When Umesh picked up David Malan on Day 2 of the 4th Test match, England was struggling for 62/5 and India’s 191 looked way far. But as it has been the case with India in England and also on other foreign tours, the Indian bowlers found it much more challenging to pick up the last 5 wickets than the first 5.
England ended their innings at 290, taking a crucial 99 run lead in the match. In this analysis, we will statistically look at how India has struggled to pick up the last 5 wickets and also how Indian tailenders have not been able to repeat the same.
2011: England won all the 4 Test matches in England, and India’s performance just went from bad to worse. The Indian team had some star players who were at the last stage of their test career and India’s lethal weapon with the bowl, Zaheer Khan picked up an injury in the first match and was ruled out of the entire series. The batting average of the first 5 and the last 5 wickets were both above 55 +, and India did have to struggle a lot to get the wickets. There were 3, 100 + partnerships and 5, fifty-plus stands compared to India’s 6 50+ stands. In the 1st innings of the 2nd Test match, England went from 88-6 to 221 all out whereas India was 267-4 and was all out for 288.
2014: India did win the Lords Test match, but there could be a chance of going 2-0 up. In the 1st Test match, England was 298/9 in reply to India’s 457 and added 198 runs for the last wicket, James Anderson scoring 81 along with Root’s 147.
Similar things happened in the following matches where India lost considerable hold on the match by failing to pick up wickets at the back end of England’s batting order
2018: The scoreline of this series (4-1 to England) does not show a true picture of how closely fought this series had been. The 1st Test itself saw India losing out a golden opportunity when England were 87-7 in the 2nd innings and only had a lead of 100 runs. England ended giving a target of 194 runs, and India lost out by 31 runs. This is one of the most straightforward examples of how India’s failure in picking the last few wickets has cost India the match. India did make a comeback, winning the 3rd Test and in the 1st innings of the 4th test match England was 86/6 and Sam Curran again proved to be the differentiator. His 78 helped England reach 246.
2021: The current series has seen a slight change in trend. India has done better than England with the contribution of runs from the last 5 wickets. The 9th wicket partnership of 89 runs between Shami and Bumrah in the 2nd Test match changed the momentum of the game completely and played a crucial role in India winning that match. Shardul Thakur’s performance with the bat at no.8 in the 4th Test match gave India the much-needed runs at the back end of both innings.
We can see how India has improved with the ball when it comes to getting the wicket of the last 4 players, who are generally the bowling unit of the opposition.
The runs scored by a batsman might not affect that much psychologically but the runs scored by a bowler changes the momentum has an effect on the morale of the team.
The 2011 series where the English bowlers averaged 52.5 with the bat and the Indian bowlers averaged only 11.7 is clearly a sign of where India was losing momentum and a grip on the match if they were able to build it before that. India has been able to keep a check on the last 2 series with the average being around 21. With further improvement in the current series, where they have not let the bowlers score more than 12.59, India is 2-1 up in the series, with one Test match to go.