England’s Ollie Robinson struck four times with the second new ball as the hosts’ thrashed India by an innings and 76 runs to level the series on Day Four of the third Test at Headingley on Saturday. Resuming on an overnight score of 215-2, the visitors crashed to 278 all out before lunch, with the Indian middle-order once again failing miserably against the pace and guile of the English fast bowlers.
The visitors already had their backs to the wall after collapsing for a paltry 78 in the first innings and Root’s England just piled on the misery to the Indian bowlers in the first innings with a massive lead of 354 runs.
Indian captain Virat Kohli, meanwhile, put the Indian collapse in the second innings down to scoreboard pressure, saying it was a tall order to come back into the game after conceding a huge first-innings lead. “We did well to stay in the game yesterday, fight back as much as we could, and gave ourselves a chance. But the pressure today was outstanding from the England bowlers,” he said.
Here are the talking points from Day 2 of the third Test match between India and England.
Root becomes England’s most successful captain
Yorkshireman Joe Root, playing at his home turf, became the most successful England Test captain after trampling India in the third Test. Root, however, won’t own the feat alone, saying the contribution of his teammates and coaching staff is equally important in his achievement. “As I mentioned before the game, I’m living my boyhood dream of captaining England. It’s something that I dreamt of doing from being really small,” Root said after England levelled the five-match series 1-1.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have gone past Vaughan but you don’t do that on your own as a captain, it’s down to the group of players and the coaching staff as well. It’s been a very challenging period throughout my tenure as captain, there has been a lot to contend with, a lot around the games, and not necessarily all the full focus has been on the field,” the skipper added.
Root also praised his team for the win after they were comprehensively outplayed in the second test at Lord’s. “It was a fantastic, clinical performance… look at the talent in the dressing room, we know we’re capable, just have to be more consistent. And yesterday, to hold the rate and build pressure, when it wasn’t going for us — we knew with the second new ball we always had an opportunity today.”
Same old story, middle order falters yet again
The famed-Indian batting order, which has more-often-than-not failed to deceive, was once again in the firing line on Saturday as they lost the last eight wickets for just 63 runs. It all started early in the day with Cheteshwar Pujara (91) being the first to be dismissed, shouldering arms to a Robinson in-swinger that was given out leg before wicket on review.
Captain Virat Kohli (55) edged one to Joe Root soon after completing his half-century and Ajinkya Rahane’s dismissal for 10 off James Anderson all but ended India’s hopes of overhauling the England lead, with Ravindra Jadeja’s late flourish of 30 offering some entertainment but eventually being in vain.
Mohammed Shami was able to overturn an lbw call off Robinson but he was bowled through the gate soon after Moeen Ali got one to spin in from outside off. Robinson finally got his second five-wicket haul of the series as Ishant Sharma nicked behind to Buttler. Overton then finished off the match by forcing Mohammed Siraj to edge to the second slip.
Ollie Robinson’s seam dismantles India
Ollie Robinson’s stellar seam bowling helped England beat India by an innings and 76 runs on the fourth morning of the third test at Headingley. Early on Saturday, Robinson removed both overnight batsmen to dampen the visitors’ hopes. After three scoreless overs, he found the early breakthrough by dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara for 91 before a run had been scored. Soon after, captain Virat Kohli edged to first slip to finish on 55.
The pacer, who had already trapped Rohit Sharma in front of the wicket on Friday afternoon, took the wickets of Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma to claim only his second fifer of his Test career.
Should India look to play an extra batsman in the fourth Test?
India will be forced to reassess their combination and may think of playing an extra batsman in place of a bowler in the fourth Test, after the middle-order came a cropper in the third Test. Veteran maestro Sunil Gavaskar feel the same. “I think they will think on whether they will go ahead with this line-up or make-up of the side. Whether they are okay going ahead with five bowlers or change it and bring in an extra batsman for a bowler,” Gavaskar said after the match.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, however, turned down suggestions that he should play an extra batsman. “I don’t believe in that balance (pick an extra batsman). I have never believed in that balance. Either you can try and save (yourself) from a defeat or try and win the game and we have drawn games in the past with similar number of batters,” said Kohli to media in an interaction after the match.
“So if top your 6-7 don’t do the job, that extra guy is not a guarantee for bailing you out every time. You have to take responsibility and pride for doing the job for the team. If you don’t have the ability or resources to take 20 wickets going into a Test match then you are already playing for two results and that is not how we play.”