Well isn’t this fun? We’ve got about a session at most today, and three results are possible. After a terrific couple of days of play India need another 84 runs, with 5 wickets remaining. That Mr Kohli is still in, and as long as he is, India may be favourites.
We’re going to live blog the play, and as ever, we will remind you that this isn’t the BBC, you have to hit the refresh button for updates. One day we might even work out a way to auto-refresh, but that day ain’t today.
10:30 – Half an hour to go, and there’s the sense of anticipation that only Tests can provide.
10:41 – People accuse us of banging on about some things, but can you imagine how big the anticipation for today would be if this was on free to air television?
10:51 – What I’d really love to see here is this come down to the last run or wicket. Whoever wins in the end. For it to be tense throughout.
10:52 – Atherton raises the point that Test cricket is a far better game with the Duke than the Kookaburra. He’s right too. Bowlers are what make Test matches, not batsmen. If the bowlers are flogged into the ground and can get no movement at all, then Test cricket is a very dull game indeed. The best innings, the most memorable innings, are when faced with a challenge, not pummeling everyone around on a flattie. Yet another area where cricket doesn’t help itself unfortunately. Tests in England have become shorter, partly as a result of the style of play. But this three and a bit day Test is utterly thrilling. And that’s surely the point?
11:00 – Here we go. Atmosphere sounds great
11:02 – Holding talking about there being no third man, and sure enough England leak one down there. The whole no third man in Tests is fascinating, you’d have to think that the stats men in the teams have worked out everything as far as where runs are scored, but it does seem counterintuitive. Ian Bell was a master at making captains look foolish.
11:03 – WICKET!! Karthik gone. Anderson seams the ball away a touch, and Dawid Malan, who hasn’t had the best of times in the slip cordon, takes a good one low down. A couple of replays and the third umpire confirms it. Great start for England.
11:05 – India are 113-6 and that target is looking distant. But there’s a certain Virat Kohli still at the crease…
11:07 – Look I’ll admit it. I love Stuart Broad. I love his grumpy him-against-the-world-schtick, I love his sense of burning injustice, I love how he properly sticks it to the Australians. And he’s a bloody good bowler who for some reason rubs people up the wrong way to the point they call for his dropping despite even in his quiet times still being highly effective.
11:10 – And on that point, we aren’t that far from the end of Anderson and Broad. And what then? Said it before, that this is the Walsh and Ambrose of the England team, and what is behind them gives cause for concern. They are magnificent, and it’s not their fault people go over the top in their assessments of them. We will miss them when they’re gone.
11:15 – Interesting to see the different approaches of the two bowlers. Anderson is trying to lure the batsmen into playing outside the off stump, while Broad is targeting the stumps and making them play (nearly) every ball.
11:19 – At the sight of a giant panda in the stands, I often wonder what other nationalities make of the English predilection for going to the cricket in fancy dress.
11:26 – this is excellent bowling this morning. Kohli is determined to get forward, and Broad nearly sconed him with a terrific short ball, and followed that up with one that swung in significantly the ball after.
11:30 – 121-6. India inching their way forward…
11:33 – First shot in anger, a gorgeous straight drive down the ground from Pandya off Broad. Fifteen runs this morning, and one wicket. It’s extremely tense, as Broad answers back with one snaking past the outside edge.
11:38 – Runs starting to flow a touch…Kohli reaches his half century almost unnoticed.
11:41 – Another beautiful straight drive from Pandya. Might be time for a change. The reality is that Rashid is unlikely to get a bowl though, but England are leaking here, two boundaries in the over from Broad. England don’t have enough to play with to afford this, so Stokes and Curran are now on the agenda.
11:44 – Ah, England are whining about the ball. Some things never change.
11:45 – Stokes into the attack
11:47 – WICKET!! Stokes get Kohli lbw, but immediately reviewed…it’s tight on the leg stump, but it’s out. Huge wicket.
11:50 – WICKET!! Stokes does it again. Gets some extra bounce and Shami edges through to Bairstow. Two in the over, the crowd go mad. Outstanding over from Stokes, looking lethal every ball. 141-8 and England are looking firm favourites.
11:53 – 53 runs needed, and Curran comes in to the attack. It’s all resting on Pandya now, who has looked aggressive this morning. He trusts his partner and takes a single…suspect a lot of India fans are now praying Ishant Sharma shows hitherto unseen depths of batting skill.
11:55 – Sharma has surely hit that straight into the ground? Yes, clearly so. Nonsense that the umpires sent that upstairs, pure arse covering.
11:58 – The point needs saying over and over and over. You can have gimmicks, you can target a particular market. But when cricket is good, and Test cricket in particular, it’s very, very good. This is thrilling stuff.
11:59 – Sharma errrr….”guides” the ball down to the third man for four. Target is now under 50 away. At this point it only takes a few slogs to cause panic. Which is exactly why it’s so exciting.
12:01 – Verbals in the middle between the Indian batsmen and Stokes (obviously).
12:03 – 42 needed…The question to put out there, is at what point do England fans start crapping themselves?
12:06 – Adil Rashid on! Mildly surprising and rather pleasing. But it has to be with enough runs on the board for him to have a chance. A brave decision from Root, for few of the journalists would have beaten him up had he not bowled him. But he got Sharma in the first innings, so why the hell not? It’s what he’s there for.
Review! WICKET!! Rashid hits the pads and Gaffney gives it not out. It’s quite close…And it’s out! Terrific delivery from Adil Rashid, who pays Root’s faith back with a fine over, and a wicket. And with that one, he superbly sticks two fingers up at those who decided to attack Rashid for the crime of answering his country’s call.
12:13 – Rashid showing his mental fragility yet again with a superb over. Now then, what does Pandya do here? Field is spread as England look to try to bowl to Yadav. This tactic can backfire sometimes, as it starts to look as they’re only trying to get one player out. But it also puts Pandya under pressure to try to score enough runs to bring his team close without exposing his partner.
12:17 – And there’s an answer. A magnificent shot over extra cover for four. But it leaves Yadav to face Rashid. Tough situation for Pandya, he has to score runs, he can’t just fiddle around getting a single at the end of the over.
12:19 – Rashid has bowled 10 overs and has 3-37 in this Test… 36 runs needed now.
12:21 – Field spread again for Stokes with Pandya on strike.
12:28 – Interestingly, England appear content to concede the single on the fifth ball of the over, leaving just one at Yadav.
12:30 – WICKET!! Stokes does the trick, getting the outside edge of Pandya’s bat, and Cook, who hasn’t been totally reliable in the slips recently, does the rest. ENGLAND WIN BY 31 RUNS
12:31 – Being greedy, it would have been particularly fantastic if this had got down to single figures, but the two wickets in an over from Stokes really broke the back of India’s batting, particularly when one of them was Kohli. Kohli himself was superb this Test, and may well be in with a shout of man of the match despite being on the losing side. But Stokes with the ball was quite outstanding this morning, as indeed was Public Enemy Number One Adil Rashid. He can be very proud of his performances, and those who decided to pick on him rather than the selectors, can frankly get stuffed.
12:34 – England’s 1000th Test match turned out to be a very fine one indeed. There’s plenty to criticise about the performances of both of the sides, and that England won doesn’t shut down debate about the weaknesses they’ve demonstrated here again. Stokes will be missing from the second Test too (at the least), meaning England will certainly be weaker than they are here. For India, their bowling looked highly effective, their batting too looked fragile, Kohli apart. But it’s one match, and one match only. You’d think that by now people would have learned not to extrapolate a single match over a series, but it’s nailed on that a fair few will do.
12:41 – Returning to the subject of Adil Rashid; apart from his first, solitary over before lunch on day two, he bowled very, very well. And he batted well too, both innings. Whatever the future may hold, he can be pleased with his performances here, and more to the point, an awful lot of people should be ashamed of how they specifically targeted him in the build up to the Test. Sure, it was controversial that he was selected, but that wasn’t down to him, all he did was accept the request to play for his country. Instead, he was slated, slagged off and abused. It was disgusting and despicable. They won’t be ashamed about it, because that’s the kind of people they are. But they should be. Not going to forgive that. Cricket is a game of opinions, and whether he should or shouldn’t be playing in this England Test team is an open question, with honestly held views. Having a go at Rashid himself is not. And never will be. Your cards have been marked.
12:52 – The presentations now. Man of the Match goes to Sam Curran. That’s ok, he was outstanding in this game, and his innings yesterday was probably the difference between the sides. Kohli would have been every bit as good a call, but there’s something about young Mr Curran that is rather exciting. Hopefully he won’t be over-showered with praise, for we’ve seen that far too often in recent years. But he was a breath of fresh air.
12:58 – So there we have it. England go 1-0 up, but there’s a long way to go. Thanks for your company on here, there’ll doubtless be a review up at some point later, and comments below are always welcome of course. But that was all really rather fun.