Sunday, September 20, 2020

Day 2 Review: England attack dominant as India falter

After yesterday’s washout at the Home of Cricket, the Lord’s crowd were finally given some action on day two of the second test. Although a full day could not be included, England’s attack piled the pressure onto India’s struggling batsmen. With overcast and far cooler conditions than previously seen this summer, India ended the day bowled out for 107. Jimmy Anderson was the pick of the bowlers, taking 5-20 from his 13.2 overs.

A magnificent toss to win, Joe Root had no hesitation in putting India into bat. Due to changes made by captain Virat Kohli, their new look opening partnership of Murali Vijay and Kannanur Rahul walked out to the middle at 11am under ominous overhead cloud cover.

Indian frailties exposed by Anderson masterclass

Anderson’s first over was astoundingly good, a perfect demonstration of swing bowling. The fifth delivery was too strong for Vijay. The late movement dumbfounded the batsman, who attempted to clip Anderson through mid-wicket. Instead, Vijay saw his off-stump cleaned up. This set the tone for the events to follow.

Rahul was the next victim. Anderson pitched the ball up with an exquisite outswinger and found the opener’s outside edge. India’s tendency to search for the ball in the fourth stump corridor appears to be a fundamental weakness in English conditions. Captain Kohli should be alarmed by these technical deficiencies. Reducing their warm-up game to three days against Essex may prove to be a dreadful decision.

While the first two dismissals can be partly justified by the brilliance of Anderson, the third wicket is an inexcusable lack of judgement. Cheteshwar Pujara, with a test match average of over 50, gambled on a quick single just after the first rain delay. Kohli, after having set off, scrambled back leaving his teammate stranded in the middle of the wicket. An abominable way to get out.

Once the heavens opened again, the players escorted the field and spectators were greeted with the sight of the hover-covers. England were mightily disappointed, especially considering the early inroads they made.

Play resumes after tea

Following the extended rain delay, India began to rebuild with Kohli and Ajiinkya Rahane rotating the strike effectively. However, the introduction of Chris Woakes saw the return of Indian nervousness. Kohli’s hesitancy led to an edge carrying to second slip, but Jos Buttler couldn’t get fingers to the ball.

Fuelled with frustration from this missed opportunity, Woakes fired down a beautiful away-swinging delivery. Kohli prodded at the ball, with the nick going to Buttler in the second slip position. India’s main protagonist had been dismissed; England were well on top at 49-4.

Buttler was again the centre of attention. After having dropped Hardik Pandya off the bowling of Woakes, he clung on to the next delivery after the batsman edged behind once more. Jubilation amongst the crowd and double-reprieve for Buttler. 61-5 at 6:15pm.

Sam Curran, the young left-armer, also got in on the act. He bowled Dinesh Karthik for just one run, leaving the touring side 62-6. Anderson then took another two wickets, sending Rahane and Kuldeep Yadav back to the pavilion. Stuart Broad trapped Ashwin LBW for 29. Then Anderson topped off his day with a five-fer, seeing off Ishant Sharma. His figures read 13.2-5-5-20 for the day, another extraordinary performance from the test legend.

Captain Root enjoys incredible day

Root’s decision to bowl first, never an entirely straightforward call at Lord’s, has been vindicated by the performance of the England attack. An impeccable display with the ball, even with three dropped catches. The sub-continent side’s total is very much below par, putting England in pole position.

India’s comprehensive failure to deal with the swinging ball was excruciatingly exposed on the de facto opening day of the match. Looking thoroughly under-prepared, they were simply not up to speed for test cricket in the UK. Overall, this was a fantastic day for Joe Root and his men. A 2-0 series lead is very much on the cards.

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James Pearn
Cricket writer for LazyFanSports. Interested in both domestic and international cricket. Essex CCC and England Cricket supporter.

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