For the first time in this Test match, the sun was shining and it was a glorious day at Lord’s. It was most definitely going to be a batting day.
India started proceedings rather poorly if I’m being honest. Ishant Sharma was particularly poor, and for some bizarre reason, took him two overs before deciding he would have better luck bowling around the wicket.
Mohammad Shami was bowling better at the other end and he was rewarded with the wicket of Keaton Jennings, who was gone LBW for 11. India had the breakthrough. Ishant Sharma then got his bowling to click and in the over after Jennings departed, he bowled an absolute corker of a ball to Cook, who had no choice but to play at it. He nicked it behind and he was gone for 21, England were 32-2.
This brought debutant Ollie Pope to the crease, batting at number 4 and boy did he look at ease. He got off the mark with only his second ball. While Pope was having a comfortable time out in the middle, Joe Root, at the other end was not having such a good time. Honestly, at times, it was Root that looked like the debutant. They put together a 45 run partnership as they steadied the English ship, as they inched closer to lunch. Pandya however broke this partnership when he had debutant Pope trapped in front, he reviewed but was gone for a well played 28.
England had 3 overs to bat for lunch and one more wicket would certainly turn things in India’s favour. Mohammad Shami provided this with a beautiful piece of bowling that kept low and Root was trapped in front on 19, Lunch was called with England on 89-4.
The sun was shining and this was a batting day, but despite this, England were still struggling and the big wicket of Joe Root was back in the pavilion. If India could bowl well after lunch, this game could become wide open.
Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow put on 42 runs post lunch before Buttler was also trapped in front for 24. England were now in trouble with a lead of only 24 and already half their side back in the pavilion.
India had done well, they had an opening, but Chris Woakes, on his return back to international cricket had other ideas.
The Woakes/Bairstow partnership was vital in more ways than one, Bairstow got the first half century of the match, and Bairstow and Woakes got the first half century partnership of the match, as they batted India out of the game.
Chris Woakes scored his maiden Test century as he and Bairstow put on a wonderful and match-winning partnership of 189 runs. When Bairstow was dismissed for a terrifically played 93, England’s lead had raced along to 213.
Ravi Ashwin, who was the key destroyer for India in the first Test, and bowled well with the new ball, strangely was kept out of the attack until the 39th over. India made an error in judgement with the team selection, that was clear to see, but they selected two spinners, and should’ve trusted their ability.
Bad light stopped play prematurely with England in the incredibly commanding position of leading by 250 runs. With a cloudy day forecast and rain predicted, it would be in England’s best interest to declare overnight and put India’s fragile bating line-up in first thing on day 4.
India were unfortunate with the toss, but that’s life and that’s cricket. they didn’t help themselves with their team selection, their team preparation and their team tactics. The toss had no part to play in any of that.
They can still come back in this Test and in this series, it is still only the second Test, it is too early for them to be demoralized and give up. They just have to apply themselves and fight.
The day belonged to Woakes though. It has been a fantastic come-back for him, wickets and runs in the first innings, getting his name on the Lord’s honours board, it will be a day he won’t soon forget.