The independent voice of cricket

India v England 2024

Young guns and old heads – Five talking points from India’s series-sealing win in Ranchi

India defeated England by five wickets in the fourth Test at Ranchi to win the series - here are the takeaways
Sarah Waris by Sarah Waris
@swaris16 4 minute read

India, with a group of youngsters, defeated England in the fourth Test at Ranchi to clinch the series 3-1 and here are the main talking points from the clash.

Three constants of life: Death, taxes and India’s home record

Nothing is certain except death and taxes, they say. Add India winning Test series’ at home to that list. India have not lost a single series at home since their defeat to England in 2012. In this period, India have played 17 series at home, winning them all. That’s the most a team has ever won consecutively at home, Australia having the next most with ten (which they achieved twice).

Since the start of 2013, India have played 50 Tests at home, winning a whopping 39 games and drawing seven – giving them a win percentage of 78. They have lost four Tests, including the first match against England in the ongoing series.

India have also played England thrice since their defeat to them in 2012. They defeated the visitors 4-0 in 2016 and 3-1 in 2021 and registered their third consecutive series win at home against England after clinching the Ranchi Test.

With this win, India consolidated their spot at No.2 in the 2023-25 World Test Championship table, with a PCT (percentage points won per contested) of 64.58, while England are eighth with a PCT of 19.44.

Another wicketkeeper flourishes at Ranchi

Ranchi will always hold a special place for Indian cricket, with the city producing arguably India’s greatest white-ball captain, MS Dhoni. The wicketkeeper has helped close several matches for India and it was befitting that, under the MS Dhoni Pavilion when India were in desperate need, another young wicketkeeper raised his hand to take the team to safety.

Jurel, who made his debut in Rajkot and scored 46 in the only innings he batted there, rescued India from 177-7 in the first innings at Ranchi, with a stroke-filled yet cautious 90. It turned out to be the turning point in the game as India reduced the deficit to 46 runs, with Jurel showing his temperament as he batted with lower-order batters Kuldeep Yadav and Akash Deep, who have a first-class batting average of 21.91 and 12, respectively.

He played another important hand in the second innings after another collapse and scored the winnings runs for India.

Jurel’s emergence was much needed for India. Ever since Rishabh Pant was sidelined due to a car accident last year, India have struggled to fill his void. Ishan Kishan has a first-class batting average of 39.26 and is not in the fray for various reasons currently. KL Rahul, who kept wicket in South Africa, was not the preferred keeper at home and has been injured since the first Test of the series. KS Bharat, the specialist gloveman, who played the first two Tests against England, averaged 20.09 from seven games without a fifty and did not provide confidence with the bat down the order.

By latching onto his chances, Jurel showed his potential to be India’s No.1 keeper at least until Pant returns.

Root shelves scoop to return to his best

Root’s dismissal in the third Test off a reverse scoop half an hour into the first session was criticised, with experts suggesting that the former England skipper should have played according to the match situation. India were with only four specialist bowlers then, with R Ashwin flying home overnight, and England needed to take the advantage at 207-2, behind by 238 runs. His dismissal, however, sparked a collapse as England were all out for 319.

In Ranchi, Root ditched aside all risk and batted with patience on a tricky wicket without a single six in his innings, only the third time since the start of the ‘Bazball’ era that he has scored at least fifty without a maximum. He bided his time, scoring a 274-ball 122*, his slowest fifty-plus knock in the above period, and taking England to 353.

Root, who averaged 18.36 in 11 innings in India, also overturned his recent poor run with the century, taking responsibility even as the middle-order continued to struggle. It was Root proving to be the nemesis of the rivals by playing the way he has always done. Vintage.

Cometh the hour, cometh the men for India

Whenever India were in trouble, a player raised their hand to bail the team out. It started with debutant Akash, who picked up three wickets in the morning session on day one sans Jasprit Bumrah, after England won a crucial toss. Ravindra Jadeja then scalped four as England recovered from 57-3 and could score only 353 despite a brilliant ton from Root. India’s batting reply was led by another fifty from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jurel then finished off the innings.

R Ashwin, who had, up until that point, not taken off in the series, then proved his critics wrong with a 35th five-for. Under threat of returning without a four-wicket haul for only the second time in home Tests (min. three games in a series), Ashwin shone, learning from the mistakes of the first innings, where he gave away 83 in 22 overs. Kuldeep Yadav and Shubman Gill were also the stars as India wrapped up a series on the back of a total team effort.

Shoaib Bashir proves selection hunch right

Bashir, picked after Ben Stokes watched a video clip of his bowling, had played only six first-class games before his debut in Visakhapatnam, where he ended with 4-196. He did not play in Rajkot but was backed for the fourth Test and lived up to the backing with a match-haul of eight wickets, including his first first-class five-for in the first innings.

Bashir put his height to good use, getting turn and bounce to trouble both left-handers and right-handers. He picked up four batters from India’s top six in the first innings, and even out bowled Ashwin, suggesting how brilliant he was.

Bashir bowled a continuous spell of 31 overs on day two, getting more turn than other finger spinners and kept the India batters silent in what could be a breakthrough performance.

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99