Time running out: How long can Indian batsmen keep failing overseas?

first_imgThe England Test series was always going to be the biggest challenge for Indian’s batsmen and bowlers.While the bowlers have done a decent job so far, it’s the batsmen who have failed miserably in the first two Tests. Consequently, India are now trailing 0-2 in the five-match series.First it was Edgbaston, where the top-four barring Virat Kohli managed just 99 runs from the two innings. The team management made a couple of changes in the second match with Shikhar Dhawan making way for Cheteshwar Pujara while KL Rahul moved up from No.3 to open the innings with Murali Vijay.Virat Kohli finally admits he got team combination wrong after Lord’s humiliationThe result was even worse than the first Test as India’s openers failed to get the team off the mark in both innings with Vijay registering a pair of ducks.Rahul fared no better scoring 8 and 10 in both innings. As a result, Pujara had to face the new ball twice but was found wanting on both occasions.Virat Kohli after innings defeat at Lord’s: We were outplayed and deserved to loseIndia’s premier No.3 batsman scored 1 and 17. He did manage to spend some time in the middle, facing 25 and 87 balls in both innings, but it was his strike rate which took a severe beating.India handed humiliating defeat by ruthless England at Lord’sDhawan’s failure in the first Test meant that he found no place in the playing XI at Lord’s.The flop shows from India’s batting unit meant the team got bowled out for 107 and 130 as they lost the match by an innings and 159 runs.advertisementJoe Root expects England to improve further after hammering India at Lord’sThe performance of India’s top batsmen was so poor that an injured Virat Kohli had to come out to try and save India’s case in the second innings even though he was struggling with severe back ache. Virat Kohli receives treatment from Patrick Farhart for a bad back during the fourth day of the Lord’s Test (AP Photo)India are now staring down the barrel just two Tests into the series with Vijay, Rahul, Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane failing to fire once again and Kohli, the only batsman in form, suffering from a back injury.Downright embarrassing: Indian cricket fans fume after Lord’s disasterKohli however, sounded confident of getting fit in time for the third Test after the Lord’s defeat.”I should be fine. Lower back issue, I’m confident I’ll be fine in five days time with a bit of rehab,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.Highlights of India’s embarrassing Lord’s Test lossBut the problem is, even if Kohli plays the next match at Trent Bridge, India will still go into the Test match with four batsmen woefully out of form. Another loss will see England reclaim the Pataudi Trophy unless India can come up with some answers against James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Sam Curran and now Chris Woakes.Kohli claims that the problem lies in the mind of the batsmen and not in their technique.Adil Rashid did not bowl, bat or catch: Rs 11 lakh assured after Lord’s Test”I don’t see any technical deficiency. If a batsman is clear in the head and he’s clear about the plans he’s taking, then if the ball does something off the pitch, you’re able to counter it,” said Kohli at the post-match media interaction.But the problem actually lies much deeper than what it seems.India’s star batsmen have no excuses left after failing in another away TestAt Edgbaston, India’s batting lineup barring Kohli scored just 236 runs in both innings while at Lord’s the number dipped further to 197 runs after taking out the captain’s contributions.Edgbaston Test: Too early to judge India’s batting failure, says Shaun PollockVijay, Rahul, Pujara, Rahane and Dhawan have been outstanding in Test matches in the sub-continent. Take them out of their comfort zone and the story completely changes.Just a look at their averages this year after three Tests in South Africa and two in England is enough to ring the alarm bells for India.Sunil Gavaskar Exclusive: ‘India should have played more warm-up games in England’Dhawan is averaging just over 35 followed by Vijay with 21.18, Pujara with 17, Rahane with 16.42 and Rahul, the least experienced of the lot, with 13.22. Ajinkya Rahane is going through the worst phase of his career averaging just over 16 this year (AP Photo)Rahane, India’s best overseas batsman in the recent past, is going through the worst phase of his career and was even dropped for a Test in South Africa as a result. Vijay, who was the highest run-scorer for India on the last England tour in 2014, is at the bottom of the Indian run charts this year while Dhawan keeps getting dropped after failing in the first Test of the series, like it happened in South Africa, with Rahul taking his place.advertisementFour years have passed since Vijay, Dhawan, Puajara and Rahane made their first trip to England. Vijay and Rahane were impressive on their first tour but haven’t clicked this time while Dhawan and Pujara continue struggle in England’s seaming conditions.The worst part is that India don’t have anybody to fall back on if the premier batsmen fail to fire. There is no plan B in this case and Virat Kohli cannot keep on waging a lone battle like he did in Edgbaston in every game. Whether he will play in the third match or not still remains to be seen even though he has assured his presence.The team management picks its playing XI on current form but if that is the case then India will be left with just Virat Kohli, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and the bowlers in its playing XI for the next Test.With no backup options and the repeated failures of Vijay, Rahul, Pujara and Rahane, the series as good as gone for India unless these four can turn their form around in the remaining three games.Or else, we might see some drastic changes in the Test team when they return home.last_img

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