It's incredible how the absence of one in-form bowler can affect the way a team performs. Mohammed Shami's absence in Mumbai allowed Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings to settle down a lot earlier and easier. Umesh Yadav has also looked a different force with Shami bowling at the other end and was a little less effective alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar at Wankhede. In this game, unlike the first three Tests, Kohli hasn't looked at his pacers for breakthroughs. Also, his absence might have been the reason behind India not opting for the second new ball at the start of the second day.
Jadeja on a turning pitch
Ravindra Jadeja is at his best on a pitch that starts offering turn from the area right in front of the batsman. He bowls the angle that brings the ball into the right-handers in the air and the moment it starts turning from that angle, batting becomes difficult. The pitch at Wankhede has offered more than any other pitch in this series and Jadeja's effectiveness is palpable. Now, it is not just the ones that turn but also the ones that go straight after pitching that cause grave concerns. Jadeja's biggest strength is his accuracy and once the natural variations start happening, he grows in stature. Expect him to play a bigger role in this game.
The story of two straight drives
M Vijay opened his account with a drive down the ground and KL Rahul's first boundary was also in the same fashion. Both the shots highlighted how the red-soil Wankhede pitch can be a batsman's friend, for it is possible to play on the up. If the pitch isn't moist, the ball won't change direction unexpectedly after pitching and therefore you can plant your front foot and play through the line. Also, you don't have to hit hard to generate power because the true bounce ensures that the ball hits the sweet spot of the bat, and that generates the requisite power.
Vijay's ploy to attack the full ball
Before tea, Vijay went aerial and down the ground every time Adil Rashid pitched the ball fuller. While most of Vijay's boundaries against spin in this series have come down the ground, trying to repeat the same here is flirting with danger. Even though Vijay's assault wasn't convincing, still it led to Cook removing Rashid from the attack.
Pujara's stomach for a fight
First a ball from Moeen Ali spun and bounced viciously to hit Cheteshwar Pujara in the stomach. It was the kind of ball that sows the seeds of doubt in a batsman's mind, which invariably alters the response on the following ball. To Moeen's credit, he did follow it up with an equally good ball maintaining the outside-off line. That's where Pujara was exceptional, for instead of becoming skeptical, he stepped out to get to the pitch of the ball.
In England's innings, R Ashwin took six wickets and all of them came while bowling from the Media Box end. Considering the help available for the offspinner, it was surprising that Moeen didn't bowl a single over from this end. In fact, England opted to operate with the faster bowlers from the Media Box end.