Root leads fightback after England collapse
NOTTINGHAM, England: Joe Root and James Anderson fought back from an England collapse with a stubborn last wicket stand on the third day of the opening Test at Trent Bridge on Friday to put them within reach of India’s first innings total.
India’s bowlers had put their side in a commanding position when Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar tore into the home batsmen after lunch as the host’s chased India’s 457 in overcast conditions in Nottingham.
England lost six wickets for 68 runs before Root and Stuart Broad provided stubborn resistance with a 78-run partnership and helped them pass the follow-on mark.
When the aggressive Broad (47) fell, followed by Liam Plunkett, tail-ender James Anderson (23 not out) joined Yorkshire batsmen Root, who remains unbeaten on 78, to take England to 352 for nine at the close of play, 105 runs behind India’s first innings total.
“Great credit to the guys after tea,” Root, who became the fourth-youngest England batsman to score a double century in the Sri Lanka series last month, told Sky Sports.
“Broady’s innings put all the pressure back on them and a lot of credit has to go to Jimmy at the end, they have given us a great chance to get back into the match.
“Me and Jimmy have some good work to do tomorrow hopefully. The tea break broke up their rhythm, and gave us the opportunity to re-group. The way Broad came out and attacked them was fantastic.”
England had enjoyed a good morning with Sam Robson and Gary Ballance making half-centuries on a slow wicket that has drawn widespread criticism.
The visitors found some swing under the gloomy Nottingham sky though and it was Sharma that made the crucial breakthrough shortly after the interval to end the pair’s 125-second wicket stand.
Robson (59) fell first to a marginal lbw decision, before Ballance (71) was also trapped by Sharma as he swung the ball back into the stumps, hitting him in the middle of his pad.
Ian Bell hit a feisty 25 that included six boundaries before being caught in two minds by Sharma and clipping the ball through to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Moeen Ali (14) provided some brief resistance but he was taken by surprise by a short ball from Mohammad Shami, the ball hitting his glove on its way to Shikhar Dhawan at first slip.
The lack of a video review option proved to be vital when Matt Prior was given out caught by Dhoni off Kumar for five, despite replays showing he had not hit the ball.
Kumar and Dhoni combined again to get rid of Ben Stokes for a duck to leave England in disarray as tea approached.
England’s revival started when Broad raced to 47 off just 42 balls before Kumar trapped him lbw with a wicked swinging delivery.
The Indian seamer continued his sparkling form with an inswinger that sent Plunkett’s (7) stumps cartwheeling out of the ground to reduce the hosts to 298-9, giving him career-best figures of 4-61 in the process.
By that stage England had ensured the visitors would have to bat again, and Root and Anderson were positive in trying to reduce their advantage when they begin their second innings, perhaps drawing inspiration from Kumar and number 11 Mohammed Shami, who put on over 100 for India’s final wicket on Thursday.