India 338 for 7 (Pant 146, Jadeja 83*, Anderson 3-52, Potts 2-85) vs England
On a rain-interrupted day in which only 73 overs were possible, India galloped to 338 for 7 at the rate of 4.63 per over. Bazball? Well, Rishabh Pant was doing it long before the term was coined, and he moves to no one else’s rhythm but his own. He scored his fifth Test hundred and his second in England, a breathtaking 146 off just 111 balls.
Jadeja, meanwhile, began his innings with India in considerable strife and calmed the dressing room down with an innings of crisp driving and discipline outside off stump. At close of play, he was still batting on 83.
Seven overs remain before the second new ball is due, and while India’s first-innings total is already well within the realms of respectability, it is by no means a safe one. Their hopes of getting to 375 or beyond rest with Jadeja, and how much support he can get from their brittle bottom three.
With a two-hour rain break – which included the 40 minutes of an early lunch – allowing him to rest his legs when the ball was still new, Anderson bowled 15 of the first 35 overs of the day. But he only bowled four of the last 38 overs, a time when England could have done with their other bowlers stepping up.
Pant took 59 runs off Leach, off just 32 balls, and 46 of these runs came through the leg side despite the left-arm spinner bowling with six fielders on that side of the wicket, including three protecting the boundary. He launched the ball thrillingly down the ground, as you might expect, but the highlight of Pant’s takedown of Leach was probably the way he manipulated his quicker, flatter change-ups by sinking halfway onto his back knee and sweeping, swiping or swatting him either side of deep backward square leg. He was quite likely lbw if he missed, but at no time did he seem remotely likely to miss.
These two shots came during a passage of play immediately after tea when India wrested the momentum entirely away from England, with Potts conceding 37 runs in a five-over spell, only to give way to the even more expensive Leach, who eventually ended the day nursing figures of 9-0-71-0. At the other end, Anderson and then Stuart Broad could only apply so much salve.
Eventually it was Joe Root who dismissed Pant, finding the edge with a clever change of pace immediately after being hit for a straight six. Ben Stokes dismissed Shardul Thakur soon after with a sharp bouncer, giving England a welcome sight of India’s tail after being under the pump for so long.