A gritty batting display from India’s lower order helped them gain a significant advantage in the first Test against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Although rain arrived on Day 3 to curtail action once again, the visitors’ lead after the first innings almost breached the three-figure mark.
A stop-start first session saw Rishabh Pant dismissed by Ollie Robinson, but KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja ensured India didn’t lose any more wickets before Lunch. James Anderson coaxed Rahul into a loose drive, but Jadeja and the tail gave India a 95-run lead. England reached 25/0 in the 11 overs that were bowled in their second innings.
Here are three major talking points from Day 3 of the first Test between India and England.
#3 Ravindra Jadeja perfectly balances attack and defense in yet another stellar knock
Ravindra Jadeja has been a revelation in the Test format over the last few years, even while playing effectively as a specialist batsman. Coming in at the fall of Rishabh Pant’s wicket, the southpaw needed to form a partnership with KL Rahul for India to take the lead. And he did just that.
Jadeja was cautious at the start, putting away only loose deliveries and trusting his airtight defense to counter the swinging Dukes ball. Once Rahul was dismissed, he turned it on, striking boundaries at will and ensuring that Mohammed Shami at the other end wasn’t unduly exposed.
Jadeja was caught for 56 off 86 just when it seemed like he was set for a few more, but his knock was absolutely invaluable in the context of the game.
#2 Fielding and supporting bowlers let England down
The ageless James Anderson picked up four wickets and moved past Anil Kumble to become the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. The returning Ollie Robinson recorded a five-wicket haul by bowling consistent lengths and asking questions of almost all the Indian batsmen.
In stark contrast, England’s other pacers – Stuart Broad and Sam Curran – were nowhere near as penetrative. While Broad conceded 70 runs in his 20 overs and bowled only three maidens, Curran’s 15 overs went for 57. Both bowlers were a touch unlucky at times, but they were far from their best on Day 3.
Fielding was another aspect that let England down. Joe Root shelled a straightforward chance at first slip to hand Rahul a reprieve, while Anderson grassed a skier off Shami’s bat. Others like Jonny Bairstow were a touch lax on the field, giving away crucial runs.
Anderson and Robinson carried the England innings, but the rest of the bowling attack and certain fielders really should’ve done better.
#1 India’s tail finally wags, but has the pitch eased up?
When Shardul Thakur was dismissed with the score reading 205, England would’ve wanted to take the final three wickets in the span of a few deliveries. But Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj scored a combined 48 runs, taking India to a sizeable lead.
It was a wonderful reversal of roles, with the English lower order billed as the one that would be impossible to brush aside in the build-up to the series. As Bumrah, Shami and Siraj found gaps and the odd boundary, they not only put India in an excellent position but also frustrated the England bowlers beyond belief.
However, the final stages of the Indian innings, as well as England’s brief second innings, hinted at the pitch finally easing up a touch. India’s new-ball bowlers didn’t get appreciable carry or swing as Rory Burns and Dom Sibley negotiated 11 overs despite the odd ball threatening to catch the edge.
There are two exciting days of cricket left in this Test, though. If the rain stays away, we could have a result at Trent Bridge, especially if overnight rain and morning cloud cover make an appearance again.