Despite holding a strong position after the first innings, India faced a 28-run defeat against England in the first Test, trailing 0-1 in the five-match series.In Kohli’s absence, the responsibility on Rohit to lead the batting department was evident. However, with scores of 24 and 39 in the two innings, Rohit struggled, contributing to India’s significant batting collapse while chasing 231 on the fourth day.
Boycott sees this as a golden opportunity for England to secure a victory in India after 12 years, capitalising on the challenges faced by the hosts.
“This India team are ripe for the taking and England have a golden chance to be the first side to topple them on their own patch for 12 years,” Boycott wrote in his column for ‘The Daily Telegraph’.
“India badly miss Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja has a hamstring injury and will not play the second Test. Their captain Rohit Sharma is nearly 37 and past his best. He makes pretty cameos but has scored only two Test hundreds at home in four years. They are also weak in the field. They dropped Ollie Pope on 110 and that cost them 86 runs. It lost them the match.”
On the spin-friendly Hyderabad pitch, the Indian spin trio comprising Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar Patel appeared far from their usual formidable selves, despite the conditions not being an extreme dust-bowl.
The English batters came out with a perfect tactical ploy, using sweeps and reverse sweeps to great effect to counter the threat.
“England bamboozled India with their sweeps and reverse sweeps and to lose after taking a 190-run lead will be mind-blowing for India. It has never happened to them before on their own pitches where they thought they were invincible,” Boycott wrote.
India were dealt a big blow after the Hyderabad defeat as Jadeja and KL Rahul have been ruled out of the second Test starting in Visakhapatnam on February 2, due to injuries.
While Jadeja sustained a hamstring injury during play on Day 4 of the first Test, Rahul complained of pain in his right quadriceps.
Because of the balance that he brings into the playing, Jadeja’s absence will be massive feels the legendary opener.
“Jadeja is a huge blow. He is a great all-rounder, top bowler, brilliant fielder and was their best batsman in the first Test. Kohli is their talisman. He is a magnificent batsman who averages 60 on Indian pitches but he also gives them great energy in the field. He is a big loss and England must make the most of it before he comes back for the third Test,” Boycott wrote.
He believes that England have India on the mat and could well be hosts’ first series defeat in a dozen of years.
“Once in a while a team are in the right place at the right time to clinch a big series win and England could be in that position right now in India. India are due a (series) defeat at home, the signs are good as they have lost Kohli, Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant and are playing opponents full of confidence after a remarkable win. England must take this rare opportunity,” he further wrote.
(With inputs from PTI)