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India's tryst with fourth-innings collapses in 2018

Yash Mittal
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
1.47K   //    Timeless

A visibly distraught Virat Kohli after getting out at Southampton
A visibly distraught Virat Kohli after getting out at Southampton

Great teams squash the visiting sides with disdain at home but they also win in adverse conditions against the same opponent. The year 2018 was supposed to be the year India finally shrugged off their poor traveller's tag and truly emerge as the Test side of the generation.

They had many things going for them that lent weight to the expectations- in Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, they've developed a world-class pace attack that could consistently take 20 wickets and of course they had Virat Kohli.

But great teams also seize crucial moments that prove pivotal in the grand narrative of the game; India didn't, neither in South Africa nor in England, and considering India's abysmal record while chasing in the fourth innings (only once have India chased a target in excess of 200 since 2000 in Adelaide 2003), the inability to cling onto crucial moments proved catastrophic.

Like in the past, there was always a sense of inevitability every time Indian bowlers reduce the opposition batting side for not many, that they allow the lower middle-order to make up for the mess and decisively sway the advantage away or every time India's batting looks set for a match-defining lead only to squander it in minutes of madness.

Here's a look at India's tryst with fourth-innings collapses in 2018.


#4 England vs India, Edgbaston 2018

En
Ben Stokes during his incisive spell of bowling at Edgbaston

After Virat Kohli's 'poetic violence' with Jamie Anderson that had resulted in India's captain scoring his first hundred on English soil (149) and taking his side from a precarious situation of 5-100 to 274, 13 runs adrift of England's first innings score of 287, India's bowlers reduced England to 7-86 in the third innings of the game when 20-year-old Sam Curran walked out.

Curran rode his luck initially (dropped by Shikhar Dhawan at 13) before launching a scintillating assault on the Indian bowlers to take England's lead to a decisive 194.

India's chase was always going to be defined by how Virat Kohli fared, and the Indian captain, despite carnage on the other end held on to his own to score a fighting 51 before Stokes' trapped him leg-before-wicket on the fourth morning to essentially India's hopes.

Hardik Pandya stuck around to play some delightful shots but to little effect as India's top-order once again crumbled setting the cornerstone of yet another overseas defeat.

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Yash Mittal
ANALYST
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