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The Indians lacked self-belief and failed to sustain the intensity

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Both the batting and famed bowling have faltered in the decisive second innings in the last three away Tests; Dravid has enough issues on his plate

Both the batting and famed bowling have faltered in the decisive second innings in the last three away Tests; Dravid has enough issues on his plate

A marauding England rocketing to a demanding target of 378 at Edgbaston sent all the wrong signals from an Indian perspective.

At the start of the final day, the host still needed 119 runs. Couple of early wickets and the England batting could have imploded.

But the Indian bowling was so innocuous and the players’ body language so flat that it was clear the side lacked the belief, the key attribute in any professional sport.

Maintaining intensity 

Test cricket is all about maintaining intensity over five days. Here physical attributes intertwine with mental strength.

India’s last three Tests on foreign soil have seen the side taking its foot off the gas, unable to retain its intensity levels.

India has failed in the big decisive moments. Both the batting and famed bowling have faltered in the decisive second innings.

India was full of beans entering the second Test at Wanderers early this year after winning the first to raise visions of a first ever Test-series triumph in South Africa.

In a contest of swinging fortunes, South Africa was given a target of 240 on a treacherous wicket with nasty bounce.

However, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami disappointed. Skipper Dean Elgar, taking blows on his body, was unbeaten on a blood and guts 96 and the Proteas were home by seven wickets.

The seamers needed to bowl around the good length area and attempt to seam the ball rather than trying to swing it and over-pitching in the process. And India seemed to be holding all the aces when a rejuvenated Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli had added more that 90 for the fifth wicket in the Indian second innings in the decider at Cape Town.

India had the opportunity to take the game away from South Africa. Then Kolhi chased a delivery on the seven stump from Lungi Ngidi, was held in the cordon, and India collapsed. Pant remained unbeaten on 100 but India ended up with just 198.

A target of 212 was still defendable on a tricky pitch of seam movement and bounce, but the Indians failed to cling on to sharp chances and the pacemen, as at Edgbaston, bowled on both sides.

Dispirited attack 

At Edgbaston, the Indian attack was dispirited, without control or consistency.

Shardul Thakur’s pace and effectiveness have dropped, Ravindra Jadeja bowled a defensive over-the-wicket line and Mohammed Siraj has forgotten how to bowl with an upright seam.

Bumrah and Shami do not seem to be having the extra bite in their bowling that made them so dangerous. With the England batters possessing high back-lift why didn’t we see more yorkers?

In the days ahead, coach Rahul Dravid has enough issues to think about while dealing with a Test squad that has struggled earlier in South Africa and now in England.



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