England won all 13 sessions of this Test which means they completely outplayed the Indian team. This performance is surely the best by the England team in recent times.
In the first innings England scored 569 runs for seven wickets courtesy of two outstanding centuries by Gary Ballance and Ian Bell. Captain Cook also scored 95 and showed that he still belongs to this level.
India in reply never looked in control and were bundled out for 330. Ajinkya Rahane was the highest scorer with 54 as James Anderson took five wickets for 53 runs on the occasion of his birthday.
England did not enforce the follow-on and decided to bat again, coming out with a very attacking frame of mind. Cook scored 70 not out, Joe Root scored 56 off 41 balls as England declared to set India 445 to win.
India therefore had to survive for more than four sessions in order to draw but their second innings started badly.
Murali Vijay was run out due to his careless attitude.Shikhar Dhawan played some good strokes and then got out. Much was expected from Virat Kohli but he was also dismissed cheaply.
Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane showed some resistance but Sharma was out early on the morning of the fifth day. Rahane fought a lone battle and scored a half-century but India eventually lost by 266 runs.
In this match England spinner Moeen Ali took wickets which made this victory even sweeter. Indians generally play spin well but this time disciplined bowling by Ali took the Indian batsmen by surprise.
Ali deserves plenty of appreciation for his outstanding job with the ball. James Anderson was as usual on the money; every time he took the ball in his hands it seemed like a wicket would fall. He has tremendous ability to read the mind of a batsman and knows how a particular batsman will react to a certain delivery. Stuart Broad also attacked the batsmen, and he never let them off the hook.
India looked relaxed and complacent when this Test match started. It may have been due to the win at Lord’s or perhaps that they thought that this England team is not good enough.
Vijay, the in-form batsman failed to convert his starts into big ones. Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli, the main pillars of India's batting, looked confused whenever they came out to bat. Then they either went too defensive or too attacking in their approach - they never played their natural game. The pressure always got the better of them.
Indian captain MS Dhoni also looked somewhat defensive in the decisions he took on field. He made Ravindra Jadeja bowl a defensive line in the first innings. If he is the main spinner he should be picking up wickets and not stopping runs.
Pankaj Singh, the debutant for India, bowled well in the first innings but unfortunately did not pick up any wickets. Jadeja dropped a regulation catch off Cook when Singh was bowling. India certainly missed the services of Ishant Sharma in this match. Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked impressive but hats off to the England batsmen for handling him well.
The biggest disappointment for Indian cricket fans was that their team did not show any fight what soever.
Now the series is level at 1-1. What else does a cricket lover want? The next Test is of utmost importance as the team that wins this Test match cannot lose the series and Old Trafford is surely going to host a cracker.
Hopefully this time we get to see an even contest with both teams giving their best.
© Cricket World 2014