Moeen Ali was once again a thorn in India’s side as he vindicated his England recall with five wickets on day two of the fourth Test at the Ageas Bowl.
The all-rounder was central to England’s triumph in the corresponding series four years ago but a dreadful winter had seen him omitted from the Test ranks this summer, with Adil Rashid preferred as the number one spinner against India.
Not for the first time, though, Moeen seemed to revel in his status as the back-up slow bowler and he marked his return with figures of five for 63 as India were all out for 273 and a slender 27-run advantage.
The tourists, trailing 2-1 in the Specsavers series, were indebted to Cheteshwar Pujara’s 132 not out – incredibly only his second century away from Asia and his first in England – which was the backbone of the innings.
The day also saw Virat Kohli become the second fastest Indian batsman to reach 6,000 Test runs, and it seemed he and Pujara would put India in a commanding position when they reached 142 for two in mid-afternoon.
But the usually irrepressible Kohli fell four runs short of a half-century after edging the ever-willing Sam Curran to Alastair Cook at first slip before Moeen took star billing.
Moeen, who claimed 19 wickets at an average of 23 in the series between these teams in 2014, had his first when Rishabh Pant was trapped in front to end a tortured 29-ball stay in which he failed to get off the mark.
After tea, Hardik Pandya flicked straight to midwicket, Ravi Ashwin and Mohammed Shami were bowled off successive deliveries before Ishant Sharma was snaffled at the second attempt by Alastair Cook at short-leg.
Pujara, at this stage, was in danger of being left stranded in the 90s but last-man Jasprit Bumrah provided admirable support, allowing the senior batsman to complete a resolute century from 210 balls.
A 46-run last-wicket stand took India into the lead and frustrated England, but Stuart Broad – who had earlier removed openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan – had the battling Bumrah caught at first slip.
CLOSE: ENG 6/0
England’s openers will resume on Saturday morning 21 behind India after another entertaining day’s play. If one England batsman can follow Cheteshwar Pujara’s example, they can win this with Moeen and Rashid to bowl in the fourth innings but India’s quicks and Ashwin will be very dangerous. Tune in to see how they fare. Bye!
OVER 4: ENG 6/0 (Cook 2*, Jennings 4*)
Jennings gets off the pair with a fine glance off his thigh pad for four. The two openers exchange fist bumps or ‘shazams’ as Ricky Ponting calls them. I’ve missed Ricky from Sky this summer. He’s a fine commentator. A brute from Bumrah climbs and leaves Jenninsg who has to play at it and is grateful to miss it. The next does too much, arcing tamely away. Is he setting him up for the inswinger with the last ball of the day? No … it’s across him and he leaves it. England will begin the third day with their second innings intact.
OVER 3: ENG 2/0 (Cook 2*, Jennings 0*)
India are trying to hustle through this over to squeeze in another. Ashwin returns to his mark quickly and England are not half as good at gardening or calling on the physio as they should be. Cook blocks four of the first five and leaves the other then plays the last with an angled face to smother it. Maiden. We will have time for one last over from Bumrah.
OVER 2: ENG 2/0 (Cook 2*, Jennings 0*)
Bumrah shares the new ball and begisn with one slanted across Cook who watches it by then has to get on his toes to defend the next off the back foot. No swing yet from this hard ball with both sides equally shiny but Bumrah does get one to come back into Cook though it’s too short to trouble Cook who plays it well with a raised, vertical bat. He does have a waft at a loopy legside delivery, hazarding a strangulation, but is not very close to it and he takes a single off the last, surprised when trying to turn it through midwicket by it taking the leading edge and trickling through cover.
OVER 1: ENG 1/0 (Cook 1*, Jennings 0*)
India open with Ashwin no doubt buoyed by the seven left-handers in England’s XI and the turn that Moeen extracted. Cook cuffs the first ball to midwicket for a single and sends Jennings up the danger end. He blocks the first three he faces confidently then refuses to be drawn into the drive when Ashwin tosses one up above his eyeline and outside off-stump. Two more overs, probably, to get through.
India finish their first innings 27 ahead by virtue of an excellent, unbeaten, all but flawless century from Pujara who departs unbeaten on 132. Comeback kid Moeen Ali, who has a fine home record with the ball, 87 wickets at 32, took five wickets on his return on a pitch that began to turn, helped by Ishant Sharma’s ‘illegal’ footholds. England will have 10 minutes to survive and Keaton Jennings starts on a pair with the lights on and his place in the team on the line. Hard not to feel wretchedly sympathetic for his predicament tonight.
Bunrah c Cook Broad 6Caught off the glove at first slip. That will have hirt his index finger as it was jammed on to the handle.
OVER 84: IND 273/9 (Pujara 132*, Bumrah 6*)
As Nasser and Micahel Holding point out, England’s openers must be conflicted, preferring not to bat tonight. If India can survive until 6.20pm, they won’t have to. Pujara takes two with an on-drive that he threads through midwicket but can’t farm the strike at the end.
OVER 83: IND 271/9 (Pujara 130*, Bumrah 6*)
Pujara has a huge yahoo at the fifth ball after being kept quite by Broad and misses entirely but regroups to push a single through point to be at the other end for the start of Curran’s new over.
OVER 82: IND 270/9 (Pujara 129*, Bumrah 6*)
Anderson doesn’t take the new ball, it’s Curran, and his first ball, floaty and wide, doesn’t swing at all so Bumrah leaves it. The next does shape in a bit and Bumrah blocks, then leaves two to see out the over. Curran’s pace is down to 78mph, hardly ideal for the new pill. The lead is 24.
OVER 81: IND 270/9 (Pujara 129*, Bumrah 6*)
Broad pumps his legs and runs in and the harder ball enables it to bounce up and clunk Pujara square in the box. Oof! He blocks the next then chips a four over midwicket when Briad pitches up. This 10th wicket partnership is now worth 39 and the crowd is very quiet given the number of India supporters in it. Broad’s next is also pitched up outside off and Pujara smacks it through the covers for another four, his 16th. England work hard to keep Pujara down there though, Broad with a heavy jarring ball that Pujara deflects to point who races in to prevent the single.
OVER 80: IND 262/9 (Pujara 121*, Bumrah 6*)
Pujara dances down the pitch to loft an off-drive for four. The result was excellent but he was actually deceived by the flight and didn’t middle it. Root, running back, can’t cut it off nor can he prevent him taking a single off the last ball. The fourth umpire brings on the new ball and England take it straight away. India lead by 16.
OVER 79: IND 257/9 (Pujara 116*, Bumrah 6*)
Curran manages to claw a bye back from the boundary with one hand while diving over those advertsing pyramid cushions. India run two. Bumrah Chinese cuts for a single, Pujara flicks two off his toes down to long leg then pulls a single off his hip with a ball to go. Bumrah reaches forward to block the last ball, leaving a wide gate but killing the ball nonetheless. England lead by 11. Rashid will bowl the last over before the new ball falls due.
OVER 78: IND 251/9 (Pujara 113*, Bumrah 5*)
India move into the lead with a Pujara pull for two through midwicket. The fielder, Jennings, blinded by the low sun Seahorses-style, takes time to gather its direction and chase it down. Curran, trying to keep Pujara at that end, bowls a pair of wides. Pujara tries to give the last one the broomhandle but can’t reach it. Curran is forced to adjust, bowls straighter, and Pujara cuffs him round the corner for a single. Then, astonishingly, Bumrah flicks one off his toes, thinkk tehre’s two but he ends up farming the strike because Pujara cannot make it back. Costly misjudgment? India lead by five.
OVER 77: IND 245/9 (Pujara 110*, Bumrah 4*)
After a long fiddle with the field – England are as regardless of their duty to the over rate as their opponents – Bumrah blocks the first firmly, leaves the next alone but can’t resist going for a hook when he is bounced. The ball balloons over his bat as he swivels around but he sees out the over with a couple of legside flicks, not taking the singles that were available.
OVER 76: IND 245/9 (Pujara 110*, Bumrah 4*)
Rashid is replaced after five overs and Curran, who took the wicket of Kohli, comes on, bowling round the wicket to Pujara who blocks a couple and turns down a couple of possible early singles. Curran has a packed offside ring when he comes back over the wicket with two balls to go to try to keep Pujara at that end which telegraphs that he’s going to bowl outside off. Pujara cannot get the single he wants but does smoke a cover drive through the ring for four instead. Broad is coming back, too. England’s lead is one.
OVER 75: IND 241/9 (Pujara 106*, Bumrah 4*)
Bumrah dabs a single down to third man off Moeen and Pujara defends two before he takes to the dancefloor, chasses down towards the bowler and wedges a drive over straight midwicket for four. He then cannily steals the strike with a crisp punch to long on where Anderson is on his heels much to Root’s ire. That’s drinks and India trail by five.
OVER 74: IND 235/9 (Pujara 101*, Bumrah 3*)
Thanks, Charlie. Bagchi back at the keyboard. Bumrah reads Rashid’s googly, leans on to his back foot and whips a glance fine behind square. Pujara somehow makes it back for the third somewhat the worse for wear.
OVER 73: IND 232/9 (Pujara 101*, Bumrah 0*)
Moeen drags down now and Pujara pulls…Bairstow’s dive on the mid-wicket boundary stops him reaching a century. He turns down the single too.
Pujara then sweeps hard out to Sam Curran. It’s another good stop but India scamper a couple. Pujara is one short of three figures. Sharp turn with the penultimate ball. Was Pujara playing a shot? No! England are reviewing! Oh hang on. The on-field umpire has said there was a shot played. Not out.
Last ball of Moeen’s over. Pujara comes down the track. He’s there! He lifts it straight – spoons it slightly really – and comes back for a couple. Fantastic, dogged hundred.
OVER 72: IND 228/9 (Pujara 97*, Bumrah 0*)
Pujara is four short and gets a drag-down from Rashid…his pull shot does not beat the fielder. That’s a bit sloppy from England off the final ball. They let Pujara steal a single to mid-off.
Sharma c Cook b Moeen 14.With long-off back, Pujara pushes into wide open space and wonders about a single…before taking it.
Ishant sweeps for four. He likes that shot. But then he’s gone, snaffled by Cook at short leg via an inside edge off his pad. He isn’t happy, but India have no reviews remaining. Five wickets for Moeen, who has turned this Test match. Now, will Pujara dash to a hundred? FOW 227/9
OVER 70: IND 222/8 (Pujara 95*, Ishant 10*)
Sharma is into double-figures with a single and Pujara hands him the strike straight back. India trail by just 24 now. This partnership is worth 27.
OVER 69: IND 220/8 (Pujara 94*, Ishant 9*)
Lovely batting by Pujara. He takes the whole Moeen over, muscling four over mid-wicket on the penultimate ball. He trusts Sharma to face Rashid, seemingly.
OVER 68: IND 216/8 (Pujara 90*, Ishant 9*)
Pujara takes a single first ball! After pondering whether he should halfway down the pitch, he goes onto 90. He needn’t worry about Ishant, who sweeps Rashid for a couple.
Oh, maybe he should. Big lbw appeal after another sweep…not out. Rashid flips out a googly on the final ball. Ishant reads it and holds firm.
OVER 67: IND 213/8 (Pujara 89*, Ishant 7*)
Lovely stuff from Pujara. He back-cuts Moeen for four, shields Sharma until the penultimate ball and adds one. Ishant blocks the last.
Here’s Moeen cleaning up Shami.
Adil Rashid is coming on. Interesting.
OVER 66: IND 208/8 (Pujara 84*, Ishant 7*)
Again Pujara works a single off Anderson’s penultimate ball. Ishant survives the last.
OVER 65: IND 207/8 (Pujara 83*, Ishant 7*)
Pujara takes one to mid-off from the second delivery of Moeen’s over…then Ishant is down the track! His long-levers lift it gently over mid-off for three.
Pujara swivel-pulls for one….and Ishant blocks out the next two.
OVER 64: IND 202/8 (Pujara 81*, Ishant 4*)
Anderson persists with the short stuff from around the wicket…and pins Pujara on the top of the helmet first ball. Pujara readjust to angle another short one wide of third for a couple.
A couple more deliveries fly down the leg-side before Pujara gets bat on one, nudging a single. Anderson only gets one ball at Ishant…it’s down the leg-side too.
OVER 63: IND 199/8 (Pujara 78*, Ishant 4*)
Ishant is crowded…
…but manages to smother the hat-trick ball. He then goes to the sweep, slamming one into the shins of Alastair Cook at short leg and getting four next time.
OVER 62: IND 195/8 (Pujara 78*, Ishant 0*)
Now, how will Pujara play this? Patiently initially, is the unsurprising answer. Root brings in the field with two balls to go.
Pujara swings and misses…then cannot beat Moeen at gully! It’s a maiden. Moeen will keep the ball and take on Ishant for a hat-trick.
Mohammed Shami b Moeen 0. Two in two! Moeen is on a hat-trick. This was flat and Shami was completely deceived by the legnth. He played back and missed. The ball nicks the top of off. We’ll have to wait until the next over but Moeen has a chance at a second Test hat-trick. FOW 195/8
Ashwin b Moeen 1. Oh that’s a bit grim for Ashwin, but clever from Moeen. England’s off-spinner beats him outside off with a ball that skids on with the arm. The next delivery is slower and grips hard. Ashwin tries a clumsy reverse sweep, can only get a toe-end and pays the price. FOW 195/7
OVER 60: IND 194/6 (Pujara 77*, Ashwin 1*)
England are into bully mode and Anderson opens with a bouncer to Pujara, who was out hooking at Trent Bridge, remember. This time, he leaves the short stuff alone and waits until Anderson pitches up, when he angles a single.
Ashwin gets off strike thanks to a bye down the leg-side before Pujara whips another out to deep backward square.
OVER 59: IND 191/6 (Pujara 75*, Ashwin 1*)
Ashwin is away unconvincingly with a push through point. Pujara adds a single, so will keep the strike.
Hardik c Rootb Moeen 4.Fantastic captaincy from Joe Root! After Pujara pops out of his crease to push a proactive single, Root brings himself into a catching position at straight mid-wicket…and Hardik guides one to him! Root holds on, diving to his left. FOW 189/6
OVER 58: IND 188/5 (Pujara 73*, Pandya 4*)
James Anderson begins the evening session accurately and Pujara is watchful offside off-stump
The fifth delivery is short and wide, though, and Pujara wafts a couple wide of deep point. Anderson then gets straight and Pujara nudge a single into the leg-side.
Here’s the Pant dismissal earlier. Having got off the mark with a six last match, India’s ‘keeper now has the equal-longest duck in his nation’s Test history.
OVER 57: IND 185/5 (Pujara 70*, Pandya 4*)
Biiig stride from Pandya to block his first ball and then we have a full-blooded sweep for four. Positive stuff from the all-rounder.
Hi everyone. Charlie here. That’s new man Hardik Pandya on the left and Cheteshwar Pujara on the right. He’s looked solid in conditions that are still quite tricky.
Moeen has three balls left of his over.
TEA OVER 56.3 IND 181/5
England have taken three wickets in the session and remain 65 ahead of India. Pujara has batted superbly and has been the glue for the innings. He has the all-rounders Pandya (one Test century) and Ashwin (four) so doesn’t have to push on alone yet. Of the five sessions so far, that’s the second (after yesterday’s final one) England have won. Charlie Morgan will be your guide for the first part of the evening session.
Pant lbw b Moeen 0A 29-ball duck for India’s keeper. Moeen’s overspin made the ball dip and straighten, catching the batsman on the front pad with a ball that would have hit leg stump. FOW 181/5
OVER 56: IND 180/4 (Pujara 70*, Pant 0*)
Anderson bowls the penultimate over before tea and Pujara defends the first two and leaves the third before tapping his drive to the point boundary rider for a single. Pant, who was beaten all ends up by the lats ball of Stokes’ over, remains on nought after 26 balls but scampers a bye to nick the strike for the last over that will be bowled by Moeen.
OVER 55: IND 179/4 (Pujara 69*, Pant 0*)
Stokes will continue until tea and he is ailing now, down at 78mph. Pujara smears the first through cover for four then the next kisses off his hip fine for another in leg-byes. Even lame, Stokes is dangerous and he gets one to swing in to Pujara and pin him on the front pad. Lovely ball but angling down the legside.
OVER 54: IND 170/4 (Pujara 60*, Pant 0*)
We’ve fallen into a pattern – Pujara works a single either through point or midwicket and Pant either defends or leaves. India creep up to 76 behind.
OVER 53: IND 169/4 (Pujara 59*, Pant 0*)
Pujara takes a single of Stokes’ first ball with a flip off his hip then Pant, a dasher, reins himself in for the next five balls, leaves three, pushes one to a fielder and plays and misses at one.
OVER 52: IND 168/4 (Pujara 58*, Pant 0*)
Anderson wants to change the ball and asks Dharmasena for the gauges. A rare smile when it passes inspection. Pujara opens the face to tickle a single behind point. Pant extends his innings to 15 runs without a run. For a man with two T20 centuries, this is impressive restraint. Speakin of Jimmy Anderson, this is fun:
OVER 51: IND 167/4 (Pujara 57*, Pant 0*)
Stokes skelps Pujara on the forehead, denting his helmet. They run a leg bye but the physio comes on to check him over. He has an egg on the right side of his brow and his helmet is bashed in just above the peak and to the right of the crest but he passes the tests and is allowed to continue. Needs a new lid, though. After about eight minutes we continue, Stokes to the left-handed Pant round the wicket. He pushes a couple to the cover fielder and can’t get another couple past mid on.
OVER 50: IND 166/4 (Pujara 57*, Pant 0*)
Anderson, who had a face like a tanned tuchas all morning, returns after a shirt delay because Hawk-Eye has gone down and play cannot proceed under the match regulations until someone turns it off and turns it on again. Pujara leaves the first four then pushes a single off the front foot down through point. India trail by 80.
OVER 49: IND 165/4 (Pujara 56*, Pant 0*)
Pujara oils his wrists of a morning and slickly flicks a single off the struggling Stokes with his heavily strapped knee through square leg for a single. Stokes adds another to the total with a no ball.
OVER 48: IND 163/4 (Pujara 55*, Pant 0*)
Curran bowls a loopy bouncer that is called wide and a big hooping inswinger to Pujara that arcs away for a bye.
OVER 47: IND 161/4 (Pujara 55*, Pant 0*)
Rahane leans into an overpitched floater from strokes and caresses it through cover for four. But Stokes responds by setting up the three-card trick with emphatic inswing following two outswingers. Check out how close Stokes was to having his wicket cancelled. The foot doesn’t have to be planted, just for part of it to be behind the line and it was, by a milimetre:
Rahane lbw b Stokes 11Outswinger, outswinger, pinned above the knee with the inswinger. Deemed a fair delivery but it was yay close to a no ball. FOW 161/4
Rahane lbw b StokesBorderline no-ball but Stokes is given the benefit. Was the inswinger hitting?
OVER 46: IND 157/3 (Pujara 55*, Rahane 7*)
Looking again at Kohli’s dismissal, he played for inswing and the ball stayed true. Curran resumes after drinks, mouth twisted sourly like a corrupted choir boy as he bowls. Rahane works a single fine off his pads, Pujara plays out the remaining five balls of the over, forced to play each delivery and happy to do so.
Here’s Root’s missed opportunity.
OVER 45: IND 156/3 (Pujara 55*, Rahane 6*)
Rahane in trouble against Stokes from the off, pushing forward to the first ball he faces and snicking it to Root’s right at second slip. The England captain dives low and spills the chance. That’s drinks.
OVER 43: IND 151/3 (Pujara 54*, Rahane 3*)
Ben Stokes comes on and looks sprightly enough despite the rumours of injury. Pujara edges the second ball and offers a very difficult chance to the keeper’s right. It dies on him and shoots under his outstretched glove for four. Stokes, who dismissed Rahane at Edgbaston before his court case, isn’t given the chance to have a go at him just yet.
OVER 42: IND 146/3 (Pujara 50*, Rahane 3*)
Rare for Kohli 2.0 to chuck it away. But chuck it away he did with a loose shot. He played a couple first up this morning, flashing two through gully at catchable height in a flight start but had settled down since then. Rahane gets off the mark with a push to point then Pujara brings up his fifty with a forward defensive that goes wrong and sens the ball off the inside edge down to long leg. India trail by 100.
Kohli c Cook b Curran 46Well, well, well. England’s brightest young gun goes back over the wicket, slants one across Kohli who has a nibble at it and Cook takes a good, sharp chance low to his right at first slip. India are 104 behind. FOW 142/3
OVER 40: IND 139/2 (Pujara 48*, Kohli 44*)
Curran begins with a strenuous appeal after striking Pujara at the bottom of his right thigh. Looked high and England don’t bother to review when Kumar Dharmasena turns them down. Some swing for Curran there but it’s out of the hand, not quick enough and generally gives Pujara ample time to adjust. The last ball of the over doesn’t deviate and is too full. Pujara creams it through extra for four.
OVER 39: IND 135/2 (Pujara 44*, Kohli 44*)
Lovely late cut from Pujara forces Stokes to pelt down to the boundary from slip to haul it in from the rope. Moeen needs to find that rough again. Bowling change ahoy. Sam Curran will replace Stuart Broad.
Much is being made of the impact Ishant Sharma’s footmarks are having on Moeen’s bowling – but it’s fair enough. All five of the false shots the off-spinner has drawn so far have come in the zone around Ishant’s rough. #ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/ai6zkjBFUE
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) August 31, 2018
OVER 38: IND 131/2 (Pujara 41*, Kohli 43*)
Kohli overtakes Pujara with a hard-run two that leaves his partner panting after working the ball down to fine leg off Broad. He ends the over with a single to point.
OVER 37: IND 128/2 (Pujara 40*, Kohli 41*)
The crowd falls silent when Kohli edges between keeper and slip at catchable height. The ball scoots down for four but it could so easily have been out. It was too quick for Buttler to react standing up to the stumps and Stokes’ weight was on his right foot which stopped him diving to his left. Kohli moves on to the back foot to end the over, flicking three behind square.
OVER 36: IND 118/2 (Pujara 38*, Kohli 33*)
Broad floats one outside off-stump and Kohli plays that punch drive, no followthrough just a mildly elongated forward defensive for four. Broad takes out third slip but then beats Kohli twice with two jaffas that arrow in and then zip away from the batsman’s edge as he tried to defend.
OVER 35: IND 114/2 (Pujara 38*, Kohli 29*)
Three singles off Moeen – Kohli’s with a cover drive and an on-drive, Pujara’s from using his feet to get to the pitch and work it between midwicket and mid-on.
OVER 34: IND 111/2 (Pujara 37*, Kohli 27*)
Quite out of character, Broad scythes his bat horizontally with a cut shot but the ball grows on him so he ends up crashing it over the slips off the top edge for four. It was wide enough but unusual for him to commit so expansively. Broad bowls a beauty that straightens past Pujara’s edge as he props forward but the batsman ends the over on the back foot with a terrific punching shot through point for four more. Nelson alert!
OVER 33: IND 103/2 (Pujara 29*, Kohli 27*)
Moeen will continue after that very good over before lunch and immediately finds the rough, spinning the ball into Kohli’s pad as the batsman pushed outside the line. Kohli responds by playing later, waiting for the ball to turn then clipping it to fine leg for one. Pujara chooses to uses his feet, comes down the pitch to drive and sends the ball, possibly via the diving Moeen’s hand, into the stumps at the non-striker’s. Kohli was in so no check required on whether Moeen did deflect it.
OVER 32: IND 101/2 (Pujara 28*, Kohli 26*)
Stuart Broad comes back into the attack after lunch and Kohli pushes the second ball to deepish point. He calls for a single which Pujara mystifyingly refuses. So Kohli makes him pay two balls later by scampering a very tight single to cover which forces Pujara to dive full length and cover his shirt front in Hampshire dust.
LUNCH: IND 100/2
India go in 146 behind with eight wickets in hand. Stuart Broad recovered from last night’s shocking opening spell with two wickets to send back both openers but England ought to be kicking themselves for not posting a gully for Kohli when Curran and Anderson were bowling as he gave two chances that brought him eight streaky runs. Moeen’s use of the rough in the last over before lunch is very promising, though, and one hopes he continues when they return. We will resume when the players come back out.
OVER 31: IND 100/2 (Pujara 28*, Kohli 25*)
It takes Joe Root three balls of Moeen’s first over to bring in a leg slip but he needs a silly point with Pujara playing football outside off-stump. Moeen gets a couple to turn in the rough created by Ishant Sharma running down the pitch and Pujara scrambles down the pitch to cover the turn, bringing short midwicket into play. Good over from Moee,. That’s lunch.
OVER 30: IND 100/2 (Pujara 28*, Kohli 25*)
Kohli taps a full bunger from Rashid to cover for a single then the next ball hits the edge of a foothold and dribbles under Pujara’s bat. Nothing he could do for that. Shades of Hooper to Hussain. One more over before lunch.
OVER 29: IND 98/2 (Pujara 27*, Kohli 24*)
Jennings continues, ducks one into Kohli’s pads and the India captain flicks it through midwicket for a single. His length and shape has been good .., until he drops the last ball short and Pujara punches it for two.
OVER 28: IND 95/2 (Pujara 25*, Kohli 23*)
Rashid makes it a double change and begins with a googly to Kohli who edges it on to his pad and pops it up towards silly point where the Invisible Man (David McCallum) must be stationed because I can’t see anyone there. Aaagh! Kohli then pushes a drive to cover where Anderson misfields, overcompensates with his wild throw and costs Rashid two buzzers. Had anyone done that while Anderson was bowling, the steam coming out of his ears would have set his hair alight.
OVER 27: IND 92/2 (Pujara 25*, Kohli 20*)
Keaton Jennings is coming on to bowl. He’s a Trescothick/Thorpe/Butcher style medium pacer, hopefully with a golden arm. He bowls at 75mph and wobbles it about, striking Kohli on the pad as he ducked one in. He asks the question but it struck Kohli too high. Interesting move from Root.
OVER 26: IND 91/2 (Pujara 25*, Kohli 19*)
Having seen Kohli edge a couple of drives, Anderson is keen to encourage more but overpitches and Kohli spears it through the covers for four. The sub fielder, Arthur Godsal, a name straight out of the golden age, tries to haul it back from the rope with a headlong drive but his gallant effort is unrewarded. Kohli pinches the strike with a single off an inside edge as he tried to block.
OVER 25: IND 86/2 (Pujara 25*, Kohli 14*)
England don’t have a gully but if they had it might have done for Kohli twice. He has just thick edged another drive past the slips for four. Another loose stroke. He pops a single off his pads and Curran decides to come round the wicket to Pujara which immediately makes the batsman look uncomfortable with one that leaves him. Curran ends the over overpitching and Pujara pushes a drive through extra-cover for two, Anderson chasing it down from mid-off.
OVER 24: IND 79/2 (Pujara 23*, Kohli 9*)
A rare object of filth from Anderson, short and wide outside off and Pujara wishes the world Merry Christmas and slaps it for four through point. Anderson swings the next into his pads and Pujara flicks it for two.
OVER 23: IND 73/2 (Pujara 17*, Kohli 9*)
Curran, for variation, tries a bouncer that doesn’t get up so Pujara swivels and pulls comfortably for a single. Kohli defends two at 80mph and lets the outswinger continue its merry way through to Buttler unimpeded.
OVER 22: IND 72/2 (Pujara 16*, Kohli 9*)
Broad ends his spell with two for 34. Anderson returns but has to bowl at Pujara to start with and he leaves the first two then pushes a single through point. Kohli makes it to 6,000 with a four through fifth slip with a very flashy drive that sails off the edge to the boundary.
OVER 21: IND 67/2 (Pujara 15*, Kohli 5*)
Maiden for Curran to Kohli. Curran hasn’t been very threatening at all so far. Kohli remains on 5,999 runs despite the ICC already tweeting congratulations for passing 6,000.
OVER 20: IND 67/2 (Pujara 15*, Kohli 5*)
Broad posts a man out on the hook for Kohli and a shirt leg, then floats one outside off. Kohli is in like Flynn and rinses it through extra cover for four. Broad drags his length back with deep backward square and bat-pad in mind but Kohli pops on to his toes to tuck a single into the legside. First rash shot from Pujara brings him four, a streaky drive that flies off the edge over the slips for four. Broad has bowled eight overs now, it’s time for Anderson’s return.
OVER 19: IND 56/2 (Pujara 9*, Kohli 0*)
Pujara is bedding himself in for a classic No3 knock, happily softening the ball and tiring the bowlers’ legs with his blocking and flicks through midwicket until he spots some looseness from Curran outside off and pastes a drive through the covers for four.
OVER 18: IND 50/2 (Pujara 3*, Kohli 0*)
Broad bowls a seventh over of his spell and captures his second wicket, a reward for his patience and precision this past couple of overs.
Dhawan c Buttler b Broad 23The drinks break works the magic on India. Broad, who has been plugging away from round the wicket outside off, entices Dhawan to edge one after displaying considerable restraint all morning. FOW 50/2
OVER 17: IND 50/1 (Dhawan 23*, Pujara 3*)
Pujara flicks a single off his pads and Dhawan tucks one off his hip to end Curran’s over and raise India’s fifty. That’s drinks. India are 196 behind.
OVER 16: IND 48/1 (Dhawan 22*, Pujara 2*)
In the past Dhawan typified the dashing Indian batsman of the IPL era – powerful, physically confident, bold and with the swagger of someone who feels he epitomises the spirit of the age of the game in which he is playing. The way he has been reining himself in since failing at Edgbaston has been a revelation. I knew he was good. I didn’t realise he was also clever and adaptable. He drives the ball for two from under his eyes, waiting for it, playing late and just easing it through point.
OVER 15: IND 46/1 (Dhawan 20*, Pujara 2*)
Curran gets one to come back into Pujara sharply, as he planned, but the batsman has it covered. At 82mph Curran could do with more wheels or height to really test the top order with his shape. Which would be better, 5mph or six inches? Maiden. England have smothered the rate this past few overs which at one point stood at 5 rpo.
OVER 14: IND 46/1 (Dhawan 20*, Pujara 2*)
Dhawan leaves three outside off so Broad adjusts his line from round the wicket and whistles one past the edge as the opener had to play closer to his body. He ends the over with the ‘catch’ off the thigh pad which produced a superb piece of umpiring from Kumar Dharmasena to call that correctly.
Dhawan c Cook b BroadHit something on the way through but bat or pad. And if pad could it be lbw?
OVER 13: IND 46/1 (Dhawan 20*, Pujara 2*)
Curran begins with a maiden to Pujara, shaping four balls away from the right-hander and two gently in, hopefully laying the trap for the hooping inswinger shortly.
OVER 12: IND 46/1 (Dhawan 20*, Pujara 2*)
Dhawan is surprised by one that jumps on him. As he tried to work it through midwicket it leapt, struck the leading edge as he closed the face and popped up between bowler and mid-off. Broad, straining for a fuller length, floats one on to Dhawan’s pads and he flicks it sweetly for four. SAm Curran is coming on to replace Anderson.
OVER 11: IND 42/1 (Dhawan 16*, Pujara 2*)
Anderson picks a fight with Dhawan at the non-striker’s end to gee himself up, moaning about something or other generally seems to motivate him. It came after Shawan cuffed a leg glance fine for a single. The big inswinger to Pujara is met with a flick through square leg for two. Anderson is unamused by that as well. Is Pujara’s bottom hand always that low on the handle? I can’t remember now – anyway he takes it off to remove the sting from his edge which makes it drop well short of second slip.
Fifty years ago at St Helens:
OVER 10: IND 39/1 (Dhawan 15*, Pujara 0*)
A tight, testing line from Broad to Pujara earns him a maiden.
OVER 9: IND 39/1 (Dhawan 15*, Pujara 0*)
A streaky two for Dhawan as he defends with soft hands outside off and the ball flies off the inside edge, whistling past the stumps and down to fine leg. Anderson looks furious, as he frequently does. The next ball is a snorter that pitches on middle and off, climbs and leaves Dhawan who followed it then pulled his bat back at the last moment. Perhaps it upsets his equilibrium because he calls for a suicidal single next ball after hitting t crisply to mid-off and is saved by Pujara’s frantic and piecing cry of ‘No!’
OVER 8: IND 37/1 (Dhawan 13*, Pujara 0*)
England have dismissed Rahul four times with nip-backers this series. Broad also fancies Pujara is vulnerable to the hooping inswinger – as he proved at Lord’s – and tests him with a couple when he comes to the crease. Much better from England – Anderson also had a tight lbw shout when he struck Dhawan in the seventh over but that was definitely too high.
Rahul lbw b Broad 19 Not too high at all, not even umpire’s call. Broad gets one to nip back into the right-hander and strikes him above the knee roll. Kumar Dharmasena took five seconds to raise his finger and on first viewing it looked as though it would have vaulted over the stumps but first impressions were misleading. FOW 37/1
OVER 7: IND 37/0 (Dhawan 13*, Rahul 19*)
After a sequence of outswingers in the last over, Anderson starts with his inswinger but Rahul is on to it and defends securely. He leaves the next on bounce then punches the next off the back foot through point for four. That was a super shot, Tendulkaresque. Anderson responds with another inswinger that Rahul clips through midwicket for two.
OVER 6: IND 30/0 (Dhawan 13*, Rahul 12*)
Broad starts with a fuller length than last night, thankfully, but his pace is down. Rahul misjudges the first and inside edges it on to his pad whence it rebounds into the covers. They sprint a single. Dhawan square drives for his second four of the morning, playing late and with admirable control, not allowing his bat to flash through in an extravagant followthrough that would have chipped it up. He is drilling these drives rather than launching them.
About last night …
OVER 5: IND 25/0 (Dhawan 9*, Rahul 11*)
Anderson begins with a pair of hooping outswingers. Dhawan can leave the first but covers the off-stump for the second as it shapes away from him. Anderson is trying to tempt Dhawan to drive and he takes up the invitation, square driving with very soft hands through point for four. Well played. A ball on the pads is clipped for two – should have been three but they didn’t run hard enough. It will be Broad from the other end who was very loose last night.
And welcome to coverage of the second day’s play from the Ageas Bowl where England start 227 ahead after a topsy-turvy Thursday in Hampshire but India have all 10 first-innings wickets in hand.
When England sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions. They have problems with both openers, the captain’s for with the bat, having four Test No6 batsmen ranged from four to seven and a nasty habit of the two most successful bowlers England have ever had not starting with the poise and precision we all yearn for when they’re most needed after a flimsy batting performance.
The forecast is for a sunny day and England have to make quick inroads into India’s top six who have improved with experience of conditions here and look capable of providing the support they gave Virat Kohli at Trent Bridge. England have picked two spinners and to give them any chance of bowling India out in the fourth innings, it is imperative that the quicks restrict India’s lead to double figures.
Sam Curran was not trusted with the new ball last night, Joe Root still guilty of captaining by rote. There was an opportunity to give him Broad’s second over after SCB’s poor first one that didn’t invite many strokes from the batsman but Root again stuck with the tried and trusted. being more innovative will be essential today if Broad and Anderson do not hit their straps from the start.
For all England’s batting woes, we should not rob Messrs Bumrah, Sharma and Shami of credit. Until Moeen and Curran rattled them with their quick running and they retaliated by straining too hard for away swing, they were terrific, bowling with beautiful shape and considerable guile. Curran, who has scores of 24, 63, 40 and 78 from four Test innings was a credit to his coach and club. He batted correctly, albeit against the old ball, with a perfectly perpendicular backswing, was positive in defence and attack and displayed wonderful judgment. Perhaps he should take net duties and give the seven batsmen ahead of him a refresher.
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