How Virat Kohli’s India came back from 0-2 to beat England at Trent Bridge
India roared back in the series with a 203-run win. @Getty

Down 0-2 in the five-match series, Virat Kohli‘s No-ranked India beat England by 203 runs on day five at Trent Bridge. India’s seventh Test win on English soil featured several exceptional performances, and a very critical toss.

Here’s a look at the key passages of play that added up to a famous overseas Test win.

The toss 

Cocky? Reasonable? What was the thinking behind putting India in to bat on a good batting deck under a bit of cloud cover? Whatever the thinking, Joe Root’s decision proved massive as India were taken to 307/6 on day one, with Kohli scoring 97 and Ajinkya Rahane 81. There was far less movement available than at Lord’s or Edgbaston, and unfortunately for England their quartet of fast bowlers did not hit the necessary lengths. Plus the bower they would have really loved to have on this surface, the left-armer Sam Curran, had been dropped to accommodate Ben Stokes, who turned out to be the poorest bowler on show on day one.

Joe Root Toss Trent Bridge
Joe Root’s decision proved massive as India were taken to 307/6 on day one. @Getty

A 60-run opening stand

At the first drinks break on day one, India’s latest opening act of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul  punched gloves. It was recognition of a job partly done, for it meant that India had lasted the first hour without loss. After all that had transpired at Lord’s, this was progress. Dhawan (35) and Rahul (36) put on an opening stand of 60 in 18.4 overs, which blunted England and meat that Kohli did not walk out until the start of the 21st over. In the first two Tests, India’s skipper had been in the middle as early as the seventh, eighth and 15th overs. Shielding the team’s best batsman was imperative for India’s top order after two losses and Dhawan and Rahul did just that.

Kohli and Rahane

Root’s decision to bowl under a bit of cloud cover did not go to plan for England, with Kohli’s 97 and his century-stand with Rahane, turning a tough spot into a position from which could push for a potentially match-winning total. The pair had joined for the first ball of the afternoon session, with India having lost Cheteshwar Pujara on the stroke of lunch, and they proceeded to put on a fourth-wicket partnership worth 159 – the highest for India in England since 2002 – to help their team end day one on 307/6.

Hardik Pandya Trent Bridge
Hardik Pandya took five wickets for 28 runs in six overs on day three. @Getty

10 wickets in a session 

From an overnight 307/6, India were bowled out for 329. England enjoyed the better of conditions on the second morning, taking the last four Indian wickets for 22 runs and then easing into the lunch break on 46/0 in nine overs. That became 54/0 moments into the second session, and it seemed like an opening stand of substance has formed.

Then Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah got Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings off successive deliveries to set the jeepers into the England lineup. Ishant then added Ollie Pope to make it it 75/3 before Hardik Pandya gate-crashed the party with five wickets in 29 balls. From 128/9 England sped to 161 thanks to Jos Buttler, but a match-winning lead of 168 had been obtained.

Catches 

England have dropped 15 catches in three Tests. India have spilled five. Given the weakness that India’s slip cordon has had for some time, this is a huge improvement. In South Africa earlier this year, drops contributed to defeats in the first two Tests as the series was lost. Was it a coincidence that in the only Test that India won in South Africa, the catchers held every chance that came their way? Not at all, and India’s catches at Trent Bridge was excellent.

KL Rahul Trent Bridge
KL Rahul took six catches at Trent Bridge. @Getty

Leading the way was Rahul, who took five catches at second slip. A low take of Root on day two needed numerous replays and left the England skipper at odds with the call on his dismissal, and on day four Rahul’s sharp reflexes four saw Root excellently taken for 13. Kohli took the sharpest slip catch of the Test, moments after Rahul’s take of Root, when he clutched onto a stunner off Ollie Pope.

And then there was the debutant, Rishabh Pant, who became the first Indian wicketkeeper to hold five catches in the first innings of his first Test. Pant looked at ease all match, assured and confident with the bat and gloves, and though he was caught wrong-footed on day four to allow Buttler a life, he appears to have a solid Test future.

In comparison, England were guilty of dropping five catches at Trent Bridge. Cook put down a sitter of Dhawan on day one, James Anderson failed to hold onto a touch catch at cover-point when Rahane was 56, Jennings dropped Pandya in the first innings and Kohli on 94 in the second, and Buttler gave Pujara a life on 40 on day three.

Jasprit Bumrah Trent Bridge
Jasprit Bumrah bowled Jonny Bairstow during a terrific spell with the second new ball on day four. @Getty

Bumrah’s new-ball burst 

A 169-run stand for the fifth wicket between Buttler and Stokes frustrated India and helped take the Test into the fifth day. Buttler’s maiden Test century was a thing of beauty and perseverance, and Stokes’ graft was not something fans of England cricket had seen too much of this series. A wicketless afternoon session blossomed into an hour of lovely driving, cutting and flicking as the Buttler-Stokes partnership swelled. The second new ball, one felt, was going to be the decisive factor – but who would use it best?

The answer came immediately, from Jasprit Bumrah, as England lost four wickets for 10 runs. Buttler padded up and was given lbw, despite a review; next ball, the fractured Jonny Bairstow lost his off stump to a terrific delivery. Then Chris Woakes fended at a nasty bouncer. Bumrah had there in a flash, and it was a rare burst of fast bowling from an Indian quick. Ishant Sharma was devastating at Edgbaston and Pandya eye-popping on day two at Trent Bridge, but when an fast bowler swings the ball at pace and hits the stumps, it is something else.