent as India were off to a good start after being put to bat first. MUST READ | Nicole Bolton

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All eyes were on Dhawan who came in the playing eleven at Murali Vijay’s place. The southpaw showed signs of weakness early like when he had a narrow escape with an edge off James Anderson flying over the slip cordon. But as the game progressed, he started showing his will to grind it out. The Delhi star shelved his usual attacking game and left deliveries that were well outside off. But at the same time, he latched onto the deliveries that deserved to be hit.

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On the other hand, Rahul adapted an ultra-cautious approach.  The partnership soon crossed the 10-over mark. It was the first time since Brisbane 2014 that the Indian openers lasted 10 or more overs on the first morning of a Test outside Asia.

The duo went on to add 60 runs before Chris Woakes threatened to trigger a collapse. He dismissed both the openers and Cheteshwar Pujara in quick succession to reduce India to 82 for 3. But captain Virat Kohli (97) and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (81) added 159 runs to bat India to a good position. At stumps, India were 307 for 6, their best batting show by far on this tour.

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Speaking at the end of the day’s play, Bangar said adjustments to individual techniques coupled with the focus and discipline were the key behind batsmen’s impressive show.

“The most important thing was the opening partnership was according to our expectation,” Bangar said. “In the previous two Tests we were losing two or three wickets inside the first 15 overs. Because of that the middle order was walking in early in difficult conditions. It was not just the start but also the way they were batting was good.”

England vs India, Sanjay Bangar
The opening partnership was according to our expectation: Sanjay Bangar (England vs India, Credits: Getty)

Bangar went on to give a few examples to back his claims. He said Dhawan tinkered with his bat speed, Rahul waited for the ball to come while Rahane used his feet more to play strokes confidently.

“The way Shikhar made the changes to his batting, the way he reduced his bat speed, the way he played the ball later, these adjustments he made in the last six or seven days, he should get credit. KL Rahul, too, was playing on the back foot, he was reacting after the ball’s movement. These changes the batsmen have made make me hopeful for the rest of the series. With five more innings left, if our batsmen can play in the same way, their performance graph will carry on to improve.”

England vs India, Sanjay Bangar
The changes the batsmen have made make me hopeful for the rest of the series: Sanjay Bangar (England vs India, Credits: Getty)

One of the biggest positives for India on day one was Rahane returning to form. One of the batting mainstays of the team especially in overseas games, Rahane had looked like a pale shadow of his usual self in recent times. However, he roared back to form in style when the team needed him the most.

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England vs India, Sanjay Bangar
Ajinkya Rahane (England vs India, Credits: Getty)

“His mindset was very clear,” Bangar said. “He was very positive, his feet were moving well. He was getting into good positions…at times there can be a lapse in concentration which can lead to losing your wicket, which had happened in the previous Test. But he seemed to be in good nick and he capitalised, put us in a good position and he would be hurting because a big score was on the cards.”

 

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