The fourth day of the first Test between India and England was gripping red-ball theater at its very best. Two high-quality sides matched each other blow for blow as rain stayed away in Nottingham, setting the stage for a brilliant final day in a series opener that has ebbed and flowed more than the River Trent just a few kilometers away from the stadium.
After India prised out a few wickets early on Day 4, England skipper Joe Root took matters into his own hands. He dazzled with a stroke-filled 109 as the hosts amassed 303 in an improved batting display. India had around an hour to negotiate in the final session, and although KL Rahul found himself back in the pavilion after a decent start, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were at the crease at Stumps.
Here are three major talking points from Day 4 of the first Test between India and England.
#3 Joe Root masterclass gives England a way back into the 1st Test
With a well-crafted 64 in the first innings of the first Test against India, Joe Root signaled his intentions for the series. But a few questions still hung over the England captain.
After all, he had failed to convert yet another fifty into a hundred, having been dismissed by an innocuous leg-sidish delivery from Shardul Thakur. Root also had in his mind the demons of the series against India in Chennai and Ahmedabad earlier this year, where he quickly faded after a bright start.
However, Root put many questions to bed with a brilliant ton in the second innings. Coming in at 42/2 with his team in need of a partnership, the 30-year-old notched up his 21st Test ton and his first at home since 2019. Striking 14 fours in a positive innings, he capitalized on the phase of the game where the pitch was at its most placid.
Root’s calculated innings had some support from Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran, but he was undoubtedly the man who couldn’t be moved.
#2 Bumrah blossoms at The Bridge; other bowlers back him up
For the second innings running, all the Indian bowlers chipped in with at least one wicket. Interestingly, this was only the second time that fast bowlers have taken all 20 wickets for India in a Test (the previous instance was in 2018 against South Africa in Johannesburg).
Once again, the star of the show was Jasprit Bumrah. The 27-year-old scalped a historic five-wicket haul, dismissing three of the top four batsmen before wrapping up the tail later in the innings. He had Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley caught behind with subtle seam movement to give India some early breakthroughs they desperately needed.
With the second new ball, Bumrah came into his own. He sent back Joe Root in similar fashion to Crawley before scalping Sam Curran and Stuart Broad off successive deliveries. With innings figures of 5/64 and match figures of 9/110, the Indian spearhead was the pick of the bowlers.
Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj each collected two crucial wickets to ensure that Bumrah had support at the other end. Despite a poor outing by his standards, Mohammed Shami bowled aggressively and wrapped up the England innings by having Ollie Robinson caught at third man.
The performance of India’s pacers is a massively encouraging sign, with four high-octane Test matches to come.
#1 Tantalizing final day beckons in the 1st India-England Test
India faced 14 overs in their second innings, with some cloud cover returning after a period of relatively easy batting for England. The sun peeked out from under the clouds towards the end of the day, but the visitors needed to be at their best against Messrs. James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Not only did India lose only one wicket in the final phase of play, but they also erased 52 from the target of 209 England set. Rahul struck six fours and Pujara found the boundary thrice in just 13 balls, with Rohit more than content to turn the strike over and see out the day’s play.
The famous word – “intent” – was on display in the final session as India hinted at their approach for the fourth innings – chase the total down quickly. There’s something in the pitch for both the bowlers and the batsmen, and a brilliant final day of action beckons from Nottingham. While some inclement weather is on the forecast, we should get a result in the first Test.