Will rain play a part on the final day of the first Test between India and England in Nottingham? That’s the question on most cricket fans’ minds, as India look to complete the 157 runs remaining for a victory. India have nine wickets in hand and plenty of time on paper for the same, but rain could hamper their chances.
According to weather.com, rain is expected to disrupt proceedings at Trent Bridge. The day is expected to be mostly overcast with occasional showers, which means batting might not be easy. James Anderson and co will love bowling in these conditions so India will have their task cut out.
Day 4 report (PTI)
Skipper Joe Root led from the front with a superb counter-attacking hundred but Jasprit Bumrah’s five-wicket haul on the fourth day made India favourites to chase down a tricky victory target of 209 against England in the first Test.
In the time left during the penultimate hour, India scored 52 for one with Stuart Broad dismissing KL Rahul (26) with a beauty. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were unbeaten on 12 each. It was Root’s 21st Test hundred – a masterful 109 off 172 balls, that saw England put up a much-improved batting show, scoring 303 in 85.5 overs and secure a lead of 208 runs.
Bumrah (5/64) polished the tail in a jiffy with the second now ball en route to his sixth five-wicket haul. However, the Indian bowlers were taken to task by the England captain, whose mode of survival for the better part of the innings was swift counter-attack that fetched him as many as 14 boundaries before Bumrah got one to rear up ensuring Rishabh Pant had the easiest of catches.
The difference between an easy target of 150 and a “neither here nor there” kind of target was primarily Root.
On the final day, if weather permits, India will need another 157 runs but in these conditions, it could prove to be more than a handful with James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson making the ball talk. Sam Curran is also expected to play a decent supporting role.
However the day belonged to Root, who once again bossed the Indian bowling having scored a half-century in the first essay.
Fully aware about the potency of the four-pronged Indian pace and seam attack, Root, who came out at 46 for 2, never for once batted for survival. He left that for Dom Sibley (28) during their 89 run stand in which he was the primary scorer.
Shardul Thakur did trouble Root a couple of times but not consistently enough. There were a few unsuccessful appeals but Root was head and shoulders above the other English batsmen as second highest score of 30 by Jonny Bairstow would indicate.
All the Indian bowlers save the normally dependable Shami bowled wicket-taking deliveries.
The Indian bowlers were not as sharp as the first innings with too many boundaries being scored, 37 in all. Even if one considers that two to three of them were streaky but 30 plus hits to the fence in a relatively low scoring game in conducive bowling conditions may just play a larger role in the final context ofthe game.
As far as Bumrah is concerned, a match-haul of nine wickets will certainly make him feel much better as his decision to bowl fuller rather than hitting the hard lengths paid dividends.
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