Riding on big contributions from Virat Kohli (97) and Ajinkya Rahane (81), India put up a much better show with the bat on day one of the third Test against England in Trent Bridge.
After failing to even near the 150-mark in either innings of their innings-and-159-run-defeat at Lord’s, they reached 307/6 at stumps after being put in. Sanjay Bangar, India’s assistant coach, was pleased with the display and credited the batsmen for making minor technical adjustments and displaying greater discipline.
“Certain adjustments were made by some of the batsmen. They were playing a lot later, lot of batsmen used some shots square of the wicket and overall I think the discipline was far, far better,” Bangar explained.
The most important thing for the visitors was Rahane’s return to form because it could take the burden off Kohli’s shoulders. The captain had waged a valiant battle in the first Test at Edgbaston, scoring a total of 200 runs as India went down by 31 runs without fight from other batsmen.
“Even at Lord’s, he (Rahane) was batting well, looking solid, till the time he chased a widish delivery. He is a quality player, we all know that. Ravi (Shastri, the Head Coach) coming out and saying that he is our pillar, he is still a pillar of Indian batting, that might have done a whole lot of good for his confidence,” said Bangar.
“And, yes, certain adjustments even he made, which probably he can tell you better. He looked in terrific touch, the partnership he had with Virat, they played with intent. His mindset was very clear he was very positive, his feet were moving well. He was getting into good positions. At times there can be a lapse in concentration, which can lead to losing your wicket, which had happened in the previous Test. But he seemed to be in good nick and he capitalised, put us in a good position and he would be hurting because a big score was on the cards.”
While Kohli and Rahane might have added substance to India’s effort with a 159-run partnership to haul India out from a precarious position of 82/3, Bangar pointed out that even the top-order batsmen, especially Shikhar Dhawan (35) who returned after being dropped for the second Test, had made crucial adjustments to their technique. Together with KL Rahul (23), he added 60 for the first wicket to lay down a solid platform.
“The most important thing was the opening partnership was according to our expectation. In the previous two Tests, we were losing two or three wickets inside the first 15 overs. Because of that the middle order was walking in early in difficult conditions. It was not just the start but also the way they were batting was good,” said Bangar.
“The way Shikhar made the changes to his batting, the way he reduced his bat speed, the way he played the ball later, these adjustments he made in the last six or seven days, he should get credit. KL Rahul, too, was playing on the back foot, he was reacting after the ball’s movement.
“These changes the batsmen have made make me hopeful for the rest of the series. With five more innings left, if our batsmen can play in the same way, their performance graph will carry on to improve.”