England v India, 3rd Investec Test, Ageas Bowl, 2nd day July 28, 2014

Bell and Buttler pummel shabby India


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Kimber: Ballance, Bell and Buttler star

India 25 for 1 trail England 569 for 7 dec (Bell 167, Ballance 156, Cook 95, Buttler 85) by 544 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On the first day England's struggling captain Alastair Cook had found runs - if not form - to lay a platform, and on the second their other out-of-sorts senior pro, Ian Bell, made his first hundred since August 2013 to eliminate India's chances of improving their 1-0 lead in the series.

The home side also unearthed a new hope. Jos Buttler, the limited-overs specialist who replaced Matt Prior as wicketkeeper, played the sort of innings Adam Gilchrist used to, rattling along at more than a run a ball against a listless attack and shabby fielders. He missed a century on debut only because he was accelerating his team towards a declaration.

England scored 117 in 18.4 overs after tea, and India's left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja suffered the most. He had conceded only 34 in 22 overs on the first day; he went for 119 in 23.4 overs on the second.

The stage for England's tea party had been set in the previous sessions, when Bell batted like he had never been short of runs. He put on 142 for the second wicket with Gary Ballance, who converted his overnight 104 into his highest Test score.

Bell and Ballance were near perfect in the sunshine. They were beaten only occasionally, edged less frequently, had fewer scares, and scored swiftly. The portents were ominous for India. M Vijay was lackadaisical at mid-on and allowed the second run of the day, and when the debutant Pankaj Singh found Bell's edge, the ball went between third slip and gully. Bell received a leg-side appetiser next ball, which he glanced for four.

India rely on Bhuvneshwar Kumar to bowl long and economical spells but he was off his game. Shami did not improve on a disappointing first day. Too often he was too straight or offered width, and bowled a poor length. Pankaj lost his discipline in his second spell, after he had been impressive in his first, and both batsmen were soon scoring all round the wicket.

Jadeja had no impact either. In his second over, Bell skipped down and lofted the left-arm spinner over the straight boundary, a shot he repeated later in the day to bring up his 21st Test hundred and pass 7000 runs.

With no wicket in sight, MS Dhoni turned to Rohit Sharma. With his fifth delivery, Rohit got the ball to bounce and turn away from Ballance. The batsman was beaten but umpire Rod Tucker could not see the ball had missed the edge by a considerable margin and only brushed the batsman's trousers on its way into the wicketkeeper's gloves. That was the only blemish in England's 111-run session.

Dhoni made 15 bowling changes in 15 successive overs after lunch, rotating Shami, Pankaj and Bhuvneshwar - perhaps to give them more of a break between overs so that they could bowl longer spells. There was a little movement in the air as clouds gathered and floodlights came on, but the seamers failed to string together enough good balls and build pressure. Bell continued to capitalise on the width by driving, cutting and flicking.

Bhuvneshwar had Joe Root caught behind just before the second drinks break as the batsman advanced, but India's good spirits were short lived. When Dhoni decided to bowl Jadeja again, Bell tore into him, hitting two sixes and two fours in a 21-run over.

With his seamers tiring, Dhoni persisted with Jadeja at one end and continued rotating his quicks at the other. Bhuvneshwar had Moeen Ali caught behind trying to pull a short ball, a growing weakness in the batsman's game. Bhuvneshwar nearly handed Buttler a duck on debut, too. Ajinkya Rahane had claimed a low catch at second slip but the batsman was reprieved after replays indicated doubt, as they often do with such referrals. He punched the next ball through cover for his first Test runs just before tea.

Buttler's initial target was Jadeja, who was driven through and over cover repeatedly. He also used his limited-overs nous and reverse-swept the spinner twice. India could have been spared some pain had Shikhar Dhawan caught Buttler, on 23, at first slip; instead their drop-count in the cordon rose to six for the series. Bell and Buttler took 13 runs off successive overs from Jadeja. The acceleration was on.

Bell got to 150 and then walked down to pull Pankaj dismissively to the long-on boundary; Buttler charged Jadeja and launched a straight six to take England past 500. Their century stand took only 132 balls.

England might have waited for Bell to get a double century, but he holed out to give Bhuvneshwar his third wicket. Buttler continued rampaging, though, and India went to pieces. Dhoni missed a ridiculously easy stumping, and Pankaj, after being pulled for consecutive sixes, missed a straightforward chance to run out Chris Woakes during a 21-run over. When Buttler bottom-edged on to his stumps for 85 - scant consolation for Jadeja - Cook declared to give India 14 overs to face in the gloom.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad ran in hot, swinging and seaming the ball, their extra pace causing more discomfort than India's slower seamers did. Dhawan did not survive, his wretched run in the series exacerbated by an Anderson delivery that angled into him from round the wicket, squared him up and took the edge to first slip. It was a perfect end to England's day.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajiv on July 29, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    If any team is out of form, they have to play against India. India brought form to so many teams. This is nothing new for us. Proved again. Until and unless the fielding and bowling is improved, we are going to lose the matches like this. We put down 4 slip catches. Dhoni are you listening to us.

  • Android on July 29, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    it definitely is not a case of flat pitch due to which England posted such a huge total. Poor team selection, dropped catches and poor bowling is what did india in. only bhuvi and pankaj looked like taking wickets that too on occasionally. All bowlers were guilty of wrong line and length. too many balls wasted on the leg side which made the task easy for england bastmen. Not sure if this batting line up is capable of batting more than 90 overs. Remember, both the tests were saved due to somw resolute batting from the lower order. otherwise only one top order batsman clicked at any given point.

  • sam on July 29, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    O dear! not again! Another bad decision copped by Eng. Rahane given n.o by Tucker off a big nick .Almost as bad as Balance given out y'day.Lucky India.

  • Android on July 29, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    one more thing to notice is draw in this match will be a huge morale booster with 1-0 up..even lose will not shatter them..They'll come good for remaining 2 with 5 bowlers which is their strength. .hope for the best!!

  • sam on July 29, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    @Lin Comp- Well ,no matter how you can rate Eng bowling this session as intense,steady or fiery the results are before us. Already have Ind 3 down,2 in this session till now on this so called flat pitch. Bhuv and co. would've struggled to get 1 W even.

  • Android on July 29, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    but still 6 batsmen in India more than enough if they play to their potential and patience. .6:5 batsmen bowler ratio is acceptable easily..it'll be 6-2-3 must..not 7-4 seeing the result now..India would have tied England down less than 400 with 5 bowlers..things'd have been easy than this situation..India should battle a bit long for a formidable draw...

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    Okay Broad you got another wicket now by bowling near to the stumps now you can start wasting deliveries by bowling wide and short pitches again.

  • Android on July 29, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    People here are not understanding the team selection Kohli is running out of form Pujara is not at his best, Shikhar Dhawan is not performing, Dhoni cant be trusted in seaming conditions in test, so to fill these many holes an extra batsmen was a must, I dont see any defensive tactic in the inclusion of Rohit only issue could be with Ashwin sitting out, everything else is fine until Kohli starts scoring.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2014, 11:05 GMT

    I really do not understand why this bowling from england is called as intense, england is putting so much effort on short pitch etc whereas the simple tight line and full length from bowlers like Bhuvanehswar kumar etc helps the team go get more wickets with better run control, yes i understand broad got a wicket now but with bhuvi style of bowling by this time 2 wickets would have fallen. this is brawn Vs brain issue, gone are the days intimidating bowling helping the bowlers especially against indian batsmen, one needs brain, england is certainly missing this fact. they still continue to assume that short pitched and wide and intimidating deliveries are the best way to get indian wickets but the truth is different, these bunch of indian batsmen need a more brainy approach rather than brawny approach.

  • KISH on July 29, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    I think England batted too long in this match. They should have allowed one full session to get more wickets on day 2. Now, with all the slow batsmen India has, they should be able to get a draw.