Nottingham: And the sword came out again, this time meaning Ravindra Jadeja has justified his selection in the team, which gave India a priceless first-innings lead of 95 runs over England in the first Test in Nottingham on Friday.
The chatter around all-rounder Jadeja being preferred over specialist off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would stop for the time being as the optimistic visitors focus on things more important to take them closer to victory and a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. By the time the two teams took tea break on the third day, England were 11 for no loss in their second innings.
Innings Break!#TeamIndia all out for 278.
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 6, 2021
While opener K L Rahul laid the foundation for the visitors with an 84 off 214 balls, Jadeja snatched the initiative with his characteristic enterprise, hitting eight fours and a six in his 56 off 86 deliveries at Trent Bridge.
With it, the lively cricketer has paid in full the faith the team management showed in him while making the big move to leave out the seasoned Ashwin from the playing XI at the expense of a man who can bat a little better than the off-spinner, who himself is no mug with the bat in cricket’s top-flight.
For England, medium pacer Ollie Robinson emerged as the most successful bowler as he bagged an impressive 5/85, leading the team out in the presence of legends such as James Anderson, who finished with figures of 4/54 from 23 overs, not bad for a 39-year-old.
— ICC (@ICC) August 6, 2021
Actually, too good as he is now third in all-time bowlers’ list behind Muttia Muralitharan and Shane Warne with 621 wickets. Among his wickets were the team’s top scorer Rahul and the top batsman Virat Kohli.
The Indians were up to the task, especially the likes of Rahul and Jadeja, while Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah contributed useful runs, something that will not suffice for the flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman, who fell prey to a trap laid by Robinson.
Earlier, Rahul continued to defy the England bowlers with dogged determination as India overtook the home team’s first innings score in another rain-hit opening session. In that time, Jadeja’s knock included a delectable back-drive off Sam Curran’s bowling and an on-drive off Stuart Broad.
The Indian lead remained slender at lunch after England scored 183 on the first day, but it still gave India the psychological advantage as they tried to build on it.
It was another rain-hit day with the first 95 minutes featuring only 11 deliveries due to a steady drizzle.
However, Pant (25 off 20 balls) was ready to take off from where he had left in Southampton, during the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Just like at the fag end of the second day, the flamboyant left-hander charged down the track to hit Anderson for a boundary through cover region. The objective was to smother any outswing (Anderson’s inswing) and reach to the pitch of the deliveries. When Robinson dug one short, he played the hook shot while not being in control but the thick edge had enough power to carry it for a six.
Robinson knew that Pant was living dangerously and kept a short cover to lay a successful trap. A length ball stopped as Pant committed on the drive without reaching to the pitch of the delivery and the short cover was in business.
#TeamIndia have now taken the lead.
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 6, 2021
Rahul, however, was unfazed as he played close to his body and left most of the deliveries on the fourth and fifth off-stump channel. But he did bring his cover drive out of the closet when he sent a Broad delivery to the boundary.