The India defeat England match fifth day of the second Test must go down as one of the most suspenseful in Lord’s 207-year history, with England arriving with high hopes only to lose a painful, crushing defeat to this great India side.
A tempest erupted in front of the 25,800 spectators over the course of three sessions. The two sets of players hissed and cursed at each other the entire game, and it wasn’t until 6.35pm, when Mohammed Siraj secured the 151-run victory by detonating Jimmy Anderson’s off stump, that there was any sort of peace.
Although England was only 49 balls away from a draw, there was a significant disparity between the two squads on the day. Joe Root’s side were set an implausible 272 to win in 60 overs thanks to a frustrating unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 89 between Mohammed Shami (56) and Jasprit Bumrah (34) before crashing to 120 all out in response.
Bumrah’s earlier mischief with the bat was followed by figures of three for 33, including the crucial removal of Root after tea for a top score of 33, securing India’s 1-0 lead. Siraj took four for 32 in the lower middle order, but Ishant Sharma’s two afternoon wickets were crucial.
However, as much as India’s seamers refused to give up, and KL Rahul was named player of the match for his 129 in the first innings, this third Test victory at Lord’s was etched in the image of their aggressive skipper, Virat Kohli. The smiles that accompanied Root’s undefeated 180 on day three were replaced by a stony-faced acknowledgement that England came up short tactically.
This occurred after a morning that defied all expectations, with India declaring on 298 for eight after lunch. Rishabh Pant’s wicket was thought to be crucial to the match’s outcome, and when Ollie Robinson got him behind for 22 and trapped Ishant lbw for 16, India were reduced to 209 for eight. England had a lead of 182 runs and were two cheap tail-end wickets away from a target they couldn’t refuse.
Yet, by lunchtime, Shami and Bumrah were going back through the Long Room like war heroes, having not only displayed courage in the face of adversity, but also returned it with zeal to knock their opponents out of the game. England had been tricked into seeking retribution for Bumrah’s roughing up of Anderson on the third evening, and this alpha power play resulted in a 105-run session.
When Bumrah arrived, there was a definite plan to get in his face, and the verbals started flying. Jos Buttler was right in the middle of it, and even Kohli, who was sitting on the balcony 80 yards away, chipped in. This attitude was accompanied with a bouncer strategy to be carried out by Mark Wood, but with Root inexplicably spreading the field as if Pant was in his sights, singles flowed and two statistical rabbits eluded the England captain like Mr McGregor.
Root’s head was whirling when he dropped Bumrah at slip on 22 off Moeen Ali, the England skipper looking captivated by their mischievous defiance. India would have been 257 for nine if it had stuck, 230 ahead and possibly out of sight, but Shami ended the morning by slicing the off-spinner for four and six to complete his second Test half-century.
Kohli postponed the declaration till after the break, wasting four potentially valuable overs in the process, and then cashed in on Bumrah and Shami’s adrenaline rush. The pair had vaporized England’s openers for ducks in the space of ten blistering deliveries, a first in 531 Tests on home soil, and India were flying high.
When Rory Burns was squared up by Bumrah and dropped a leading edge to the ever-chirping Siraj at short cover, it was his fifth duck of the season. Shami had teased the edge of his bat with a beauty, prompting Root’s latest firefighting breakout at one for two, and Dom Sibley didn’t even wait for the umpire’s finger.
Haseeb Hameed avoided a king pair in the interim, but the 24-year-old was unable to cash in on a drop at slip on four. Instead, he became the first of two lbw victims for Ishant, the old warhorse, whose removal of Jonny Bairstow left England at tea with a score of 67 for four. It seemed like Root or bust for England again in 2021, which explains Kohli’s outburst when capturing his opposite number at slip off the third ball after the break. And, despite putting up a valiant effort for an hour, including surviving a caught behind off a Ravindra Jadeja no-ball, Moeen succumbed to Siraj’s second first-baller “inputs from www.theguardian.com”.