After all the criticism for their performance in the first two tests, Team India have stormed their way back into the series with a convincing win over England by 203 runs. After the bowlers did the
damage to England’s batting in the first innings, the batsmen batted beautifully to bat the hosts out
of the match. On day 4 England showed some determination to stay on the wicket to take the game
to day 5, but it was India’s match all the way.
After they survived a tricky last session on day 3, the English openers resumed on day 4. However,
some excellent bowling from Ishant Sharma sent back the openers. Ishant has always proved to be a threat to the left-handers with his ability to take the ball away from them. Joe Root and Ollie Pope
hung in for a while before Bumrah dismissed a scratchy Root nicking one to the slips. Ollie Pope was dismissed in the same fashion to Mohammed Shami to leave the hosts struggling at 62/4 at lunch.
With 4 big wickets in the morning, India would have liked to wrap up things quickly. However, as the ball became older and the conditions eased out a little, batting seemed a lot easier than in the
morning. Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes batted their way through the 2 nd session without any damage being done to keep England in the game. Both the batsmen batted without taking unnecessary risks initially and as things eased out for batting, scored runs freely. They put on a brilliant partnership of 169 to save England the blushes. While Ben Stokes showed a lot of grit to stay on the wicket, Buttler batted with great freedom.
The keeper-batsman, known largely for his aggressive batting in the shorter versions of the game displayed a stroke-filled batting exhibition. He soon brought up his maiden Test hundred which included 21 boundaries.
The defiant stand by the two batsmen was broken by Jasprit Bumrah with the new ball. Buttler
didn’t offer a shot to a delivery which came back in and struck his pads. He was adjudged LBW after playing a terrific knock of 106 which was probably the longest he has ever batted in a test match.
Jonny Bairstow was cleaned up by Bumrah on the very next delivery as he made the new ball talk.
He then bounced out Chris Woakes to get his fourth wicket of the innings. Meanwhile, India’s hero
of the first innings with the ball – Hardik Pandya ended a gritty innings of 62 from Stokes with an
away swinger which took the edge of his bat to the slips. England suddenly started to crumble as
India picked up quick wickets with the new cherry. In the additional 30 minutes of play, Bumrah
dismissed Stuart Broad to pick up a well-deserved five-for as India inched closer to a win. However,
Adil Rashid made India wait by counterattacking the bowlers. He along with James and Anderson
survived the last few minutes of play as the day ended with India needing just 1 wicket to win. Ravi
Ashwin dismissed the last man James Anderson with the carom ball inside 10 minutes on the final
day to complete a comprehensive victory for India.
In spite of the resistance from Stokes and Butler on Day 4, India bowled pretty well. Bumrah was
sensational with the second new ball as he got his maiden five-for in tests. He bowled at a good pace with great control over line and length. The trio of Ishant, Shami, and Hardik provided him with good support as they put India on the brink of a famous win.
This is a wonderful victory for India. It has brought them back in the series when everybody had
written them off at the start. The win is even more delightful as India excelled in every department.
While bowlers bowled magnificently in both the innings, the batsmen showed great determination
to stay put and score on loose deliveries. Hardik Pandya and Bumrah were outstanding with the ball as the rest supported them well. The openers provided good, solid starts with the bat. And it was great to see both Rahane and Pujara get some runs under the belt along with the captain. Also, the catching was much improved than the last two matches as the fielders held on to most of the
catching opportunities. Overall, it was a satisfying win for India. The series now stands at 2-1.
While the hosts have batting issues to tackle, India seem to have found their mojo. With 2 more matches to go, the visitors will fancy their chances to draw level and to go for a win in the series.
The excitement has risen even more now as we head to Southampton for what promises to be another mouth-watering clash.
– Prasad Palkar