Birthday Boy Burns celebrated his birthday with a fifty-plus score to his name batting for his country. Haseeb Hameed too played a crucial knock of 68 to give the hosts a large and comfortable lead over the visitors in the first session.As of now,as I write this article, England looks in a pretty dominating position with a score of 214 for the loss of just two wickets in 77 overs. Both Root and Malan have got their feet moving on the crease and eye set on the ball. The second session’s beginning is favorable towards the English side.
Both the openers, Burns and Haseeb, gave the start that just was needed for the hosts. Also, the major difference between English and Indian batsmen was: The English openers played with soft hands. First, five batsmen of India edged the ball to the wicket-keeper. And just like the Indian batsmen, English openers also edged the ball but because they played with soft hands: the ball didn’t travel directly into the hands of the slip fielders. What we must admit is that the batting conditions are drastically better now than they were in the first session of Day 1.
Finally, something to celebrate!!!
On the last ball of the 50th over, India finally struck the first wicket. A 133kph, in-angling seam-up ball from round the wicket, further nipped back in off the surface. Burns moved across a bit to tackle the ball but didn’t account for the inward movement. The ball snuck through the bat-pad gap and hit the top of the off stump. Dream way to crack a wicket for any pacer!
After the first wicket, Indian bowlers continued with their strategy of the short-length deliveries. But the English batsmen left most of them easily as they were far away from the body. Though one bouncer did hit Haseeb in the helmet. Haseeb Hameed looked down while ducking but the bouncer skidded through and hit the lower part of the helmet. That surely must have intimidated Haseeb and blurred his focus.
First Wicket of the Series for Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja was brought into the attack and he pulled the drowning India out of the water. Gave the fans and the team something to celebrate. Haseeb Hameed went for the forward defense but the ball went by the bat and hit the top of the off stump. This was the first wicket of the series for Jadeja and it came at a desperate time for India. This wicket also set a new record.
It was the first wicket for an Indian spinner after 41 opposition wickets have already fallen in the series – the longest they had to wait before their first strike in a series. The previous longest was against Pakistan in 1989/90 when the first wicket to spin came in the 3rd Test of the series after 25 dismissals.
It will be interesting to see how Root performs in this test since his batting average in Headingley is the lowest of all the venues of England.
Joe Root batting average at home venues (10+ innings)
67.44 Trent Bridge
65.08 Old Trafford
49.44 The Oval
The second new ball is available and India immediately takes it.