I’ve written this on my phone because my computer is apparently taking a few hours to update, so please excuse the brevity.
It’s been an up and down day for England. If you had offered Root a 13 run first innings lead this morning, he would almost certainly have snatched it gratefully. As it is, he is likely disappointed that England aren’t at least 100 runs ahead.
There are three broad themes for the day. The first was England’s very good bowling performance. Surprisingly good, in all honesty. Whilst the first spell by Anderson and Broad was a bit tame, Sam Curran soon changed that and took 3 wickets in quick succession. Stokes continued this after Lunch, and India were on the ropes at 100-5.
Which brings us to the second theme of the day: missed chances. Cook and Malan both dropped fairly simple slip chances, including one from Kohli when he was on just 22. Hardik and Kohli steadied the ship and, although wickets kept falling at the other end, Kohli guided India’s tail until they were almost level with England.
The third the of the day was Kohli’s brilliance. Particularly at the end of the day, when the ball had stopped swinging, Kohli dominated the English bowlers who were utterly unable to keep him off strike. Much has been written about Root’s conversion rate ”problems”, but one genuine weakness is his (and the other England batsmen’) inability to bat with the tail. They either fail to shield the tailenders from the strike, or play so aggressively that they throw their wickets away. Kohli did neither, and so India scored another 124 runs for their last four wickets.
With a slight lead and almost half an hour left, England will have wanted to just see out the day without losing any wickets. Cook unfortunately couldn’t manage that, falling to an almost exact copy of the ball which dismissed him in the first innings. On one hand, it was a very good ball. On the other, Cook is (by reputation at least) England’s best player of spin, so him getting out in this way is pretty troubling for the rest of the team.
The umpires didn’t have a great day either. There were several successful reviews, plus another two decisions which would have been overturned if they had been referred. In all honesty, I can’t think of any day I’ve seen with more overturned decisions.
As always, feel free to comment about today and tomorrow’s play below.