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India vs England: Karun Nair, Parthiv Patel prove hosts’ bench strength can be ticket to domination

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“As a captain, I feel it’s a complete series for us. Everyone contributed at different times…” said Indian captain Virat Kohli after his team absolutely pummeled the touring England side 4-0 in the five-match Test series, and consolidated their position at the top of the ICC Test Rankings. Coach Anil Kumble echoed the captain’s sentiments and identified as one of the biggest positives the fact that despite injuries, whoever got an opportunity, contributed.
And that was indeed what made India stand out this time. Unlike England, injuries that are part and parcel of a long series and a long season, could not diminish India’s performance in any way. It showed the depth in the side and the strength of the reserve bench, that is important for continued domination. And when players selected as replacements for injured regular members of the side threaten to become regular members themselves, you know the reservoir of talent is full to the brim and indeed flowing over
That has been the story of the series really. Thus, when wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel was recalled for eight years, to replace the injured first-choice glovesman Wriddhiman Saha for the third Test in Mohali, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, ‘keeping reasonably well, opening the innings at Mohali and Chennai and amassing 195 runs in four innings, with two half-centuries.
Now Saha is generally regarded as the best wicketkeeper around in the country at the moment after Mahendra Singh Dhoni. But Dhoni’s retirement from Tests made Saha almost a default choice in the playing eleven.

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