Gone are the days when as soon as the sixth wicket fell, India would wrap up in no time. Tailenders not being able to contribute with the bat was a major throwback to India in the Tests. Now, the tail doesn’t fail. Here’s why.
India’s template in Tests was quite conventional. Five batters, five bowlers and an all-rounder or just a batter or a bowler extra. While it is how things used to work for most of the teams, what India lacked was: help from tailenders.
There weren’t many bowlers who could bat, forget having two or three all-rounders in the XI. What it did was the mainstream batters were always under a lot of pressure. They knew once they were gone, there is no hope at the back.
However, time has changed. India now bats deep, as deep as that their tail actually starts at number 10. In the ongoing first Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy at Nagpur, India is batting an XI, in which there are as many as three all-rounders.
Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin. Among them, one might question Ashwin, the batter, but the fact that he has five Test hundreds shuts the discussion, if any!
Jadeja, who has three first-class triple-hundreds, is a proper all-rounder. He has also batted in the middle order in Tests and there is no question about his abilities with the bat. Axar Patel, whose white-ball heroics with the bat are hidden to none, is also quite handy down the order.
On the Nagpur track where the star-studded visiting Austrlain team was bundled on meagre 177 runs, both Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel scored the fifties and are unbeaten yet. Their effort with the bat hasn’t been a fluke but a fine display of Test batting on a tough pitch.
Thanks to their contribution, India is in a commanding position at the end of the second day’s play with the scorecard reading 321/7 (a lead of 144 runs with India). This is not the first occasion where India’s lower order has come to the party but this is the reason that India has done so well in multi-day cricket, even outside the home.
India’s tail doesn’t fail anymore because there’s no tail, it is replaced by the pack of all-rounders!
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