A familiar script unfolded today at the Lord’s with a well-set Ravindra Jadeja running out of partners and going on to relinquish the prospect of a big knock for the sake of shepherding India’s wafer-thin tail. India surely need to work a way around to help Jadeja realise his true potential, that is of scoring monumental hundreds. Because what’s happening of late is that by the time the all-rounder gets his eye in he is left with no choice but to go for the jugular as India are only a couple of wickets away from being rolled out.
Jadeja started on a very vigilant note, happy to let anything outside the fourth stump pass by. While he ambled into the thirties, wickets were tumbling thick and fast at the other end. He had seen the fall of Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma as the hopes of an encore of the tail’s rare wag at Trent Bridge disappeared into thin air. Jadeja had to go searching for quick runs and ended up skewing a top edge off Mark Wood’s bumper, a stroke that he would have not pulled out had there been a recognized batsman in the company. He walked back for 40 off 120 deliveries, with India folding for 364 when there were at least fifty more runs up for grabs with Jadeja visioning the ball like a football.
Cheteshwar Pujara has come under the scanner owing to a poor string of scores and could cop the axe if he fails to right the wrongs in the second innings as well. In case India run out of patience and show the bench to their middle-order bulwark, Jadeja must be pushed a peg higher up the order while Hanuma Vihari, the hypothetical replacement, ought to take up the number seven duties. The promotion would not only prevent the metaphorical barricading of Jadeja’s calibre by a flimsy tail but also give India’s bowling attack some more runs to play with.