After an excellent display from India’s openers, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, on day one put them in the driving seat, England fought back on day two. India evened things up with a massive breakthrough in added time but skipper Joe Root continued to bat gamely and keep England in the hunt in the second Test here on Friday.
At stumps after an engrossing second day’s play, England were 119 for three after batting for 45 overs, having bowled India out for 364 in their first innings. Root was batting on 48 and giving him company was Jonny Bairstow on 6. The canny Mohammed Shami made the breakthrough when he had Rory Burns (49) trapped in front of the wicket with a delivery that jagged in after landing. The visitors threatened with Mohammed Siraj’s two wickets in two balls before Burns and Joe Root nearly navigated through a tricky final session with a partnership of 85 runs.
With Virat Kohli deciding to continue with Siraj after the tea break instead of handing the red cherry to the more experienced Shami or Jasprit Bumrah, the very impressive pacer lived up to his captain’s expectations with his twin strikes with his first two deliveries. First, he had Dominic Sibley playing a loose shot to be caught at short midwicket by K L Rahul — it was a replay of his dismissal at Nottingham — and then the pacer crashed through the defense of comeback man Haseeb Hameed, giving him a golden duck on his return.
That was followed by Siraj giving the batsman a silent send-off. However, the duo of Root and Burns did the repair work admirably as they frustrated the visiting team bowlers with their mix of caution and aggression. On the day, Root also went past Graham Gooch to become England’s second-highest scorer in Test cricket, with only Alastair Cook now ahead of him. Burns smashed Siraj for three boundaries in an over, before scoring fours against Ishant Sharma and Bumrah.
Root too found the fence occasionally after the evergreen James Anderson exhibited complete mastery over his craft on way to a 31st five-wicket haul to wrap up India’s first innings much earlier than expected. Thanks to Anderson’s (5/62) exploits and a fine supporting act by Mark Wood (2/91) on day two, England got an opportunity to bat in the second session and reached tea at 23 for no loss. This was the 39-year-old Anderson’s seventh five-for at the hallowed Lord’s, four of them coming against the Indians.
It was cloudy but there was no rain around, and the conditions looked much better for batting than it was at Trent Bridge in the series opener last week. Resuming at 276 for three with overnight centurion KL Rahul (129) and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (1) at the crease, India, however, ended up losing seven wickets for 88 runs while squandering the solid platform.
With their enterprise, the flamboyant Rishabh Pant (37) and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (40) threatened to take the game away from the hosts, but Anderson and Wood had other ideas as the latter got rid of the dangerous left-handed duo while his senior teammate worked his magic at the other end.
It was appropriate when Anderson led the team off the ground, raising the ball aloft as he does often. Making light of his team losing two early wickets, Pant had no trouble facing the English bowlers and got his runs off 58 balls before falling to Wood. The dashing left-hander struck five fours during his stay in the middle.
Shami lasted just two balls as Moeen Ali had him caught by Burns to leave India at 336 for seven. The Lord’s turned red to mark the RedForRuth Day to raise awareness and funds for the Ruth Strauss Foundation, named after former England skipper Andrew Strauss’ late wife, who died of non-smoking lung cancer at the age of 46.
Speaking to the media, Anderson explained that he thought India was in the driving seat but that England could get “right back in the game” if they were able to get close to India’s first-innings total.