Dominant India make it 1-1

Well, congratulations to India, who completely outplayed England to win the second test by 317 runs.

Despite some late runs for Moeen, Axar Patel took five-for, with India needing just 54.2 overs to take the 10 English wickets and finish the game.

Heading into the third test, a day-nighter, the series is nicely poised at 1-1, with two to play.

England would have to win both of those last two tests to reach the world test championship final, while a result of 3-1 or 2-1 to India would see the hosts reach the final. Australia could also make it, should the series be drawn, or England win 2-1.

New Zealand have already made the final, which will be held in June at Lord's.

So, where does blame lie for England’s defeat?

There has been lots of talk of the pitch. It spun a lot, from the outset on day one. Some pundits argued that the level of spin was not compatible for test cricket, as it give India an undue advantage, and the test was unlikely to last the full five days.

To me, this is nonsense. India's advantage came as they batted better against spin, and bowled better spin. And, for all England's woes with the bat in this test, it is worth pointing out that India had two centurions, one of whom is a number eight, with three players also making fifties. It was a difficult pitch, but it is not to blame for England's defeat.

I would even say that the toss had less relevance in this test than it did in the first. Batting first in India always helps, and the winners of the first two tests did so. But in the first, England batted on a flat track for two days, before India had tougher conditions on day three, and the toughest on day five. Despite batting first in this test, India did not gain a massive advantage: the pitch spun pretty evenly throughout.

There was, obviously, some poor third umpiring decisions in this test. Most noticeably, the umpires failed to check whether the ball had glanced Rahane's glove on the way to short leg, despite England's request. While some stumpings were also hotly debated, these were very close anyway. The Rahane decision, though, was a howler. However, it may be the case that the broadcaster, Star, did not provide the footage needed. Furthermore, while I believe this negligence, not bias, the decisions came with India 250 odd for three on day one. And few runs were by each batter after the errors. Umpiring decisions were not to blame for defeat.

My conclusion is that India won because they batted a lot better, and bowled a lot better. Rohit put England in a very difficult position on day one with his 161, and Ashwin then made the game unwinnable, with 5-43, and then 106. Other than Foakes' keeping, there are few positives for England.

Going forward, Moeen is flying home after months in bubbles, including a period of isolation, after he had Covid in Sri Lanka. After gracefully speaking of a rotation policy, England's language of Moeen 'choosing' to go home seems a bit off to me. Anyway, this, given he is not first choice spinner, and England are not back in Asia for a while, may have been his last ever test. He took eight wickets, and hit some nice runs in the second innings.

England have also named their squad for the third test, and I don't envy the selectors' job. England want pace, swing and seam for the pink ball, with spinners also needed. And they need to work out who their best top seven are. Hellish right? Well, check back on IEC soon to see Inside Edge Picks, and find out what we do!

The next test starts at 9am GMT on Wednesday the 24th of February at Ahmedabad. England's squad can be seen below:

Batters- Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns,

Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley

All-rounder- Ben Stokes

Wicket-keeper- Ben Foakes

Quick Bowlers- James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Spin Bowlers- Dominic Bess,

Jack Leach.

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