India 78 (Rohit Sharma 19, James Anderson 3-6, Craig Overton 3-14)
England 120 for 0 (Haseeb Hameed 60*, Rory Burns 52*)
England lead by 42 runs
The drama never really died down following India’s dramatic come from behind win for the ages against England in the 2nd Test at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground. The battle on the field had escalated to verbal warfare and mind games.
The visitors were on the ascendency and the series seemed to be destined towards them. After all, they had run England close to a defeat in the First Test and come from behind to get a memorable win in the Second Test. The team seemed united on all fronts and at times it seemed as the contest was between India vs. Joe Root & James Anderson. England meanwhile were in disarray. Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood had all come and gone due to injury or form. And to make matters worse, Virat Kohli finally won the toss for a change to go 2-10 in Test match tosses against Joe Root. Kohli elected to bat first whereas Root claimed not to be too disappointed bowling first.
The first session of play belonged to one man – The King of Swing James Anderson. He dismissed India’s top scorer of the series KL Rahul in the first over of the match. Cheteshwar Pujara, who has had a torrid series so far fell soon after. Virat Kohli tried to fight fire with fire and was caught behind driving Anderson. Kohli’s dismissal hinted at a lack of game awareness. Anderson had bowled 5.5 overs up to then. Had Kohli seen out the last two balls of the over, Anderson probably would have not bowled again in the first session and the batsmen would have faced bowlers without the same potency of venom. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were close to seeing out the session without any further damage. However, Rahane fell to Ollie Robinson in the last over before lunch as India finished the session on 56/4.
England resumed where they had left before lunch. Ollie Robinson had Rishabh Pant caught behind poking a wide ball after adding paltry 2 runs. By then, all five wickets to fall were caught behind by Jos Buttler, a testament to stern examination presented by the English pacers. Rohit Sharma soon was back in the pavilion, once again uncharacteristically dismissed trying to pull. Ravindra Jadeja, who has batted commendably in the series had no answer to Sam Curran’s swinging yorker. The Law of Large Numbers finally caught up with Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. The heroes with the bat in the 2nd Test win were both dismissed for first-ball ducks. Overton then ended the innings by having Mohammed Siraj as India were bowled out for 78 in 40.4 overs. Only two Indian batsmen were able to reach double figures. Whereas, 16 extras were the third largest contributor.
England then came out to negotiate 7 overs before tea. Haseeb Hameed opening for England for the first time since 2016, and Rory Burns were let off by Ishant Sharma easily as he struggled to nail his line as well as the run-up in the first over. The pair successfully negated the Indian pacers in this tricky phase.
The openers continued chewing up India’s total post-tea. Burns was solid if not spectacular. Whereas Hameed was particularly strong square of the wicket on the offside and pounced on any width on offer. Ishant Sharma, the senior-most bowler of the Indian attack in particular struggled for rest of the day. When Hameed cut Shami for a boundary, England went past India’s total in 31.2 overs without losing a wicket. Hameed vindicated his selection and promotion up the order by finishing unbeaten on 60. Similarly, Burns ended the day on 52*
The biggest criticism levied on England this series was their over-dependency on Joe Root for batting and James Anderson for bowling. Both the stalwarts hadn’t received significant support from the rest of the team. Anderson ditched his outswing-based attack and bowled a barrage of inswingers in the first session to finish with bowling figures of 8-5-6-3. The rest of the English pacers finally stepped up to finish with 30.4-10-57-7 amongst them. By the state of how India were going, Anderson was afforded a rare session off as he wasn’t required to bowl at all. One thing is for sure, he will be raring to go when India bat again.
England’s opening has been iffy throughout the year. In the last 12 months, they have not scored a single 100 run opening stand, and in the last 20 innings have gone past 50 without losing a wicket only twice. The opening stand averaged 16.10 over this period. The English openers finally broke the 100 run partnership mark for the first time in 25 innings. Fittingly it was Haseeb Hameed who broke England’s rut.
It was against India in 2016 Hameed debuted as a 19-year-old. He batted 177 balls in the 2nd innings scoring 82 along with the captain Alastair Cook who scored 130. In the 3rd Test of the series, Hameed scored an unbeaten half-century batting with a broken finger at number eight. He flew home after the match for surgery. Hameed was touted for long-term international success but things in life aren’t easy as it seems.
His short rise was followed by a long free fall which seemed never to stop. After his heroics in 2016, such was his drop in form that he struggled to make it to his county starting XI. Even when Lancashire were relegated to the 2nd division, he never recovered his form. At the end of 2019, he was released by Lancashire where he laid his cricketing foundations. Nottinghamshire then took a punt on him. He gained some form with 3 half-centuries in the Bob Willis Trophy. With a solitary hundred in the last four years of county cricket, at the start of 2021 probably not even Hameed would have believed he would be opening the batting for England by August. His comeback has been as commendable as that of England on the opening day. The rest of the bowlers have strongly backed James Anderson whereas, the openers have started strongly. And on a day where Virat Kohli finally won the toss for a change, in hindsight he may wonder if it would have been better had the toss been lost after all.
Haseeb Hameed’s Batting Statistics in County Cricket.
|Year||Team||Div||Matches||Innings||Not Outs||Runs||Highest Score||Average||Strike Rate||100s||50s||0s||4s||6s|
Session Wise Stats Breakdown of Day 1
|Session||Batting Team||Overs Faced||Runs Scored||Wickets Lost||Runs per Over||Session Winner|
Session Wise WinViz Breakdown on Day 1
|End of Session||England Win||Draw||India Win|
(All statistics as of: 25.08.2021. Pic Source: ECB)