Five wickets in the final session. But it’s hard to see England messing this up
That’s it from us for today. Here’s a summary of the day’s play.
England just made too much ground in that middle session. Joe Root hit his third hundred of the series and sixth of the year. Dawid Malan struck a fifty. England went to tea 220 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand, and though they ended the day eight down, scored briskly through session three as well, finishing 348 runs in front. India needed a dramatic collapse to force themselves back into the match on day two, and did their best to set one in motion during an attritional first session. But they were eventually foiled by Root in the form of his already exceptional cricketing life.
Once Root got going after lunch, India’s strategy of bowling tightly and keeping the runs down – which had been somewhat successful in a morning session in which they removed the overnight batters – was essentially torn apart. It’s not that Root’s innings was necessarily a counterattack – he just went into ODI mode and found ways to score off even good balls, frequently deflecting balls in the arc between point and third man in particular. He was on 27 off his first 25 balls, 41 off 50, and reached triple figures off the 123rd ball he faced.
Growing in confidence as he batted in Root’s slipstream, Malan grew in confidence as he hit 70 off 128 balls in his comeback Test innings. The pair’s 139-run partnership was the best of the innings, just pipping Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns’ opening stand, which was worth 135. Root also shared a 52-run association with Jonny Bairstow, and it is between these three stands that much of England’s batting progress has been made. At stumps, they still had Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson at the crease. Both have been known to contribute handy runs at the county level.
Do India have a shot here?
England are now seven down after Moeen Ali holed out to mid on, off the bowling of Jadeja. They are a little over 300 in front, with seven wickets down. If India can restrict the lead to 350, then get themselves out to about 500, and then during the break between the third and fourth innings the pitch caves in like one of those swamp-adjacent sinkholes and the match referee makes England bat on it anyway, India could just about go 2-0 up.
Root runs out of steam
Such was the tempo he maintained for much of this innings, Root began to look a little laboured in the last half hour. It’s now ended with a slightly tired shot. Jasprit Bumrah angled a fullish ball in, pitched it outside off and perhaps moved it a touch off the seam. Root, going for a drive past wide mid off, only gets in inside edge to the ball, and it cannons back into middle stump. The Headingley faithful dust off one final rendition of the ROOOOOOOOT chant, and applaud him off the field.
This was an innings in which he matched Kevin Pietersen’s century tally. Although Cook is way out in front, it does seem likely Root will hunt that down too.
Buttler doesn’t hang around
With a high-score of 25 so far in the tournament, Jos Buttler could have done with a long innings here. And with India’s bowlers tiring, little pressure from the match situation, and a seemingly flat surface, he could not have asked for better circumstances. But he gives it away. Mohammed Shami bowls a full delivery on leg stump, and Buttler turns it aerially to Ishant at catching midwicket. The fielder was there for just such a shot. Buttler’s gone for seven.
Root’s year of years (it’s only August)
If you’ve not had enough and to dive into a pool of pure Joe Root love, the wonderful Geoff Lemon has put together a thread detailing all the great batting years Root has eclipsed just through the course of this innings. Jump down this rabbit hole.
Shami breaks up the Yorkshire party
This wicket comes very much against the run of play. Jonny Bairstow had hit Jadeja over long on for six the previous over. Increasingly, he looked set for a substantial score himself, as he and Root celebrated a fifty partnership. But Mohammed Shami draws the mistake, bowling one nice and full outside off stump, which Bairstow pushes at and nicks to first slip, where Virat Kohli takes a good low catch to his right, even as Pant dives across him. Buttler comes to the crease now, so I don’t think anyone’s expecting the scoring rate to slow.
Headingley roars for R00T
Third century in the series for Root, who, in some variation of a fantasy he must have had growing up a Yorkshirechild, punches the ball past mid on while Headingley explodes around him. He takes off his helmet, acknowledges the most adoring of adoring crowds, and to top it all off, has a fellow Yorkshireperson to embrace him as he completes his celebrations.
It’s such a proud county moment it brings Emily Bronte back from the dead, and Yorkshire puddings rain down like confetti all around the ground.
What a year Root is having. You suspect that out of all his six trips to triple figures, this is the one he is loving the most, not only because of where it’s being played, but because of his team’s position.
India almost get another lucky wicket
Jonny Bairstow drives Ravindra Jadeja into the legs of Cheteshwar Pujara at sill mid off, and as the ball pops up off Pujara and the catch is completed, India are appealing for a catch. No dice though. The ball clearly bounced on the ground before it hit Pujara’s boot.
Two Yorkshire locals at the crease right now, by the way, so Headingley is tumescent with provincial pride.
Siraj sneaks in a wicket
England had one ball to survive to bat out a wicketless second session. Mohammed Siraj, who has been expensive himself, fires a full delivery down the legside. Malan tris to glance it fine, but you guessed it, manages only to tickle it through to the wicketkeeper, to prompt a huge appeal from Siraj.
The umpire initially turns it down, but Siraj is so convinced Kohli asks for the review, and Malan’s innings is over. He made 70 off 128.
To be honest, it didn’t look like India were going to get a wicket without a bit of luck, and Siraj has managed to find some. Still – Root will be there after tea, England have seven further wickets in the tank, and are 220 runs ahead, having made a lot of ground in that session. They’ve hit 116 for only the loss of Malan, after lunch.
What’s troubling Ishant?
He took five wickets at Lord’s, and seemed a productive member of a fantastic attack. He came into 2021 with outstanding form – having averaged not much more than 15 in the two previous years, and 21 the year before that (2018). But despite having been given the new ball yesterday, and having opened this morning as well, Ishant has easily been the worst of India’s bowlers, lacking menace almost completely, while also being indisciplined. Flatter than a chapati that’s gone under a steamroller. It’s possible this is just a horrendously off Test, but that begs the question why Kohli keeps using him as much as he is.
Everyone knows Root is having a good year with the bat, but a glance at the stats shows how completely he has taken 2021 by the collar. His 2021 tally is 1334 and climbing by the minute – this is a mind blowing 600 more than the next best batter.
He’s also charged back into the Fab Four after having had several slightly leaner years.
Dawid Malan, reaches his own half-century off the 99th ball he’s faced. The century stand between these two is up too.
Man’s scored another fifty. England were already miles ahead when he walked in, and he’s made it seem like they will need one of these billionaire spacecraft to now catch up to England. It’s just been effortless. It’s not that India have bowled badly at him – he’s just found gaps, and made batting on this surface look so much easier than any other batter has.
Around 90 minutes after Root’s arrival at the crease, things are looking almost too easy for England. India haven’t pinned him down nearly as well as they had Hameed, Burns, and Malan, and some of the momentum is transferring into Malan’s innings, who looks entirely comfortable at the crease as well.
India have taken the second new ball – can they do something with it? Bumrah gets it first. Looks like Shami is warming up to take it at the other end.
Root races away
Fifteen minutes into the second session, Root is already moving quickly. He’s scoring at around a run-a-ball, using that late dab in the arc between point and third man to rotate the strike, while pouncing on even the slightest bowling errors from India. He’s got five fours so far, and has been adept at picking up twos to leg as well, equally at ease against pace and spin.
If India hoped to continue bowling dry and keeping England quiet in this session, the home team’s best batter seems intent on spoiling those plans.
Yes, but no. It’s been slow progress. Their bowlers were far more accurate and disciplined today, but were nowhere near as devastating as England’s had been in the first two sessions of day one. And India are so far back in this game, that even sessions such as this, in which they took two wickets and gave away 62, across 26 overs, will only help them so much. They need to spark and England collapse, or else they will need a monumental second innings score.
Joe Root seemed to be settling nicely at the crease before the break, while Malan hung in for 27 off 49 – more convincing now than he had been in his earliest overs. England are 104 ahead already. Shami was the best of India’s quicks, nipping a ball through Rory Burns’ defenses, while also testing the other batters.
England will live with the match going at this pace. India need things to happen a lot faster.
We’ll be back after lunch, but for now, leave you with a pic of this Headingley welcome for local boy Root.
Jadeja just needs two…
…balls to remove Haseeb Hameed and his mane. The first ball today from Jadeja was a straight one, which Hameed got forward to and defended. For the second ball, Jadeja pulled the length back just a touch, and put a little more work on the ball. Hameed played down the same line, but the ball gripped, slipped past his outside edge, and pinged the off stump.
India doing their best to claw their way back into this game. Hameed had batted out 28 scoreless deliveries before that dismissal came.
Move over Dev Patel
He may not be playing many shots this morning, but that doesn’t mean he’s not lighting Headingley up.
Hameed’s wagon wheel
While India’s bowlers continue to bowl with discipline, despite the absence of swing in the air, Hameed is hanging in there. He’s waited for errors in line right through this innings. The wagon wheel is instructive – not a single run in ‘the V”. That he hasn’t been able to score as quickly today is partly down to the fact that India have bowled straight at him.
Dawid Malan, by the way, has made a somewhat nervy start to his innings. But perhaps that is to be expected given this is a comeback Test for him.
Just as I get done writing up the birthday post…
Mohammad Shami sneaks one between Burns’ bat and pad and rattles off stump. He’s gone for 61 off 153 – the opening stand worth 135. This nipped back to beat the shot, and Burns had to play at that really. Could maybe have done better to leave less of a gap, but that’s a tad harsh. Excellent reward for much better bowling this morning, from india. Dawid Malan is the new guy.
Birthday boy Burns
India have started pretty well, giving away just 14 runs in the first half-hour, but one of the men out there holding firm is turning 31 today. Here’s the Barmy Army bugler dusting off a happy birthday.
Getting a jinx in nice and early
India have opened the bowling with Ishant again for some reason (he wasn’t especially good first up yesterday), so let’s help India out and talk about where this partnership could potentially go. What if, for example, they put on 200 for no loss? It’s been 31 years since England last had a double-hundred opening stand AT HOME (apologies, this post initially omitted that detail) – when Michael Atherton and Graham Gooch made 225 together, also against India, at Old Trafford.
Projectiles from the stands
My favourite part of Sidharth Monga’s story on this, though, is the background on the ‘Home of Cricket’ and how flying champagne corks are a genuine concern there. Never change, Lord’s.
Like England in this series, we’re back. Yesterday could not have possibly gone better for England. James Anderson dominated the morning with his big swinging superpowers, before sidekicks Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson and Sam Curran scythed through the India middle and lower orders like machetes through elephant grass. Four wickets fell for zero runs at one point, and India faceplanted into a mildly humiliating 78 all out.
To make matters worse for the visitors, Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns then took advantage of some indisciplined India bowling to put on 120 for no loss by stumps. All of which means that England have this match by the nads, and it will probably take something dramatic for India to get themselves back into it.
Some awful news from off the field to start the day though. The great Ted Dexter, legendary savager of fast bowling, has died at the age of 86. RIP.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf