Day Three at Trent Bridge saw rain having the final say, although as compared to the previous day, we were lucky to get a lot of play. The game, too, has moved along at a good pace with India on top as they still lead by 70 runs.
A whole-hearted performance from Kannur Lokesh Rahul and the Indian lower-order helped the visitors take a vital lead. However, England fought back hard the second time around with the bat, and did not surrender to the Indian pacers. At the close of stumps, the English openers look set having reduced the first innings deficit by 25 runs. The hosts would want to keep doing the same on a wicket that seems to have eased out a little.
On the other hand, India need to be patient and have to keep hitting the right lines and lengths. A couple of wickets in the morning session could create panic in the English dressing room, which has yet to prove its mettle with the willow. A result looks well and truly possible with two days left in the game. Although there is a forecast of showers on both the remaining days, we hope to squeeze enough cricket from the rain gods.
Here are the talking points from Day 3 of the 1st test match between India and England
Counter-attacking cricket rescues India in rain-marred opening session
Day 3 began with KL Rahul continuing to defy the English bowlers with dogged determination as India overtook the home team’s first innings score in yet-another rain-hit opening session. Rahul’s stoic 84 runs off 214 balls, included 12 boundaries, almost all of them classic Rahul strokes. Rahul was given a chance when he was dropped by Joe Root at first slip.
The first 95 minutes of the day saw only 11 deliveries being bowled due to a steady drizzle. However, wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant looked set to take off from where he had left off at Southampton, during the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Pant’s 25 off 20 balls was laced with three boundaries and one six.
And with Pant’s dismissal, Ravindra Jadeja came out to the crease, in an attempt to vindicate the team management’s decision to select him over Ravi Ashwin. The all-rounders’ inspired half-century (56 off 87 balls) ensured India managed a healthy first-innings lead.
India’s tail, not-so-fragile after all
The Indian tail made useful contributions with the bat in the low-scoring contest at Trent Bridge on Friday. A 73-run contribution from the last three stands saw India manage 278 in their first innings, in reply to England’s 183. Jasprit Bumrah hit a six and also his top score (28 off 34) in Tests, Mohammed Shami (13 off 20) displayed text-book defensive pushes, and Mohammed Siraj (7* off 8 balls) had some fun too as India’s much-maligned lower order took them into a position of strength.
Robinson amends off-field mistake with a fifer
Ollie Robinson, who recently came back from suspension due to racism charges, bowled the hard lengths to pick up 5 for 85 in 26.5 overs to claim his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Having already taken the wicket of Indian opener Rohit Sharma on Day 2, Robinson began with Rishabh Pant’s wicket on Friday. His extra bounce from a good length confounded an eager drive from Pant, but the ball stopped as it hit the crease. It hit the top part of Pant’s bat for Bairstow to grab a dolly.
The young English pacer then had Jadeja with a length ball just outside off. Jadeja tried slogging only to lose his shape and ended up skying it to Broad, who back-tracked to take a good catch at mid-off. Shami, meanwhile, was undone with a full and straight delivery, which crashed on his back pad before hitting the stumps.
With both Anderson and Robinson having picked four wickets apiece, it was a race to a five-for and the young cricketer denied his senior compatriot with the record. A swinging delivery forced Bumrah to play the shot, and the ball went high before Broad grabbed it with a sharp catch at fine leg. Ollie Robinson had got his first five-wicket haul in Test match cricket.
Anderson becomes third highest wicket-taker in Tests
The English pacer surpassed Anil Kumble’s tally of 619 wickets to become third highest wicket-taker in Tests on Friday. Anderson achieved the feat by dismissing opener KL Rahul, who looked set to score a dogged century.
Only Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets) and Australia’s Shane Warne (708 wickets) are ahead of him on the list of history’s top wicket-takers.
Anderson’s first wicket of Day 3 was opener KL Rahul. The veteran Englishman bowled a full delivery outside off, which straightened off the seam as Rahul edged it to Buttler while looking to drive through mid-off. He then got Thakur out with a peach of a delivery. A length ball, which invited Thakur to drive, albeit his minimal footwork. The ball hit the seam and straightened, and Thakur’s defence from the crease induced a thick edge that was grabbed by the first slip.
In 2015, Anderson had become England’s highest wicket-taker, surpassing legendary all-rounder Ian Botham. The 37-year old, who is playing his 163rd Test match, made his debut in 2003 against Zimbabwe.
With two days left in the first Test, and in the few overs that were possible before rain ended the day’s play prematurely, the pitch looks a little settled.
The game now looks set for a grandstand finish — India will come out fresh tomorrow and will hope for good bowling conditions. On the other hand, England would love for the sun to come out. The forecast isn’t flashy and that adds another aspect into the game.