SAKSHAM MISHRA | 27 NOVEMBER, 2019
We are Watching an Indian Juggernaut in Tests Which We Don’t Appreciate Enough
Of the 39 Bangladeshi wickets that fell this series, 34 were taken by pace bowlers
55 deliveries and 50 minutes is all it took India to wrap up the two-match Test series against Bangladesh on the morning, rather afternoon, of day three. With this, the team registered another thumping 2-0 victory at home.
But there was a sense of inevitability among the fans. Yes, India beat Bangladesh, so what? Yes, the win came on the back of pace performances, pacers took all 19 Bangladesh wickets that fell in the match, so what? Yes, this feat was registered on a batting paradise at the Eden Gardens, so what?
This was only the first time a team registered four successive innings wins in Test matches, so what? It was India's seventh consecutive Test win, so what? And 968 balls is all it took to beat Bangladesh in the maiden pink-ball Test for both teams, so what?
The rider that all these records came at home overrides the sweet feeling of triumph that should accompany these recurring wins.
There is a sense of not valuing wins at home among India’s fans that needs to go. Obviously, winning in foreign conditions comes at a premium and should be appreciated all the more, but we have to get out of this habit of looking down on home victories.
England and Australia continue to dominate visiting teams at home in conditions tailor-made for the hosts. Remember how conditions overhead coupled with the green top at Lord’s on India’s tour of England last year was thought to reflect so poorly on the Indian batting lineup? Why does the English fan not take that for granted, while an Indian fan does not attach much value to a win at home?
Similarly, James Anderson, who comes into his own only in home conditions, and has 575 Test wickets from 149 matches at an average just under 27 is considered an all-time great, but Ravichandran Ashwin's 362 Test wickets from 70 matches at an average of 25.36 are not seen with the same sense of reverence.
While India have been excellent at home for a long time, never before has the Test team shown such dominance. What is more pleasing is that the recent wins have been nothing like those of the era when Indian grounds sported dust bowls and the team employed its class spinners to bamboozle touring batsmen.
Of the 39 Bangladeshi wickets that fell in this series, 34 were taken by pace bowlers. They were shared between Ishant Sharma (12), Umesh Yadav (12) and Mohammed Shami (9). Ravindra Jadeja came up empty handed while Ashwin picked up five wickets, all of them in the Indore Test.
This comes at a time when touring teams across the world are struggling to stage a fight. Recently, both England and Pakistan suffered innings defeats, in New Zealand and Australia respectively.
So yes, it is going to be an uphill task as India gears up for its next Test assignment in New Zealand come February. While the team is better placed compared to yesteryear, and it has a shot at a series victory in the island nation this time round, the result of that series should not dilute the fact that the current Indian Test team is a champion outfit at home.
With their series win against Bangladesh the Indians are now riding on a 12-series winning streak at home, which even the greatest of teams like the West Indies and Australia could not register in their prime.
There is little doubt that this Indian team is among the strongest in Test history. Cricket fans the world over should embrace this achievement whole heartedly.
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