England 183 & 25/0 (Burns 11*, Sibley 9*) trail India 278 (Rahul 84, Jadeja 56, Robinson 5-85, Anderson 4-54) by 70 runs.
In the sports heavy month of August, India went into a busy Friday with two major events to play. As the Indian women’s hockey team battled for a bronze medal, the Men’s cricket team stepped on the field at Trent Bridge in Nottingham holding along a sliver of advantage going into the crucial 3rd day of first test.
The 1st Test of the England vs India 2021 series in Nottingham, sat evenly poised at the end of day 2 after the hosts came back strong, taking wickets in quick succession and running through India’s middle order following a 97-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Although India seemed to hold a small advantage going into the 3rd day, they sat as the more nervous side out of the two, hoping to stop a full batting collapse and play through difficult conditions in a hope to conjure up a lead.
Rahul, Jadeja provide impetus to India
KL Rahul who batted brilliantly for his 57* yesterday went on to make 84 runs along with developing a crucial 60-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja, who hit a quick 56 off 86 balls. James Anderson and Ollie Robinson did the bulk of the bowling with 49.5 overs between them and taking 4 and 5 wickets respectively.
The day began with an early dismissal of Rishabh Pant who swung his bat producing an outside edge to midwicket for his 25 off 20 balls. The first session of play posed difficult conditions for batting as the ball swung and zipped off the pitch courtesy some good bowling from Anderson and Robinson.
KL Rahul who had played a significant number of deliveries the day before looked comfortable on the crease, leaving the ball well and providing stability to the innings. Ravindra Jadeja who came out to bat at no. 7 showed beautiful technique playing inside the line, seemingly never in trouble, fending off the opposition’s attack.
The batsmen went on to hit 60 runs for the 6th wicket partnership, dimming England’s hope and creating a stronghold for India in the match. Most of the runs scored by Rahul, around 85 per cent to be precise, came through the off-side. Rahul played with intent, scoring off poor deliveries and cashing in the hard work from the morning session. The temperament shown by Rahul for his 84 runs off 214 balls, batting through several rain and session breaks, tricky conditions and a minor collapse deserves to be applauded.
Ravindra Jadeja completed the double of 2000 runs and 200 wickets in Test cricket in 53 games while batting in India’s first innings. He is the fifth-fastest player to complete the feat after Ian Botham (42 Tests), Kapil Dev (50 Tests), Imran Khan (50 Tests), Ravichandran Ashwin (51 Tests).
India’s lower order rises to the challenge
The Indian lower order batting, which has been the team’s nemesis in previous tours then put up an astonishing 73 runs, taking India to a comfortable lead of 95. India’s display of strong and resistant batting clubbed with the many chances missed by England due to poor fielding - dropped catches and uncapitalized run-out opportunities - meant the game slipped further away for the hosts.
Only two of their four fast bowlers seemed threatening, which meant they had to bowl Anderson and Robinson a lot more to put pressure back on the Indian camp. A mix of tiredness, conditions easing up and hard work of the Indian pace quadrant to strengthen their batting skills resulted in an astonishing hour of play, with the lower order counterattacking the English pacers to put up 73 runs between them along with a vital contribution from Ravindra Jadeja. Jasprit Bumrah hit his highest Test match score of 28, hitting multiple boundaries in the process.
James Anderson becomes the third-highest wicket-taker of all time
James Anderson broke the record of Anil Kumble (619 wickets from 132 Tests) by taking the wicket of KL Rahul on the third day. Anderson has now reached 621 wickets from 163 Tests at the end of the third day. Only Sri Lankan spin wizard Muthiah Muralitharan (800) and Australian leg spinner Shane Warne (708) have picked more wickets than Anderson and Kumble.
It is noteworthy that Anderson has taken 391 wickets in 92 Tests at home as compared to 230 wickets in 71 matches abroad.
England reach 25/0 before rain halts play; What lies ahead and forecast
Rory Burns and Dom Sibley batted through the first 11.1 overs for 25 runs before play was halted once again, due to rain.
Talking about the probable strategy ahead, England being currently 70 runs behind would hope to dismiss India’s lead with no or minimum loss in wickets and bat through the day 4.
India, on the other hand, will look to take advantage of the conditions and get the England team dismissed early, to go for a possible win on the last day.
The forecast for Saturday and Sunday predicts there are chances of scattered showers. The saving grace is that the wind speeds are expected to be above 20 km/hour and one could hope that play will be possible in phases. The followers of the game would be eager to watch the battle ahead with bated breath. Read More: India vs England 1st Test 2021: Eng succumb to 183 against Bumrah, Shami's quality bowling