The second Specsavers Test between England and India was scheduled to start at the Home of Cricket, on Thursday 9th August. Mother Nature had other ideas. The entire first day was washed out and the Test only began on day 2.
The toss took place on time and the players took to the field to start this Test, on time. Joe Root won the toss and elected to field first, and given the cloud cover that was hovering over Lords, this was an easy decision. Virat Kohli also said he would’ve bowled first had he won the toss.
England made two team changes, Ollie Pope was handed his Test debut, while Chris Woakes replaced Ben Stokes, for obvious reasons. India also made two changes. Struggling overseas opening batsman, Shikhar Dhawan was dropped for Cheteshwar Pujara, while Umesh Yadav was replaced with the extra spinner, Kuldeep Yadav.
Play finally got underway, but this was short lived, as only 6 overs were able to be bowled before the rain returned, and players took a lengthy break. It was going to be another one of those days.
The cloud cover meant that James Anderson, England’s “King of Swing” was going to be a handful, and that he was. He induced the edge of Murali Vijay on the 5th ball of the innings and India were 0-1. That soon became 10-2 when Anderson had KL Rahul caught behind for 8. It was honestly poor batting from Vijay, who used absolutely no footwork.
Play was stopped for an hour before the players could come back onto the field. This brought Virat Kohli to the crease and this was going to be another episode of the Anderson vs. Kohli battle. This was going to be a true test of Kohli’s skill.
When players came back onto the field, there were only 12 balls bowled, and an awful run-out between Kohli and Pujara. Pujara wanted a quick single, Kohli responded in the positive, sets off for the run, then changes his mind and Pujara is left stranded, and sacrifices his own wicket to save Kohli.
Players ran off the field for another rain break and India were 15-3.
The last rain delay for the day lasted four hours and when players returned to the field, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane started, what looked like a promising partnership that reached 34 runs, before Chris Woakes was brought into the attack and induced the edge of Kohli. He was dropped by Jos Buttler at slip on 19. Was this Kohli’s chance, dropped on 21 at Edgbaston and went onto score a wonderful hundred, would history repeat itself?
The very next delivery saw Kohli edge again, but this time Buttler hangs on. He was gone for 23 and India were in trouble on 49-4. India were further reduced to 62-6 before Ravi Ashwin came to the crease. He was in a 22 run partnership with Rahane, who was then dismissed for a promising and patient 18, before Anderson came back and got his man. India were 84-7 and in trouble of not reaching 100.
The bowling from England was relentless, they were asking the right questions and India had no answers, Anderson got the last Indian wicket of Ishant Sharma for a duck and that was his 99th wicket at Lords and his 26th Test five-for. Anderson finished on 5-20 and India were bundled out for 107.
It was a fantastic day for Jimmy.
Nasser Hussain was spot on when he sad that India didn’t prepare. Yes the conditions were tough but some of their dismissals in the first innings were down to poor footwork, poor running and poor batting. India knew they were going to tour the UK for months, they had ample time to get adequately prepared, but they chose not to. They have only themselves to blame. Now they must suffer the consequences.
Even though day 1 was a complete wash out, India’s first innings collapse ensures that a result is still entirely possible.