Joe Root hung on with the lower-order and scored a crucial half-century to reduce the lead © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Jul 11, 2014
The 54-run unbeaten 10th-wicket partnership between James Anderson (23 not out) and Joe Root (78 not out) helped England salvage some pride at stumps on Day Three of the first Test against India at Trent Bridge. Reeling at 202 for seven, England’s tail-end added 152 runs for two wickets to take them to 352 for nine. England are trailing by 105 which still gives India the upper-hand.
The second sessions on Day Two and Three have proved to be game-changing so far. After the 10th-wicket Indian pair of Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar piled on 111, England lost six wickets in the second session to give India the edge at stumps for the third consecutive day. Some may give credit to Ishant Sharma for delivering a testing spell while some others may point to an average batting from the England middle-order.
Resuming the day at 43 for one, Sam Robson and Gary Ballance progressed solidly to reach their second Test fifties respectively. It looked as though it was India’s time to slog out in the field on a flat deck. In hindsight, Bhuvneshwar was bang on target when he said after stumps on Day Two: “We come across these kind of pitches often in India. The key is to have patience and bowl in the areas all day and you’ll get the results.” After a fruitless first session, it was Ishant who finally found the breakthrough ending the 125-run second wicket partnership. Robson was done in by one that jagged back in and Bruce Oxenford upheld the appeal. A brief stoppage in play ensued after a while with umpires opting for a change of ball as the older one had lost it’s shape. That proved to be a blessing in disguise for India.
The ball started to swing and the pacers started to get past the outside edges more often. Eventually it was Ishant’s brilliance which got India one more breakthrough. He dismissed left-hander Ballance in a similar fashion as Robson. The lanky pacer’s rhythm prompted skipper MS Dhoni to persist with him and he struck again with a key wicket of Ian Bell who had scored a breezy 25. Three wickets inside an hour saw India snatch the momentum. But there were more gifts in store for the visitors. Shami removed Moeen Ali and an umpiring blunder gave Bhuvneshwar Kumar his first overseas Test wicket in the form of Matt Prior. Even before the dressing room came to terms with the collapse, Ben Stokes too was on his way back for a second-ball duck.
Local boy Stuart Broad produced an aggressive display of batting to take them past the follow-on score of 258 and Joe Root continued to anchor from the other end. Broad eventually fell for 47. Just as when all was well with India, the last-wicket pair of Anderson and Root frustrated with the unbeaten partnership. More than the matured approach of Root it was the aggression of Anderson that left . There was nothing much in the pitch to make a difference as well.
Despite the late comeback from England, India still hold the upper-hand with a three-figure lead. If they allow England to add few more tomorrow morning, their slender chance of forcing a result will fade away as well.
India 457 (Murali Vijay 146, MS Dhoni 82, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 58, Mohammed Shami 51*; James Anderson 3 for 123, Stuart Broad 2 for 53) lead England 352 for 9 (Sam Robson 59, Gary Ballance 71, Joe Root 78; Ishant Sharma 3 for 109, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4 for 61) by 105 runs.
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(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)