India vs England: 1st Test, Day Two

England have, just about, batted through the first two days and put themselves in a dominant position in this Test. In truth, they looked pretty comfortable through most of the day. The pitch still seems relatively placid, although more balls are starting to spin off the surface or bounce erratically through the day.

The day started with Stokes and Root riding their luck somewhat to avoid being bowled by Bumrah’s yorkers. Both managed to get just enough on the ball that it bounced over or away from the stumps, but it was a close thing. That is perhaps the cruel thing about great batsmen, that the difference between being out or not in Test cricket might be a few millimetres or a few milliseconds and some players consistently manage to get enough bat on ball to survive. Root looked very safe, past that early scare at least, but Stokes was significantly looser. Playing several slog sweeps and reverse sweeps, he survived a sharp caught and bowled chance to Ravichandran Ashwin plus an aerial drive in the covers which Pujara dropped.

Eventually Stokes did hole out, not long after the Lunch break, but not before scoring 82 runs. This brought Ollie Pope to the crease, who missed the Sri Lanka tour due to a shoulder injury. It was fair to say that his batting did seem quite rusty throughout his innings, and obviously the circumstances of these winter tours with no practice games won’t help batsmen in his situation. He didn’t last long, although he did manage to score 34 runs before being trapped lbw by Ashwin so it wasn’t a complete loss.

In the next over, Nadeem dismissed Joe Root with a very similar wicket for 218 runs. This whole winter so far has been remarkable by Joe Root. His first innings scores in the three Tests he’s played are 228, 186 and now 218. That is an average of 210.67. It is no exaggeration to say that we are witnessing greatness right now and, considering Channel 4’s coverage, probably the first time many UK cricket fans will have witnessed a batsman in this kind of form. It is traditional for sports fans not to appreciate what they have until its gone, and Test cricket fans are perhaps more traditional than most, but nitpicking Joe Root’s innings would be a petty and small thing to do.

Having said that, his second innings batting average this winter is 6.00 so clearly there’s some room for improvement there…

India had been in the field for two days, and so mistakes in judgement and fielding were bound to occur. The first were exemplified by their use of DRS reviews, wasting them in a vain effort to dislodge Root earlier in the day. Despite each team having three incorrect reviews per inning, India had used them all by the time Buttler was given not out despite edging the ball to the keeper. India, being overall a more balanced and sporting nation than Australia, didn’t attack Buttler’s character or accuse him of cheating and instead just got on with the game.

Tiredness in the field might also be the cause for Rohit Sharma’s drop of Dom Bess, which was one of the easiest chances you will see in Test cricket. Softly looped straight to him at head height, it is the sort of catch you’d give to a 10 year old during catching practice. Both this and Buttler’s edge were from Washington Sundar’s bowling, who finished the day wicketless on 0-98. Sometimes, it’s just not your day.

Buttler didn’t punish the Indians for their error, being bowled soon after by an Ishant Sharma inswinger. There are good leaves and bad leaves, and this was a very bad leave by Buttler. Sharma bowled Archer with his next ball, which triggered England fans’ fears of a quick collapse but Bess and Leach steadied the ship and saw England through to the close.

England finished the day on 555/8, which is a very good first innings score. Despite this, England fans seem determined not to be optimistic about their chances in this game. The word ‘Adelaide’ might well be trending on Twitter. To put this innings into context: No team has ever lost a Test match in India after scoring 500+ runs in the first innings. In the 99 times England have scored 500+ runs in their first innings, they have won 50 Tests, drawn 47 and lost just 2. Don’t panic. It’s fine. England have this.

Channel 4’s coverage improved on day 2. They had a segment with Simon Hughes at Lunch, of whom I’m not the biggest fan but they do need other people to bring into the conversation rather than having the same two people talking during every break in play for five days. They also started interacting with the audience by reading tweets using the #Channel4Cricket hashtag. This should remind viewers that Channel 4 had less than two days from the signing of the contracts to going on air to prepare, and that it will be a work in progress throughout the series. The coverage will hopefully continue to improve and evolve through the series, but it’s started pretty well. Even the Indian commentary, which many people were worried about, has been fine. Perhaps not amazing but, without the likes of Warne and Vaughan (amongst many other candidates), it is at least tolerable.

That’s all for today. If you have any comments about the game, Channel 4, or anything else, add them below.


30 thoughts on “India vs England: 1st Test, Day Two

  1. goonertay Feb 6, 2021 / 12:22 pm

    It was nice to have unfussy commentary for once, the Warne/Vaughan dick waving really grates on me as does the Swann comedy hour which feels like pandering to viewers who find cricket boring.

    I thought there was some genuinely interesting analysis of the bowling today from the Indian commentators and they did not want to get into any banter on sledging when Butch was pushing their buttons.

    Alistair Cook has obviously been put through media training 101. I cant blame him for fancying a go at a Lineker size paycheck, but it came across a bit like one of those obnoxiously over enthused youtubers at times.

    With all that said watching cricket in the comfort of my own home for the first time in fifteen years was wonderful.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Rohan Feb 7, 2021 / 11:50 am

      I really didn’t like cook the captain, my criticism of him was as vocal as anyone, he was an abysmal captain. Watching him on channel 4 yesterday, however, I was surprised that his analysis was okay. Maybe this is because the bar is low compared to Vaughan and Swann (what a k**b and a bu**y) but even so, he was okay; best of a mediocre bunch 🤷‍♂️


      • thelegglance Feb 7, 2021 / 12:07 pm

        Yeah, I think he’s ok too. And he’s improving as well. Still early days as a pundit for him.


  2. man in a barrel Feb 6, 2021 / 1:14 pm

    It’s set up now for a Dmitri special. You have invoked memories of Adelaide. There is also the Chepauk factor – the last time we played there we made 477, not far short of 500, and got totally mullered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Feb 6, 2021 / 1:23 pm

      I don’t think I invoked Adelaide. I feel very confident in saying it was fully invoked before I started writing.

      As for Chepauk, that’s still almost a hundred runs less than England have now. It’s fine. I am entirely confident that England can’t lose from here.

      (Of course, as an author here I can delete this comment, amend the post and delete my tweets if I turn out to be wrong. I’m not daft!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark Feb 6, 2021 / 1:29 pm

    England did what they needed to do to make the game safe. If they lose from here they should be……insert appropriate punishment. They scored just under 300 on the day. Consolidation rather than pushing for the win. But quite understandable in the first innings of a test series in India.

    Three days to get 20 wickets. India are going to need between 350-400 to avoid the follow on. That may be the important factor if England have to waste time batting again.

    Root is seriously in great form at the moment. Can you imagine the hullabaloo if Cook had batted these scores? And speaking of Cook, why does anyone think he is of broadcast standard? If he hadn’t been the ECBs darling you would pick almost everybody else in his team to have a go at commentating ahead of him. Still, as it’s free to air I can’t complain too much.


    • thelegglance Feb 6, 2021 / 1:49 pm

      The pitch was doing enough today to suggest it’s going to get significantly worse. Perhaps occupying time was at least as important to deny India batting time when the surface is good?

      Liked by 1 person

      • dannycricket Feb 6, 2021 / 1:52 pm

        Which means that Sibley’s innings was vital. Hopefully people consider that if the game ends in a draw and they want to find an English batsman to blame.


        • Mark Feb 6, 2021 / 2:10 pm

          I don’t think anyone should really blame any England batsman if they fail to win the game from here. (Assuming the last two wickets don’t bat on for a ridiculous amount of time tomorrow.) I think consolidation today was fine.

          If, as people think the wicket is going to deteriorate over the next three days, and England don’t win the match it will be the bowlers who will be the ones in the spotlight. See if they can do what the Aussies couldn’t?

          Liked by 1 person

  4. dlpthomas Feb 6, 2021 / 3:03 pm

    I really enjoyed the commentators and that’s not something I say very often (actually I’m not sure I have ever said it before.)

    Ishant bowled a lovely spell at the end of the day so here’s hoping Archer can also make something happen.


  5. man in a barrel Feb 6, 2021 / 4:30 pm

    It is really down to the English bowling unit now. 20 wickets when Bumrah, Ashwin and Co have had to work hard to get 8. It comes down to mental resilience, mostly. Part of me wants to say that England should have declared and had an hour against tired batters. And then I remember a certain match a long long time ago. It looks like a Pujara kind of pitch. If he stays a long time, India should easily draw this match while tiring the older statesman of the English attack. It looks like a real grandmaster game, an 80 move draw. Besides, Kurun Nair, the local master, is not playing


    • thelegglance Feb 6, 2021 / 4:32 pm

      Very short turnaround before the 2nd Test. One of the bowling attacks is going to be knackered…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. man in a barrel Feb 6, 2021 / 4:49 pm

    You almost wish that Archer were not playing. It will be hard for Root to resist the temptation to overbowl him. How well will Bess handle the pressure that all the Indian batters will put on him? And, lurking in the mind, because Rehane did so well when Kohli ducked out in Australia, Kohli will want to impose himself. It should or could be fascinating

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Feb 6, 2021 / 4:53 pm

      The spinners did improve in Sri Lanka, but obviously this is going to be a challenge for them. But you know, I think England are quietly building a half decent team.


    • dannycricket Feb 6, 2021 / 5:09 pm

      You’d hope Root would bowl himself quite a bit. He is on a hat trick after all.

      (He isn’t. At the very least, I think a hat trick has to be in the same innings.)


      • dlpthomas Feb 7, 2021 / 12:11 am

        Merv Hughes got a hat-trick across 2 innings against the West Indies – 2 in the first innings and then Greenidge in the second.


  7. man in a barrel Feb 6, 2021 / 6:41 pm

    Using my ageing memory, someone got a double hundred for England in India and didn’t play again. I haven’t checked but has Mr Nair played for India again?


    • dannycricket Feb 6, 2021 / 7:03 pm

      He played in their next series, against Australia. He had a top score of 26, and didn’t play another Test for India.


    • Sean Feb 6, 2021 / 8:09 pm

      A triple hundred in fact. Dmitri’s favourite subject…


  8. dlpthomas Feb 7, 2021 / 5:46 am

    Good start from Archer (aided by an excellent catch from Anderson)


  9. Miami Dad's Six Feb 7, 2021 / 6:20 am

    Looking around the world at the other Tests going on, there is the potential of a mega chase for the West Indies who are 198-3 at lunch on day 5 away to Bangladesh, chasing 395. The bloke on 90* is described as a batting all rounder and has a First Class average of 28.

    Pakistan have edged their lead up to 258 with Yasir, of whom it is obligatory to mention he got a Test ton in Australia once in spite of being about on a par with Stuart Broad, is giving decent support to Rizwan (who himself has become a very consistent performer). Darthez will no doubt advise that the extra runs don’t matter anyway given the SA batting line up – and I wouldn’t argue.


  10. Miami Dad's Six Feb 7, 2021 / 7:42 am

    I have criticised Bess before, and his figures in Sri Lanka were exceptionally flattering as he bowled really quite erratically – however he’s bowled a great line and length this morning. The over to Kohli was great. Rahane felt the pressure from both ends and threw his wicket away.


  11. dArthez Feb 7, 2021 / 7:54 am

    That is the story of the India innings thus far. Three gifted wickets, out of four – all from specialist batsmen. Can’t bat like that.

    Meanwhile, West Indies are in with a realistic shout of chasing down nearly 400 in Bangladesh. Admittedly helped by Shakib being injured, but still.

    As for South Africa, long dead and buried. For the umpteenth time in the last 3 years.


  12. dArthez Feb 7, 2021 / 8:59 am

    So South Africa will need two innings to get 370 runs. Easy.


  13. Tom Kerr Feb 7, 2021 / 9:58 am

    I’m not someone who usually loses my cool, but Leach’s bowling to Pant was, well, pants. There’s a huge rough patch outside Pant’s off stump but Leach insisted on bowling too straight, so Pant just kept hitting him for sixes. I see it’s improved in the last few minutes, but the tactic of bowling a spinning ball on the flat part of the pitch to Pant really annoyed me.


  14. dArthez Feb 7, 2021 / 9:58 am

    That was just a freak dismissal of Pujara. England won’t mind of course.


  15. Tom Kerr Feb 7, 2021 / 10:20 am

    It’s hard to watch three test matches at a time – there was a time not long ago I couldn’t watch any! Anyway, congratulations to Kyle Mayers for scoring a double hundred in a final innings run chase of near 400 in Bangladesh and the Pakistan vs SA match looks to be going Pakistan’s way.

    I see India just lost another wicket while typing this. I feel a little overloaded…


  16. dArthez Feb 7, 2021 / 10:30 am

    West Indies won. Okay, they did not have to face Shakib, but still chasing nearly 400 is not exactly a walk in the park even when the fielding side is one bowler down.

    Quite fitting that the debutant with a double ton hit the winning runs.


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