England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 4th day July 20, 2014

Jadeja and Ishant have India believing


England 319 and 105 for 4 (Root 14*, Moeen 15*) need another 214 runs to beat India 295 and 342 (Vijay 95, Jadeja 68, Bhuvneshwar 52)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 01:22
Kimber: Jadeja phenomenal, England doomed

Fifteen overseas Tests, and more than three years, have elapsed since India last won a Test outside their own country, but they will barely be able to curb their excitement that the run is about to end. England, without a win in their last nine Tests, look as vulnerable as a family of hedgehogs crossing a motorway: four down, their captain dismissed once more, threats wherever they look, still 214 short of their victory target.

From the moment that Ravindra Jadeja implanted India's authority with a half-century of unbridled passion, England's new era looked as troubled as ever. If there was one contented Englishman in the ground it was Mick Hunt. After the horrors of Trent Bridge, the groundsman has produced a surface to abet enthralling cricket.

England will pray there is a final twist but only the great West Indies side of 1984, who famously reached 344 for 1, have ever successfully chased a fourth-innings total at Lord's in excess of the 319 laid before them.

Alastair Cook's latest stressful contribution brought 22, 93 deliveries met with utmost suspicion, before England's troubled captain pushed hesitantly at a ball of decent line from Ishant Sharma and edged behind. His captaincy is under scrutiny, his runs have dried up and his senior players are not delivering. As he walked up the pavilion steps, some MCC members averting their eyes, Andy Flower's warning sprang to mind: "Things will get worse before they get better."

It took some time before England's second innings began to subside, assisted a little perhaps by some captaincy by Dhoni that was not as much funky as psychedelic. There were too many early bowling changes to quite comprehend, the sight of sharp, leaping turn persuaded him to major, prematurely perhaps, on Jadeja's slow left-arm which Cook met calmly (the fact that Dhoni stood back to Jadeja was particularly idiosyncratic), and finally he settled on the sort of persistent, full-length seam bowling that has put India on the verge of winning the Test. The spinners could still have the final word for all that.

Sam Robson did fall to spin - a marginal lbw decision for Jadeja before tea - but it was pace which caused three England wickets to fall for two runs in 19 balls. Gary Ballance shuffled to 27 before poking Mohammed Shami to the keeper, Ian Bell was bowled by a low one from Ishant Sharma (there again, he does seem to receive rather a lot which makes you wonder) and then Cook's introspective innings ended, replaced no doubt by introspection behind closed doors. Moeen Ali needed a slice of luck or two to survive with Joe Root until the close.

For much of this England disarray, Jadeja deserved the credit. Ever since India laid charges against James Anderson for an alleged kerfuffle with Jadeja during the Trent Bridge Test, he has become the bete noire in a resentful England dressing room. He responded with a hustling innings of 68 from 57 balls, a first Test fifty by a batsman in his 10th Test, encouraged not just by his continued ire about the Anderson incident but an instinctive recognition that, in his case, attack is assuredly the best form of defence.

He charged the fast bowlers from the outset, a high-risk strategy which succeeded in making England's pace bowlers draw back their lengths to a culpable degree, needed a change of helmet when Anderson struck him flush on the grille, and a bandaged finger when Liam Plunkett interrupted one foray by rapping him on the finger. England dropped him once - Ian Bell failing to hold a sharp chance off Ben Stokes at midwicket when he was 67 - but by then it felt too late.

Jadeja's mood was encapsulated by a ferocious front-foot pull against Stuart Broad before lunch which rattled into the midwicket boards. On a rare occasion after lunch that Anderson did bowl one in his half, the result was a fulsome lofted straight drive. He might have been accelerating India's innings in the closing phases of a one-day international.

India, four down overnight with a precarious lead of 145, luxuriated in adding a further 173 in 40.1 overs. The eighth-wicket stand between Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar brought India 99 in 17 overs. Sixty-five of those came in the first eight overs after lunch with the second new ball still hard and shiny.

Cook's faith in his two senior bowlers, Anderson and Stuart Broad, went unrewarded as Anderson in particular repeatedly resorted to the short stuff after lunch. Plunkett adopted a similar tactic from around the wicket - by then things were so desperate such a ploy seemed understandable - without avail before Stokes finally broke through.

Stokes defeated Jadeja's on-the-charge pull, Cook taking a skied catch running back from slip, but the memory remained implanted of Jadeja's bat twirling celebration after he had reached his 50, a circus master's display which England observed in stony-faced silence.

Anderson's sledging has been virtually non-existent in this Test but when Jadeja survived an lbw appeal on 28, courtesy of a thin inside edge, the Burnley Lip could not resist a curt sentence or two. Perhaps they can chat again on Tuesday, in the formality of an ICC enquiry.

After Jadeja's departure, India's innings folded. Moeen had Mohammed Shami caught at the wicket for nought and Bhuvneshwar was last out, edging to second slip, but not before he had completed another half-century in a productive series. Joe Root might have caught him at fourth slip, on 2, but he was standing so close a fast chance blew through his hands.

Until Jadeja threw their calculations into disarray, England were initially congratulating themselves on a productive morning. The second Investec Test was making eyes at them. M Vijay's resistance ended on 95 - the third over with the second new ball - when he pushed at Anderson and edged to the keeper, a rare error of judgment in an innings spanning more than six hours.

India had 17 overs at start of play until the second new ball and, in making 58, lost Dhoni and Stuart Binny along the way. Dhoni scraped 19 from 86 balls, his slowest Test innings of any substance, before Plunkett exposed his uncertainty outside off stump and Bell held a fast, shoulder-high catch at second slip.

A brief recourse to Moeen's off spin accounted for Binny, out for nought, attempting to launch Moeen down the ground but falling to an excellent running catch, over his shoulder, from Cook at mid-off. The captain could claim double credit for bringing him on and holding the catch. With India's lead only 179 and six wickets down, it felt like a turning point. At the close, it felt like a turning point no longer.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Randolph on July 21, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    You know you are in serious trouble when ishant is running through you. The English fans, despite antagonizing Aussie fans for only having one player who whitewashed them in the Ashes (Johnson), would no doubt love a home grown spearhead like him, who could tear through sides.

  • Dummy4 on July 21, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    I seriously don't understand this match. The pitch is helping both for batting and bowling. Two teams middle order have struggled and bottom played well. Both the team's bowled good and bad in bits and pieces. Are these team's bating is strong or the bowling is weak. I Seriously couldn't predict anything from this.

  • S on July 21, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    Match in the balance again! Root and Prior will have to take their team through the new ball, which is due in 4 overs and isl likely to be taken when due.

    Still plenty of batting to come for England - Prior, Stokes, Plunkett, Broad and Anderson. All of them have at least a Test fifty (Plunkett got his 55* in the previous innings). And especially the last 3 are in good batting form. But Root, Prior and Stokes (from whom a big score is due) will have to get the team close enough to the target first. Stokes has done well with the ball in this Test (2-40 and 3-51) and also in the previous Test (2-81) but still will be under pressure if he has to bat with the target 100+ ruins away.

    So, a lot depends on the 6th wicket partnership. England will be looking to go to tea around 250-260 without losing any wicket. And India will aim to get the 6th wicket before 200-220.

    All in all, a great hour (or two or three!) of Test cricket in store for cricket fans!

  • Android on July 21, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    Ishant Sharma steps up to the plate when Kumar and Shami not delivering. Hallmark of a good Team. If we can workout the Team balance of the additional bowler/spinner/batsmen then we have some good times ahead.

  • Android on July 21, 2014, 12:23 GMT

    Ali was out plum LBW yesterday to Jadeja but Dharamasena reckoned it hit him outside offstump. So its good to see the back of him finally. It opens up one end nicely and now hope Stokes and Prior play true to their form.

  • Tanmay on July 21, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    Indian fan here....dont know whether India will win or not but Dhoni has been terrible with his bowling options...Stuart Binny doesnt get even 1 over...& Bhuvi with 125kph bowling with an old ball...Jadeja- he is an ODI bowler who at most will block one end....India should have gone with Amit Mishra for this series...Ishant & Shami with their pace looks the ones who can India this test but you never know with one of Prior, Stokes, Broad & Plunkett plays an attacking innings, game lost for India...

    also i am noticing a lot of England supporters wanting Bell to be dropped....i just want them go back to last summer when he was thrashing Australia all around the park...Bell going through bad patch...wont take long before he gets back in form...also Team India need to consider pace of Aaron in next test...

  • Android on July 21, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    Ishant Sharma has been Indias best bowler this session except the over which went for 14 .Bhuvi was ineffective .Jadeja was also great .If Ishant and co had another set of players in the slip cordon and in close catching positions England would be at least 7 down if not more .Advantage england though that last ball has India still hoping .Dhoni has to continue with Ishant and Jadeja after lunch .It would be better if we had the wicket of root .Root and the Indian bowlers will be key in the next session .This is a proper test match .Great stuff.

  • saradindu on July 21, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    India Going the same way as in South Africa at Jo'Burg . I think England will win .

  • Jehaan on July 21, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    This England India test has reached an exciting stage and what has made it great for us television viewers is the emergence of Saurav Ganguly as another classy and knowledgable commentator , in the same mold as people like Nasser Hussein and David Lloyd .

  • Hamish on July 21, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    @IMCG67: To my mind your 11:16 should have been a 'featured' contribution to draw increased attention to it and seed debate. I agree that an England win will let the selectors off of the hook for one more test. My proposed team at 10:50 had Buttler and Jordan in, but I think Ali batting lower down frees up his stroke play element, à la Gower. I offered Briggs as a spin option as he steps up to the big occasion well and can 'dry up' an end for his captain; something I believe Warne drummed into him. Bottom line re Cook? I don't think he will go.