At Lord’s, India were put under the task of bundling the hosts England out within 60 overs in what seemed like a tough job. Several fingers were pointed at the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli for his tacky decision of having the Indian batsmen continue in the middle even after the lunch break. 19 out of the 20 English wickets to fall were at the hands of an Indian pacer, which showed the caliber of the Indian pace attack.
Mohammed Siraj, who was playing his first Test at Lord’s, found himself accustomed and performed immaculately, picking up a total of eight wickets in the Test, beating Kapil Dev’s record at the venue. In the last three years, the Indian pacers have accounted for 297 wickets, just behind New Zealand and England’s tally of 333 and 404 wickets respectively, at an astonishing average of 22.89, the best amongst teams in the World Test Championship (WTC).
Post the historical win at Lord’s, former England skipper David Gower, in an exclusive chat with Cricket.com, called the Indian bowling unit one of the best seam attacks in world cricket. Despite the outside noise that surrounded the decision to play four pacers, Gower insisted that it was a match-winning one.
“It is certainly a very good era for pace bowlers, you got a comfortably best seam attack that India has. Again, to make the point, when you can leave (Ravichandran) Ashwin out and still win the game, then you got a good team," Gower exclusively told Cricket.com after Lord’s Test.
“Once or twice during the Test, there were questions raised over the seamers but no, at the end of it all, the seamers won the Test for India, they did a brilliant job.”
It wasn’t just the pace attack that set the game on fire for the visitors, with openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul showcasing a masterclass on how to bat in English conditions. On the first day of the Lord’s Test amidst the overcast conditions, the Indian openers not just weathered the storm but took the game immediately away from the hands of the hosts, who put them in.
Gower insisted that the Indian opening partnership looked threatening in comparison to England’s shaky pair. Not just that, the 64-year-old also applauded the 27-year-old Siraj’s efforts at Lord’s, calling the story remarkable.
“That’s the great strength of this Indian team, you have an opening partnership that looks strong, unlike England’s, you got a four-man seam attack with Ravindra Jadeja, it is one of the best bowling attacks that I have seen come out of India on a tour. A lot of the success in Australia were down to the likes of Mohammed Siraj coming to the fore, making a reputation for himself.”
While the Indian skipper was critiqued by a section of people, Gower put India’s ruthlessness and aggression down to Virat Kohli. Throughout the Test, Kohli was consistently motivating his teammates while still being in the ears of the opposition, after what transpired in the first innings of the Test match.
“What seems to have changed is that the Indian teams going abroad have learnt what is required and have come out and competed very well. When you got a captain like Virat Kohli, you see the emotion written large over his face.”
“I know people would be of the opinion that India would be better with another captain but when you have someone like Kohli driving the team, it is something very different, his leadership is with passion and it really works.”
For India, the job isn’t entirely done, despite going 1-0 up in the series, courtesy of their famous win at Lord’s. With England bringing Dawid Malan back into the setup after having axed opener Dominic Sibley, there will be changes for the Three Lions in the crucial third Test at Headingley.
Gower reckoned that England’s hand is being forced with changes during the midway of the series and will definitely have an impact on their rhythm as India are on the search of an elusive series win in England under the leadership of Virat Kohli.
“That’s what drives people on, you want your leader to be inspirational, it is a mighty fine side, now they have gone 1-0 up in the series, England are on the backfoot now. England would now be forced into making changes, be it form or injuries, that’s where the rhythm of the team starts to wither away.”