England vs India: 3rd Test, Day Two – Normal Test Cricket

I joined Being Outside Cricket in 2017. This may well be the first time that I’ve been asked to write the match report for a day where England have batted through the whole day, with just one collapse in the evening session. I am genuinely stumped on what to write.

The day began in a similar vein to the day before, with conditions favouring the bowling team. The ball started swinging and seaming again, and India’s attack thoroughly testing England’s newest opening partnership. Burns and Hameed did well to survive as long as they did, Hameed taking a blow to the head after ducking into a not-quite bouncer, before both fell in the morning session. Malan impressed at three, scoring at a decent rate (unlike, arguably, his T20I performances) and putting India on the back foot.

Joe Root came in and did what he’s done all year: Make Test batting look ridiculously easy. This was his sixth century from eleven Tests in 2021. Where Hameed and Burns struggled and got tied down by Bumrah and Shami, Root seemed like he was facing a bunch of club cricketers. He scored singles at will and hit the bad balls for boundaries. It was only in the last hour, when he looked physically and mentally shattered, that India were able to dismiss him. It’s difficult to think of an English batter who has been in such dominant form over this period of time. At the same time, the constant attention he needs on his back during these long innings makes me only too aware of how fragile and fleeting this might be. Particularly considering the usual level of competence that England’s medical team usually displays.

Bairstow added a useful 29 runs, but his dismissal led to a flurry of wickets. Buttler, Ali and Root all fell within the space of a few overs. In their defence, they may have been disoriented by coming to the crease with a healthy first innings lead and facing tired, dispirited bowlers. It will have been a long time since they faced such a situation.

This innings from England’s top order has been historically good. It began with the first England opening partnership to last 50 overs since 2016, coincidentally when Haseeb Hameed was last in the team. Each of England’s top four went on to score at least fifty, which last occurred in 2013. This is by far the most complete batting performance England have managed in recent years. That said, it is important to avoid hyperbole and remain at least somewhat balanced. The pattern in recent years has been for promising batters to come into the side, impress at first before being ‘found out’ and unable to adapt to bowling attacks targeting their weaknesses. There have been too many false dawns for England’s batting, and the past few years have beaten all but the merest sliver of hope out of me.

With a first innings lead of 345, it’s hard to see any other result than an England win in this game. Given that the morning sessions have been the best times to bowl in this game so far, an early declaration might give Anderson the best chance to run through the Indian top order for a second time.

Off the field, I am surprised by how little attention the Yorkshire CCC report (or the lack of a report) has been getting. There seemed to be a groundswell of pressure building up to this game, but it has largely been ignored during the game itself. I am conflicted on this, since I definitely prefer watching cricket to hearing about bad stuff happening behind the scenes. I fear that the chances of there being a real positive change in English cricket decreases the longer Yorkshire are able to delay facing their own issues. The ECB and PCA’s silence on the matter has been deafening, but also unsurprising. I don’t think any progress is likely to be made until pressure from outside, whether fans, the press, or politicians force Yorkshire and the ECB into action, and that isn’t happening right now.

Thanks for reading. If you have any comments about the game, or anything else, leave them below.

15 thoughts on “England vs India: 3rd Test, Day Two – Normal Test Cricket

  1. Mark Aug 26, 2021 / 7:57 pm

    “ Bairstow added a useful 29 runs, but his dismissal led to a flurry of wickets. Buttler, Ali and Root all fell within the space of a few overs. ”

    Difficult to criticise after England are over 300 ahead, but this was disappointing from Bairstow, Butler and Ali. Time is not an issue here as the weather forecast is good and still three days to go. A tired attack should not be able to knock over these wickets so cheaply. It may seem trivial, but you want England to become more ruthless when they get on top.

    Very unlikely I know, but there is still an outside chance of India scoring 500 and leaving England a last day wobble. It would be nice to have seen that gate closed, and locked by batting till tomorrow lunchtime.

    As I say…not likely to be relevant, but you want the side to toughen up a bit.

    Very pleased for Hameed that he got some runs. Shame he couldn’t go on and score a hundred. But he needed to show he can play after Lords. I do think he has the talent, but we must not build him up like we always do. He needs to just play and settle in.

    Looks like we may have series to decide……So of course September will be the ideal time to play it. (Snark)

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  2. dlpthomas Aug 27, 2021 / 7:55 am

    “this was disappointing from Bairstow, Butler and Ali”

    Hard to argue with that. Bairstow is Vince – looks great for 20 or 30 and then gets out. I’m convinced his got the skill but I wonder about his temprement. I think it is time to move on from Buttler as a test player (when will Foakes be fit?). And I don’t know where to start with Moeen (but I know where I’d stop – Heathrow because I wouldn’t take him to Australia). I really like Moeen as a player but he just frustrates the hell out of me.

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    • Miami Dad's Six Aug 27, 2021 / 9:22 am

      I think all three would be Test quality players if that was the entirety of the game, but with the white ball stuff in their brains they just haven’t got it. Not just the t20 cash, but the 50 over World Cup, Morgan’s uber positive captaincy vs tentative Root/Cook. Bairstow smashed the Test game up and scored nearly 1500 runs in 2016. Mo scored 1100 in the same year. We played 17 Tests that year, but they included away series to South Africa, India and Bangladesh, with Pakistan at home. It’s why we keep going back to them.

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      • dlpthomas Aug 27, 2021 / 11:41 am

        Good point – your probably right. At times I feel like I’m back in the 90’s watching Hick and pulling my hair out that he was smashing centuries at will.

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    • maggiej Aug 27, 2021 / 9:36 am

      Interesting thing with Buttler is that he does not seem to make the transfer from short to long format very well. If i remember right, he did okay last year in tests and many were saying, brilliant, he IS a test player, but he hadn’t played any short form cricket before the tests as the IPL was cancelled. I read an analysis of his stats last year which clearly showed how much better he was a test batsman if he wasn’t coming straight from short form cricket. He’s had plenty of opportunity now so i agree with you, i don’t think he’s a test player either but no doubt they will keep him because he has ‘a good cricket brain’….

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 27, 2021 / 10:22 am

        It might even be a little bit more than that. I think if Joe Root were to go down during this series, Jos is vice-captain.

        I guess now Crawley and Sibley are out, and Burns has made some runs, that someone has to occupy the batting hot seat. I also admit that Buttler is one of the most frustrating players I have ever watched for England.

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        • dlpthomas Aug 27, 2021 / 11:41 am

          Cough cough Hick cough cough

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  3. dArthez Aug 27, 2021 / 11:18 am

    432 all out. A lead of 354 runs. India will do well to avoid an innings loss, and I honestly doubt that they will even bat out the day.

    Sure, the wicket may flatten out a bit, but batting with the knowledge that you have to bat 200 overs to possibly save the Test (assuming no inclement weather shows up), is a tough ask. Even on national highways (and this wicket surely is not one).

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    • Miami Dad's Six Aug 27, 2021 / 11:31 am

      I’d just try and make England’s bowlers bowl as many overs as possible. The last thing Jimmy needs ahead of the next Test starting on Thursday is to still be bowling on Sunday morning.

      It’s also amazing how pressure-free being this far behind in a game is.

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      • Miami Dad's Six Aug 27, 2021 / 3:08 pm

        We’re 37 overs in and so far Curran and Moeen have bowled just 1 between them.

        I don’t necessarily blame Root for not backing either bowler, but the selection plan of having only 3 bowlers that you actually want to bowl, doesn’t look too smart.

        Actually they’re bringing Curran back on now. A nice release of pressure as Rohit carves a couple of boundaries.

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        • Mark Aug 27, 2021 / 4:13 pm

          It is strange how often England seem to take the field with bowlers the captain doesn’t seem to feel confident in bowling. Seeing as selection is now the preserve of Silverwood and Root you would hope they would be happy with their selections.

          But relying on three bowlers most of the time is going to put enormous pressure on those bowlers. Injury is almost guaranteed. It’s a mark of Anderson’s physique that he can still bowl at his age so successfully.

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          • dArthez Aug 27, 2021 / 5:16 pm

            Agreed. And the thing is even if you have 4 frontline bowlers, and one of them breaks down, it puts a huge strain on the team. It will be much worse going from 3 to 2.

            Pleasantly surprised that India are batting quite a bit better today. Sure, conditions have eased out substantially, but mentally, having to start so far in arrears, it anything but easy of course.

            Again, for the umpteenth time, England would have been in a much better position if they could actually call on Leach, but the meaningless runs Moeen offers at the expense of bowling pressure are apparently much more valuable.

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  4. Miami Dad's Six Aug 27, 2021 / 2:12 pm

    Someone flew a “Sack the ECB and Save Test Cricket” banner over the ground just now, according to George Dobell on Twitter.

    Like

    • Mark Aug 27, 2021 / 4:15 pm

      I surprised The ECB didn’t have someone shoot it down. They would probably miss anyway.

      Like

      • dArthez Aug 27, 2021 / 6:23 pm

        With a bowler who bowls a gentle full toss, a batsman who slogs it up in the air, damaging the plane, sending it in a tailspin, causing a huge amount of fireworks.

        Guess it was the wrong venue, as it was not a Hundred game.

        Like

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