When everything fell into place for Virat Kohli's men

India’s dominance that resulted in the 4-0 series scoreline against England, was scripted at many levels. Batsmen clicked and made daddy-hundreds. The bowlers played their part too, picking up wickets at opportune times. The fielding had energy written all over it, though some catches were grassed in the close-in cordon, largely it was a fine exposition of sharp eyes, waiting palms, strong arms and moving feet.

The triumphant Indian team.   -  PTI

The dust has settled on a Test series that India clinched emphatically while Alastair Cook’s men return home, hoping to bolster their spirits during Christmas.

India’s dominance that resulted in the 4-0 series scoreline, was scripted at many levels. Batsmen clicked and made daddy-hundreds, the biggest being Karun Nair’s unbeaten 303 in the final Test at Chennai while Virat Kohli topped the run-aggregate (655).

Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, often unsung heroes in the line-up, played their parts effectively and K. L. Rahul belatedly joined the fray with a 199.

The bowlers played their part too, picking up wickets at opportune times, with the run-drenched stalemate in the first Test at Rajkot being an exception.

R. Ashwin (28 wickets) and Ravindra Jadeja (26) scythed through the opposition and were supported by new off-spinner Jayant Yadav and the seamers, be it Mohammed Shami or Umesh Yadav.

The fielding had energy written all over it, though some catches were grassed in the close-in cordon — a frailty acknowledged by fielding coach R. Sridhar — largely it was a fine exposition of sharp eyes, waiting palms, strong arms and moving feet.

Nothing encapsulated it better than the stunning effort that Jadeja dished out while pouching Jonny Bairstow here on the final day of the fifth Test.

Leading from the front

Kohli handled his resources well and led by example. Setting a scorching pace with his prolific bat and fielding athletically as ever, the Indian skipper was a busybody on the turf. When the shadows lengthened at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, he sprinted like a man possessed to curtail a possible four. He emerged second-best but there was no denying the effort he put in.

A team’s performance hinges on multiple cogs working in sync and Kohli’s men found a vital boost in the runs made by the lower-order. At different points in this series, the tail proved long-lasting and luminous. Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant have batting ability, and they displayed that facet in abundance much to Cook’s dismay.

Sting in the tail

The sting in the tail proved to be a vital X-factor in India’s victory parade. Nothing exemplified this better than the manner in which Ashwin and company did a Houdini in the third Test at Mohali. From a low of 156 for five, India surged to 417 with Jadeja’s 90 leading the revival.

In the fourth Test at Mumbai, from 305 for five, the host galloped to 631 and it was Jayant’s turn to excel, his 104 deflating the England spirits.

In the Chennai Test too, with Karun running amok, the lower-order ably assisted him and from 435 for five, India progressed rapidly and had the luxury of declaring at 759 for seven leaving Cook’s men shell-shocked.

The fine amalgamation of all the building blocks pertaining to team-success, helped Kohli to constantly keep the visitor under enormous pressure.

Not like 2012

England was not the strong adversary that it was when it landed here in 2012. Then it had an enforcer in Kevin Pietersen and superior spinners in Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. Yet, Cook and company presented a dogged opposition.

England won four tosses, made hefty first innings scores like 537, 477 and 400 but was still outplayed. India was far superior with flowering young talent and a captain further enlightened by coach Anil Kumble’s sage counsel.

A strong base has been set, albeit at home, but the latest triumph — 14th victory in 18 matches — will be a harbinger of confidence and immense self-belief. The New Year will welcome teams as varied as Bangladesh and Australia but Kohli and company, nursing prime form, is likely to extend its tryst with excellence.

The fans couldn’t have asked for more.