On Sunday, Virat Kohli’s men added only 22 runs to their overnight score before being bowled out for 329. They then came out all guns blazing with the ball to bundle out the hosts for just 161 before putting up 124-2 in their second innings.
It was a day which belonged to one man and that man was none other than Hardik Pandya who finished with career-best figures of 5-28.
Here, we take a closer look at his outstanding display with the ball.
OVERS BOWLED: 6
RUNS CONCEDED: 28
It was Pandya’s day at Trent Bridge as he put in a sensational display of swing and accuracy which even James Anderson would have been proud of. The 24-year-old was given the ball after an injury to Ravi Ashwin forced him off the field and Pandya delivered like no other by striking with his very first ball. The all-rounder wrecked England’s batting order in a 29-ball burst in which he picked up a maiden Test five-wicket haul. He removed England’s two best batsmen in Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow while also claiming the wickets of Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad.
Hardik Pandya Spell:— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) August 19, 2018
W 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4 W 4 4 0 W W 0 0 0 W 0
Five overs Five wickets!
Swing and plenty of it. What worked for Pandya on Sunday was the fact that he got the ball to move both ways creating plenty of doubts in the batsmen’s minds. However, it was the control Pandya exerted over the moving ball that sent England’s batsmen in a dizzy. While the likes of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were scatter-gun at times, Pandya got the ball to pitch in the danger areas more often than not and let the swing on offer do the rest of the job.
There is barely any fault one can find in a performance which fetched five wickets in just 29 deliveries. If any criticism can be levelled against Pandya’s performance, it would be the few times he lost control of the ball and bowled very wide. However, those instances were few and far in between.
VERDICT – 9/10
Quite simply, it was Hardik Pandya’s best ever performance with the ball in India colours. It might even be the series-defining spell for India if they can claw their way back and it will go some way in justifying the immense faith the team management has bestowed on him so far ever since he emerged from the IPL. The all-rounder’s place has been called into question of late given his low returns with the ball but after Sunday, his bowling credentials have been enhanced like never before. With the way he has batted in the previous two Tests, Pandya is now showing plenty of signs of fulfilling the role of a seaming all-rounder which India have been desperately searching for a long time.
After putting up 329 on the board in their first innings, India bowled out the hosts for just 161 runs before adding 124-2 in their second innings.
Here, we look at the key talking points from the second day’s play at Trent Bridge.
INDIA’S TAIL REFUSES TO WAG
After putting up 307-6 on the first day, India would have been looking at a minimum first innings total of 350 when they came out to bat under the dark clouds on Sunday.
England’s senior pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad had other plans though, as they made the second new ball talk.
Broad, who was getting the ball to move prodigiously in the air, got the initial breakthrough after getting debutant Rishabh Pant (24) to drag one on to his stumps. A few balls later, Broad got one to tail back in sharply as Ravi Ashwin’s stumps went for a toss.
Anderson then finished things off by claiming the wickets of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah off successive deliveries. The visitors’ final five wickets fell for just 22 runs as they fell some way short of their expected total.
ROOT’S DISMISSAL GENERATES CONTROVERSY
There was a huge moment of controversy during the second session of the day’s play and it came with the very first delivery bowled by Hardik Pandya.
The India all-rounder surprised England skipper Joe Root with some extra bounce and movement as the ball took an edge off the bat and flew towards KL Rahul at second slip. The Indian fielder grabbed a tough chance even as the ball was dying on him and immediately went up in celebrations.
Root however, was not amused and stuck to his crease sure in the belief that Rahul had grassed the catch before claiming it. The decision was sent upstairs to the third umpire with a few angles of the television replays showing that the ball might have bounced before nestling into Rahul’s palms. Other angles showed that the fielder’s fingers were firmly underneath the ball and ultimately the third-umpire ruled in favour of the bowler.
Root looked incensed and muttered under his breath as he made his way back to the pavilion but the damage had been done.
PANDYA’S SENSATIONAL SPELL ROCKS ENGLAND
Hardik Pandya has been grossly under-bowled throughout the series and when Kohli threw the ball towards him on Sunday, it was more so out of circumstances than a belief in his abilities. With Ashwin leaving the field after complaining of hip troubles, India were forced to turn to Pandya and he in turn put in the best bowling performance of his career.
Removing Root with his very first delivery, Pandya grew into confidence and got the ball to move both ways. England’s batsmen simply couldn’t live with the swing he was generating and within 29 balls, Pandya had completed his maiden five-wicket haul. Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Broad all fell to Pandya’s exorbitant swing whose bowling sent flashbacks of a young James Anderson.
It was Pandya’s sensational burst which saw England lose 10 wickets inside a single session.
INDIA OPENERS DRIVE HOME ADVANTAGE
With a 168-run lead in hand, the pressure had well and truly lifted off the shoulders of India’s openers Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan when they came out to bat.
While there were the usual edges which flew past the slip fielders, the two batsmen played with intent and profited whenever England’s bowlers strayed in their lines.
After adding 60 runs for the opening wicket in the first innings, the pair performed an encore before Rahul (36) was dismissed by Stokes. Dhawan (44) was looking good for a maiden Test fifty in England before he jumped out of his tracks and got stumped off the bowling of Rashid.
The platform the duo had set for the batsmen to follow though, cannot be understated and it will be hard to look at anything other than an India win at this point.
India resumed Sunday’s proceedings on their overnight score of 307-6 with Rishabh Pant (22) unbeaten at the crease. The youngster added just two runs more on the second day before he played on to a Stuart Broad delivery. Broad then had a second in quick succession as he shattered Ravi Ashwin’s stumps with a sharp inswinging delivery.
James Anderson then picked up the wickets of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah off consecutive deliveries to bring India’s first innings to a close at 329 runs.
In reply, England openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings have made a brisk start by adding 46 runs from the first nine overs of their innings before lunch was taken on day two. Post lunch, Cook (29) was dropped in the slips by Cheteshwar Pujara before being dismissed two deliveries later by Ishant Sharma. Keaton Jennings was then caught behind off the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah in the very next delivery as England were reduced to 54-2. Sharma picked up a second a few overs later after he had Ollie Pope (1o) caught behind.
Hardik Pandya struck with his very first delivery of the innings to remove Root (16) as England lost four wickets for 86. Ben Stokes became the fifth England to fall when he edged an Mohammed Shami delivery to KL Rahul in the slips. Bairstow followed him to the pavilion soon after as he edged a Pandya delivery to first slip.
Jos Buttler (39) played a counter-attacking innings to get England over the 150-run mark and was the last man dismissed after he holed out to Shardul Thakur in the deep. Pandya was the pick of India’s bowlers with figures of 5-28.
India openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan have started rapidly in the second innings and have added 60 runs in just 12 overs before the formed was dismissed by Stokes. Dhawan raced away to 44 before he was stumped off the bowling of Adil Rashid but by then, India amassed 111 runs in the second innings. The visitors ultimately ended the day at 124-2 with an overall lead of 292 runs.
On day one, England skipper Joe Root won the toss and elected to bowl first as the visitors handed a Test debut to young Pant.
After Chris Woakes took three wickets in the opening session on Saturday, India skipper Virat Kohli (97) and Ajinkya Rahane (81) stitched together a 159-run stand for the fourth-wicket to lead the visitors’ fightback. All-rounder Hardik Pandya was dismissed by Stuart Broad off the last ball of Saturday’s action as England bounced back in the final session. It all turned into a procession as Pandya struck again in the same over to send back Chris Woakes.
The hosts currently lead the five-match series 2-0 after wins at Edgbaston and Lord’s.
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