|Ground:||Trent Bridge, Nottingham|
|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Event:||India in England 2014|
DateLine: 10th July 2014
By Andy Jalil In association with INVESTEC
Nottingham – An extraordinary day’s cricket which saw India lose four wickets for two runs in a space of 21 balls straight after lunch, brought about a remarkable rear guard action from the last wicket pair, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, who both completed their maiden Test half-centuries in putting on 111, a record for the tenth wicket for India against England, beating 73 that Anil Kumble and Shanthakumar Sreesanth had put on in 2007 at the Oval.
It was staunch rather than spectacular batting with both batsmen employing studious defence but taking every opportunity to hit forceful shots some of them up in the air which went perilously close to the fielders but none to hand until Kumar’s lofted drive was held at long-on giving Moeen Ali his only wicket and bringing relief to England’s hard-striving bowlers with the tourists finally dismissed for 457. Kumar had faced 149 balls for his score of 58 while Shami remained unbeaten with 51 from 81 balls.
At stumps England were 43 for the loss of Alastair Cook’s wicket for five when he was bowled around his legs by Shami, with the ball grazing his thigh pad. The England captain’s loss of form continues with a total of just 63 runs from five innings in Tests this season.
India had begun the day on the overnight score of 259 for four with the centurion Murali Vijay on 122 and MS Dhoni on 50 and both intent on building a large first innings total. With no specialist batsmen to follow them, they showed caution in their batting to the extent that in the first hour Dhoni had added just ten runs from 45 balls faced while his partner had added 24 to his overnight score in more than an hour-and-a-half of the morning session.
Their 126-run partnership was finally ended on the total of 304 when England achieved the breakthrough with Vijay falling lbw to James Anderson. His 146 from 316 balls spanned nearly eight hours and had provided the backbone of India’s innings. It was a great effort from him with the task of rebuilding the innings. Had the Decision Review System (DRS) been in operation in this series, Vijay would not have been given out if a review had been requested as the ball was clearly going over the top of the stumps as replays showed.
At lunch India were 342 for five and their batting debacle which sent four wickets tumbling in a space of 19 minutes began from the second over after the break. But any hopes that England had of bringing the innings to an early end were quickly dispelled by the resolute batting of the two tail-enders. Dhoni had added 30 for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja who, having hit two sixes and two fours in his score of 25 was held behind from a thick edge off Ben Stokes.
A run later, Dhoni was run out from a direct hit at the non-strikers’ end having played an admirable innings of 82 from 152 balls in a little under four-and-a-half hours. Stuart Binny, on his Test debut, fell for one, held at point from a firm shot but hit straight to the fielder. India had lost the seventh and eighth wickets on 345. To complete that sequence of wickets that fell, Ishant Sharma was bowled as he shouldered arms in a misjudgement.
That was followed by the defiance shown by Kumar and Shami over two and a half hours which has gone a long way in putting India in a comfortable position and indeed in considerable control of the match after just two days. Much will depend on the pressure that India’s bowlers can exert on the batsmen on a pitch which remains slow with a low bounce.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)