And so India won another Test series at home. Among all cricketing countries none has a more awesome home record than India. The result against England was their 17th successive series victory at home and no other nation comes close. The last time India lost a contest in their own backyard was in 2012, when interestingly it was England who emerged triumphant.

As predictable as it may appear there was something heartwarming in the latest series win which has been wrapped up with one Test yet to be played. In a nutshell it was a deserving hard-fought win over gallant opponents in one of the best contests seen at home.

More important. It was achieved by a young Indian side which was bereft of several of its leading players for various reasons. If there is one point driven home by this performance it is that the future of Indian cricket will continue to be bright.

These future hopefuls are confidence personified. They have been bought up on a surfeit of limited overs cricket so it is not unexpected that they excel in this format. But they have also shown that they have it in them to put in the hard yards and perform admirably even in the traditional format.

Test cricket needs qualities of a very different nature – to be patient and to persevere, to be tenacious and technically equipped, to display deep concentration to bat for hours together or to bowl long spells. And yet the youngsters took little time to show that they had these special qualities to come good in the longest format and how well they performed!

One recalls how during the tour of Australia in 2020-21 even as one by one the senior and established players fell by the wayside because of various reasons, the rookies rose to the occasion and helped pull off arguably India’s greatest Test triumph ever. The Indian team of today has remarkable bench strength and when thrown into the deep end of the pool they deliver immediately.

One indeed lost count of the number of times the young brigade rescued India from a ticklish situation in the current series. On several occasions the match hung in the balance only for them to take the match away from England either with bat or ball.

Cricketers like Shubman Gill, Dhruv Jurel, Sarfaraz Khan and Yashasvi Jaiswal play without fear. They are hungry for success, they want to achieve glory quickly and are not overawed by an opponent’s reputation or record. They have the self belief that they can succeed, they can overcome any crisis.

They have a steely temperament, can handle high pressure situations and that is not something that every young cricketer can do. They have a mature head on their shoulders and can play attacking cricket or display a back to the wall defence whichever is required.

With all the several examples of them coming good perhaps the most symbolic would be the sixth wicket partnership between Gill and Jurel that settled the fourth Test in India’s favour. They came together at a critical juncture.

Two wickets had fallen off successive deliveries, 72 runs were still required on a dicey pitch and the game had veered England’s way. And yet the two youngsters displaying a maturity far beyond their years and experience did exactly what was needed to steer India home.

From England’s viewpoint it must have been a major disappointment to go down in a series in which they hoped to showcase their Bazball approach at its most dazzling. Ever since Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes took over as coach and captain two years ago there has been a refreshing approach to England’s cricket and their innovative and entertaining tactics has endeared them to cricket fans.

Moreover, it was successful as England remained unbeaten in seven Test series. However, it was also clear at the start of the Indian tour that this would be the biggest challenge for Bazball and so it proved.

It is not easy to adopt this approach against Indian spinners on turning tracks though none of the four venues produced surfaces that favoured spin bowlers to an alarming extent. There was some purchase yes but they were not dust bowls. Batsmen on both sides got hundreds and Jaiswal in fact notched up two double hundreds.

In a way that summed up the series for India’s spin bowlers were far more skilful, and vastly more experienced. England did come prepared for the conditions including three spinners in Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Shoaib Basheer plus Joe Root who can be useful with his off spinners. Ultimately though the Indian spin attack of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel were too good and proved to be the decisive factor.

Perhaps the time has come for England to temper their Bazball approach a bit. There is no need for an overhaul for it has been pretty successful besides being entertaining. In the final analysis it is a question of adopting an approach depending on the situation in the match.

Sometimes the situation calls for a grim back to the wall fight and a more sensible and responsible approach. Even Root had to adopt a more methodical approach in the final Test and was rewarded with a hundred after he failed in the earlier matches adopting Bazball which didn’t work for a textbook stroke player like him.