INDIA TOUR OF ENGLAND, 2018
Broad and Anderson picked four wickets apiece in the second innings © Getty
“I’m boiling water outside my house hoping it’ll help build some clouds and move to London,” said a user on Reddit.
India’s hopes had been reduced to thus, having conceded a 250-run lead going into day four of the second Test. England finally declared with an overall lead of 289, and India hoped, prayed, for rain to arrive soon.
Before it could make its first appearance, James Anderson had already accounted for India’s openers – Murali Vijay for another duck and KL Rahul for 10. Before it could make its second, Stuart Broad had four against his name – Ajinkya Rahane for 13, Cheteshwar Pujara for 17, Virat Kohli for 17 and Dinesh Karthik for a first-ball duck. With close to a day and a half still left, and India still adrift by 223 runs in order to make England bat again, the result was a foregone conclusion by then. Before the third could arrive, England wrapped up the game, bowling India out for 130 to win by an innings and 159 runs.
The threat of rain had dominated the first session. England continued to bat, leaving many wondering if they will have enough time to force a win if rain, as predicted, washed out the rest of the day and parts of the final day. They batted for 36 minutes, and scored 39 runs. Eventually, it took the wicket of Sam Curran, off Hardik Pandya, for Joe Root to declare.
India had already shown in that brief session that batting wouldn’t be easy. There was cloud cover, and with the new ball both Shami and Ishant caused some problems. India knew they had more coming their way unless they figured the right way to tackle the England attack. And it needed some special skill too. Anderson and Broad both recognised the variable bounce in the wicket and bowled a lot more inswingers to the batsmen. It resulted in them getting five of the first six wickets. The experienced England pair was relentless and shared 8 wickets between them as India were blown away, while Chris Woakes picked up two at the end.
Murali Vijay and KL Rahul survived their first overs, but Anderson was only warming up. Off his eighth ball, he got the ball to jag back in sharply from a length. The ball beat Vijay’s defensive prod, and took the inside edge through to the ‘keeper. It was the opener’s second duck in the game, and his lack of form will be a serious concern for India. In his fourth over, Anderson had Rahul trapped plumb in front for 10 to leave India, as he had in the first innings, in early trouble.
Ajinkya Rahane walked out ahead of Kohli. The Indian captain hadn’t taken the field early in the morning due to a stiff back, and needed to wait a while more before he could be allowed to bat again.
Lunch was taken early due to rain, and India enjoyed their best spell of defiance soon after. Rahane and Pujara were solid in defence as England pushed for another breakthrough. Pujara looked rock solid and despite the odd play and miss, faced the bowlers out with ease. Rahane was a tad more adventurous, but largely untroubled as India played out 12 overs for 22 runs.
Broad was brought back into the attack, and in his second over, gave England the breakthrough they were waiting for. He beat Rahane with a superb legcutter before bowling the ball a little wider for the batsman to drive. Rahane drove, but only edged it to Keaton Jennings at third slip. Pujara followed soon after, with Broad getting the ball to swing in viciously to remove the right-hander’s off stump. He might have been out for 17, but having played 87 balls, Pujara showed that there is someone in the top order who can guts it out in the middle.
Virat Kohli’s problem with the stiff back was clear, as he struggled to run between wickets and even had to take a pain killer midway through his innings. That perhaps played a part in his dismissal, as he edged a flick onto his thigh pad before Ollie Pope took the catch at short leg. Dinesh Karthik’s horror outing continued, as he was out LBW next ball.
With India at 66/6, rain arrived for the second time. But by now, India’s hopes had evaporated.
Similar to after the first rain break, India enjoyed a brief good spell with the bat. Hardik Pandya and R Ashwin both crunched a few shots to help India get past their first innings score – 107. That perhaps will be the only silver lining, even as bleak as it was, from the innings.
Both Ashwin and Hardik played with a freedom that usually accompanies a nothing-to-lose attitude. They shared India’s first fifty-run stand of the match, before Chris Woakes, that lord of Lord’s, came back into the attack and struck first ball. Pandya was out LBW, after a review, for 26.
29 balls later, it was all over.