WTC Final Rewind: What went wrong for India?

India is one of the teams which probably deserves this trophy more than any other team. It has not only been dominant at home but also overseas. It has won in Australia and that too without the senior players apart from Rahane and Pujara. So what happened to India in the World Test Championship Final? The selection could’ve been better picking India’s third most successful batsman, Mayank Agarwal ahead of Gill but it didn’t affect the team too much! Let’s check the reasons:

1. Rain

Well, you could say this affected both sides but however, it has affected India more. Let me explain why! The conditions became overcast after continuous showers again and again. It washed out the first day’s play, making the pitch fruitful for swing bowling. On average, the ball swung by 2.67% in the second day of the game (the highest for an innings since 2006). Also, rain changed the whole dynamic of the game. Due to it, India had to play much quicker than it would have planned to, for a victory. Hence you could see a lot of nicks in the Indian innings. All these factors probably affected India’s chances in this game. 

2. Difference between the Tail Enders

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If you saw in the game, India’s tail enders barely managed to score 30 runs in both the innings combined. However, NZ’s tail-enders were too good with Jamieson and Southee providing a couple of sixes and fours that helped them get 40-50 runs extra from where they were! Together with Williamson, they managed to secure a lead of 32 runs in the first innings. This trend has been happening with India for quite some time. Remember Sam Curran’s efforts in 2018 or Kyle Jamieson’s heroics with the bat in 2020. India has been troubled against tail-enders, so it needs to ensure to knock over the tail quickly from now on!

3. Comparison between India and New Zealand Bowlers

Well, if you ask me, NZ bowlers were the reason why they were able to beat India. And the reason they were successful is because they managed to bowl the delivery in the good length and with exceptional control of swing. They were constantly asking questions to the batsmen whether to nick it or not! Due to their exceptional control over their line and length, they managed to get out the Indian batsmen pretty easily. Especially, Kyle Jamieson was absolutely phenomenal with his control. However for Indian bowlers, they were a bit short in their length and with less hint of swing. Bumrah especially was a bit off in this game and was bowling really short! 

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4. Conditions

It was simple. England’s conditions were pretty similar to New Zealand’s conditions and India has rarely tasted success in overcast and swinging tracks. Indian batting is better in bouncy and spinning tracks like in Australia and in the subcontinent. This is probably one reason why New Zealand had a slight advantage over India. Apart from that, New Zealand had got enough game exposure ahead of the final playing against England in England. 

5. Pujara consuming too Many Balls – A Concern

It is clear that Pujara is the one who tries to wear down the bowlers all the time and there is literally no change in his approach. It’s okay because if someone at one end wears down the bowlers, the others might be able to play freely and comfortably. But nowadays, Pujara has been taking too much time when it comes to scoring runs. He took 36 balls to reach a run in the first innings and when he departed back to the pavillion, his score was 7 off 56 balls! I think that if he plays just a bit more aggressive by smashing the half volleys coming on to the bat, India could very well rely on him. Hope he comes back to form!

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India’s first series in the next World Test Championship is once again in England. We hope that they’ll come back to form and hopefully win an ICC event after 9 years. If they correct these errors from the WTC Final, hopefully they can win the series in England comfortably.

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