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Day 1 of the 4th Test between India and England: Shardul Thakur Is the Only Bright Spot In Another Indian Batting Disaster, Jasprit Bumrah Strikes Back

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Friday, 3rd September 2021

Before Jasprit Bumrah's frightening opening spell put the visitors on an even keel against England on the opening day of the fourth Test, Shardul Thakur's counter-attacking half-century was not enough to save the Indian batting from another embarrassment. England were 53 for 3 at stumps in response to India's 191 runs, having lost openers Rory Burns (5) and Haseeb Hameed (0) to Bumrah's extra pace and bounce (6-2-15-2). In his second delivery, Umesh Yadav (6-1-15-1) bowled an off-cutter to shatter in-form Joe Root's (21) defence, helping the visitors close the day on a positive note.

It was all because to a player who was just playing his fourth Test when India's shoulders didn't droop after being reduced to 127 for 7.

Shardul Amarnath hit 57 off 36 balls and combined 63 for the eighth wicket with Umesh to bring the total closer to 200, which had seemed improbable following another "brain fade" departure from Rishabh Pant.

India only lasted 61.3 overs, with Cheteshwar Pujara's (10) and notably Ajinkya Rahane's (14) errors apparent enough to be overshadowed by skipper Virat Kohli's (50 off 96 balls), who played some beautiful strokes on his way to his half-century.


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With the exception of a few of half-centuries, no Indian batters reached the 20-run threshold.

Chris Woakes (15-6-55-4) was outstanding in his comeback game for England, while Ollie Robinson (17.3-9-38-3) deserves special mention for bowling a pair of beauties to dismiss KL Rahul and Virat Kohli.

Anderson sent Pujara back with a great "in-out" (swinging in and shaping out) delivery, while Rahane was Overton's victim, with Moeen Ali not bowling a single over.

With Ravichandran Ashwin out for the fourth time, the logic of playing Ravindra Jadeja as a batting all-rounder has largely backfired after team management pushed him to No 5 ahead of Rahane, a move that has flopped miserably.

After yet another failure, Rahane's time is running short, and the fact that he had to hide behind Jadeja under the guise of having a left-right combination says it all.

In the case of Pujara, Sunil Gavaskar, a renowned cricket guru, has stated that his dismissals are due to technical issues with his hands gliding towards the ball with minimum foot movement.

As the batsman shaped to play an inswinger, Anderson got one to nip back in the air, and by the time it landed, it had gone a shade away to remove Pujara's outside edge.

The balance was thrown off, and Bairstow was caught behind the stumps with a straightforward catch. Among the three middle-order heavy guns, the skipper was the only one who appeared to be batting with intent.

There were gliding cover drives and a beautiful on-drive, but when Robinson returned for his post-lunch delivery, he delivered a length that ascended and slid inside, forcing Kohli to close the bat face for a shot to mid-wicket.

However, it only served to clip the outside edge of Bairstow's gloves. If captain's decision to promote Jadeja was wrong, it's past time for his young turk Pant (9) to be rapped on the knuckles for his obvious lack of game knowledge that has been evident throughout this English summer.

He was routinely charging out without much effect just when the circumstances required some restraint from him, and the crafty Woakes got his number with a slower throw, keeping the mid-off back.

Shardul was then left to rely on the bounce and hit through the line just as the pitch began to improve.

A six over long-on, a single over deep mid-wicket, and — best of all — a pull-shoot off Robinson to bring up his second half-century had the audience ecstatic. It gave India's score some muscle, but not enough for the bowlers to go out with a clear head.

Bumrah bowled one with extra bounce and inward movement after pitching, which Burns dragged back to his stumps when India bowled.

Hameed got one on the off-stump, which climbed on him as he tried to slash it, but Pant took a brilliant catch to give Bumrah his 99th wicket.

However, after a few errant deliveries, Umesh restored India's delight by removing Root in the last over.


The News Talkie Bureau




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