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Why India won the series sans big stars

Source: PTI
February 26, 2024 22:39 IST
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'Have to credit India for their skill and mental toughness

IMAGE: 'Have to credit India for their skill and mental toughness.' Photograph: BCCI

Former captain Nasser Hussain on Monday said that England should not feel ashamed of losing the Test series to India, as Rohit Sharma's side are the deserved winners in view of the skill-set as well as the mental toughness they possess.

England suffered their first Test series defeat of the 'Bazball' era after India beat them by five wickets in the fourth and penultimate Test in Ranchi to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match affair.


"India deserve credit for the way they've played throughout the series, they have been without some star names...Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah in this one, Mohammed Shami, KL Rahul for most of the series and Rishabh Pant," Hussain wrote on Sky Sports.

"There's a long list of people that India are missing and yet they've managed to put in performances. You have to give credit to India, not only for the skill they have, but the mental toughness to have another home series win.

"Their record at home is absolutely phenomenal, so there's no shame in England losing to this Indian side."

After surviving a few hiccups, India chased down the target of 192 with Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel remaining not out on 52 and 39 respectively. Hussain praised the duo for their knocks.

"Shubman Gill showed his class and his calmness, while Dhruv Jurel has just been a revelation in the two games he has played — both as a keeper and also with the bat."

Reflecting on England's performance, he said the visitors already lost the match on the third day.

"What a turnaround from India after the first innings, where they got close to England's total because of Dhruv Jurel and Kuldeep Yadav and then Ben Stokes's side lost seven for 35.

"Ravi Ashwin wasn't there for a day in the last game, but they stood up and turned that game around too. He was there throughout this Test match, stood up and took five wickets in that second innings, bowling quite brilliantly."

Nasser Hussain had a word of praise for the fight England put up and termed spinner Shoaib Bashir a star

IMAGE: Nasser Hussain had a word of praise for the fight England put up and termed spinner Shoaib Bashir a star. Photograph: BCCI

Hussain, however, gave credit to England for the fight they offered.

"It was another excellent Test match in an excellent Test series. England were really good today and they put up as much of a fight as they could. But obviously -- like with any Test series and any Test match -- you look at key areas where you let the game slip.

"What could have been a 100-run lead yesterday ended up being 46. Then in your third innings, you don't know whether to stick or twist. In that collapse, England batted 26 overs for their 37-5 which shows -- for this side to go at just over one run an over -- they didn't know whether to stick or twist."

On the key moments of the match, Hussain said: "There have been some key moments and England have not quite been as they could have been with bat and ball. It was debated in the last game about the Joe Root shot, then he goes and gets a brilliant hundred in this game. At times they've not bowled particularly well, they've bowled loose deliveries.

"In any Test series, you can look at key moments where you've lost it, but actually, if you look throughout the series... actually India probably have won more sessions in the series than England, so are deserved winners."

Hussain described off-spinner Shoaib Bashir as new star for England for his impressive performance (8/198 in the match).

"Bowling spin in England is completely different. That's where Graeme Swann, in particular, deceived batters before the ball landed with his drift and drop. That is one thing that Bashir does have.

"Bashir gets a lot of drop. He is tall, he has a high release point and that's why he was picked. England did their homework in India, where you need bowlers with high release points. He has got that capability of deceiving batters before it actually lands, so that's going to be a useful asset in England."

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