Indian opener Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates his double century on Day 4 of the third Test against England in Rajkot on Sunday. Image Credit: ANI

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Dubai: Before the start of the third Test, Indian fans were a tad nervous with a rookie Indian batting facing an England team that believed in playing aggressive “Bazball” cricket.

It was a scenario where young talents were thrown to the lions. Facing a revitalised Three Lions squad was a challenging task in the absence of experienced stars Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.

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Middle order batter Sarfaraz Khan and wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel were making their debuts and they will be complementing a batting order that includes Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rajat Patidar with a collective Test experience of 32 Tests with Gill having the most with 23.

Stunning counter-offensive

Skipper Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, the two senior members along with Ravichandran Ashwin, set the foundation for India’s march towards taking control of the Test at Rajkot, on a pitch that had pace and bounce on the first day and started assisting the spinners from day three onwards. But what stood out is the composure shown by opener Yashasvi Jaiswal to score his second double century in his seventh Test.

The 22-year-old made amends in the second innings after getting out cheaply in the first with a stunning counter-offensive that left the England bowling in tatters. The left-hander was severe on legendary seamer James Anderson, who made his Test debut when Jaiswal was 18 months old, and demolishing his bowling analysis.

A product of the young Twenty20 era, Jaiswal plays fearless cricket. It is given that the current generation goes for their shots without inhibition, but what sets Jaiswal apart is the patience that he displays and the ability to soak up the pressure with solid defence and wait for the opportune moment to ambush his rivals. He could play long without even scoring a single run before switching to Twenty20 mode.

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Sarfaraz Khan has joined an elite band after scoring half-centuries in both innings. Image Credit: ANI

Sarfaraz Khan, one of the two debutants in the Test, scored two half-centuries, equalling Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar, Dilawar Hussain and his Under-19 World Cup teammate Shreyas Iyer record. Sarfaraz, who has the reputation of employing the sweep shots often to the spinners, didn’t show any nervous despite scaling up the class.

Real stepping stone for success

While most of these current generation of players take the Twenty20 route to Indian team, the main reason for their success in Tests is their exposure to the Indian domestic league, the Ranji Trophy, which acts as the real stepping stone for success.

The Twenty20 franchise Indian Premier League gives them the opportunity to come under the limelight and get the experience of taking on international stars at the early stage of their careers, but it is the four-day Ranji Trophy that steels them up and helps them hone their skills and defensive techniques.

Both Jaiswal and Sarfaraz have been prolific scorers in the domestic circuits and that has helped them to trust their abilities and contribute to the team’s cause.

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Indian team members celebrate a wicket during England's second innings on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

“When you play Test cricket, you don’t play it in two or three days. You have to stay in the game for five days. So obviously the message was to stay calm. Important is to stay calm, otherwise you drift,” Rohit Sharma told the official broadcasters on the team’s strategy during the presentation ceremony. “In the second innings, we wanted to extend the lead and the two youngsters did that. I’ve spoken a lot about Jaiswal. People outside the changing room have also been talking about him so I want to keep him calm, so not going to talk a lot about him. He’s started his career on a high.

Longtime plan

“Sarfaraz being Sarfaraz, we know his quality. We wanted him to have some time before he comes out to bat. We saw what he can do with the bat,” added Rohit, who hit his 11th career Test century in the first innings total of 445.

Apart from scoring a century, Rohit Sharma altered the batting order to keep a left-right combination in both the innings. “By no means it is a longtime plan with the batting order, we go with what’s right for us for that Test match, including calculating what the opponents’ bowling attack is,” the 36-year-old said.

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Shubman Gill has been settling down in his new role at No 3 position in the batting order. Image Credit: BCCI-X

The emergence of young generation, with most these young batters in the early to mid 20s, this series will play a big role in giving them the confidence to progress their careers. Though it is still early days and the real test for these Indian batters will come on away tours, especially in SENA countries. But it is important to keep the supply chain going and this series has, by default, helped the Indian selectors to blood the newcomers into the Test team.

“Double hundred. Double fifty. This duo of Yashasvi & Sarfaraz has been double trouble for England,” cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar wrote on X. But with Shubman Gill slowly settling in his role at No 3, this win against England augurs well for the future of Indian Test team.