Last year, when South Africa toured India, Proteas batsmen had to face challenges not only from Indian spinners, but also from the scorching heat and rank-turners. After India won the series 3-0, many accused India of exploiting home advantage to a level that was deemed unfair.
The counter-argument was that, both the teams played on same pitches and the better one emerged victorious. But, if we analyse the series closely, we can understand that, more than the Indian batsmen, it was the Indian spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who contributed more to the success of the team. Both of them were way ahead in their skills than their counterparts, Imran Tahir and Simon Harmer.
Ashwin and Jadeja took 31 and 23 wickets in the series respectively, whereas Tahir had just 14 wickets to his name, even after being the third highest wicket-taker in the series. Only 2 centuries were made in the entire series (both by Ajinkya Rahane), clearly elucidating the fact that it was a bowler’s series, or to be more specific, a spinner’s series.
However, the ongoing series between India and England is completely devoid of such accusations. Spin threat had been there, as always when you play against India in their den. But the pitches weren’t rank turners. It was conducive for spin bowling, but to a limit considered as fair home advantage. India crossed the 600 run mark in the fourth test, after England scored 400 in the first innings of the same test. 12 centuries were made, including two double centuries, by the time fourth test was over.
While batsmen enjoyed the low bouncy sub-continent wickets, bowlers also had good time. Ashwin already has 28 wickets in the series, followed by Adil Rashid (22), and Jadeja (19).
The main difference between India and England was the mind-blowing performance of Indian all-rounders. The biggest advantage India had was that their main bowlers (spinners) were decent batsmen, with Ashwin being the standout performer. 239 runs at an average of 39.83 from 4 tests, after scalping 28 wickets, is nothing short of incredible.
By scoring 221 runs at an average of 73.66, which includes a century, and scalping 9 wickets, Jayant Yadav became an invaluable asset at number nine position. Throughout the series, on various occasions, tail-enders bailed out India from precarious situations.
England was competitive, but India was just too good, especially, Indian all-rounders.
Virat Kohli led by example, and his boys didn’t disappoint him. Barring the fielding aspect, which was a bit sloppy at times, this has been an excellent series, even better than the 3-0 win against the Proteas.