5 things we learnt from the fifth Test between England and India

The England cricket team comprehensively defeated India by 118 runs in the fifth and final Test of the five-match series, thus winning the series 4-1.

The Indian side made a stern comeback on the final day, with KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant putting on a massive 204 run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Earlier in the day, Rahane was looking good as well but was dismissed in poor fashion, trying to sweep Moeen Ali.  Pant and Rahul looked like they would take India to an improbable victory, however, it was not to be. Adil Rashid bowled a magical delivery to Rahul to dismiss him before sending Pant back as well.

From there, there was no turning back for England as they wrapped up the lower order within no time.

India will have to wait for a few more years now to achieve a Test series win in England. For now, they will travel to Dubai for the Asia Cup.

Here are five things we learned from the Test

#5 Perfect farewell for Cook

Alastair Cook, who was playing in his final Test before retirement, came up with one of the best knocks of his lives. With 71 in the first innings and 147 in the second, Cook made up for all his failures in the first four Tests.

We were reminded of his vintage self as he took on the bowlers with ease and played two incredible innings. His partnership in the second innings along with Alastair Cook was game-changing and probably took the game completely away from India.

After his retirement, he is rumoured to join the commentary box for England’s series against Pakistan.

#4 England’s tail saves them once again

A popular joke going around on the internet is that two things have let India down in the series: the tail of the coin and England’s tail. While Kohli’s luck at the toss is something he cannot help, the fact that the Indian side could not get rid of the English lower order in the first innings was something that could have been different.

This was quite similar to the fourth and the first Test, where the English lower order scored plenty of runs, which ended up being the turning point of those matches. Be it Sam Curran or Jos Buttler or even Stuart Broad, somehow, someone always batted with the tailenders to make England reach a par score. 

#3 India need to shuffle a few things

The team selection has been quite questionable throughout the series. Dropping Cheteshwar Pujara from the first Test, making Kuldeep Yadav play in the second, and making an unfit Ravichandran Ashwin play in the fourth Test – these are just a few of the baffling decisions made by the team management.

Going forward, a few changes need to be made in the team. They will also have to look at a new opening partner for KL Rahul, given Shikhar Dhawan’s failures in this series and away from subcontinent conditions in Tests in general. They also need to ensure that Jadeja does not miss out too much, given the way he played in the final Test.

#2 KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari make a mark for themselves

The only positives from India’ second innings were the way KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant took on the English bowlers and played their natural attacking game.

It was a treat to watch these two batsmen weave their magic on the field and put on a huge partnership for the sixth wicket as they played some beautiful shots to take the English bowlers to the cleaners. At one point, it looked like they would even take India to a victory, but they were stopped by Adil Rashid.

However, with the way they anchored their innings today, we could see them deploy a similar strategy in the Tests going forward.

Meanwhile, Hanuma Vihari may have also booked his ticket for the tour of Australia. While he might have scored a duck in the second innings, he got a half-century in the first innings and also took three Englsh wickets – that included both centurions Alastair Cook and Joe Root – in their second innings. 

So, it is safe to admit that the near future is bright for the 24-year-old. 

#1 A change needed at the helm?

With the conclusion of the Test series, a lot of people are questioning Virat Kohli’s captaincy and Ravi Shastri’s position as the head coach. India have now lost two series abroad, in South Africa and in England.

The team selection has been questioned and a few tactics made by Kohli and Shastri have been questioned as well.

While it might be too early to think about removing Kohli as the captain, the BCCI might actually consider a change of coach going forward. However, the problem here is that there seems to be no-one better than Kohli to take over the reins in Test cricket as almost every batsman aren't indispensible like he is. 

Shastri's position, meanwhile, looks more in scrutiny as not only has he not been able to devise plans to make India win series away from home, he has also been very careless with the words he has spoken. 

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