Another overseas Test, another flourish from India's lower order. Jasprit Bumrah's day began as a batter in a hostile environment; by the end of the day, him and Mohammed Shami had turned the pressure around on England so swiftly and clinically that the hosts, who were in control of the game coming into the last day, folded inside in the final hour as India went 1-0 up in the series.
India were 154 ahead when the day began, with Rishabh Pant and the bowlers left to contend with the second new ball. For the first half an hour, everything went to plan for England. Their relentless, disciplined attack at India on Sunday evening had set them up to go all guns blazing. Pant has foiled a plan or two this year, including on England's tour of India in February, and he was priority number one. They got him early, nicking behind on the forward defensive. India led by 167 then, with three wickets in hand.
It was a big gamble they had taken on the first day to play four fast bowlers, bringing a pure bowler in Ishant Sharma to replace the injured Shardul Thakur while they had allrounders in R Ashwin and Axar Patel on the bench. Given that reality, England couldn't have imagined what came next - a dogged resistance that took victory out of the picture, and ended on India's terms 104 runs later, ten minutes after lunch, when they declared after Shami and Bumrah had added a record 89 runs for the ninth wicket. England never recovered.
Full report to follow
It never was
"Difficult to recall a more self-destructive passage of play from England"
There were bound to be great big rants on Englands tactics with the ball today, and Andrew Miller is the man doing it for us:
"Up in the media centre during the fifth-day lunch break, the great and the good (as well as the significantly better than average) were all united in their astonishment at the malfunction they were witnessing. Phil Tufnell, for one, was struggling to recall a more self-destructive passage of play from an England team in his lifetime, and he had lived a fair few of them.
But this… this was something extra special. Rarely has a match-winning position been squandered so wantonly, so pointedly, so brainlessly - as England laid down their arms in the five-day war of attrition, and chose instead to lose themselves in an irrelevant battle of wills. And, by the time Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami had backed up their extraordinary batting by picking off an opener apiece for ducks to leave England 1 for 2, it was shaping up as the most wholesale capitulation ever known."
15 overs to go. They dropped Jos Buttler early in his innings, and he has made it this far. He's been the only unhurried English batter after Root today, pretty resolute in defence, and looks settled enough now that he's playing with soft hands. The edges aren't carrying off his bat, and anything at the stumps has been diligently patted into the turf. It's been a commendable effort from him so far. Can he see this through?
On the first day, India took the gamble of replacing Shardul Thakur with Ishant Sharma instead of R Ashwin. It is clear, they think they need four fast bowlers in the team to win overseas. And they have a heck of a fast-bowling roster at the moment. It's going to be rare that they'll have their four best fast bowlers fit and playing in the XI at the same time, but what joy it is when that does happen. Bumrah's a handful everywhere, Shami can find swing with that bolt upright seam, Ishant has been around so long that he's barely bowled a bad spell over the last few years. And now Siraj. Must feel good for Kohli as a captain that he can throw the ball to someone and just let him unleash a seemingly endless reserve of energy. No one's ever needed to be delicate with Siraj through his career. You hand him the ball, you tell him which side of the wicket to bowl, and you get a self-motivating, persistent machine. He's plugged and plugged away as he always does, and it's resulted in two wickets off two balls. He's done it for the second time in the game and this time, he's put India at the door; England will have to pull out a rearguard for the ages to come out of this.
Under two hours left, Root is gone
One session, six wickets
Once again, it's come down to how deep Joe Root gets in this innings. India have 38 overs left, light permitting. They've taken four wickets in 22 overs so far and there has been little resistance from any batter that isn't Root. And they're now in a position where it'll come down to their most flambouyant batters - Buttler, Ali, Curran - having to completely dull their instincts. This will be a gripping session, India hold all the keys. Ishant Sharma has bowled only four overs, but he's had an impact every time he's been on.
Last time at Lord's
In somewhat identical circumstances, against a similarly competent attack, England copped some criticism for not going after the target. That pitch was a touch more difficult on the last day than this one, but the pressure here is higher by some margin. The manner in which they ceded their advantage has contributed to that, with India now pushing hard for the win.
England have also lost three early wickets, including that of Dom Sibley, who played anchor that day. The floodlights are on and there is spitting rain on and off; the focus now is solely on getting to the third Test 0-0.
England lose both openers for ducks
How did they do it?
Here's Nagraj Gollapudi, who's been keeping tabs with India's tail-end batting project:
"Mohammed Shami playing cover drives against James Anderson with the full face of the bat and high elbow. Jasprit Bumrah taking a big stride to smother Moeen Ali's off breaks. Both Shami and Bumrah playing from deep in the crease, playing late, playing with soft hands, leaving balls that don't need to be touched. And just like that cobbling together a 50-run partnership.
Shami has raised the bat to a standing ovation from the Lord's crowd. He has batted for nearly 100 minutes. Bumrah is a few runs short of making more runs than Virat Kohli this series. He has batted nearly 80 minutes. If you add Ishant Sharma's vigil stretching from late evening on Sunday and in the first hour today, India's tail has wagged a full session of play. And they have done that against the second new ball.
This is the second time India's tail has shown spine this series, after the 48 runs they compiled in the first innings at Trent Bridge. And all this has been possible because the tailenders have been spending ample time batting in the nets, facing throwdowns and working out lengths, and understanding patience. Not slogging and having a laugh, but sweating it out - leaving balls and defending.
Vikram Rathour, the Indian batting coach, will be a happy man today. One of his aims since he took charge in 2019 has been to create a belief in the Indian tail. "[The] only thing I discussed with them is to try and spend more time, don't look to throw your wicket, don't look to play crazy shots and get out," Rathour said in an interview in February with ESPNcricinfo. He will be a proud man today."
Earlier in the day, we were talking about Rishabh Pant doing something like this but to not get the hopes up because England would have the new ball ready to try and clean India up. On both fronts, our expectations have been absolutely decimated.
Pant was dismissed early, alright, by Ollie Robinson who also showed us he has a mean knuckleball with Ishant Sharma's wicket. India led by about 180 at that point and England have played right into their hands since. Wood wasn't 100%, but came back on for a short burst, hurled bouncers at Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami and with about five fielders on the boundary and only one catching. This was the plan for a good stretch of time. There was sledging, there were arguments, there were tonks on the helmet - but no clear cut wicket chances. Anderson went short at Bumrah too, a retaliation that hasn't paid off in the context of this game. An England win now is looking distant. Shami has got to his highest Test score, India have struck at more than four an over in the session, and lead by 259 with 64 overs left in the day. We could see a declaration during the interval, unless India want to bat England out of the game entirely.
Floodlights coming on...
Bowlers bouncing bowlers
Jasprit Bumrah is generally a mild-mannered guy on the field, but he's just copped a bouncer from Mark Wood and refused a single after it has deflected to third man off his helmet. That, of course, followed from an argument he had with someone before the over began. And the big picture in all this is that he had bounced James Anderson earlier in the match and hit him on the helmet.
Now, personally, I find it silly that bowlers of this skill are peppering each other instead of looking to finish the innings off; when Bumrah was bowling to Anderson, Root was at the other end and it was in India's best interest to stop England from stretching the lead. Here, it is in England's interest to end this innings as quickly as possible because they are definitely in for a tricky chase the way this surface is playing. It is a slightly baffling strategy from England - second new ball, did well to get Pant early in the day - who have one catcher for Bumrah at the time of writing this.
I suppose Bumrah has shown he has some base skill against the short ball, perhaps slightly better than Anderson, but the debate has been on on social media about bowlers doing this to each other. Remember, Shami missed the rest of the series in Australia after being struck on the elbow by Cummins.
Is there a way to stop it from happening? Yes. The screengrab below is from ICC's playing conditions. The umpires do have the power to take a call on dangerous bowling - and you'll recognise the rules because it's similar in the case of beamers. It is, as you'll see, subjective. Bouncers are a legitimate line of attack for fast bowlers, of course, so the umpires might simply be seeing it that way.
England smell a finish
Mark Wood not back on is back
You'll remember that Wood had gone off the field last evening after tumbling at the third man boundary. He hasn't come back out today. (Edit: He's back now) Here's what he had said to Sky Cricket earlier:
"'I wish I'd stuck the big boot out,' was the first thing that came into my mind [laughs]. It saved one run, hopefully we don't need that extra run at the end but I guess that's the just the way I play. I try to give everything I've got whether I'm bowling or fielding. I'm not the world's best fielder by any stretch but just tried to flick it back and landed awkwardly on my right shoulder. I just jarred it a little bit. I heard a bit of a crack but I'll crack on - I've got three wickets at Lord's so we'll see what the medics say this morning. I'm a little bit sore but hopefully it doesn't affect my bowling. I'll give it a try in the warm-up and if it's all good then I'll be available to the captain if needed.
"It'll be a bit of both. I don't think I'll be in a position too often where I've got three wickets at Lord's with that board staring us in the face. Hopefully Jimmy and Robbo can wrap it up with the new ball this morning but if I'm needed, I'd love to give it a go. It's just whether the medics say I could do further damage on it, or if it could cost us for the rest of the series - I don't know. It'll be a discussion with them. It is pretty sore and the minute so I might need some sort of doctors' remedy to help me out."
It's nearly time...
Test cricket summit?
We had a gripping finish to the West Indies vs Pakistan Test last night, and this one between England and India is one of many in recent times that is poised for a tense finish. The World Test Championship does seem to have helped on that front, but is "context" all that's required? Ian Chappell reckons if the players really, care, they should be calling a summit - led by Virat Kohli - to discuss with the ICC how player development, and therefore quality of cricket, could be deteriorating with the current schedule. Here is that column, excerpt below:
"If it's decided Test cricket is part of the game's future, then a decision needs to be made on what form it takes to best fit into modern society. After all, it's better to have a streamlined version than no Test cricket. It's hard for the modern player to maintain the standard Kohli is referring to when you look at the schedule. While the battle for the Pataudi Trophy is in progress, any player England might potentially call up is involved in the Hundred, the T20 Vitality Blast, or the Royal London Cup 50-over matches. Not a red-ball game in sight, and yet Test cricket, at least according to the majority of players and administrators, is the game's pinnacle."
Harmison: Wood might take the new ball and go hard at Pant
Good morning, and welcome back to the Live Report! Some stunning cricket yesterday has put this match in a tantalising position - India are 154 ahead with four wickets in hand, which we would have looked at as a complete win for England going by the pitch on the first three days. Yesterday has shown that might not be quite the case. England have bowled superbly throughout this innings and at no point have let India come close to dictating the pace. The one man who is capable of attempting that - Rishabh Pant - is still at the crease though, and as ever during his short career, he will make our imaginations run.
But try not to get ahead of yourself; nothing about this situation is conducive to another Pant blockbuster. The pitch has slowed down, it's showing variable bounce, and England have figured out at least three or four different ways of bowling at India this innings. They've challenged the edge, they've challenged the front pad, they've bowled short, they've got a left-arm bowler, and they've bowled spin - all with success. Yes, there is Pant, but there is also India's tail. Most importantly, it is almost certain this day begins with the second new ball in Anderson's hand.