Commendable achievement

Team India got ahead at Lord’s due to its tenacity, determination and the willingness of its batsmen in both the innings. Rahane stuck it out under extreme pressure and in bowler-friendly conditions to notch up a century on his maiden appearance at Lord’s.

A victory at Lord’s had eluded Team India for close to three decades and would have continued to do so but for M. S. Dhoni’s innovation. Ishant Sharma was almost forced to pitch it short and the ploy worked as he picked up seven wickets in the fourth innings.

However, Team India got ahead at Lord’s also due to its tenacity, determination and the willingness of its batsmen in both the innings. Rahane stuck it out under extreme pressure and in bowler-friendly conditions to notch up a century on his maiden appearance at Lord’s. All along Pujara has been touted as Rahul Dravid’s successor but to me Rahane is almost a clone of Dravid.

Like Dravid, Rahane has an uncanny knack of leaving deliveries and generally sticks to his strengths. He loves to consume deliveries and counter the aggression directed at him with minimum fuss. He is also adept at dictating bowlers in a passive way, playing the odd pull shot and forcing them to bowl up to him. That he is the least flamboyant amongst his peers does not bother him, much the same as Dravid. All that Rahane is focused on is to occupy the crease and put a price on his wicket. But for his century, the Indians would have been in big trouble and the result could have been all too different.

If Rahane did the job of grinding the English attack in the first essay, Murali Vijay played a very crucial innings in the second. He has realised that Test cricket is all about battling it out and consuming time. Some might have got the impression that he made heavy weather of it, but on a track that was deteriorating progressively, his occupation of the crease enhanced his team’s chances. There was a serious question mark about his ability to succeed abroad as also his temperament prior to the start of this series. Until now, he has passed on both counts and hopefully he will continue to stick to the same approach.

It is rather intriguing that Vijay always played for time before he tasted success in the IPL. The keenness to adapt and establish himself in all formats of the game resulted in him getting confused with regard to the method he needed to pursue. The fact that he has reverted to the original method of playing time is an indication of his mental strength.

It is a pleasure to see Vijay and the other young batsmen handling formidable attacks under difficult and alien conditions with such aplomb. Murali Vijay can now be dubbed as “The Monk, who has rediscovered his own self,” going by the temperament he has displayed in this series. Of course, the current crop of young batsmen has frustrated the best of attacks, looking at ease, while coping with challenges, starting with the South African series. The win at Lord’s was the much-needed fillip for a young team, which has been trying very hard in recent times. Team India has remarkable willingness to adapt to the demands of Test cricket and tough situations.

The bowling attack is not settled as yet, in terms of a balanced combination, but hopefully Dhoni will show the courage to play five bowlers. The three seamers fashioned India’s victory at Lord’s, but let’s not forget that the lead bowler has broken down after a match-winning performance. The Indian skipper must consider the workload of his bowlers very minutely.