India top ICC World Test Championship with thumping series win against West Indies

It was an expected result. But it was still incredible to see Team India go about their job so clinically as they thumped the West Indies by a whopping 257 runs in the 2nd and final Test of the series at Kingston, Jamaica. India thus clinched the series 2-0, having already won the 1st Test at North Sound too, and asserted their No.1 rank.

Virat Kohli’s men proved to be light years ahead of a hapless West Indian side which struggled to make any impact even in their own home conditions. Captain Kohli now has 28 Test wins under his belt, making him the most successful Indian captain in the longest format of the game.

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Kohli, however, downplayed his role and praised the team instead.

“Captaincy is just a C in front of your name. It’s the collective effort that matters,” Kohli was quoted as saying at the post-match presentation of the 2nd Test. “For us, it’s just the start of the Championship. Whatever’s happened in the past is irrelevant. Look forward to keep continuing playing good cricket.”

It has certainly been a supreme start for India to the ICC World Test Championship. They now top the table with 120 points, ahead of New Zealand who are second with 60 points.

The team is shaping up well and would be keen to continue their good form in the coming months. It would be vital as India have some important Test series lined up – against South Africa at home in October, against Bangladesh at home in November and against New Zealand away in February 2020. It will be a challenging period for the top-ranked Test side of the world and if they overcome it then India’s stake for the World Test Championship crown would become hotter.

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India does have some chinks to iron out, though. In the Tests against the West Indies Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s solid No.3 batsman, could only manage 60 runs in 4 innings at an average of just 15. Openers KL Rahul (101 runs in 4 innings) and Mayank Agarwal (80 runs in 4 innings) couldn’t make much of an impression either. Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant too struggled, managing only 58 runs in the 2 Tests. These issues would have to be sorted out before India’s Test season at home.

On the positive side, captain Kohli was in great touch and middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane found his form back. Hanuma Vihari was the star of the Indian batting lineup, collecting 289 runs  the most by any batsman in the series – including a maiden Test hundred.

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The best part of this series for India, however, was their bowling. Jasprit Bumah breathed fire and ended with 13 wickets in the 2 Tests at a stunning average of 9.23. Ishant Sharma 911 wickets) played the senior bowler’s role superbly and Mohammad Shami (9 wickets) proved to be a terrific third bowler.

Team India thus has all the ingredients to become one of the best Test sides in the world at present and perform well in any condition. It will be fascinating to see how they cope with the myriad challenges in the upcoming season and where they stay in the ICC World Test Championship by the end of it.

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