There are two ways of looking back at India's lengthy tour of England. The first, and the rather obvious one would be that India improved upon their winless return in 2011. Comparisons between the two series' are bound to take place. But, this wouldn't be a fair review of the series for India. A more comprehensive observation would be the fact that it was a series of missed opportunities for India. They did poorly in a Test series though they were capable of performing much better. In the one-dayers though they fought back to win the series comprehensively before going down in the T20, another lost opportunity.
Unlike the eventual result, the series began quite promisingly for India. In fact, they matched England to the tee at Trent Bridge before going on to clinch the famous win at Lord's. At that point, it seemed like India were heading in the right direction, and England had all the problems in front of them. But, one really can't decipher what went wrong for India between the second and the third Test. They were just not the same from the moment they stepped on to the field for the third Test. It was a golden opportunity gone abegging for India. But, the manner in which they performed, one wonders if they were really interested in putting up a fight.
In spite of what turned out to be a disappointing Test series, there were quite a few positives for India, most of them expectedly from the first two Tests. Murali Vijay batted with the patience of a Sunil Gavaskar in the first two Tests, and impressed the traditionalists to the hilt. Things were completely different in the next three games though as he went back to his flirting ways. Ajinkya Rahane also came up with stellar knocks, and carried on his form into the third Test. With the ball, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar played wonderful hands in India's Lord's triumph. For various reasons, they failed as things went awry.
While a few managed to impress, most others disappointed. Shikhar Dhawan reiterated that he had plenty of work to do as a Test opener. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli also learnt that in spite of their obvious talent, they are still unfinished products in international cricket. Their technique and temperament were tested to the maximum and, unlike in South Africa and New Zealand, they came second best. This is still a learning curve for the two mainstays of the Indian batting, and the bitter experience should only make them better players.
Most of the gains for India from the series were in the one-dayers. Man of the series Suresh Raina's form is a big plus. He went into the series under tremendous amount of pressure, and more failures could have dented his place in the side even further. But, the southpaw batted with gusto to play the pivotal role in India's triumph. Mohammed Shami also came back well after a poor Test series. He bowled with fire and, more importantly, troubled the batsmen. His yorkers in the one-dayers were top quality. Irrespective of the one-day series win, the overall results were still disappointing as India couldn't conquer the Test challenge.
--By A Cricket Analyst