Stumps India 107 ( Anderson 5-20, Woakes 2-19) v England
In a match that had already lost a day to rain, at a ground where a middle-aged man attempted belly flops on the covers, on a day the media-box’s kitchen was reportedly flooded, India’s batting line-up found ways to be the clumsiest, most broken part of the game. Sent in to bat on a day punctuated by three rain breaks, India offered little resistance against a four-pronged pace attack that made optimum use of the conditions to flatten them for 107.
The first sign of why both captains were looking to bowl came pretty early – no, we’re not saying India might have bowled first just to avoid facing James Anderson. Such was the majesty of his outswinger from middle stump that M Vijay would have been caught square and lost his off stump even in the heat of his hometown Chennai, let alone the damp, dank and dark batting minefield that Lord’s had turned into in the first session.
KL Rahul looked in control when he hit his two boundaries, but found no respite from England’s new-ball pair otherwise. Having got an unplayable ball in the channel in the second innings at Edgbaston, Rahul looked to be trying to get on the front foot as much as possible. However, his discipline was of little use against Anderson, whose entire bowling plan revolved around pushing his awayswingers wide outside off to feed the batsman’s leave, before getting him to jab instinctively at one that appeared playable but jagged away at the last moment.
In his last spell of the day, Anderson dismissed Ajinkya Rahane with the same tactics, after India’s No. 5 had quietly begun to settle against a predominantly short-of-a-length strategy. With Rahane’s wicket, Anderson separated India’s most comfortable-looking pair – Ashwin being the other half of it – and from there it didn’t take long. Kuldeep and Ishant were bagged and Anderson’s 26th five-wicket haul took him to 99 wickets at Lord’s. Only Muttiah Muralitharan (SSC, Galle, Kandy) has taken 100-plus wickets at a Test venue.
Full report to follow