Even among the many notable triumphs notched up by Indian teams in the recent past the victory at Lord’s will occupy a very special place. After all it is not every time that a side which looks in a really vulnerable position shortly after play starts on the last day turns the tables around so dramatically that shortly before final draw of stumps the same side emerges victorious by a thumping margin.

On that count alone India’s win over England by 151 runs on Monday will recall fond memories for a long time. But of course that is not the only reason. The dramatic events on the final day did not fully overshadow the gripping cricket that was seen over the first four days. There were times when it was Test cricket at its grimmest as India took their time to fight back on the fourth day after being in arrears on the first innings.

But overall it was the traditional format at its best as there was much good batting and bowling and a keen contest for supremacy between two rather evenly matched teams. Certainly the eventful cricket at Lord’s has set the stage for what could be a fascinating contest with three more Tests to be played.

The visitors of course cannot afford to be complacent. Virat Kohli and his men would do well to remember that in 2014 India had taken a 1-0 lead by winning the second Test – incidentally also at Lord’s – only for England to win the next three. This time England on the face of it has gaping holes in its top order batting but there is always the feeling that the home side could regroup by finding adequate replacements even if they are rather over dependent on Joe Root.

They are of course better served in the bowling department. James Anderson is a modern day marvel continuing to display his manifold skills and seemingly never tiring even at 39 and he has splendid support in Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood. The spin of Moeen Ali can be termed as adequate but then England’s strength is in their pace bowling quartet.

For that matter India too are not without their problems. Their much vaunted middle order batting is rather wobbly and the trio of Cheteswar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will have to live up to their lofty reputation in the next three Tests if India are to nurture any hopes of holding on to their lead and winning the series. There has also been considerable debate whether the visitors should field four pacemen and only one spinner. Three pacemen and two spinners in Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja would be the ideal line-up even for English conditions. The inclusion of Ashwin will also bolster the batting.

However with the quartet of pacemen having performed in exemplary fashion at Lord’s it is unlikely that there will be any change in this policy especially with the conditions at Headingley, the venue of the third Test, likely to help the fast bowlers.

Kohli has spoken about how the on field tension motivated the team to rise to the occasion when it mattered most. There were unsavoury incidents that could have been avoided but with an ultra aggressive, over the top passionate Kohli in charge these things are now par for the course. But certainly one could see that the fast bowlers were motivated to the point where they were really destructive on a fifth day surface that would have been ideal for a spinner.

It does not happen every time in Indian cricket that after two Tests the five pacemen have accounted for all the 39 wickets to fall to bowlers with Jadeja the lone spinner going wicketless. There is little doubt that the performance of the pacemen is the main reason why the Indians are ahead in the series. They have been absolutely outstanding.

Cover Photograph AP/PTI