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By Abhijit Banare
Jul 12, 2014
Records tumbled at Trent Bridge as England’s last-wicket pair of James Anderson and Joe Root put on the highest 10th-wicket partnership against India on Day Four of the first Test. At lunch, England have cruised past India’s 457 to reach 485 for nine with a lead of 28. Trent Bridge seems to be the best track for No 11 batsmen with Anderson hammering an unbeaten 81 and Root on 143 completing his fourth Test ton. The partnership is already worth 187 runs surpassing Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes’ 163 at the same venue last summer.
If there’s anyone who can lose from hereon it has to be India. While the home side was left fuming at the start of play for such a lifeless wicket. By now, they would be overwhelmed to see where they have reached after the monumental effort from Anderson and Root. Not only was this a dead track but playing aggressive shots was the best option than presenting a Test cricket caution.
India started with a lead of 105 in hand already thinking of possible chances of winning this. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma started the proceedings looking to pick that elusive wicket. However, against the run of play Anderson broke free scoring at will. Root though was still eager to protect Anderson by rotating the strike in the second half of the over. The worrying factor was England’s brisk progress. India had to fall back on bouncing out Anderson. Though the No 11 looked as circumspect as he has always been but by the end of the session, Anderson was adept to playing the short balls.
England’s first landmark of the many achi9eved in this session came when Root reached his fourth Test ton. This was perhaps his best innings so far batting with tail-enders. Considering that England were 202 for seven once, Root’s maturity, Broad’s cameo began the change in fortunes. Root notched up this ton at the back of his career-best 200 not out in the previous series against Sri Lanka.
Records for England:
As the session progressed, runs were flowing off Root’s bat. Anderson on the other end had surpassed his previous best of 34 and went on to register his maiden Test fifty. It was an irony that Anderson got to the mark with a pull shot off a short ball. But Root kept reminding Anderson that he was No 11 by picking a single even to shield him even after he was past his fifty. It was a matter of time before the pair went for the highest 10th-wicket stand. On the way they surpassed the highest last-wicket stand for England set way back in 1906.
A frustrated Dhoni went through the motions shuffling between his three pacers before moving to Ravindra Jadeja. It was baffling to see the fifth bowler for this match, Stuart Binny bowling only six overs in an innings which had seen over 130 overs. Binny did come on to bowl late in the first session to little effect. Thanks to the rules of the game, the well-set batsmen played additional 30 minutes past scheduled lunch time to pile on more runs.
It sounds funny that last afternoon India were planning to enforce following-on and pressure England to chase a mammoth target with more than a day to spare. They were in a similar position at Wellington when Brendon McCullum got to his triple ton. Unlike the last time around, India can’t be blamed entirely as the wicket has made tail-end batsmen feel more reassured about their skills. In the end, a single session has changed the complexion of the game once again. If this pair goes on, it won’t be a surprise that Alastair Cook would think of declaring with his sights on bowling India out.
India 457 (Murali Vijay 146, MS Dhoni 82, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 58, Mohammed Shami 51*; James Anderson 3 for 123, Stuart Broad 2 for 53) trail England 485 for 9 (Sam Robson 59, Gary Ballance 71, Joe Root 143*, James Anderson 81*; Ishant Sharma 3 for 144, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4 for 77) by 28 runs.
(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)
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