The India deputy skipper’s knock of 81 was one of the highlights from the visitors’ first innings total of 329.
The middle-order batsman’s 159-run for the fourth wicket along with captain Virat Kohli (97) was responsible for resurrecting India’s innings after three wickets had fell in quick succession.
“After the last Test match I sat down in the dressing room and analysed all my good innings, how I played them, what was my mindset, how I approached those innings,” Rahane told bcci.tv.
“Success and failures are there as a professional cricketer but the intent has to be there. And if the mindset and attitude is right results will automatically follow.
“Definitely, I was not getting too bogged down after the first Two Tests. The belief was that if the ball was there hit I will hit. Thinking too much about the end result put pressure. The aim was to play one ball at a time and play it on merit.”
The right-handed batsman had only managed to score a total of 48 runs in the first two Tests which ended in defeats for India. Following his gritty innings of 81, India batting coach Sanjay Bangar credited head coach Ravi Shastri for the improvement in Rahane’s confidence.
“Ravi (Shastri) coming out and saying that he is still the pillar of Indian batting might have done a whole lot of good for his confidence,” Bangar told the Times of India after the first day’s play.
On Sunday, Virat Kohli’s men added only 22 runs to their overnight score before being bowled out for 329. They then came out all guns blazing with the ball to bundle out the hosts for just 161 before putting up 124-2 in their second innings.
It was a day which belonged to one man and that man was none other than Hardik Pandya who finished with career-best figures of 5-28.
Here, we take a closer look at his outstanding display with the ball.
OVERS BOWLED: 6
RUNS CONCEDED: 28
It was Pandya’s day at Trent Bridge as he put in a sensational display of swing and accuracy which even James Anderson would have been proud of. The 24-year-old was given the ball after an injury to Ravi Ashwin forced him off the field and Pandya delivered like no other by striking with his very first ball. The all-rounder wrecked England’s batting order in a 29-ball burst in which he picked up a maiden Test five-wicket haul. He removed England’s two best batsmen in Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow while also claiming the wickets of Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad.
Hardik Pandya Spell:— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) August 19, 2018
W 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4 W 4 4 0 W W 0 0 0 W 0
Five overs Five wickets!
Swing and plenty of it. What worked for Pandya on Sunday was the fact that he got the ball to move both ways creating plenty of doubts in the batsmen’s minds. However, it was the control Pandya exerted over the moving ball that sent England’s batsmen in a dizzy. While the likes of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were scatter-gun at times, Pandya got the ball to pitch in the danger areas more often than not and let the swing on offer do the rest of the job.
There is barely any fault one can find in a performance which fetched five wickets in just 29 deliveries. If any criticism can be levelled against Pandya’s performance, it would be the few times he lost control of the ball and bowled very wide. However, those instances were few and far in between.
VERDICT – 9/10
Quite simply, it was Hardik Pandya’s best ever performance with the ball in India colours. It might even be the series-defining spell for India if they can claw their way back and it will go some way in justifying the immense faith the team management has bestowed on him so far ever since he emerged from the IPL. The all-rounder’s place has been called into question of late given his low returns with the ball but after Sunday, his bowling credentials have been enhanced like never before. With the way he has batted in the previous two Tests, Pandya is now showing plenty of signs of fulfilling the role of a seaming all-rounder which India have been desperately searching for a long time.
After putting up 329 on the board in their first innings, India bowled out the hosts for just 161 runs before adding 124-2 in their second innings.
Here, we look at the key talking points from the second day’s play at Trent Bridge.
INDIA’S TAIL REFUSES TO WAG
After putting up 307-6 on the first day, India would have been looking at a minimum first innings total of 350 when they came out to bat under the dark clouds on Sunday.
England’s senior pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad had other plans though, as they made the second new ball talk.
Broad, who was getting the ball to move prodigiously in the air, got the initial breakthrough after getting debutant Rishabh Pant (24) to drag one on to his stumps. A few balls later, Broad got one to tail back in sharply as Ravi Ashwin’s stumps went for a toss.
Anderson then finished things off by claiming the wickets of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah off successive deliveries. The visitors’ final five wickets fell for just 22 runs as they fell some way short of their expected total.
ROOT’S DISMISSAL GENERATES CONTROVERSY
There was a huge moment of controversy during the second session of the day’s play and it came with the very first delivery bowled by Hardik Pandya.
The India all-rounder surprised England skipper Joe Root with some extra bounce and movement as the ball took an edge off the bat and flew towards KL Rahul at second slip. The Indian fielder grabbed a tough chance even as the ball was dying on him and immediately went up in celebrations.
Root however, was not amused and stuck to his crease sure in the belief that Rahul had grassed the catch before claiming it. The decision was sent upstairs to the third umpire with a few angles of the television replays showing that the ball might have bounced before nestling into Rahul’s palms. Other angles showed that the fielder’s fingers were firmly underneath the ball and ultimately the third-umpire ruled in favour of the bowler.
Root looked incensed and muttered under his breath as he made his way back to the pavilion but the damage had been done.
PANDYA’S SENSATIONAL SPELL ROCKS ENGLAND
Hardik Pandya has been grossly under-bowled throughout the series and when Kohli threw the ball towards him on Sunday, it was more so out of circumstances than a belief in his abilities. With Ashwin leaving the field after complaining of hip troubles, India were forced to turn to Pandya and he in turn put in the best bowling performance of his career.
Removing Root with his very first delivery, Pandya grew into confidence and got the ball to move both ways. England’s batsmen simply couldn’t live with the swing he was generating and within 29 balls, Pandya had completed his maiden five-wicket haul. Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Broad all fell to Pandya’s exorbitant swing whose bowling sent flashbacks of a young James Anderson.
It was Pandya’s sensational burst which saw England lose 10 wickets inside a single session.
INDIA OPENERS DRIVE HOME ADVANTAGE
With a 168-run lead in hand, the pressure had well and truly lifted off the shoulders of India’s openers Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan when they came out to bat.
While there were the usual edges which flew past the slip fielders, the two batsmen played with intent and profited whenever England’s bowlers strayed in their lines.
After adding 60 runs for the opening wicket in the first innings, the pair performed an encore before Rahul (36) was dismissed by Stokes. Dhawan (44) was looking good for a maiden Test fifty in England before he jumped out of his tracks and got stumped off the bowling of Rashid.
The platform the duo had set for the batsmen to follow though, cannot be understated and it will be hard to look at anything other than an India win at this point.