Great Britain is branded for its literature, history, The Beatles, football and cricket. There are reasons why the Brits took school seriously; cricket formed a part of the curriculum. Players like Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain, and many more, emerged from school cricket. No wonder they know their homework before an away series and the results reflected when England fell four wickets short of an upset.

The visitors’ subcontinent conditioning camp started in Bangladesh itself due to similarity in wickets and conditions. When they couldn’t be at their best against Bangladesh, losing the last Test after almost succumbing to the first, critics thought England is going to get battered in India. But no, it seems they were testing ideas. The series, almost on the verge of being called off due to security issues, became England’s rehearsal pad before the crucial jamboree in India. On top of that, skipper Alastair Cook had the glorious footage of 2012 to return to.

So, why did India have to fight to save a Test in the same conditions in which they thrashed New Zealand 3-0? “We play to pick 20 wickets and win the match. Rajkot was a good batting track, there were six centuries; had Cheteshwar Pujara taken the DRS, it could have been different. But I don’t think you can blame anyone. At that point of time, they felt they don’t need to take it,” said head coach Anil Kumble. In the final innings, Pujara was leg-before to Adil Rashid off a leg break that pitched outside leg stump. He didn’t go for a review.

“We let ourselves down in the catching department. I thought the fast bowlers bowled well on that surface. They troubled all the English batsmen. The one area where we let ourselves down is fielding,” added Kumble. India dropped as many as five catches during England’s first innings.

Skipper Virat Kohli, who remained unbeaten on 49, with Ravindra Jadeja till the end of the innings had a different opinion altogether. The 28-year-old muted his killer instinct and appreciated how the team fought to save the Test. After he took over the reins as skipper, India rarely had to think about saving a match on home soil; instead of throwing his weight out of anger, he praised the boys for adapting well. “At least, we know how to draw games now. Earlier, we either won or lost. We will have this situation in Test cricket again. Maybe, we will have to apply ourselves and show character,” said Kohli, stressing on the importance of percentage cricket — a mix of ones, twos and boundaries keeping the wicket intact.

However, India has decided to recall KL Rahul in the team who sustained an injury during the series against New Zealand. It could be the end of Gautam Gambhir, who failed to make a mark in the first Test. “Rahul had an injury but now, he has recovered. As a protocol, we wanted him to play a first-class match. He got a 76 and 106 for Karnataka against Rajasthan,” said Kumble. Since the match was happening close to Vizag (Vizianagaram), it is was easy for him to be back.

The Rajkot pitch was more or less flat, assisted the batsmen till the last day before Rashid hit the spot. It will not be the same at Vizag, which is holding the second Test. The turf is spin-friendly and offers a bit of bounce. India bundled New Zealand for a paltry 79 in the ODI series decider there recently. They should be wary of Rashid and Moeen Ali, they might have done their research already.