England v India: Tourists Bat Out Day To Draw First Test
India survived a scare to draw the first Test at Trent Bridge and extend England’s winless run to nine matches.England raised their hopes of victory by taking three quick wickets on the final morning to reduce India to 184-6 – a lead of just 145.
But debutant Stuart Binny’s composed 78 steered the tourists away from danger, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (63 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (31) also making key contributions as India reached 391-9 declared – 252 in front.
As Alastair Cook rotated his part-time bowlers in the final hour, the game ended in comical scenes as the captain claimed his first Test wicket by having Ishant Sharma caught down the leg side before wheeling off in celebration.
England’s run without a win – dating back to the draw at The Oval in the final Ashes Test in August 2013 – is their longest since 1992-93, while India have now gone 15 away Tests without victory.
However, beleaguered captain Cook will take comfort from the way his team recovered their poise to give themselves an outside chance of victory on a largely lifeless pitch.
Ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special
|“I’ve always tried to say to people that we have a responsibility to play decent cricket, but we’re always dependent on the 22 yards. How do you think they would play tennis at Wimbledon if the court was bumpy? This wasn’t a contest. There wasn’t much in it for any of the bowlers.”|
In a match that featured two century partnerships for the final wicket for the first time, India held the upper hand when they reduced England to 202-7 on day three in reply to 457.
But an astonishing Test record stand of 198 between Joe Root and James Anderson gave England an unlikely lead and provided a platform for the hosts to put India under pressure on the final day.
Resuming on 167-3 on Sunday, 128 ahead, India were put under pressure as Anderson and Broad found some reverse swing on an overcast morning.
Broad trapped Virat Kohli lbw for eight with a full, inswinging delivery in the second over of the day, and struck again in his next over when he drew a nick from Ajinkya Rahane through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
A pitch that for four days had done nothing to assist the bowlers suddenly appeared a minefield: the ball fizzing and spitting at angles and beating the bat regularly.
England v India Test series
|9-13 July||First Test, Trent Bridge – draw|
|17-21 July||Second Test, Lord’s|
|27-31 July||Third Test, Southampton|
|7-11 August||Fourth Test, Old Trafford|
|15-19 August||Fifth Test, The Oval|
With Jadeja missing more often than he hit, it was at the other end where England almost broke through. Anderson found the edge of Dhoni’s bat but Cook put down a simple waist-high catch at first slip.
Liam Plunkett spared his captain’s blushes with his first ball as a full, fast and straight delivery brushed off Dhoni’s pads and smashed into his stumps.
With England in the ascendancy, India needed an innings of substance and Binny obliged.
Showing character and courage, the son of India’s 1983 World Cup final hero Roger Binny eschewed risk as he accumulated steadily and occasionally penetrated England’s attacking fields with cuts and drives.
He added a crucial 91 for the seventh wicket with Jadeja, whose frenetic innings was ended by the new ball when he nicked an away swinger from Anderson through to Prior.
Ex-England spinner Graeme Swann on Test Match Special
|“At the start of the summer England were thinking perhaps we don’t really need a spinner, but that’s been shown to be a ludicrous idea. He needs to bowl 30-40 overs in the second innings, and part-time spinners are not good enough to do that.”|
For the second time in the match, Kumar belied his position in the batting order to frustrate the hosts.
Cook accepted the game was up and withdrew his fast bowlers from the firing line, no doubt mindful of the second Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday, for which England have recalled Lancashire left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan a year after his chastening debut.
Binny was denied a debut hundred when he was lbw to Moeen Ali, but Kumar batted on to the close.
As the match meandered to its inevitable conclusion, there was time for frivolity as Gary Ballance bowled an over of highly credible leg-spin in between two hilarious overs from Cook.
In the second, a long-hop down the leg side was flicked into Prior’s gloves by Ishant to provide a light-hearted end to the match.
Listen to Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew review the day’s play on the Test Match Special podcast.