India on the brink of victory

India will have to return on Wednesday to complete what will surely be a memorable overseas win. Virat Kohli’s men reached the brink of an emphatic victory over England in the third Test here but the celebrations have to wait.

Indian cricketers cheer as Jasprit Bumrah walks back to the pavilion in Nottingham on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

India will have to return on Wednesday to complete what will surely be a memorable overseas win. Virat Kohli’s men reached the brink of an emphatic victory over England in the third Test here but the celebrations have to wait.


Just a little longer. As the shadows lengthened across Trent Bridge on Tuesday evening, England’s final pair of James Anderson and Adil Rashid dug in and India, in more than five overs of trying, failed to dislodge either of them. It is but a minor irritation. For a team that arrived at Trent Bridge fresh off an embarrassing thrashing and 2-0 down in the series, this has been an extraordinary revival.

Jasprit Bumrah was at the forefront of things on the fourth day, taking five for 85, an effort that included a sharp four-wicket burst after tea. England, set an improbable 521 for victory, was on 311 for nine at stumps, having survived another day.

But only just. Jos Buttler led the home side’s resistance with a maiden Test hundred, but even the most optimistic of English supporters would not have dreamt of dodging this bullet.

It all unravelled spectacularly once the second new ball was taken, an hour and a half after tea. Buttler and Ben Stokes had added 169 runs for the fifth wicket, battling, hoping, delaying the near-inevitable. They had batted together for some four and half hours when Buttler left a Bumrah delivery alone and the ball cut back in to rap him on the front pad.

Chris Gaffaney raised his finger; Kohli erupted. A review did not spare Buttler, who was gone for 106. Out walked Jonny Bairstow, who having suffered a fracture in his middle finger on Monday was pushed down the order.


He was bowled first ball, Bumrah striking the top of off-stump with a fine delivery. Chris Woakes survived the hat-trick ball but he departed in Bumrah's next over, claimed by a scorching, well-directed bouncer. Stokes, who had – against his nature – batted with much caution, fell for 62 soon after. Stuart Broad, who faced a hostile reception for his outburst at Rishabh Pant earlier in the match, and Rashid added 50 runs for the ninth wicket. Bumrah got rid of Broad, but he could not claim a sixth wicket.

An hour into the morning's play, though, it appeared that England was in a hurry to pack up. The host had emerged unscathed from nine potentially nasty overs late on the third evening, but any dreams of a miracle were quickly shattered.

It took India all of five balls to break through, Ishant Sharma removing a hapless Keaton Jennings for 13. The ball was angled in from around the wicket and it moved away from the batsman upon pitching; Jennings had little option but to play at it, and the edge was gratefully accepted by the wicket-keeper. In his next over, Ishant accounted for Alastair Cook in similar fashion, the 11th time he had dismissed the batsman. England's openers have now scored a paltry 174 runs in total over the three Tests.

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Joe Root struggled against Jasprit Bumrah, fending, poking, guessing, until he eventually prodded at one ball and nicked off, K.L. Rahul flawless at second slip. Ollie Pope rather unwisely thrashed at a wide delivery from Mohammed Shami and was held at third slip, where Kohli grabbed the ball flying to his left. India's catching had been flawless till that point.

That changed, however, when Pant dropped Buttler on 1. The batsman had edged Bumrah and Pant, who had taken a couple of steps to the leg-side already, was caught wrong-footed.

After lunch, though, Buttler and Stokes grew in confidence. They drove the ball through the covers, flicked it through mid-wicket and even slog-swept R. Ashwin. Buttler was also fortunate: edges either did not carry, squirted through between two slip fielders, or flew through gully when India had no man there.

It did not help India that Ashwin, who had spent time off the field on the second day with a stiff hip, did not seem at his absolute best. Buttler and Stokes remained undefeated at tea, their partnership in excess of a hundred. It was, though, only going to be a matter of time, this day or the next.

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