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From Despair to Domination: India Stages Epic Recovery to Conquer England

New faces lead Team India to triumph over England. Middle-Order bolstered by Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel's emergence

India concluded the series against England with a resounding 4-1 scoreline – a historic first in 112 years of Test cricket history after losing the opening match. The joy and jubilation now are in marked contrast to the disappointment after India’s defeat in the first Test of the series. While Rohit and Co battled a range of brickbats after the shock loss to England in the first Test, at the time Bazzball was the big buzz.

After that initial jolt, criticism for Team India echoed from all quarters but they soon began defying the odds and the critics. What stood out most in this superb journey was the splendid show by India’s young guns who stepped up in the absence of many stalwarts. This remarkable triumph reaffirms India’s dominance at home since 2012 and also unveiled a promising future for the young brigade.

Leading from the front, Rohit Sharma played a pivotal role in guiding the team with stellar batting performances. His century in the fifth Test, his second of the series, underlined his excellent form over the last few months. Rohit’s leadership set the tone for India’s resurgence and proved crucial in turning the tide when it mattered the most. Rohit’s resilience not only steadied the ship after the initial setback but also showcased his ability to inspire the team under pressure.

Along with him, Shubman Gill, transitioning seamlessly from the opening slot to number 3, displayed amazing grit and adaptability. His twin centuries and a crucial unbeaten half-century to steer Indian to a win in the 4th Test, not only silenced critics but also marked him as a future superstar in Indian cricket. Gill’s ability to anchor the innings and absorb pressure, especially in challenging situations, adds a special layer of stability to India’s batting.

Rohit’s opening partner, Yashasvi Jaiswal also added an enviable dimension to India’s batting prowess. Despite a slight stumble in the final Test, where he got out trying to hit a six after his fifty, Jaiswal’s performance through the series highlighted his deep focus and hunger for runs. His ability to balance attacking and defensive gameplay signals a bright future for the young opener, making the Indian team a more formidable force in Test cricket. Jaiswal’s twin double tons made him only the second Indian batsman after Kohli to achieve this feat in the same series, underscoring his exceptional potential as a run-scorer.

It’s the emergence of middle-order talents in Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel that India will perhaps celebrate the most. Since Rahane and Pujara were dropped, India has been looking for dependable middle order batsmen. Sarfaraz, a frequent contender in India’s selection meetings over the past couple of years, capitalized on the opportunity with twin half-centuries in his debut Test. His aggressive approach against spinners proved vital on turning tracks, and helped to put India in a commanding position with another half century to dominate even the final test.

In the absence of Rishabh Pant, India faced challenges finding a suitable replacement capable of making a similar impact. However, in Dhruv Jurel, India discovered not only a highly skilled wicketkeeper but also a technically sound batter with nerves of steel. Jurel’s knock of 90 in the first innings of the fourth Test single-handedly turned the tide for India from a position of despair. He followed it up with an equally impressive unbeaten 39 in the tense chase in the next innings. Many experts now want Jurel to continue as the keeper-batsman even when Pant is fully fit, with Rishab playing as a pure batter.

Among bowlers, Akashdeep Singh made a memorable debut, claiming three wickets in his first spell of the 4th Test. Bumrah, Ashwin and Jadeja all were terrific as expected. However, it was Kuldeep Yadav who was a real revelation, influencing India’s success with both bat and ball. After sitting out the first Test, which India lost, Kuldeep had a massive impact on all subsequent matches. His 12-over spell on day three in Rajkot played a crucial role in India regaining control, and in Dharamsala, he dominated to such an extent that all ten wickets seemed possible for him at one stage.

In an unbroken 15-over spell, Kuldeep chipped away insistently at the loose rock of England’s batting until it fell off a cliff, dismissing five of their top six as 64 for 1 became 175 for 4 in stages, setting the scene for a plunge to 218 all out. All this on a first-day pitch of no great help for spinners! No matter how much pace, bounce, or turn a pitch offered, Yadav found ways to exert control and grab vital wickets in every test. He bowled alongside Ashwin and Jadeja, held his own each time and even outshone the wily veterans on some occasions!

The win in Dharamsala not only sealed the series but also propelled India to the top of the World Test Championship table. After slipping to fifth place following the initial loss, India climbed back to No. 1 by winning the next three matches. The innings victory in Dharamsala further solidified their standing, with percentage points total of 68.51%.

Beyond the statistics and rankings, the series served as a poignant reminder of the enduring appeal of Test cricket. As the team looks ahead, the promising signs from the emerging stars bode well for India’s future in Test cricket. It ensures that the legacy of excellence in the longest format of the game continues to thrive – and Team India now seems well-poised to register a hat-trick of entries into the finals of the World Test Championship!

Siddhaarth Mahan

is a keen observer of the sports arena. Siddhaarth has been a state level cricketer. After a Master’s in Journalism, he has written several articles on sports and cinema. Now works in the Hindi film industry as an actor and filmmaker.

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