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India succumb to England in Third Test

England 1st innings: 569/7 declared,
2nd innings 205/4 declared
India 1st innings: 330

England has won the third test match against India at Southampton in the ongoing series of which two tests remain. Set a target of 445 runs to win India lost 4 quick wickets including the prize wicket of Kohli. It seemed just a matter of time before the Englishmen would claim their victory which has been elusive for them for a long time. Indians seemed to have taken the English team too lightly after their win at the Lord’s in the second test match. It seems appropriate for Dhoni to be questioned as to how he expected to bowl out the English team with a bowling attack that has only one bowler in the form of Kumar. With Ishant ruled out due to injury and Pankaj too rusty to be effective, Jadeja at most being a run blocker and Shami off color it seemed a very hapless and ineffective bowling battery for Dhoni to have got together for a crucial test match abroad.

England seems to have made amends after going down in the second test at Lords to trail behind in the test series by 0-1. Cook the batsman seemed to have driven himself to form and so has Ian Bell. The mammoth target on the shoulders of the Indian batsmen seemed to have taken its toll on the famous batting line-up as they have succumbed to it in both innings of the match. The woes of the Indian batsmen lay severely exposed as Anderson and Broad swung the ball. This indeed showed that despite adding an extra batsman in the form of Rohit Sharma at the cost of Stuart Binny was too costly a mistake for India. It is indeed introspection time for Dhoni to look into the aspects of Indian bowling that has been responsible for England having amassed a mammoth 569 and 205 in their respective innings.

India ended the 3rd day at 323/8 that apparently seemed sufficient for a day but given the number of wickets fallen it was very disappointing indeed. The poor shots by the Indian batsmen gifted many of the wickets to the English. The most crucial factor of the match lay on Dhoni’s performance for India on the fourth day. Not only scoring the requisite 46 runs to avoid follow-on should have been on his agenda he should have struck to the ground and remained grounded leading by example from the front. It was his dismissal by Anderson that was the turning point in the match. The match was lost at that point itself for India and won by Cook’s men. It was indeed a display of being relieved of the pressure to a large extent that enabled Cook to play a smashing innings of 70 not out after a long time.

Murali Vijay who has totaled 352 runs at an average of 70 in five innings was run out in the Indian second innings that proved critical in the end. The Indians played a lost side as their confidence had been broken beyond repair by the declaration of innings by England. A rudderless ship with a captain who cannot plan his strategies is what the Indian cricket team is akin to. Dhoni and company will surely have to put up with the humiliation of another overseas defeat. It will be an added burden on them to bear with the extreme criticism that is surely to come pouring from all corners.
It however remains to be seen whether like England India can turn the wheels of fate in their favor when accounted with scorn and ridicule or they completely lose themselves in the slush and let a rejuvenated English team take over the rubber in the remaining two test matches.

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