With a hard-earned five wicket win over England in Ranchi, India have sealed the five-match Test series 3-1 to shut the Bazball noise.
However, it was easier said than done as India slipped from 84 for 0 to 120 for 5 on Day 4 morning with Shoaib Bashir spinning a web. Shubman Gill was then joined by a mature Dhruv Jurel and the Indian duo worked tirelessly to ensure that the Indian lower order was not exposed on a challenging surface.
Gill and Jurel were cautious against the English spinners, but they were also aware of scoring runs with some clever running. With time on their side, the Indian duo declined to take risks, instead opting for the aggressive approach once the objective was within sight. Gill gave the charge to Bashir, hauling the off-spinner for a couple of sixes to reach fifty, while Jurel dragged a short ball from Hartley for a boundary. While Jurel emerged as a true jewel for the Indian team, Shubman Gill had taken steps towards establishing himself at No.3 with another second innings fifty-plus score in the series.
Shubman Gill made his Test debut against Australia during the thrilling Covid 2020-21 series, filling in for then-India captain Virat Kohli when he returned home after the first Test for the birth of his first child. After Australia dismantled India for 36 in the second innings of the first Test, Kohli restored some pride with a classy 45 at the top of the order, playing some gorgeous shots throughout the series, and finished things beautifully in the fourth and final Test.
The young batter scored a spine-tingling 91 in the second innings, cutting Mitchell Starc for six and emerging as one of the heroes as India chased down 328 to breach the Gabba fortress. India won the series and retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy despite losing the first Test.
STRUGGLE AT NO. 3
Cut to 2023, Gill had a stellar run in ODIs but the dynamic batter could not convert his white-ball heroics in Test cricket. Following his 128 against Australia in Ahmedabad last March, he had a streak of low scores in 12 innings, with only three over 25 and none over 40. His position was not certain, and as the Indian selectors opted for youth in the absence of Kohli (personal reasons) and KL Rahul (hamstring) against England, many wondered which of the young batters would secure their spots.
However, Gill did bounce back against the English side with a masterful 104 in the Visakhapatnam Test, starring in India’s 106-run series-levelling win. In the next Test in Rajkot, the young batter from Punjab was unfortunate to miss out on a well deserved second innings hundred as a miscommunication with Kuldeep Yadav ended his stay at the crease after a gritty 91.
Now with a proper hard earned fifty in the fourth innings of Ranchi Test, Gill has now sealed his spot in the Indian Test as a no. 3 batter. Gill’s revival showcases how a
spoonful of confidence medicine could go a long way toward easing the burden.
YOUNG INDIA SEAL SERIES
Despite their formidable home record, this series win will be significant for India, overcoming a 1-0 deficit without several key players.
Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, and Rishabh Pant were absent, while KL Rahul featured in only one Test, and Jasprit Bumrah was rested. In their absence, Jurel, Gill, and Jaiswal stepped up. Jurel’s innings rescued India from 177-7 in the first innings, providing momentum for their spinners to dominate on the third afternoon.
On Monday, Jurel and Gill formed a match-winning partnership, with Gill growing in confidence after a shaky start. Jurel’s aggressive strokeplay, particularly a boundary off Bashir, shifted momentum in India’s favor. Gill’s patient innings, highlighted by his first boundary after facing 119 balls, epitomised India’s determination to secure their 17th consecutive home series win.