Inspired bowling by England’s Jimmy Anderson and Chris Woakes humbled the Indian batsmen during a rain-interrupted second day at Lord’s.
With the ball swinging through the air and the Lord’s slope working its magic, the England bowlers made light work of the Indian batsmen on day two of the second Test. After the first day was completely washed out – and the second day being interrupted by rain a number of times – India faced a tough challenge to survive against a fired-up England attack and were found wanting.
Needing a strong performance to level the series, India were hampered by a mixture of brilliant seam bowling from the England lineup as well as some indifferent strokeplay. Granted, conditions were all in favour of the batsmen, and there were long periods when the Indian batters defended really well, but at crucial moments, loose strokes gave the England bowlers the opportunity they needed to snap up Indian wickets at regular intervals.
Anderson struck in the first over, bowling Murali Vijay for a duck as he shaped to leg, and the bowler followed up with the wicket of Lokesh Rahul for eight, caught behind by Jonny Bairstow. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli then got into a dreadful mix-up attempting a single that was never on, allowing debutant Ollie Pope to swoop in to run Pujara out for a single.
Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane set about rebuilding the innings until Kohli played an uncharacteristically poor shot, with Woakes turning the batsman inside out to induce the edge to Jos Buttler in the slips, who took the catch having grassed a catch off the previous delivery. With their score on 49-4 and Kohli on his way back to the long room, India looked a dreadful mess.
Hardik Pandya fell for 11 off 10 balls, Buttler snapping up the catch after once again dropping a catch off the previous delivery. The Indian tail fell away badly, with only Ravichandran Ashwin offering any real resistance by top-scoring with 29 off 38 deliveries before Chris Broad trapped him leg before.
Anderson was the hero of the innings, picking up figures of 13.2-5-20-5 (econ 1.50), although special mention must go to Woakes, who was near unplayable in the six overs he sent down. Woakes picked up the key wickets of Kohli and Pandya to return figures of 6-2-19-2 (econ 3.16), but his bowling performance was worth far more than his figures suggest. His inspired bowling could well have seen him bowl India out all on his own based on a cacophony of dropped catches and missed opportunities. Woakes bowled with a decent level of pace but the movement he got through the air and off the pitch was astounding.
Mohammed Shami hit two fours and a two off the three balls he faced, giving him the enviable strike rate of 333.33, as England bowled India out for 107 off 35.2 overs.
The England batters will sleep easy not having had to front up to an over or two before stumps, and they will look to start fresh and pile the pressure on India. With eight quality batsmen to call on, it’s hard to imagine England not putting up a substantial first innings lead. However, a lot will depend on the tactics of Kohli and how his bowlers rise to the challenge.
The morning session tomorrow could well be the key to the series, as India need to haul their hosts back urgently in order to stay competitive.
Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images