England buried India in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston as the hosts completed their record run chase in red-ball cricket to win by seven wickets and draw the five-match series 2-2.
An opportunity missed.
That’s the biggest takeaway for the Men in Blue following their chastening defeat against England in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston. India entered the Birmingham Test needing to avoid defeat to win their first series on English shores since 2007. However, after taking a commanding position in the Test on day three, the Men in Blue let another opportunity slip through their grasp, with the wheels coming off in the fourth innings as England chased down 378 in just 76.4 overs.
View this post on Instagram
Unfortunately for India, this bittersweet feeling has become a recurring theme over the past few years. After their epic twin victories against Australia down under and near-unbeatable performances at home, the Men in Blue had the chance to put themselves amongst Clive Lloyd’s West Indies and Steve Waugh’s Australia as one of the greatest Test teams of all time. However, each time this current Indian team have knocked on the door of greatness, they have come up short.
Virat Kohli’s side let their first shot at glory slip through their fingers when they lost the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand. India batted with unnecessary attacking intent on the final day of the Test at Southampton, resulting in a second-innings collapse and a straightforward victory for the Blackcaps which cost the team another piece of silverware.
Seven months later, the Men in Blue were presented with another golden opportunity to create history and become the first Indian team to win a Test tour in South Africa. However, despite taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, Virat Kohli’s side let another excellent chance slip through their fingers as they lost the remaining two Tests after failing to defend totals of 211 and 242.
Fast-forward to their latest misdemeanour, India were blown out of the park by England on days four and five of the Edgbaston Test, failing to defend a 350+ run target for the first time in their history as Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root milked the one-dimensional seam attack. The Yorkshire pair put on a stunning 269-run stand to close out the game for the hosts, scoring at over four runs an over as they hunted down a record target for England in Test cricket.
View this post on Instagram
More than the day five loss at Edgbaston, it was the manner of the defeat that will sting the Men in Blue. Rather than putting up any semblance of a fight, India succumbed to the might of Bazball, with the four seamers managing just three maidens between them in the fourth innings as Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow found the boundaries with ease and tore apart the bowling attack.
This current team is still the best Test team of this era with their incredible record both home and away, but Virat Kohli’s side no longer warrant mentioning amongst the best of the best, with India failing at the final frontier on the cusp of greatness.
[Featured Image Credit: ANI]