England’s innings began with a 100-run opening stand between Joe Root and Keaton Jennings, before the hosts lost their last six wickets for just 17 runs.
|England 183: Root 64, Bumrah 4-46, Shami 3-28; Root 64, Bumrah 4-46, Shami 3-28; Root 64, Bumrah 4-|
|India has a 21-0 lead.|
|India is 162 runs behind.|
England’s series against India got off to a depressingly predictable start at Trent Bridge, with another dreadful batting collapse.
The hosts were bowled out for 183 on the first day of the first Test, losing six wickets for 22 runs in 9.5 overs at one point.
Joe Root, the captain, hit a brilliant 64 and combined 72 with Jonny Bairstow to help them win.
The mayhem was started by Bairstow’s death on the stroke of tea, with Sam Curran’s reckless 27 not out late on adding to the pandemonium.
India’s four-pronged pace attack was outstanding, bowling full lengths to take advantage of the extra assistance available, especially when the floodlights were switched on.
The visitors got 4-46 from Jasprit Bumrah and 3-28 from Mohammed Shami, who could even afford to leave out Ravichandran Ashwin, the great off-spinner.
By the end of the innings, India had amassed a 21-0 lead, with openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul relatively unscathed.
The outlook for the next four days is murky, but India may have already taken a crucial step toward taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
England is paying the price for a lack of preparedness.
Three years ago, England defeated India 4-1 in this nation, but there was a growing belief before the game that the visitors might win for the first time in 14 years.
Virat Kohli’s team won a historic series in Australia during the winter and seem to have all the ingredients to succeed in the United Kingdom.
In contrast, England’s batting line-up is inexperienced and unreliable, and they are without the talismanic Ben Stokes, who has taken a sabbatical from the game to focus on his mental health. The hosts are trying to balance their assault without the all-rounder, and spinner Jack Leach has been left out once again.
Furthermore, they have had almost little preparation for this game. Since the series loss by New Zealand in June, only Rory Burns and Dom Sibley have faced more than 100 deliveries in first-class cricket.
Root, Bairstow, Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler, and Sam Curran had not faced a single red-ball innings, while Zak Crawley had faced six. Bairstow, Buttler, and Curran all played their last first-class cricket on winter trips to Sri Lanka and India.
England’s flaws were exposed in a familiar clatter of wickets on a surface that progressively lost its green tint under a more leaden sky.
- Bairstow lbw Shami 29 (138-4) in 50.2 overs When Bairstow was called back, he seemed to be in excellent shape, only to run into an old issue that nipped back in front of him.
- Lawrence c Pant b Shami 0 (138-5) – 50.6 overs Lawrence followed one along the leg side of the Shami, but on the other side of tea, and was crestfallen as he left.
- Buttler c Pant b Bumrah 0 (145-6) in 55.5 overs – Playing red-ball cricket for the first time in six months, Buttler suffered through 18 deliveries before edging Bumrah behind.
- Root lbw Shakur 64 (155-7) in 58.1 overs Even though the skipper batted brilliantly, he made a costly mistake by hitting over the line to the first ball of a new period.
- Robinson c Shami b Thakur 0 (155-8) in 58.4 overs Ollie Robinson was recalled after a scandal about previous tweets overshadowed his debut, and he played a terrible shovel to mid-on.
- Broad lbw Bumrah 4 (9-160) in 59.6 overs – Broad was trapped on the back foot by an arrowing Bumrah yorker.
England’s load is carried by Root.
Where would England be if they didn’t have their captain?
The skipper is the lone class act in the batting line-up without Stokes, who is not only Root’s vice-captain but also a close friend.
Root was shaky at start, hitting three fours in his first six balls, but developed into a masterful performance that gave him his 50th Test half-century and propelled him over Alastair Cook’s 15,737 runs to become England’s all-time leading run-scorer in international cricket.
The fact that he collapsed during the collapse tells a story: England can no longer depend on Root.
If the batsmen fail to back the captain this summer and in the Ashes in Australia this winter, England will suffer.
India makes a splash with their entrance.
India, like England, has done very little in the lead-up to this series. They have only played one warm-up match and practiced among themselves since losing the World Test Championship final to New Zealand in June.
However, if their great batting line-up can adjust to English conditions, their talented bowlers may cause problems for the hosts, as they did in Nottingham.
India were unrelenting on a full length, giving a constant scrutiny that England finally failed.
There were also some strange moments. Excited skipper Kohli chose another review in the same over that Crawley escaped a review for caught behind off Mohammed Siraj, and was justified the second time around.
Later, James Anderson overturned Bumrah’s lbw decision, only to have his stumps uprooted by a scorching yorker the following ball.
After that, Rohit and Rahul’s simple methods placed England’s batting in perspective.
‘England has just collapsed,’ they said.
“There’s a lot of white-ball cricket in the midst of summer – that’s always a problem,” England batting coach Marcus Trescothick said on Test Match Special. More red-ball cricket is something we’d want to see.
“Coming in, they (the players) felt terrific. You leave the nets in a good mood. Perhaps the rigors of a genuine Test match have shown that you need a little more.”
“After that Root-Bairstow combination, the whole of the England squad simply collapsed,” says former England spinner Vic Marks.
“Bumrah was outstanding, but England wasted a golden chance today.”
Shardul Thakur, India’s all-rounder: “In the morning, the bat and ball battle was intense. We thought it would be a decent pitch to bat on in the afternoon, but Jonny Bairstow’s wicket opened them up.”