New Delhi: Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes that India will now get stronger in the ongoing five-match Test series against the visitors, following their 106-run win in the second Test at Visakhapatnam, which came after suffering a 28-run defeat in Hyderabad.
“England played a lot of good cricket in the second Test and so far this hasn’t reminded me of the last tour of India, when they won the first game and then lost the series 3-1. But I do think India will get stronger, absolutely.
“This was an opportunity for England but don’t forget they were missing players, too, like Jack Leach and Harry Brook. And Joe Root couldn’t bowl in the second innings. Yes, it will get tougher for England — with KL Rahul coming back and possibly Virat Kohli — but that was always going to be the case,” said Hussain to Daily Mail.
On day four of second Test at Visakhapatnam, England showed the positivity of continuing their uber-attacking approach, but it wasn’t sufficient as they were bowled out for 292 in 69.2 overs. Apart from Zak Crawley’s 73, no other batter could touch the 50-run mark in their fourth innings chase, as India squared the five-game series at 1-1.
Asked if captain Ben Stokes was right in being pleased over the positivity shown in the uphill chase at Visakhapatnam, Hussain said, “The one thing about Ben is that he’s always honest. Like when he basically said England were rubbish during the World Cup. So he’s right to be pleased with a lot of what went on here. Did they bowl out India twice for under-par scores? Yes. Did they bat well and nearly get 300 in the last innings in India? Yes, that’s a pretty good effort.
“The problem came in England’s first innings and that was due to one exceptional spell from Jasprit Bumrah, as good as I’ve seen in the Subcontinent from a quick bowler. A lot of England batters got in and got out. That’s what they have to put right.”
After the end of Visakhapatnam Test, Stokes had said the DRS was wrong in giving Zak Crawley lbw off Kuldeep Yadav, which turned out to be a decisive moment in the record chase of 399. Hussain felt one can’t doubt the technology in cricket, although he admitted it looked slightly odd.
“I think that DRS is brilliant. Look at VAR and how football doesn’t get it right. That’s not been the case in cricket. Occasionally technology is not 100 per cent accurate. That’s why we have umpire’s call.
“This decision did look slightly odd and most of us would have thought it was clipping leg stump. But the game is about angles — and the left-armer in Kuldeep Yadav bowling over the wicket does create an angle — so I don’t think we should doubt the technology.”
Hussain also defended England’s move of taking a break of eight days at Abu Dhabi, where they held a training camp last month ahead of arriving in India, ahead of third Test starting on February 15 in Rajkot.
“They could (have stayed in India)— but they’ve got a lot of cricket coming up this year so any time they can be with their families and relax in an environment they feel comfortable in is fine by me. It can be a cauldron in India as there’s such a love of cricket. The moment these lads leave their hotel room they are mobbed. They have been successful in part because they can relax and get away from it,” he said.
Hussain signed off by hoping Virat Kohli returns for the remaining three Tests after missing first two games due to personal reasons. “The one thing about India is that in three of their four innings they have been a bit sloppy. I know Rahul Dravid and he would have been ticking inside at some of the dismissals so far.”
“India will think, ‘We keep on giving England a sniff here, let’s be more ruthless’. And the one thing Kohli is, is absolutely ruthless. I hope he does come back because the only thing this series has been missing is the battle between Kohli and Jimmy Anderson. I’m looking forward to that.” IANS