England vs India Test Series

Didn’t see one, so I thought I’d get a thread underway for what should be an interesting series.

England batted yesterday; they had two decent sessions and one abysmal one. Joe Root has added “listening to wildly over optimistic calls for a second run” to the list of ways in which he has failed to turn a 50 into a hundred, much to his evident self-disgust. Ashwin took 4 for 62, which on the first day lays down something of a market for the series.

India were looking pretty good at 50-0 this morning, having sportingly offered a couple of run out chances early on; two overs later it was 59-3. All taken by the new boy, Curran, rather than Broad or Anderson (who, to be fair, seemed to bowling reasonably well and creating a few chances). Somewhat sadly, England had got to the stage of complaining about the ball just before Curran showed that it was fine really.

Kohli has survived an edge, and has a chance to show Joe Root what a captain’s century looks like. Or, he might go early and cue up more mic-dropping fun.

Another couple of quick wickets after lunch for England, but Kohli and Pandya look pretty well set. If we can stop them both getting a 50, England should get a decent first-innings lead. If either gets a hundred you’d expect it to be advantage India. We seem to have been blessed with lots of intriguing, finely poised Test matches lately, based on my totally unscientific opinion. Probably confirmation bias. Still, fun to follow.

181/7, but Kohli is still there. 106 behind, I think from here that India will be happy to get within 50 of England.

Big knock from Kohli, and Cook gone overnight.

People still seem to be gunning for Cook, although his scores have been better recently (including some fairly recent double hundreds), and it’s not like we’ve got anyone good enough to replace him.

The bit I bolded is the big sticking point. If, say, Hameed had lived up to his early promise then you would have to ask some serious promise about the value Cook brought to team. Probably, you’d still want him in. But it would be a debate. (His drop a simple catch makes me think Cumbrian’s view that Cook’s eyes are going is on the money.)

Kohli though. Given a life by Malan, he really did make the most of it. I said in the OP he might show Root what a captain’s century might look like, and boy did he.

So frustrating to concede 92 for the last two wickets, against what is supposed to be one of the weaker tails among the top Test sides. That old cliche about the next session being key rears its ugly head again…

Despite nearly 30 years’ experience of supporting mostly very average England teams across several sports, and the score being 79/4, I’m going to cling on to some optimism - we just need one century partnership this innings to put ourselves back in front in the game. And you’d have to say if it’s going to happen, it will either be now, or with Buttler (though Curran is supposed to be able to bat a bit. I suspect he’s a better bat than Rashid but had been bumped down the order so as to give him a fighting chance on debut).

FFS - sorry, fellow Englanders. Bairstow and Stokes both go within 3 balls. Almost within the edit window. Well done India, match is yours on a plate now (and no, this isn’t an attempt to put the mockers on them - it never works like that).

Any optimism I might have had has gone with 2 wickets falling the over before lunch. This game is India’s.

Sticking with the optimism (it’s just the way I am), a fine rearguard action led by Sam Curran at least means the England attack won’t be going out thinking there’s no point in even being there. 194 for India to win, so definitely their game to lose.


I will not hope. Hope is the mind-killer.

78/5. Kohli still there.

Can he?

Cricket, eh?

Yep, another lesson in the art of just hanging in there.

How many times has dreadful batting by England been bailed out by excellent bowling? I haven’t been keeping count but it’s several in recent years. And it only tends to work at home. Still, well played i guess. Certainly exciting stuff.

Ollie Pope has been called up to the squad for the second test, replacing Dawid Malan. He’s a young man, who’s only played 15 first class games, but he’s got some runs for Surrey.

Chris Woakes replaces Ben Stokes, who’s off to court.

England off to a great start in favourable conditions, Anderson taking two early wickets to get Kohli in to face the new, swinging ball. But don’t hold out for a great match. We’ve lost one day to rain, and they’ve just gone off now, with the Met Office promising a high chance of more rain for the rest of the day. Rain affected draw seems like a fairly likely outcome.

Which is infuriating! Some time might have to be lost due to rain, but cricket seems unwilling to explore much in the way of mitigating this risk. Did we start early today? Are we planning on playing later? If I had my way, having lost a whole day yesterday I’d simply declare that today is Day One, and the match will finish on Tuesday. Offer to exchange Thursday’s tickets for Monday or Tuesday if people can take that up; otherwise just put them on sale, as originally planned for Monday (original Day Five) in any case.

That way we get something more like the sporting contest we wanted to get. TV have to rejig their schedules, but unless some major sporting event was due Tuesday, they get to show more actual cricket (as opposed to umbrellas and replays) than they would under the current plan. The teams get a better game, we’re more likely to get a result which makes for a compelling series and the game actually gets played.

The draw is still possible, but knocking India over for 107 today will have them fighting to prevent a loss. It’s supposed to be sunnier tomorrow, and India don’t have the quality of swing bowling that England do (in those conditions today, with the Duke ball, England have the best bowling attack in the world). If England can get up into the high 200s even, India may well be looking at an innings defeat.

Glorious sunshine. England will be looking to knock the deficit off by lunch.

Bairstow has got to 30 and, with England at 155/5, now has the highest score of the match.

Has everyone forgotten how to bat?