In 2008, it was a Test series that was being played after the attacks of 26/11 in Mumbai. The English team had returned after the things calmed down in India. A completely different time, but the scenario, very much the same. Let us explain! In 2008, after gaining a lead in the first innings, England batted well again. Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood hit fine centuries to take England to a commanding position in the match. They set a target of 387 for India with a little less than four sessions to go, very similar to the scenario today, just the target being 420. Under MS Dhoni’s leadership, India had a new mood in the team. A certain fearless flair was seen in the team, again very similar to the transition happening currently.
But in 2008, Sehwag and Gambhir walked in to bat on Day 4, just like Gill and Sharma. But, the only glitch in the matrix appears here. Because Sehwag in 2008 smashed a blistering 83 of 68 balls that gave the innings a much required momentum to begin a huge chase. Gambhir also supported Sehwag in an opening partnership of 117 in 23 overs. Sehwag was out but only after a much needed quick start. But today, in 2021, Rohit Sharma, who can be an aggressor like Sehwag is back in the hut and the onus now is on Shubhman Gill.
On the fifth final day at the Chepauk in Chennai…
in 1986: India made 347 in 86.5 overs to TIE the Test against Australia.
in 2008: India made 256/3 in 69.3 overs to win by six wickets against England (target: 387)
Today: India need 381 (with 9 wkts) in 90 ov#IndvEng#IndvsEng
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) February 9, 2021
After losing Dravid cheaply, in walked Sachin Tendulkar. This time, more determined than ever. As if, he wanted to win the match for the sake of Mumbai and the attacks that happened in the backdrop of the series. India in 2021 on Day 5 require 381 runs to win in 90 overs. But is it too much to ask? England back then had a strong bowling attack and experienced spinners in the form of Swann and Panesar. But this did not matter to Sachin and Yuvraj Singh who scored 103 and 85 not-out respectively. This time, India have a Kohli and a Pant to salvage the positions of Sachin and Yuvraj. Things looked bleak when Laxman got out when the score was 224-4, still far from the target of 387. But both the batsmen kept playing shots and also were cautious of not losing their wicket as saving the Test was the priority.
India chased down 387 target..
— Sharan Yuvi (@Sharan_Yuvian) February 8, 2021
The positive thing that can work in India’s favor is the pitch. Even it is the Day 5 on a Chepauk wicket that has started showing signs of turn and bounce for flighted spinning deliveries, Indian batsmen are accustomed to these conditions. If the Indians see off the first two sessions without losing many wickets, Ravi Shastri and Kohli would definitely start thinking of a win.
But is it practical?