England carried the momentum from the last test and once again got the better off the Indian batting lineup. Rohit and Rahul had a decent start but English bowlers were asking questions after questions and that saw the end of Rohit and then Rahul. Pujara’s poor form continues and he went cheaply. Kohli was on his own but got out after getting a magnificent 50.
Jadeja was promoted up the order but that strategy too didn’t work and he too went cheaply. Rahane took some time before he unleashed a shot, However that was his last as he could only manage 14 of 47. Pant was horrible as he couldn’t defend properly nor could get boundaries going. All of a sudden India were 127-7 and it looked like India won’t even get to 150.
Shardul Thakur though had some other plans as he scored the second-fastest fifty by an Indian. He started trending as #Lord Shardul. He led the fightback brilliantly and took India to a respectable score and give the bowlers something to bowl at. Coming out to bowl, Indian bowlers came with a perfect plan and Jasprit Bumrah got the better of both the openers in no time. Root and Malan though started getting some boundaries and it looked like England is on for a huge lead.
Root was timing them as good as anything and got 21 of 25 before he was undone by a peach of a delivery from Umesh Yadav. He was playing after a while but was intended on doing well for his side. He bowled his heart out. He has cut out some of his paces but was swinging the red cherry in and out. He got out at the stroke of day 1 and therefore Craig Overton came in as nightwatchman who joined Malan who is going pretty well. After the end of the day’s play, England was 53-3. They still trail by 138 runs and it was a cracker of a day as 13 wickets fell on day 1.
The series is locked at 1-1 and that makes this Test match all the more crucial, given that the team winning this game gets an unassailable lead. India was thoroughly outplayed at Headingley, particularly on the first day when the batting came a cropper against some high-quality swing bowling. Virat Kohli’s decision to bat first was crucified, especially as the pitch did get better with time. It didn’t really matter that much though, because India collapsed in the second innings too, showing that the problem is more in the mind than anything else.
Once again Virat Kohli lost the toss and was asked to bat by Joe Root. The match is even stevens and the Indian team will have a task on their hand when they come to bowl this morning. The series is beautifully poised and so is this match so far. England’s batting has depth and India will have to strike regularly to make sure England doesn’t take an unassailable lead.