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IND vs ENG, 2024: England spinners have fared better than India tweakers

India vs England, 2024: England spinners have fared better than India Spinners in first two test matches. England spinners have taken 33 wickets in comparison to India's 23.


India vs England, 2023-24_ Ravichandran Ashwin went wicketless in first innings of Vizag test _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
India vs England 2024: Ashwin went wicketless in first innings of Vizag test (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Even though the win in Visakhapatnam, during the second Test, against England have made the Indian fans optimistic, one can’t help but feel that India don’t seem to be as dominant this time around. This too, after all, is a side that’s yet to lose a Test series at home for over a decade now. 


One of the main issues behind it is the constant struggle of India’s spinners compared to England’s spin department. Very rarely it happens, that the touring spin attack owns India’s spin department for two consecutive Test matches. 



A numerical analysis of how England’s inexperienced spin department looks threatening over India’s veteran spinners

Ollie Pope turned the game in Hyderabad, with his marvellous 196-run knock, while in Visakhapatnam, it took India a Jasprit Bumrah-masterclass to stop England, from crushing them back-to-back.

 

After two Tests, both of which finished in four days, concerns increased over India’s spin department. Chasing 399 in the fourth innings of the second game, England reached 50/0, 95/1, 194/4 and 275/7, before being bowled out for 292, the second-highest fourth-innings total in India by a touring side.


So far in two Tests of the five-match series, India’s spinners have picked up 23 wickets at an average of 38.39 and a strike rate of 55. England’s spinners have out-bowled the hosts in this department quite comfortably, with 33 scalps at an average of 33.90 and a strike rate of 58.3.

 

As things turn out, the hosts have two all-time great spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who can run through any batting line-up. On blue-moon occasions when they don’t, Axar Patel steps up, while Kuldeep Yadav, who could’ve possibly had a brilliant Test career for any other country, has to warm the benches on most occasions. 


On the flip of the coin, England’s spin attack consists of three men, (Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, and Shoaib Bashir) who had one Test cap between them before the series. Jack Leach picked up an injury in Hyderabad, and Joe Root is a part-timer. 


Spin Stats from India vs England, Hyderabad Test

Innings

Team

Overs

Wickets

Average

S/R

Economy

First

England

104

09

42.0

69.33

3.63

First

India

52

08

23.62

39.0

3.63

Second

England

61.2

09

18.78

40.89

2.76

Second

India

79

06

55.17

79.0

4.19


Spin Stats from India vs England, Visakhapatnam Test

Innings

Team

Overs

Wickets

Average

S/R

Economy

First

England

87

07

49.72

74.57

4

First

India

33

04

39.0

49.5

4.73

Second

England

68.3

08

28

51.37

3.28

Second

India

47

05

41.40

56.4

4.40

Combined Stats of Spinners from both the Tests

Team

Overs

Wickets

Average

S/R

Economy

England

320.5

33

33.90

58.3

3.48

India

211.0

23

38.39

55.0

4.18

The numbers of this series are nothing sort of a nightmare. In India’s last home series in 2021-22 against England, India’s spinners picked up 67 wickets at an average of 17.43 and strike rate of 38.3, compared to England’s 37 scalps in spin at an average of 29.40 and a strike rate of 51.70. Even in the 2016-17 series, India’s spinners took 68 wickets at an average of 30.35, against England’s 40 wickets through spin at an average of 48.10. 


The economy rates of the spinners, which stands at 3.48 for England, and 4.18 for India, is another concern. Each of India’s four veteran spinners have been more expensive than England’s five inexperienced spinners. It also displays how India’s batters have lacked in playing attacking shots to England’s spinners consistently. 



India vs England, 2023-24_ Three Reasons why India lost against England in Hyderabad. Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
India spinners have taken 23 wickets in comparison to England's 33 (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
England showed an aggressive route against India’s spinners

Going into the series, England planned to play an aggressive brand of cricket against India’s spinners. All their players have smashed the spinners to all parts of the ground. Whether it’s the first ball of the spell or the last, batters didn’t hesitate at all to sweep and reverse-sweep the bowlers, besides using their feet to reach the pitch of the delivery. 


From openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett to Ollie Pope and Joe Root, everyone has played the reverse-sweep shot so consistently to force Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar and Kuldeep to change their line and length. Also, to stop the run flow, India has had to spread out the field, which allows England to take comfortable singles. 


Axar Patel was a big threat for England in the last home series with 27 wickets at an average of 10.59, but he has looked average in this current one with 5 wickets at an average of 41.20. England have planned well in their training camp in Abu Dhabi, with set game plans against various spinners. Reading the bowlers, and their gameplans has been the biggest weapon behind England’s success against spin. 



India’s spinners need to vary pace and act smart to tackle England

It’s also, to an extent, Jasprit Bumrah’s excellence that has made the India spinners look ineffective. Because England has been playing attacking cricket, the spinners also have to re-think about drying up the run-scoring, which in a way has kept them away from focusing on taking wickets. 


But going deep into the series, they have to vary their pace and bring more variations, along with change of line and lengths consistently to force the England batters to change their gameplan and commit mistakes. Rohit Sharma also will have a huge role in it, by making a balanced field placement between attack and defence. 


With two games already done in the series, the spinners should be well aware of the spots England batters mostly use for their shots. They also have to be smart with their tactics. Nonetheless, if India has to keep their home record intact, then the spinners have to find a way against the batters, especially in their home conditions. 


The third Test of the five-match series will begin on February 15, 2024, at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.   




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