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23.08.2018  Author: C.NAMASIVAYAM

It was a sensational performance from Team India at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, Nottingham, as many had written them off after the Lord's debacle. It was the sort of clinical performance captains strive for and India combined to deliver it when it mattered most.

Against all odds, India came back strongly in the third Test match at Trent Bridge beating England by a walloping margin of 203 runs to stay alive in the series.

Here are the 9 reasons behind India's famous win at Trent Bridge;

1. Precise Team Composition

The Indian team management came under severe criticism for their poor selection strategy in the Lord's Test. Conversely, at Trent Bridge, Indian team selection was spot on. The out- of- form Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik were dropped and in their place, Shikhar Dhawan and the young Rishabh Pant came into the side. The team management rectified their Lord's howler by replacing the second spinner Kuldeep Yadav with the fit-again Jasprit Burmah. These three changes had a telling effect on the final outcome of the match.

While the Indians were perfect in their team selection, it was England's turn to do the unthinkable by dropping the in-form all-rounder Sam Curran.

2. Kohli's conviction at the toss

Albeit, it was England who won the toss and put India into bat. But Kohli, from the beginning, was quite unambiguous in his mind that he wanted to bat in any case. While Joe Root was living in the past, Kohli was weighing down the possibilities of the present. Whereas Joe Root was influenced by what happened at Lords, Kohli's mind was uncluttered.

Any other Captain in Kohli's position would have prepared his team to bowl first in an attempt not to expose his frail batting once again on the first day of the test match. But Virat Kohli's conviction at the toss as to what he wanted to do based on the conditions prevalent in Trent Bridge was a positive move. It was not a bizarre coincidence that Team India's every triumph on overseas tours in the recent past came while batting first.

3. Vast improvement in the show of the Indian batsmen

All the Indian batsmen had a horrendous time in the Lord's Test. None of the Indian batsmen could show a minimum of application in the first two Tests except the captain. But at Nottingham, suddenly a number of batsmen scored runs and it was a good sign for the rest of the series. The opening batsmen put on 60 runs in both the innings which was quite stimulating. In the first inning, other than Pujara, all the other 6 out of the top 7 batsmen managed to face 50 or more balls each.

Again, in the second innings, other than Rahul and Pant, all the other 5 out of 7 batsmen went on to face 50 or more balls to grind the England bowlers to dust. England bowlers were not expecting this kind of resistance from the Indian batsmen. For a change, the England bowlers were made to toil for their wickets. The performance of the openers in both the innings and Kohli's partnership with Rahane and Pujara stood out for Team India. In the first innings, Kohli and Rahane's partnership proved to be crucial. On the stroke of lunch on the first day of the Test match, Pujara played a horrendous shot which left India wobbling at 82 for 3.The nightmare of Lord's was still fresh in everyone's memory.

After lunch, Rahane joined Kohli and the pair added 159 precious runs for the fourth wicket. This pair completely exploited the favourable batting conditions prevalent on the first day of the Test match. Kohli and Rahane helped India to post a challenging total of 329 in the first innings. The bowler-friendly conditions on the second day shaped up this score into a formidable one.

Virat Kohli scored a brilliant 103 in the second innings after missing out on one in the first innings. This was Kohli's 23rd Test century and 16th as captain. Kohli shared crucial partnerships with Pujara and Rahane to help India set a huge target of beyond 500. Whatever little opening England had of staging a coming back was thwarted by Kohli in the second innings.

4. The youthful exuberance of Rishabh Pant behind the wickets

Rishabh Pant had a dream debut with the bat when he deposited the second ball he faced into the stands. In the process, he became the only Indian batsman to open his account in a Test match with a six.

Rishabh Pant was fabulous behind the wickets when he took 5 catches in the first innings. By taking 5 catches in the first innings, Pant became the youngest wicket-keeper to take 5 catches in a Test inning. At times, Pant struggled to cover the angle of Bumrah, otherwise, he was safe. His youthful exuberance was infectious. The presence of a reliable keeper behind the wicket abruptly improved the catching skills of the slip cordon.

5. Hardik Pandya's bowling in the first innings

Before this Test match started, Hardik Pandya was looked upon as a batting all-rounder who could bowl a few overs in the middle to provide some rest to the main fast bowlers. Nonetheless, he was expected to contribute more as a bowler on English conditions.

At Trent Bridge, Hardik Pandya made his presence felt by removing the England Captain Joe Root with his very first delivery. Thereafter, it was easy going for him as he hit the road to take a five-wicket haul in 29 balls.

The interim absence of R. Ashwin in the field due to a niggle prompted Virat Kohli to give an extended spell of bowling to Hardik Pandya, which proved to be the turning point of the match. During his blistering spell in the first innings, what went unnoticed was the fact that he had bowled the fastest delivery of the match at 144.8 KPH.

In batting too, Hardik Pandya was not far behind when he scored a run-a-ball half-century in the second innings which swelled the target beyond 500.

6. Indian bowlers authority over the English Batsmen

The Indian bowlers took total control over the English Batsmen in both the innings. The domination was so complete that in the first innings, India managed to take all the England wickets in one extended session. Every single Indian bowler had been consistent in this match and kept the pressure on from both the ends. The presence of Jasprit Bumrah in this Test match had lifted the quality of the Indian bowling to a different level. The Hardik Pandya surprise, as a bowler, made the Indian bowling more potent..

7. Bumrah's decisive spell with the second new ball in the second innings

In England's second innings, England lost their first four wickets for just 62 runs. Buttler joined Stokes for the fifth wicket and the duo was batting really well as they forged a brilliant stand of 169 runs and played out 52 overs. Buttler duly completed his maiden Test century. This partnership was assuming dangerous propositions for India. That was then Kohli brought on Bumrah to bowl with the second new ball.

Bumrah stole the limelight with the second new ball. Bumrah gave India the important breakthrough by getting rid of the well-set Buttler. In his very next delivery, he cleaned up Bairstow. Bumrah followed that up with the wickets of Woakes and Broad. In the end, Bumrah's five-wicket haul in the second innings was the icing on the cake for Team India's performance in the third Test.

8. Improved slip catching

The Indians were simply outstanding in the slips. Rahul took 7 catches in the match. India held on to most chances. This had hastened England's demise.

9. King Kohli's zeal as a leader

Adversity can either inspire a leader to raise his game or deflate him so much that he just caves in meekly. King Kohli, the leader, had felt the former would hold true for him and for his side whom he felt were known for showing their character when under the pump. True to his words, the Captain himself was at the forefront of India's batting performance.

Kohli, for the second time in the series, scored 200 runs in the match. The only time when he failed at Lord's, the Indian batting crumbled like a pack of cards. Kohli's intensity, passion, and zeal, both as a player and as a leader, made this Indian team an exceptionally competitive entity. This was earlier witnessed in South Africa and now in England.

In the past, when India lost the first match on an overseas tour, it was a freefall from thereon. But now under Kohli, Team India had cultured to fight their way out of trouble and from adverse situations. This augurs well for the future.

In the entire history of Test cricket, only one team led by the legendary Don Bradman had won a five-match Test series after trailing by 2-0 at the end of the first two Tests. Team India, by virtue of their huge win in the third Test, are on their way to equal that record.

Kohli is all set to follow in the footsteps of the great Don, both as a leader and as a batsman. evamping of the team after the third Test is mandatory. The Indian fans are in for increasingly frustrating times.