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India, England set for thrilling final day finish in Trent Bridge — weather permitting

By Devarchit Varma August 8, 2021

India and England are all set for a thrilling finish to the first Test being played at Trent Bridge in Nottingham after the hosts set a target of 209 runs for Virat Kohli and company to win. In their reply, India were comfortably placed at 52/1 with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara batting at 12 each at the crease.

On a day where play was not interrupted by rains as they had  for the last two days, England produced a far better performance compared to what they did it in the first innings — thanks to a superb century by captain Joe Root who brought up his sixth ton against India. 

Root made 109 and partnered with plenty of England batsmen to ensure that his bowlers have a decent score to bowl at when they come out in the final innings of the opening Test.

England scored 303 in the second innings, thus setting a 209-run target. Their innings was once again a reflection of the batting prowess they have in their ranks, which entirely depends on Root to guide and hold them together in the middle while the others kept falling despite getting starts.

Rory Burns and Dom Sibley had done well on the third day evening to take England to 21/0 when they were trailing by 95 runs. The two began enough in similar passion on the fourth day morning keeping the Indian bowlers at bay by displaying tremendous control and discipline at the crease. However, the Indian attack is relentless and not many batting attacks can get the better of them in any conditions.

Both Burns and Sibley were dismissed for 18 and 28 respectively after getting starts. The same was the fate of England No 3 Zak Crawley, who once again fell for a single-digit score which ended up putting a lot of pressure back on England. 

In dire need of a partnership and stability in the middle, Sibley partnered with Root to hold England together and revive their splendid memories of a partnership from the Chennai Test earlier this year, to add 89 runs for the third wicket. 

The collaboration between Sibley and Root not only to took off the pressure which was built after early flurry of wickets but also put England in lead, which started putting the pressure back on the Indian bowlers. After Sibley was dismissed, it was the turn of Bairstow to keep the scoreboard ticking in the company of the England captain as the two senior players put on 42 runs for the fourth wicket.

But as their misfortune has been, England have been lacking strong performances in pairs with the bat and that is what came back to haunt them in the second innings as well. Mohammed Siraj got rid of Bairstow for 30 and this was when England started going downward spiral.

India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who was in complete rhythm in the first innings, made most of his form as he got rid of Sibley, Crawley and Root along with two wickets in the lower order in form of Sam Curran (32) and Stuart Broad (0) to return with a superb five-wicket haul in which his figures read 19-2-64-5.

While senior bowler Mohammad Shami had to contend with only one wicket from his 15.5 overs, Mohammed Siraj was relentless and full of energy as he sent down 25 overs for his 2/84. At the sam time, equally impressive was Shardul Thakur, who snaffled two wickets in form of Dan Lawrence (25) and Jos Buttler (17) to return with 13-1-37-2.

Unlike their cautious and slow start in the first innings, India were off to a brisk beginning provided by KL Rahul. The opener, who is on a comeback trail, smacked six boundaries to make a quickfire 26 from 38 balls before Broad drew an edge off his bat to provide England the first breakthrough.

But towards the end, Pujara and Rohit took India safely to 52/1 with only 157 more runs to chase on what is promising to be a thrilling final day, which might also be marred by poor weather.


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