Former India batsman VVS Laxman has called India’s win in the third England vs India Test at Trent Bridge one of the greatest comebacks in Indian Test history.
Before entering the third Test, India was looking down and out after two poor performances resulted in defeats at Edgbaston and Lord’s. In both the games, India’s batting had failed miserably.
They had lost the opener by 31 runs while chasing a modest 194. Then came the second game at Lord’s where India failed in every department. In the first innings, India were all out for just 107 with James Anderson taking 5 for 20. In reply, England scored a mammoth 396 for 7 to put the game beyond India’s reach. And the visitors did little to challenge England.
Trailing by a huge 289 runs, draw was the only option for India. However, it took England less than two sessions to bundle up the world number one Test side. India never looked in contention to save the game and were all out for just 130. Overall, India batted less the 83 overs in the game.
But just when it looked a comeback is beyond India’s reach, the Virat Kohli-led side bounced back in style to win at Trent Bridge and keep the series alive. India were better than the hosts in every department as they won the game by 203 runs.
And Laxman believes the win is one of the best comebacks in the history of Test cricket.
“The stirring victory at Trent Bridge must go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Indian Test history. The genesis of this result lay in the markedly improved batting performance. While Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul didn’t make big runs, they put on 50-plus in both innings, played a lot tighter and yet were always positive,” he wrote in his column for The Times of India.
“Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara came up with big hands and spent a lot of time at the crease, which are excellent developments because when you are playing overseas, it is imperative to retain self-belief and trust your abilities,” he added.
The legendary batsman further heaped praise on the bowling department.
“No praise can be too high for the bowling group. Jasprit Bumrah’s return has lent a new dimension, but no less noteworthy is the consistency with which Ishant is landing the ball. He has worked very hard on getting his wrist upright, which allows him to bowl fuller and get the ball to swing, or move on pitching when it lands on the seam. This is the best I have seen him bowl in a long time,” he wrote.
An 169-run stand between Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes on day four had pushed India on the backfoot for a while. However, Bumrah ran through England’s lower-order with the second new-ball, finishing with 5 for 85 to guide India to the win. In the first innings, Hardik Pandya’s maiden 5-wicket haul had helped India bowl out England for just 161.
Laxman also lavished praise on captain Kohli who scored 97 and 103 in the game.
There is no debating who the fulcrum of the batting is, and once again, the captain didn’t disappoint. Virat made 200 runs in a Test for the second time this series, and he will be particularly delighted with his second innings of 103. It was a disciplined effort under trying conditions; even in the sixth innings of a series where he has made massive runs, he stuck to his game plan without compromise, which is a tribute to his mental strength,” he wrote.