Bhuvneshwar Kumar (centre) claimed the priced scalp of Ian Bell © Getty Images
After losing 16 sessions, India finally managed to win one but rain spoiled the day for the first time in the series during the fourth Test match against England at Old Trafford. Abhijit Banare looks back at the key highlights of the day’s play.
It was an intense first session where India fought back with three wickets. The inexperienced pacers were impressive and England never looked like running away with the game. Here are key moments from the rain-curtailed day.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar back in business: Southampton made Bhuvneshwar Kumar look like an ordinary Indian pacer being carted all around the park. But he is improving Test after Test and he bounced back at Manchester to produce yet another commendable display. He was consistently on target and made the batsmen play. While the dismissal of Chris Jordan was a touch lucky, Ian Bell’s dismissal was beautifully set up by the pacer. In just three Tests, he has gone on to become a trusted pacer for MS Dhoni and is fulfilling the expectations very well. Stat:
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has become the first Indian with 200+ runs and 15+ wicket in same Test series since M Prabhakar (v Aus 1991/91). #EngvInd
— The Blue bleeders (@TheBlueBleeders) August 8, 2014
Ian Bell’s fifty: It was just an innings of 58 but Bell added solidity to the innings. England had lost five wickets for 140 and in that context this half-century was key. An underrated innings as Joe Root and Jos Buttler extended the lead to take the team to a comfortable position.
Varun Aaron’s pace: It was a selection which evoked mixed reactions. The pace impressed many but the accuracy was in question. It was the former which won him laurels eventually. Varun Aaron had shown the glimpse late on Day One when he hurried Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance to get their wicket. On the second day, Aaron was right on target with his pace and once again managed to make the batsmen uneasy. The dismissal of Moeen Ali was a perfect example of Aaron’s pace. Having set him up for a short ball, he slipped one fuller beautifully and castled him. Unlike Bhuvneshwar, the pace of Aaron makes it tough for batsmen to make last minute adjustments.
Buttler-Root rescue England: At 140 five or even 170 for six, India would have felt positive of restricting the lead. But England now have a new force at No 8 in Jos Buttler while Root is as solid as he has been. The duo put up a positive unbeaten stand of 67 runs. Assuming that England will secure a lead of at least 100-125 runs, it will be a huge challenge for India.
Rain plays spoilsport: The slight drizzle post lunch turned in to a heavy downpour and refused to relent, which ensured hard work for the ground staff all afternoon. There was bright sunshine after an hour of stoppage but it was short-lived as the puddles formed in the outfield thanks to heavy rain again.Despite the loss of play, India’s 152 all-sout has ensured that there’s a lot to look forward to and a result is very much on the cards.
Catch all the coverage of India’s tour to England here
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)