11th over: India 42-1 (Dhawan 16, Pujara 2) England would love to get Virat (we’re old friends) to the crease while the ball is new. Pujara gets off the mark from his 12th delivery, flicking Anderson off the pads for two. An otherwise unthreatening over ends with a good delivery that Pujara edges short of slip. WHERE’S THE BLOODY POSTMAN?
10th over: India 39-1 (Dhawan 15, Pujara 0) Bairstow is fielding in a kind of fly slip position for Broad. I don’t know why. What I do know is that Anderson and Broad are bowling beautifully this morning. Pujara gloves a short ball to safety on the leg side and then wears a good delivery in the vicinity of his personal space. An excellent maiden from Broad. A second wicket is in the post, although that isn’t always a guarantee of delivery.
9th over: India 39-1 (Dhawan 15, Pujara 0) The wicket of Rahul has given England control of the scoreboard, which is when Anderson and Broad are most content. They almost get a second wicket when Dhawan inside edges an Anderson inswinger just past his leg stump. The next ball is an absolute beauty that beats the outside edge. It’s coming…
“While England’s batting has received a lot of flak, the bowling seems to have slipped under the radar,” says Aditi Prabhudesai. “Broad and Anderson seem to be wasting the new ball ever since Adelaide by either bowling short or by bowling way wide outside off stump. Contrast with India who were targeting the stumps from ball 1. Every ball of theirs looked threatening. England need a new opening pair in batting as well as bowling.”
You did see Anderson take nine for 45 at Lord’s, right? I know what you mean – occasionally they do waste it, and they were poor last night – but they have been very good this morning.
8th over: India 37-1 (Dhawan 13, Pujara 0) That’s an important early wicket for England, who fancy Rahul as an LBW candidate. He has fallen that way in three of the last four innings.
WICKET! India 37-1 (Rahul LBW b Broad 19)
Broad nips one back to hit the pads of Rahul, and Kumar Dharmasena deliberates for an age before raising the finger. Rahul takes even longer to decide whether to review – but he does, hoping it might have been bouncing over the stumps. It wasn’t. Replays show it was hitting the top of middle, so India lose both a wicket and a review.
7th over: India 37-0 (Dhawan 13, Rahul 19) Anderson looks good this morning, but India have started really positively. Rahul plays a beautiful stroke, punching an outswinger through the covers for four off the back foot. We’ve had 18 runs from the first three overs, which will displease England’s control freaks. Anderson’s over ends with an unsuccessful LBW appeal against Dhawan. It pitched outside leg.
6th over: India 30-0 (Dhawan 13, Rahul 12) Dhawan square drives Broad confidently for four. He represents the improvement of this Indian batting line-up since the start of the series; no longer does he look a walking wicket when there is sideways movement.
“What about Stokes at No3?” says Robin Hobbs. “Could be our Jacques Kallis. Technically one of our best couple of batsmen, and seems to have a new found resolve to bat time. Someone’s got to do it, but it’s becoming increasingly evident that that someone shouldn’t be Root.”
I’d worry about Stokes against the new ball. For me, Clive, the top three is a different department to the middle order. I would ink in a 4-7 of Root, Bairstow, Stokes and Buttler and mess around with the top three until something sticks. They’re not getting any runs anyway, so it’s almost a free hit.
5th over: India 25-0 (Dhawan 9, Rahul 11) There’s some encouraging early swing for Anderson, whose line is tighter than it was lsat night. Dhawan softens his hands to steer a boundary to third man. I’d love to know why England so rarely have a third man; it feels like a lot of runs have been scored there this summer.
“Bit confused as to why England have gone with two spinners,” says Lewis Rosenberg. “Can’t see them bowling a lot today. I would have dropped Rashid to keep Pope. Do you think the young lad might have made much of a difference yesterday?”
Stokes might not be able to bowl much because of injury. That’s why they wanted a sixth bowler, but they needed somebody who could bat as well. The injuries and number of all-rounders make this quite a very complicated line-up: lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.
It’s a beautiful day in Southampton, and the consensus is that it feels like a batting day. As an England fan, that means only one thing.
Broad or Curran? “Surely yesterday was crying out for Sam Curran to take the new ball with Anderson,” says Dave Brown. “Broad still has plenty to offer and losing the new ball might concentrate his mind a bit more. I feel somewhat grubby and unpatriotic suggesting that we split the Anderson/Broad partnership but could it be time?”
There was a case for it because of Curran’s mood, the expectation of swing and to put a rocket up Broad. But I think Broad has bowled very well since the Australia tour: he has 28 wickets at 23 and those figures don’t flatter him. I can see both sides!
An email! “Getting to bedtime here in NZ, so rather than wait for the actual game, I’ll settle for your prediction for tonight (your time)’s close of play score,” says Paul Cockburn. “My money says that was nowhere near enough from England yesterday, and they’ll be 50 behind at the close. But for how many, hmmm?”
I haven’t a clue what’s going to happen, which is when Test cricket is at its best. So much depends on how much the ball swings, and I ain’t no rocket scientist.
Hello. Big day, this. If India are still batting at the close, the theme from Jaws will be blaring around England’s subconscious. But if the ball swings and seams as much as it did yesterday, England will expect to take a first-innings lead.
A lot depends on Virat Kohli, though not as much as in the first two Tests. The other Indian batsmen shared the dirty work at Trent Bridge, and England really need James Anderson at his best to undermine their newfound confidence in these conditions.
India will resume on 19 for none, a deficit of 227. It would have been much worse for England but for Sam Curran’s heartwarming 78 and Moeen Ali’s patient 40. Curran will be a key man today if the ball swings. And by Jove, England need it to do so.