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England v India: fourth Test, day one – live!

Powered by article titled “England v India: fourth Test, day one – live!” was written by Rob Smyth (earlier) and John Ashdown (now), for on Thursday 30th August 2018 22.25 Asia/Kolkata

75th over: England 245-9 (Anderson 0, Curran 78) Shami steams in, in search of this final wicket. Curran wanders across his stumps and aims a couple of pulls in the direction of the Solent but fails to make contact. He does hammer the next straight back down the ground for four, though. A single means Anderson has to survive the final two balls of the over … and he does.

74th over: England 240-9 (Anderson 0, Curran 73) Before that wicket, a beautiful cut from Curran off Bumrah brought him four more – meaning he needs 12 more runs to become England’s leading scorer in the series, not bad for a No 8 who was dropped for one of the Tests.

“Am I right that Curran’s gone past 20 in each of his first five Test innings?” wonders James Brough, who is indeed correct (20, 24, 63, 40 and now 73*). “If so, when was the last time anyone did this for England? Or indeed for any side? The most recent I can think of for England is Pietersen back in 2005. Anyone think of anyone else?”

WICKET! Broad lbw b Bumrah 17 (England 240-9)

Ah, the fun ends! Broad, having changed bat, doesn’t get to use it trapped in front as he is by a Bumrah inswinger.

Jasprit Bumrah celebrates dismissing Stuart Broad.
Jasprit Bumrah celebrates dismissing Stuart Broad. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


73rd over: England 231-8 (Broad 16, Curran 64) Shami returns as an increasingly perturbed Kohli seeks to end this irritation. No joy, though.

72nd over: England 228-8 (Broad 15, Curran 63) Hardik continues, Broad shovels a couple to the leg side, then drives for a couple into the off to bring up the 50 partnership. I’d say 86-6 to 228-8 constitutes a decent recovery from this England lower order, though that obviously shouldn’t overshadow the fact that they keep being put into these positions in the first place.

71st over: England 221-8 (Broad 10, Curran 61) Ashwin again. A top-spinner rattles into Broad’s pads and, with the umpire unmoved, India review. The batsman was sweeping and the ball hit the back leg but I imagine it’ll be umpire’s call on impact … and, in fact, Hawkeye shows the impact was outside the line (though the umpires have taken the impact as being the front pad). Broad celebrates the reprieve by edging the last ball of the over between Pant and first slip, the ball trundling away for four.

70th over: England 217-8 (Broad 6, Curran 61) Hardik Pandya, expensive earlier, returns to the fray and four leg byes take the extras column to a healthy 33. Broad joins in the fun with a thrash over the covers for three, and Curran pulls the last for a couple more.

69th over: England 206-8 (Broad 1, Curran 59) Fifty for Sam Curran! A smashes a slog-sweep into the stands at cow corner for six, which also takes England to 200. And a couple of balls later he hammers four more to the same area. He’s been a nugget of diamante in an England batting order of gristle and twigs.

“In the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, it is pointed out that those who most want to lead are usually those least suited to do so,” writes Andrew Benton. “On that basis, choose the person who least wants to be captain and you’ll get a brilliant one.”

Sam Curran celebrates his fifty.
Sam Curran celebrates his fifty. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters


68th over: England 194-8 (Broad 1, Curran 47) So Bumrah gets six balls at Broad. Four outswingers probe away at Broad’s outside edge … but Broad keeps out the inevitable inswinger (which, come to think of it, isn’t a bad name for a pub). Broad keeps out the last neatly enough. A maiden.

67th over: England 194-8 (Broad 1, Curran 47) Sharma is frustrated with himself after straying on to Broad’s pads and allowing the England No 10 to escape to the non-striker’s end midway through the over. Pant is on his knees again a couple of balls later as Sharma strays down leg once more, the ball swings away, and for more byes zip past the outstretched keeper. Curran thunks the penultimate ball of the over for four through the covers to rub in a bit of salt.

66th over: England 185-8 (Broad 1, Curran 43) Four more byes! More hooping swing from Bumrah, who has again strayed down the leg side. Poor old Pant, who has kept very well by and large (that slightly weird drop of Buttler notwithstanding), has 18 byes against his name.

65th over: England 179-8 (Broad 1, Curran 42) There was no sense of permanence about Rashid at the crease there but it took a decent delivery to unseat him. It was swinging prodigiously and the replays show … it was missing leg.

Broad gets off the mark with an inside edge

WICKET! Rashid lbw b Sharma 6 (England 177-8)

Rashid clips a couple to fine leg; Sharma responds with a rocket of a delivery that whistles past off stump. And follows that with a vicious inswinger that crashes into Rashid’s pads. Up goes the finger and, reviewless, Rashid has to walk.

Ishant Sharma successfully appeals for the wicket of Adil Rashid.
Ishant Sharma successfully appeals for the wicket of Adil Rashid. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


64th over: England 175-7 (Rashid 4, Curran 41) Bumrah returns and troubles Rashid with a bit of extra bounce, catching the leading edge and squirting away for a single through gully.

“If we’re considering cricket captains as generals,” begins John Starbuck, “the Douglas Jardine was probably Alexander the Great, being complexly ruthless. His successors were the disappointing Ptolemies, making Rachel Heyhoe Cleopatra? Also, on TMS, Boycott talking about the number of Cookie’s partners: ‘There must be at least a dozen: count them on your fingers.’ It’s good to have him back.”

63rd over: England 174-7 (Rashid 3, Curran 41) Curran is Playing A Few Shots now, though has picked up the unfortunate habit of finding the fielders in the last couple of overs. Sharma remains on the money.

62nd over: England 172-7 (Rashid 2, Curran 40) Curran smashes a couple of loose Ashwin deliveries straight at fielders but squeezes a single away later in the over. Only three players have scored more runs in the series than the Surrey all-rounder: Buttler, Bairstow and Kohli.

61st over: England 171-7 (Rashid 2, Curran 39) Sharma thunders in once more, with India surely fancying their chances of keeping England to under 200. Rashid, though, gets off the mark with a whip through square leg. There’s a stifled appeal from the last as Sharma finds the pad, but it’s hooping down leg.

60th over: England 168-7 (Rashid 0, Curran 38) A frustrating end for Moeen, who was going well but undone by a bit of extra bounce. His 40 has helped keep England in the game … for now.

“Re Prince Eugene of Savoy: any historian’s out there able to confirm whether he came from the right sort of family?”wonders Matthew Valentine.

WICKET! Moeen Ali c Bumrah b Ashwin 40 (England 167-7)

Just when you thought it was safe … Moeen looks to slog sweep Ashwin away for his third six but top edges into the leg side. There’s a moment of concern as Bumrah and Pant threaten to get into a tangle but the former slides in to take a very fine catch.

Moeen Ali top edges and is caught Jasprit Bumrah.
Moeen Ali top edges the ball … Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP
asprit Bumrah of India catches Moeen Ali of England off the bowling of Ravi Ashwin
And Jasprit Bumrah is waiting to catch the ball. Photograph: Matthew Impey/Rex/Shutterstock


59th over: England 167-6 (Moeen 40, Curran 37) Ishant Sharma (11-6-11-1) returns with India’s stranglehold on the game loosening a touch. Curran has a big waft at a wide one without success but there’s four byes from the last!

58th over: England 161-6 (Moeen 40, Curran 35) Ashwin drops a little short and Curran cashes in, smiting square of the wicket for four.

“Prince Eugene was a very good general, but left nothing in the way of a succession plan for those to follow,” writes Kurt Baird, who seems to know about these things. “The poor lot that did succeed him had to contend with 80 years of military spankings. Could I suggest Captain Strauss was our Eugene, and Cook and Root the poor successors. Which must mean Kohli is Napoleon …”

57th over: England 156-6 (Moeen 40, Curran 30) Shami again draws a play-and-miss, with Moeen this time lining up a booming drive and connecting only with Southampton air. Four byes add insult to injury, with Rishabh Pant left helpless by some on obscene movement on the ball. Still, he kips up like Bret Hart in his pomp to cheer himself up.

“One of the many joys of OBO is you learn something new every day,” writes Brian Withington. “I must confess I had never heard of Prince Eugene of Savoy before. Never mind Mike Brearley, his Wiki resumé makes Napoleon look like a callow corporal who’d be lucky to captain Ilford Second Team.”

56th over: England 152-6 (Moeen 40, Curran 30) A huge appeal from Ashwin as he straightens one on to Curran’s pads. But has he straightened it enough? Dhamasena thinks not but India review … and it’s umpire’s call, with the ball clipping leg. To the naked eye, it barely turned at all, but it ended up very close. Nevertheless, a maiden.

55th over: England 152-6 (Moeen 40, Curran 30) A rare play-and-miss from Curran as Shami continues. Just a single from the over, Curran cutting away to deep point from the last.

54th over: England 151-6 (Moeen 40, Curran 29) Moeen dances down the pitch at Ashwin and launched him into the stands at long on for six. Super shot.

53rd over: England 143-6 (Moeen 34, Curran 28) With the shine off the ball, the threat level has dropped considerably. Shami struggles to trouble either batsman here.

Are there any captains in county cricket with Brearley-like captaining skills, who’d be worth a place despite being inferior batsmen?” wonders Andrew Robinson. “I don’t know, and you don’t often see it written about. Would OBO readers know?” Given even wicketkeepers can’t get picked for Being The Best Wicketkeeper, you’d need to be some sort of tactician up there with Prince Eugene of Savoy to have a chance.

52nd over: England 140-6 (Moeen 31, Curran 27) Ashwin continues after the tea break with England looking to continue this mini-fightback. It’s a little murky out there now, with the clouds having drifted over, though the forecast doesn’t suggest any rain in the offing. Moeen taps down the ground for one.


And it’s time for tea. This partnership is now worth a handy 53. See you in 10.

51st over: England 139-6 (Ali 30, Curran 27) This has been an excellent little spell for England – this pair have really managed to quieten the game down. They’re still in a hole, no question about that, but at least the sense of chaos has abated for now.

And, predictably enough, just as I type that Curran has to dive full length as he threatens to run himself out while attempting a panicky quick single. A play-and-a-miss follows a couple of balls later, then Shami is just off the mark with a yorker that Curran does well to deal with.

50th over: England 135-6 (Ali 28, Curran 25) Ashwin (5-2-7-0) is proving difficult to get away but hasn’t bowled many wicket-threatening deliveries. A couple of singles.

49th over: England 133-6 (Ali 27, Curran 24) Moeen tucks Bumrah away to backward square leg for a single and the bowler for the first time is a little loose at Curran, sending a couple well down the leg side, though the batsman can’t cash in.

48th over: England 132-6 (Ali 26, Curran 24) Ashwin sends down a maiden at Curran.

47th over: England 132-6 (Ali 26, Curran 24) Curran does well to shovel away a Bumrah inswinger while Moeen jumps all over a bouncer and toe-ends a hook away for six!

Meanwhile …

But also …

46th over: England 125-6 (Ali 20, Curran 23) Ashwin once more and Curran pushes into the on side for one. Moeen bottom-edges slightly tentatively at a full delivery but otherwise is solid in defence.

45th over: England 124-6 (Ali 20, Curran 22) Moeen pulls Bumrah gently away for a single but is discomfited by an inswinger a few balls later and straightened up by another cracker from the last.

“Picking a captain at all levels of cricket is the same,” reckons Dave Brown. “They have to be a guaranteed pick for the side which narrows it down to four or five players. Then you choose the most sensible one that is least likely to make an arse of themselves away from the game.” That, or you can go down the whoever-has-the-best-appetite-for-admin route.

44th over: England 122-6 (Ali 19, Curran 21) Despite the state of the England scorecard, there’s a happy hum at the Rose Bowl now, as lunchtime fades away and late afternoon drifts into view. Ashwin finds Curran’s edge but sees the ball pop too square for the man at slip. Another maiden, despite Curran’s clear eagerness to get after the spinner.

43rd over: England 122-6 (Ali 19, Curran 21) Curran now has more runs in this series than Joe Root (and Cook, Stokes and Jennings for that matter). And, at 36, this is already England’s best partnership of the day. A maiden from Bumrah at Moeen on this occasion.

42nd over: England 122-6 (Ali 19, Curran 21) Ashwin returns for his second tweak of the day – his first spell consisted of one over just after lunch. A couple of singles from this one.

41st over: England 120-6 (Ali 18, Curran 20) With Pandya releasing the pressure valve, Kohli turns back to Jasprit Bumrah (10-2-21-2). It’s a mixed bag – four tempters outside off, one pretty miserable short wide one that Moeen slaps for four, then a ripsnorter that someone beats the edg.

“In that case, I agree with John Starbuck – the best captains are often batsmen who have to work hard to make runs in Test cricket,” writes Steve Hudson. “As a result they are better able to empathise with other struggling players. As he says, Brearley and Close (and similarly Illingworth) were all excellent captains.

“Regarding the terrifying Mr Close, I once attended a day’s coaching held by the bald-pated one. I was thrilled because this was the back end of 1976, and he was a legend because of his crazy heroics in the West Indies series that year. I was desperate to impress him so I concentrated as hard as I could when batting. As I came out of the net, he followed me and said: ‘Son, you think you know it all don’t you? And actually, you know f** all,’ and walked off.”

40th over: England 116-6 (Ali 14, Curran 20) Short, wide filth from Pandya and Curran climbs into a cut – four runs. And there’s four more from the very next ball, straight down the ground this time. And he’s a touch unlucky to pick up only two from a gorgeous back-foot off drive next up. And then he clumps a no-ball over the top of gully for four more. Bit useful this lad.

39th over: England 101-6 (Ali 14, Curran 6) After a slo, shaky start Moeen is beginning to find his groove a little – he pushes confidently through point for two then squirts Shami away for four to bring up the England 100.

“It’s easy, isn’t it?” begins the cocksure Davorder. “Keeper/batsmen make the best captains. Viz., MS Dhoni, Kumar Sangakkara. Andy Flower. Behind the stumps you see everything; and you might even have an idea about when to try DRS appeals. You’re not scared to bat first when it’s the right thing to do because you’re middle order. Jonny Bairstow ought to be imminent heir apparent at this point; it would almost be worth England losing this series ingloriously to make that happen.”

38th over: England 95-6 (Ali 8, Curran 6) Hardik Pandya returns. A short wide one offers Curran the chance to slap through the covers but an excellent stop from Rahane denies him runs. There’s nothing the man at cover can do a couple of balls later as the youngster thunks through for three. Moeen lets the ball slide off the face and through backward point for three more.

“Re: 32nd over captains,” begins John Starbuck. “Yes, Steve Hudson has a point about fast bowlers, but that isn’t quite what I meant. The very best batsmen seldom make very good captains, though there are always exceptions. A fine example is Mike Brearley, who wasn’t picked for his run-making, but his leadership. Otherwise, a good captain might well be at least a useful bowler, spin or medium-pace. Another instance is Brian Close, who led the team by being absolutely terrifying to his players, but always knew when to bring himself on to get rid of a particularly persistent batting opponent. I’m thinking both New Zealand and India in the early 1970s.”

37th over: England 89-6 (Ali 5, Curran 3) Hello all. It feels like a while since I was last in this chair. But there’s a familiar sight on the scoreboard at least – England six down and scrambling to stay in the game. Much of the day one post-mortem will focus on England’s batting failures, understandably, but India have been nothing short of exceptional out in the field.

Shami continues and beats Moeen with a beauty that seams away a touch across the left-hander. From the last the bowler brings one back into him and Moeen isn’t a million miles away from Jenningsing himself but the ball whistles past off stump, taking a layer of lacquer off on the way past. A maiden.

36th over: England 89-6 (Ali 5, Curran 3) Curran, who has started very aggressively, drives Sharma through the covers for two. That’s drinks, which means it’s time for me to tag in John Ashdown. You can email him on [email protected] Bye!

Sam Curran adds to England’s total.
Sam Curran adds to England’s total. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images


35th over: England 87-6 (Ali 5, Curran 1) England should play some shots and ensure Jimmy Anderson gets at least 10 overs tonight in these conditions. What the hell, they might as well – in the parlance of our time – own the 1936-37 precedent and declare


WICKET! England 86-6 (Stokes LBW b Shami 23)

Ben Stokes’s dogged 79-ball innings is over. He played around a good delivery from Shami, who had just switched around the wicket, and was given out by Bruce Oxenford. Stokes reviewed, more in hope than expectation, but Hawkeye showed three reds. England lose their sixth wicket and their final review.

England batsman Ben Stokes is lbw to Mohammed Shami after review.
England batsman Ben Stokes is lbw to Mohammed Shami after review. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
England’s Ben Stokes walks off after losing his wicket.
Stokes walks off after losing his wicket. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters


34th over: England 85-5 (Stokes 23, Ali 4) Shami puts some ice on his bowling hand between overs. Stokes and Moeen pick up a single each in a quiet over from Sharma. His figures are outstanding: 10-6-9-1.

33rd over: England 83-5 (Stokes 22, Ali 3) Stokes is beaten by the most beautiful delivery from Shami, on a full length and zipping away off the seam. A straight drive from Stokes, played on the walk, is fielded painfully in his follow through by Shami. It’s his bowling hand but he’s okay to finish the over. Stokes is playing with a lot of determination, discpline and intelliegnce; he has 22 from 72 balls.

“I disagree with John Starbuck’s implication that bowlers make better captains than batsmen,” says Steve Hudson. “There have been many fewer specialist bowler captains, which reflects the fact that bowlers, especially the quicker ones, have too much think about when bowling to captain a side, and are often too drained by their efforts afterwards to remain fully engaged with the game. Specialist bowlers who have captained the England Test team? Willis, and very few others. Willis actually used to delegate the captaincy to other players while he was actually bowling.”

Yes, good point about fast bowlers. It’s yet another reason why Imran Khan is possibly the most underrated cricketer to play the game.


32nd over: England 82-5 (Stokes 21, Ali 3) Moeen, like Stokes, is playing his unnatural game, trying to hang around until things get easier. I’m not sure they’re going to get easier. A beautiful outswinger from Sharma finds Moeen’s edge and lands short of the slip cordon. It’s another maiden. Sharma has now received an official warning for running on the danger area in his follow through.

“Yes, South Africa lost the first Test of the 2007/8 home series against the West Indies in Port Elizabeth,” says Andrew Gladwin. “But they did win the next two and the series. And less than a year later they became the first team in 16 years to beat Australia in Australia. Thinking about why they did so well overseas and less well at home, I’m wondering whether the big hostile crowds in England, Australia and India fired them up, while the poor home crowds especially in Durban and Port Elizabeth may have deflated them. Would also explain why they did best in Cape Town which always has good Test crowds.”

31st over: England 82-5 (Stokes 21, Ali 3) Shami’s eighth over goes for 11 – but it almost includes the wicket of Ben Stokes. Ali pushed three through gully, Stokes clipped four through square leg and then a loose delivery flew away for four byes. The last ball found Stokes’s edge and landed this far short of gully.

“Dear Rob, says Abhyudaya Tyagi. “Can i just say that the Indian Test Team between the 2007 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup remains severely underrated. Defeated everyone (except for South Africa- whom they drew with) at home. Meanwhile beat England, New Zealand, West Indies in series away from home while drawing with South Africa’s greatest ever side in 2011. India only lost two series in that period – 2-1 in Australia (cough Steve Bucknor cough) and 2-1 to Sri Lanka in that crazy Murali/Mendis series. Arguably a better team than Ganguly’s India.”

Yes, that’s a fair point. They won in Perth, which was a huge deal, and the series in South Africa was immense. It’s strange that they were so pathetic in England in 2011. Maybe, and I know how unpalatable this is for those of who accentuate the negative, England just played spectacularly good cricket.

30th over: England 71-5 (Stokes 17, Ali 0) Sharma is staying around the wicket to Stokes – I’m surprised he didn’t start there – and is still getting some dangerous outswing. Stokes softens his hands to ensure an edge drops well short of slip. He has become England’s best defensive batsman. It’s an admirable development, especially as it does not come at all naturally.

29th over: England 71-5 (Stokes 17, Ali 0) “On plumb LBWs, has anyone mentioned dear old Nasser getting out to a filthy Carl Hooper shooter?” says Tim Sorrell. “He was unimpressed, as I recall. Carl Hooper!”

There’s a lovely story, I think it’s in Nasser’s autobiography, about that wicket. He had all kinds of bad luck at the start of that tour – I think in one game he was out to the seventh ball of an over, and he had to bat on that deathtrap in Jamaica. After the Hooper dismissal, he was ranting and raving in the dressing-room and he looked over to see his captain, Mike Atherton, desperately trying to suppress a fit of the giggles.

28th over: England 69-5 (Stokes 16, Ali 0) If the ball swings like this all day, it might benefit England to be out by tea. Because if they struggle to 180 in 80 overs, and return tomorrow to find the ball doing nothing, Virat Kohli could lap them on his own.

With Moeen Ali at the crease, Ishant Sharma replaces Ravichandran Ashwin. Stokes, who is again playing very responsibly, offers no stroke to a series of outswingers from over the wicket. Sharma moves around the wicket for the last ball of the over and beats Stokes with what looks like a slower cutter. Stokes has 16 from 53 balls.

“Re: over six,” begins Andrew Gladwin. “I’m biased but I do agree Graeme Smith’s South Africa were was the outstanding test team in the 2007-2014 period. That away record was a magnificent achievement – even better than the Aussies in their early 2000s prime. The thing that stopped them being permanently ahead in the rankings was a slightly iffy home record, especially in Durban for reasons that are not completely clear.”

Didn’t they lose a Test at home to the West Indies? How’s that even possible?

27th over: England 69-5 (Stokes 16, Ali 0)And then he said England were 2-1 up in the series!

WICKET! England 69-5 (Buttler c Kohli b Shami 21)

Gone! Buttler chases yet another tempting outswinger from Shami and edges a drive towards third slip, where Kohli takes a very sharp two-handed catch to his right. Buttler will know that was a poor stroke.

Jos Buttler leaves the field looking dejected after being caught out by Virat Kohli off the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
Jos Buttler leaves the field looking dejected after being caught out by Virat Kohli off the bowling of Mohammed Shami. Photograph: James Marsh/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock


26th over: England 65-4 (Stokes 16, Buttler 17) Ravichandran Ashwin comes into the attack for the first time, a slight surprise given how much the ball has swung. He does have an excellent record against Ben Stokes, while Buttler has struggled against offspin in his short Test career. Stokes defends the first five deliveries and thumps the sixth down the ground for four.

“Jeremy Smith (14th over) has some nerve in suggesting Dermot Reeve for obvious LBWs,” says Richard Jansz-Moore. “One of my earliest cricketing memories was seeing him in the 1995 NatWest Trophy being as plumb as possible to Anil Kumble, only to be turned down by Dickie bloody Bird. I’m still furious at the decision 20+ years later. Sadly I can’t find a video of it so you’ll just have to believe me that literally nothing has never been more plumb.”

25th over: England 61-4 (Stokes 12, Buttler 17) Come on then, let’s get this over with. Mohammed Shami continues after lunch with some seductive outswing to Buttler, who leaves the first four deliveries and edges the next through the vacant gully area for four at catchable height. Buttler was aiming to leg, a dangerous shot in these conditions, and the ball swung to take the edge.

“It was, once upon a time, that the Dr Who theme would have me rushing for safety behind the sofa,” says Charles Sheldrick. “Now I only have to hear the first few bars of Soul Limbo and I am diving for cover…”

I know Geoffrey’s back in the box today but that’s a bit much surely.

“Choosing the best batsman to skipper a side is bound to be counter-productive,” says John Starbuck. “Responsibility for the bulk of runs will weigh the player down, if there are not enough good bats to take up any slack. Also, there’s no guarantee that a good batsman is necessarily the best one to rotate bowlers, manipulate the field and generally be a leader. Top batters tend to be selfish by nature, and hence have less empathy; too much masculinity is a drawback.”

I agree the principle is flawed – did we learn nothing from Sachin – but I don’t agree it’s bound to be counter-productive. It has empowered a lot of batsmen to reach greater heights, including those who were eventually worn down by it (Atherton, Hussain, Strauss, Cook).


24th over: England 57-4 (Stokes 12, Buttler 13) Stokes survives an LBW shout from Bumrah, with the ball pitching miles outside leg stump. That’s the end of a distressing morning session for England, whose makeshift top order was demolished by some spectacular swing bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma. India were brilliant; England were not. Batting should get easier as the day progresses, but for who?

Jasprit Bumrah of India steams in before unleashing the ball.
Jasprit Bumrah of India steams in before unleashing the ball. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images


23rd over: England 56-4 (Stokes 12, Buttler 12) Buttler is dropped by the wicketkeeper Pant! It was a strange incident. Buttler attempted to leave one from Shami and bottom-edged the ball towards Pant, who was on the way up and couldn’t change direction quickly enough to hold on to a very difficult low chance. An eventful over ends with a storming outswinger that beats Stokes all ends up. I really don’t think England have done that much wrong this morning. India have been all over them.

“Matt Dony asked when was the last time England had a captain who wasn¹t at some stage accused of allowing the captaincy to affect his run-scoring,” says Tim Brosnan. “Bob Willis?”

22nd over: England 53-4 (Stokes 10, Buttler 11) Bumrah returns for an over or two before lunch. Hardik and Shami have not been as threatening as the new-ball pair, even though Hardik dismissed Cook, and Bumrah reminds us of his superior threat by zipping two deliveries past Stokes’s outside edge.

21st over: England 53-4 (Stokes 10, Buttler 11) “Re: plumb LBWs: A special commendation for Courtney Walsh’s slower ball against Graham Thorpe,” says Jon Taylor. “The way Thorpe lost the flight of the looping ball, ducked, jumped, adjusted his feet and still had time to land and hold the pose a short while before being hit on the back foot three inches in front of middle. Beautiful.”


20th over: England 50-4 (Stokes 8, Buttler 11) Buttler hits consecutive boundaries off Hardik, with a confident cover drive followed by a bread-and-butter flick off the pads.

“Hello Rob,” says Aditi Prabhudesai. “Don’t you think a series loss here at home, after being 2-0 up is just the sort of thing that ought to shake up English cricket. Australia made drastic changes after losing to South Africa at home. England needs just that sort of clearing of the Augean stables. It’s frustrating to watch them make the same mistakes again and again.”

I agree. But I’d probably see if it happens first before having a shake-up.


19th over: England 42-4 (Stokes 8, Buttler 3) Shami appeals unsuccessfully for a catch down the leg side against Stokes. India decide not to review, and there is no spike on Ultra-Edge.

“When was the last time England had a captain who wasn’t at some stage accused of allowing the captaincy to affect his run-scoring?” asks Matt Dony. “The conversation just goes on and on. Seems to me there are two issues. Firstly, every cricketer, every sportsman, heck, every person, has peaks and troughs. (Even me! I know!) No matter how talented and able they are, they’ll have spells where runs dry up. There are so many factors, it’s unhelpful to jump straight to ‘The Captaincy broke him!’ Secondly, even amongst elite players, the kind of mental strength and ability to compartmentalise needed to deal with both is rare. Most players will naturally find that a butt-load of extra responsibility will play on their minds and affect their day job in some way. So, again, it’s unhelpful to jump straight to ‘The Captaincy broke him!’ If it’s felt that the sacrifice is unacceptable, then don’t make your best batsman captain. Otherwise, make sure he’s getting the support he needs, and appreciate that he’s performing two high-pressure roles.”

The last man who was captain for a long time without losing form was Graham Gooch. I do think it’s a much bigger problem in England than elsewhere, but I have no idea why. Might have something to do with the media, or even – mememe – the crisis in masculinuity!


18th over: England 40-4 (Stokes 6, Buttler 3) That was a weird shot from Cook, whose concentration had been so good until then. England are in quite the predicament here. But this batting performance has been nowhere near as bad as the first innings at Trent Bridge. India have been sensational.

WICKET! England 36-4 (Cook c Kohli b Hardik 17)

I don’t believe this. Cook dabs absentmindedly at a short, wide delivery from Hardik and top-edges it towards third slip, where Kohli takes a brilliant low catch between his legs.

England’s Alastair Cook watches as he is caught by India’s captain Virat Kohli.
England’s Alastair Cook watches as he is ca

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England v India: fourth Test, day one – live!


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