Well what a session that was; what a match this is. Brilliant bowling, nails batting, drama, skill, misery and intensity; everything that everything should be. Like every other earthling with an intellect and a soul, I cannot wait for the final session – see you in 20.
48th over: India 160-6 (Kohli 53, Ashwin 6) Here comes Curran for the the final dash before tea; Kohli walks him down to cover the swing … and is almost nailed Pandya style! But he gets his bat in the road just in time, flicking the ball away and running one, which brings Ashwin on strike. When Kohli took the captaincy he was happy to stick Ashwin at six – he can bat alright – and he waits for a yorker then cuts it behind for four, before shoving two to mid off.
47th over: India 153-6 (Kohli 52, Ashwin 0) If Curran gets another, he’lll be the youngest English bowler to take a fifer since … ever! Wow. But there’s work to be done here, Kohli driving and Broad diving – to ironical cheers – before he opens the face to guide the four which raises his fifty. No matter: in comes Stokes, and Kohli stretches to flash at a wide one … AND MALAN DROPS ANOTHER! WHAT A TEST HE’S HAVING! Stokes forces a rueful grin, but in fairness that wasn’t an easy chance, demanding a dive. Still, he’s there because he’s good at demanding dives.
46th over: India 148-6 (Kohli 47, Ashwin 0)
“I may well be talking a bit (or a lot) of bollocks here,” teases Stephen Brown, “but here is my theory on Overseas versus Abroad: Overseas comes before the noun it describes whereas Abroad comes after (or so I was taught in high school back in the dark ages of the late 90s). So, since in sporting terms you probably want to emphasise the foreign nature of whatever you are saying it makes sense for that descriptor to come first. It is an overseas test rather than a test abroad because the test is a secondary factor.
More importantly—can we get Rashid on please? 1 over given all of the kerfuffle beforehand seems a rather poor return.”
Interesting – I guess “overseas” sounds like more hassle – more testing, if you will – but you do use “overseas” even when talking about another country or other countries, not just to describe a Test.
REVIEW! Pandya is quick to get in there, but he’s all sorts of plumb. That really was a very fine piece of delivery and he did pretty well just to get so far forward to it.
WICKET! Pandya lbw b Curran 22 (India 148-6)
What a delivery is this mutha: fast, straight, inswinging, yorker. Pandya goes forward, gets there first with boot not bad, and the umpire gives him the finger.
45th over: India 146-5 (Kohli 46, Pandya 21) Perhaps Kohli saw Stokes warming up, because here he is. There you go, Hardik old china! Go well! Enjoy! And he does, leaving three of the first five balls – England probably reckon they can bore him out, but not thus far – and then a drive bobbles past Broad, who reluctantly dives in instalments, and they run three. More strike for yerman.
44th over: India 143-5 (Kohli 46, Pandya 18) Curran is giving Pandya a tough time here, finding some decent inswing and pushing one just past off stump – though Pandya did leave it. He then edges on, paces a single, andlooks to get himself off strike with a second only to get sent back by Kohli.
“Must be all the Ashes voyages, and the stories (in which the sea was always a supporting character),” says Suhas Misra of my imagined abroad/overseas debate. “Plus the stops at the ports — Bombay, Colombo etc — that sort of got cricket going hereabouts. ‘Overseas’ invokes all of that more, etymologically, than ‘abroad’, I suppose.”
Trudat, and I also wondered if it was Australian influence – I think “overseas” was a word I first heard on Neighbours, along with “spunk”, “affair” and “rack off”.
What have you learnt from the tellybox?
43rd over: India 142-5 (Kohli 46, Pandya 17) England have just lost a bit of impetus here, and Kohli stretches to square-drive four taking him beyond 39 – his highest score in England. The next hour of this match is going to be crucial, I’d say, and it’s insight like that which explains why they pay me the big bucks. But if England can rustle a lead close to 100, you’d think this match is done; if it’s 50 or less, India are right in the mix. And when Broad strays on the pads they’re four closer, Kohli glancing through fine leg, before Broad catches him high on the back leg.
42nd over: India 134-5 (Kohli 38, Pandya 17) Here we go, then: Curran replaces Stokes. Ans doesn’t he start nicely, angling one across Kohli which nips off the seam and Kohli, expecting an inswinger, plays and misses. He’s fighting hard here and gets forward to bang down into the pitch, taking a single as the ball rears up, then Pandya looks to drive an inswinger through cover only to guide four to long on.
41st over: India 129-5 (Kohli 37, Pandya 13) Pandya is enjoying this, and starting to look settled – he’s much more positive in defence now.
“Huw Swanborough is only partly correct,” emails Paddy Murphy. “Curran and others of his ilk will always get wickets in seaming/swinging conditions with a Dukes ball by bowling impeccable lines and pitching it up. And England do, of course, play about half their tests in those sorts of conditions. But you need more than that to be truly successful down under. Have we forgotten the Ashes so quickly? We still need some tall fast nasties to get something out of a second day flattie with a 60 over-old Kookaburra. For all their guile, Jimmy and Broad were neutered this winter. And the same goes for our spinners in the sub-continent or West Indies.”
Yes, you’re right. I must say, I’d not see a Test bowler watching Curran before now, but he has time to put on pace and prefer he got a shy than Woakes and Wood, who are never, in mine, going to give England what they need away from home. Incidentally, what is it about cricket that turns “abroad” into “overseas”?
40th over: India 129-5 (Kohli 37, Pandya 13) Pandya takes advantage of a ball on his legs to turn two away, and does a pretty good job of staying out trouble the thereafter, leaving and playing inside nicely … until Stokes bothers him with a bouncer, which shins up his shoulder. But he gets hands out of the way and then forces a single into the leg side. This is intense.
39th over: India 126-5 (Kohli 37, Pandya 10) This is a great Test wicket – enough for the bowlers, but the best batsmen can bat. Broad beats the edge again as Kohli walks down to negate any swing, but genius that he is, he drives the next ball on the up, for four. Behind him Dawid Malan winces so hard he sprains his face, kal vachomer when Broad offers one on the pads which is quickly flicked behind for four.
“Re Krish comment 37th over,” tweets @unslugged. “Two words: Douglas Jardine. You’re right about Kohli too, cricket needs more like him. Fantastic player.”
And Gary Naylor thinkins similarly: “Root’s response to Kohli’s mic drop was perfect, and we’re seeing why right now. Test cricket needs no manufactured outrage, no ‘talking points’, no ‘Five things we learned’. It needs the physically and mentally tough going toe to toe. Bravo Joe, Virat, Ben and co.”
38th over: India 118-5 (Kohli 29, Pandya 10) Stokes is getting movement away from the right-hander, and absolutely rinses one past Pandya after Kohli shoves his way down to the non-strikers’. Three dots follow, the third of them another which beats the outside edge, and I wonder if Root is thinking about a change; dare he try Rashid?
37th over: India 117-5 (Kohli 28, Pandya 10) I’m not surprised Root went to Broad, but at the same time I wonder why he didn’t go to Curran. Anyroad up, Kohli edges again but this time without reward, then nurdles to mid on. So Broad gets a shy at Pandya, and beats him with his final delivery with one which lifts a little and moves away.
“Captains were once epitome of gentlemen,” tweets Krish, “like Clive Lloyd and David Gower And I do not understand the arrogance of players like Kohli.”
I don’t know about that – in the same era you had Chappell and Botham, for example, and I also wouldn’t want to equate poshness with morality. Plus, I absolutely loved what Kohli did yesterday – he plays with attitude and brilliance, and cricket needs more of that not less.
36th over: India 116-5 (Kohli 27, Pandya 10) Not gonna lie, I’m there for Kohli being in at the end, 36 not out. “Well batted Virat lad, you were far too good for them.” What’s interesting about this England attack is its streakiness – all of its members have the ability to suddenly get on one, and it’s Ben Stokes who’s there at the moment. Kohli edges him for two then turns a single to fine leg, and perhaps he’s cooled slightly. Has anyone else noticed that he has a fade at the sides of his head and also in the middle? Not just all-rounder but fashion icon too.
Afternoon all. Imagine not being infatuated with Test cricket!
35th over: India 113-5 (Kohli 24, Pandya 10) Broad beats Hardik outside off. England have three slips at the moment, when Brendon McCullum would surely have six. And that’s drinks, with England well on top, thanks to outstanding spells from Curran and Stokes, the two bowlers the Indians probably discussed least in their meetings. Time for me to hand over to Daniel Harris – thanks for your company and some very entertaining emails. I’m back on Saturday, if we still have a game.
“Cricket wisdom,” goes the subject line on an email from James Ferguson. “As a lost expat following the action from a nearly barren, cricket-less country in central Europe,” he says, “I recently asked Huw Swanborough (13:51) why he loves seeing cricket live. His answer is my new favourite definition of being a cricket fan: ‘At the ground, it’s amazing. All day drinking basically. With statistics.’”
34th over: India 112-5 (Kohli 23, Pandya 10) Hardik breaks the spell with consecutive boundaries, but Stokes won’t mind too much as both are squirted past gully, the first with a hapless waft, well away from his body. Kohli takes another quick single to Root at mid-off, and would be in trouble if there’d been a direct hit. It’s almost as if Kohli is targeting Root, which is audacious given the score.
33rd over: India 102-5 (Kohli 22, Pandya 1) Broad keeps the pressure on with a probing line to Kohli, bang on off stump.
“Ben Stokes,” says Simon Wilde of the Sunday Times on Twitter, “is the 15th England player to complete Test double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets. Only Wilfred Rhodes, Trevor Bailey, Tony Greig, Ian Botham and Stokes have done so averaging more with bat than ball.” What price Sam Curran to join them?
32nd over: India 102-5 (Kohli 22, Pandya 1) Stokes is on fire now, touching 89mph, finding bounce in this sluggish surface, and loving every moment after a frustrating couple of months. The commentators reckon Pandya’s nick might have moved in the air between the bat and Cook, which is generous of them. And here, at last, is Broad.
And another drop!
The very next ball, Stokes draws an edge from Hardik Pandya, and Alastair Cook puts it down at first slip.
31st over: India 100-5 (Kohli 21, Pandya 0) Anderson is still bowling, which seems bizarre – but then he has Kohli dropped by Malan, low down at second slip.
30th over: India 100-5 (Kohli 21, Pandya 0) Just when Kohli and Rahane had restored a certain amount of order, Stokes causes mayhem. “His head,” Gary Naylor notes, “is exactly the same colour as the pitch.”
For lbw against Panda – Stokes again. Given by Aleem Dar, but maybe doing too much…
Wicket!! Karthik b Stokes 0 (India 100-5)
Stokes tries a yorker and strikes gold, sending Karthik’s middle stump into the centre of Birmingham. That’s Stokes’s 100th Test wicket, a good effort by someone who can also score 250. England’s third and fourth seamers have taken five for 36 between them.
29th over: India 100-4 (Kohli 21, Karthik 0) There’s a sniff of a run-out as Kohli wants a single to Root in the covers, but Root fumbles, probably because he’s unsure whether to extend the mic-drop meme in the event of a direct hit. Anderson then beats Kohli with his inswinger. He’s bowling beautifully, as ever, but Broad must be wondering just what he has to do to get another go. Anderson has bowled 14 overs, Broad four.
28th over: India 100-4 (Kohli 21, Karthik 0) So Stokes, after a poor first over, finds his mojo, and a promising partnership is snuffed out. England are on top, but Kohli is still there.
Wicket! Rahane c Jennings b Stokes 15 (India 100-4)
Well, this one carried… Stokes digs it in, Rahane checks his cut but doesn’t get the bat out of the way as he should, and it’s gentle catching practice for Jennings at third slip.
27th over: India 96-3 (Kohli 21, Rahane 11) A maiden from Anderson to Kohli as the duel continues. “Kohli’s left a lot,” Mike Atherton says, “but Anderson has managed to get three edges. On a quicker pitch, one of those would have carried.” Maybe the cordon needs to take a step forward.
“Test cricket is so much more fun,” says Shankar Mony, “when it is played between two flawed teams, isn’t it?” Absolutely. Flawless would be so dull.
26th over: India 96-3 (Kohli 21, Rahane 11) Stokes is testing Rahane, beating a rather ambitious drive, then hitting him (not too painfully) with a bouncer that goes for four leg byes.
“Pace isn’t the property of tall bowlers anyway,” argues John Starbuck. “Both Harold Larwood and Darren Gough barely came up to my shoulder when I met them, and I’m no giant. The action, as well as the guile, is the important issue.” And the will to win, which those two had, and which shines out of Sam Curran.
25th over: India 92-3 (Kohli 21, Rahane 11) Anderson lures Kohli into a nick, but the ball falls short of Bairstow and dribbles away for four. It’s that sort of pitch… And then Kohli edges again, short of Jennings at third slip – a shorter ball which Kohli did well to get on top of. This is a great contest: the ageing maestro against the world’s leading batsman.
24th over: India 88-3 (Kohli 17, Rahane 11) Stokes, still shaking off the rust after his injury, finds his line and length against Rahane, and wants a review for lbw off the last ball, with a booming inswinger. Root decides against this time, but HawkEye says it was hitting leg.
23rd over: India 88-3 (Kohli 17, Rahane 11) Anderson is back for more – the oldest swinger in town, determined to show that he’s still got the moves. Mike Atherton mentions that Anderson is the oldest man to take the new ball in a Test for England since John Lever, who has also been mentioned as a parallel for Curran.
“Re: not tall, not quick,” says Huw Swanborough, “I think the game can often be a little bit disparaging of bowlers that don’t try to kick down the door to take wickets… (Right arm military springs to mind as a term.) Guile can often be a bowler’s best friend, whilst McGrath is tall he wasn’t the sort of bowler to beat a batsman with pace (or really movement). His consistency, control and guile was what made him a great bowler. And, at the risk of sounding like Boycott, if you don’t have line and length, then height and pace don’t matter anyway.”
22nd over: India 85-3 (Kohli 17, Rahane 8) Curran gives way to Ben Stokes, who starts with a no-ball and a long hop outside off, cut for four to the vacant third man by Kohli. When Stokes pitches the ball up, Kohli eases it through the covers for four more, but Stokes bounces back and beats him with a leg-cutter.
Jos Buttler has left the ground for an X-ray on the middle finger of his left hand. After making a duck yesterday, he’s not having much fun as England vice-captain.
Time for an email or two. “Was nervous once the 50 run partnership came up,” says Saurabh Raye, writing before Dhawan was out. “With the loss of 2 quick wickets, feel better. As a long suffering India supporter this is home territory. A dawn of hope, brutally snuffed out. The icing on the cake would be Anderson getting Kohli out, and Root shouting ‘you cannot play in these conditions’ into the mic. Rant over.. congratulations on the test win.” Ah, it’s early days.
“Not tall, not quick,” says Geoff, possibly mocking my description of Sam Curran (16th over). “We might not have a Brearley, but maybe we’ve at last found the new Martin Bicknell.” Amen to that.
21st over: India 76-3 (Kohli 9, Rahane 8) Here’s Adil Rashid, who may be relieved that Curran has grabbed the limelight. Rashid’s first ball in a home Test is a full toss, which Kohli only pushes for a single to the cover sweeper. Rashid keeps on overmatching, but is protected by a defensive field – more wisdom from Root. He’s had a great morning, and so has Sam Curran. Rob Smyth points out that his figures are the best by any England bowler before his 21st birthday since… Jimmy Anderson in 2003. And that’s lunch, with Kohli facing a big rebuilding job and England feeling better than at any time since Root and Bairstow set off for that second run. See you shortly.
20th over: India 71-3 (Kohli 8, Rahane 2) Kohli shows his class for the first time today with a soft-hands glide for four off Curran, who will sit down for lunch with figures of 6-0-23-3.
“Cricket,” says Andrew Benton, sounding definitive. “It’s a bowler’s game. Success is 2/3 bowlers, 1/3 batsmen/batswomen. Or maybe batees – whats the gender non-specific acceptable term these days?” Good question. The players just say batters.