England outplaying India in their own game? Stats reveal reminiscence of Indian team last home series loss

For over a decade, the cricket pitches of India have stood as unbreachable bastions against international touring sides. The subcontinent has been a graveyard for many illustrious cricketing powers, but the tide seemed to be turning. To conquer India in their stronghold, opponents have learned they must defeat them in their signature style—a battle of spin. The lethal Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja transformed nightmares into reality for many a batsman, rising to become the second most successful Indian pair prior to the series against England. Their ascent to the pinnacle followed swiftly during the first Test of the series. Nonetheless, India’s second Test victory wasn’t enough to dispel the echoes of England’s triumphant 2012 tour—the last instance when a team shattered India’s home dominance.

The Indian spinners have traditionally maintained a low average runs per wicket, a testament to their effectiveness on spinner-friendly tracks. Yet, their last series defeat on home soil highlighted a period of transition with Harbhajan Singh, an emerging Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, alongside fresh talents Jadeja and Piyush Chawla contriving a spin attack that was outclassed by the English spin unit led by Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. At that time, Indian spinners claimed 43 wickets at an average of 40.62 in comparison to the English tally of 39 scalps at 28.61.

Fast-forward to the present series, by the end of the second Test, Indian spinners had taken 23 wickets with an average of 38.39, whereas England’s spinners outshone their hosts with 33 wickets at 33.90. This curious inversion of dominance was not unprecedented. During the initial half of the 2016-17 Australia tour, the visitors’ spinners boasted a superior average, but the Indian tweakers resolved their form and recaptured the advantage by the end of the series.

In this encounter, India suffered a defeat in the first Test partly due to a shortfall in runs and a spectacular innings from England’s Ollie Pope. Indian Head Coach Rahul Dravid acknowledged the team’s deficiencies, particularly in capitalizing on good starts and their failure to amass a significant individual score. Pope’s performance set a new standard for the sweep and reverse sweep in the given conditions, which drew high praise from Dravid.

The following game continued the trend, with only Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill, in the first and second innings respectively, registering noteworthy contributions. This shift can also be attributed to the Indian batsmen’s struggle against the relatively inexperienced English spin attack. The most accomplished English spinner, Jack Leach, was sidelined, leaving behind an attack significantly lacking in Test experience.

Jadeja’s absence from the second Test and the missing ingenuity of Axar Patel, reminiscent of the 2021 series against England, suggested a reemergence of the 2012 pattern. While England initially had trouble with spin and Jasprit Bumrah’s fast bowling, they soon adapted, demonstrating a stark contrast from their predecessors in 2012.

With the series poised at 1-1 and Jadeja potentially available for the remaining matches, assuming he clears fitness evaluations, the stage is set for India to repel the recurring pattern and reinforce their supremacy on home soil. The story of this series continues to unfold, and whether it will follow the narrative of 2012 or write a new chapter remains a question only the cricketing gods can answer.

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