England begin their series against India in depressingly predictable fashion with another atrocious batting collapse at Trent Bridge.
|England 183: Root 64, Bumrah 4-46, Shami 3-28|
|India trail by 162 runs|
The home side were bundled out for 183 on the opening day of the first Test, at one stage losing six wickets for 22 runs in 9.5 overs.
They were indebted to captain Joe Root, who stroked a classy 64 and added 72 with Jonny Bairstow.
But it was Bairstow’s demise on the stroke of tea that sparked the carnage, with Sam Curran’s cavalier 27 not out late on adding to the chaos.
India’s four-pronged pace attack was superb, bowling a full length to utilise the assistance on offer, particularly when the floodlights were turned on.
Jasprit Bumrah claimed 4-46 and Mohammed Shami 3-28 for the tourists, who could even afford to omit masterful off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
India moved to 21-0 by the close, with openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul largely untroubled.
The forecast is mixed for the remaining four days, but India may have already made a decisive move towards going 1-0 up in the five-Test series.
England pay price for poor preparation
England beat India 4-1 here three years ago, but before this contest began there was a growing feeling that the tourists could earn their first victory in this country for 14 years.
Virat Kohli’s men claimed a famous series win in Australia during the winter and appear to have all the tools to be successful in the UK.
England, on the other hand, have an inexperienced, inconsistent batting line-up and are missing the talismanic Ben Stokes, who has taken a break from the game to prioritise his mental wellbeing. Without the all-rounder, the hosts are struggling to balance their attack, and once again left out spinner Jack Leach.
In addition, they have had almost no preparation for this game. Only Rory Burns and Dom Sibley have faced more than 100 deliveries in first-class cricket since the series defeat by New Zealand in June.
Zak Crawley had faced six, while Root, Bairstow, Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler and Sam Curran had not played a single red-ball innings. In the case of Bairstow, Buttler and Curran, their last first-class cricket came on the winter tours of Sri Lanka and India.
On a pitch that gradually lost its green tinge under a sky that became increasingly leaden, England’s deficiencies were laid bare in a familiar clatter of wickets.
- 50.2 overs – Bairstow lbw Shami 29 (138-4) – Recalled once more, Bairstow looked in good order, only to fall to an old problem, one that nipped back to trap him in front.
- 50.6 overs – Lawrence c Pant b Shami 0 (138-5) – In the same Shami over, but the other side of tea, Lawrence followed one down the leg side and was absolutely crestfallen as he departed.
- 55.5 overs – Buttler c Pant b Bumrah 0 (145-6) – Playing red-ball cricket for the first time in six months, Buttler endured a torturous 18 deliveries before edging Bumrah behind.
- 58.1 overs – Root lbw Shakur 64 (155-7) – The captain batted beautifully, but even he was guilty of a poor error, playing across the line to the first ball of a new spell.
- 58.4 overs – Robinson c Shami b Thakur 0 (155-8) – Recalled after the controversy of historic tweets that overshadowed his debut, Ollie Robinson played an awful shovel to mid-on.
- 59.6 overs – Broad lbw Bumrah 4 (9-160) – Sitting on the back foot, Broad was pinned by an arrowing Bumrah yorker.
Root shoulders England burden
Where might England be without their captain?
In the absence of Stokes, who is not only Root’s vice-captain but also his great friend, the skipper is the lone class act in the batting line-up.
Root was initially skittish, taking three fours off his first six balls, but grew into an innings of class that yielded his 50th Test half-century and also took him past Alastair Cook’s tally of 15,737 to become England’s highest run-scorer in all international cricket.
That he fell amid the collapse tells a story – it is too much for England to keep relying on Root.
This summer and in the Ashes in Australia this winter, England will struggle if the batters fail to support the skipper.
India announce their arrival in style
Like England, India have done little in the run-up to this series. Since losing the World Test Championship final to New Zealand in June they have played one warm-up match and trained among themselves.
However, if their stellar batting line-up can get to grips with English conditions, their skilful bowlers have the ability to trouble the hosts, as was proved in Nottingham.
With the ball swinging throughout, India were relentless on a full length, providing a persistent examination which England ultimately failed.
There were surreal moments, too. In the same over that Crawley survived a review for caught behind off Mohammed Siraj, excitable captain Kohli opted for another, and was vindicated second time around.
Later, James Anderson overturned being given lbw to Bumrah, only for a searing yorker to uproot his stumps next ball.
After that, the uncomplicated techniques of Rohit and Rahul put England’s batting into context.
‘England just crumpled’ – what they said
England batting coach Marcus Trescothick on BBC Test Match Special: “There’s a lot of white-ball cricket in the middle of summer – that’s always a challenge. We’d like a bit more red-ball cricket.
“They (the players) felt good coming in. You walk out of the nets feeling good. Maybe the battle of a real Test match just highlighted that you need a little bit more.”
Former England spinner Vic Marks: “After that Root-Bairstow partnership, the rest of the England team just crumpled.
“Bumrah was exceptional but England have really squandered an opportunity today.”
India all-rounder Shardul Thakur: “It was a good battle between bat and ball in the morning. In the afternoon we felt it would be a good pitch to bat on but the wicket of Jonny Bairstow opened them up.”