India battling for survival as England dominate
LONDON: Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara produced a defensive masterclass to keep India alive but England looked in charge of the second Test after an enthralling fourth day’s play at Lord’s on Sunday.
India were 181-6, a lead of 154, when bad light stopped play with Rishabh Pant, their last recognised batsman, on 14 and Ishant Sharma on four.
India began their second innings 27 runs behind and by the time they had erased that deficit, both in-form openers were back in the pavilion.
Mark Wood (3-40) drew first blood when he dismissed K.L. Rahul caught behind for five with a clever change of length.
His next over turned out to be an eventful one which ended with Rohit Sharma being dismissed for 21.
Sharma dragged a chest-high ball from outside the off-stump and pulled it for an audacious six, but Wood had the last laugh in this duel.
The last ball of that over was a similar one and this time Sharma could not middle the ball and Moeen Ali took a tumbling catch at deep square leg.
India needed skipper Virat Kohli to lead by example, just like his opposite number Joe Root whose unbeaten 180 was the bedrock of England’s first-innings total of 391.
But Sam Curran had other ideas. Kohli played a couple of gorgeous drives in his 20 before Curran found the edge of the Indian captain’s bat.
Pujara went into the match without a fifty in his last 10 innings and vice-captain Rahane has also been short of runs.
Known as accumulators in a line-up full of aggressive batsmen, both demonstrated their grit in a dogged 100-run partnership.
Pujara, who made 45, needed 35 balls to get off the mark but soaked up enough deliveries to blunt the English attack.
Rahane soldiered on at the other end, aided by a reprieve on 31 when Jonny Bairstow spill a tough chance at point.
They kept England at bay for nearly 50 overs before Wood ended Pujara’s 206-ball vigil with an unplayable delivery that the batsman could only deflect to slip.
Moeen dismissed Rahane for 61 and Ravindra Jadeja for three to expose India’s tail.
Wood injured his right shoulder while fielding and had it heavily strapped.
The rain-marred opening match of the five-Test series ended in a draw.
On Saturday England captain Joe Root smashed an unbeaten 180 for his second hundred of the series to help his team eclipse India’s first innings total of 364. The home side posted 391, while riding on Root’s majestic knock.
The 30-year-old became the second English batsman after Alastair Cook to score 9,000 Test runs. His 22nd Test hundred was studded with 18 fours.
Ishant Sharma sent back Moeen Ali and Sam Curran in successive deliveries but Root kept going at the other end. Realising he was running out of partners, Root played a cheeky reverse ramp shot against Siraj to score a boundary over the slip cordon, and followed it with a second successive four.
James Anderson survived a 10-ball over from Bumrah but lost his off-stump to Mohammed Shami to be the last man out.
INDIA (1st Innings) 364 (K.L. Rahul 129, R.G. Sharma 83, V. Kohli 42; J.M. Anderson 5-62).
ENGLAND (1st Innings):
R.J. Burns lbw b Shami 49
D.P. Sibley c Rahul b Siraj 11
Haseeb Hameed b Siraj 0
J.E. Root not out 180
J.M. Bairstow c Kohli b Siraj 57
J.C. Buttler b I. Sharma 23
Moeen Ali c Kohli b I. Sharma 27
S.M. Curran c R. Sharma b I. Sharma 0
O.E. Robinson lbw b Siraj 6
M.A, Wood run out 5
J.M. Anderson b Shami 0
EXTRAS (B-5, LB-6, W-5, NB-17) 33
TOTAL (all out, 128 overs) 391
FALL OF WKTS: 1-23, 2-23, 3-108, 4-229, 5-283, 6-341, 7-341, 8-357, 9-371.
BOWLING: I. Sharma 24-4-69-3 (1nb); Bumrah 26-6-79-0 (13nb); Mohammed Shami 26-3-95-2 (1nb, 5w); Mohammed Siraj 30-7-94-4; Jadeja 22-1-43-0 (2nb).
INDIA (2nd Innings):
K.L. Rahul c Buttler b Wood 5
R.G. Sharma c Moeen b Wood 21
C.A. Pujara c Root b Wood 45
V. Kohli c Buttler b Curran 20
A.M. Rahane c Buttler b Moeen 61
R.R. Pant not out 14
R.A. Jadeja b Moeen 3
I. Sharma not out 4
Extras (b-2, lb-5, nb-1) 8
Total (for six wkts, 82 overs) 181
FALL OF WKTS: 1-18, 2-27, 3-55, 4-155, 5-167, 6-175.
BOWLING (to-date): Anderson 18-6-23-0; Robinson 10-6-20-0 (1nb); Wood 14-3-40-3; Curran 15-3-30-1; Moeen Ali 20-1-52-2; Root 5-0-9-0.
Published in Dawn, August 16h, 2021