It tipped down at Lord’s on Thursday. And it tipped down at Lord’s for most of Friday too. But during the brief intervals when the players actually made it onto the field, the wickets rained down in torrents too. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if yesterday was the tipping point of the whole series.
With the weather set fair for Saturday, England’s batsmen should capitalise on the Gods generosity and all but wrap up the series over the next three days. They’ll never have a better chance to go 2-0 up. And if that happens it’s a long, long, way back for an India team that have looked anything like the world’s No.1 ranked test nation on this tour so dar.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch yesterday’s action for two reasons. Firstly, I’m still between houses. And secondly, although I’m still able to watch Sky Go on my tablet, some numpty (who may or may not have been me) left the iPad upstairs when I was ensconced on the sofa in my father in law’s sitting room. Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem, even for a lazy sod who struggles to get his arse most days, but I’m currently suffering from a back injury and I literally can’t move. Add a few doses of Diazepam to the equation – every back spasm has a silver lining I guess – and upstairs might as well have been the Faroe Islands. Another room has never seemed so far away. And with the Mrs out with the kids, yesterday was a story of me, a playstation, the Witcher 3, and Naproxen. Imagine my annoyance when I discovered that I couldn’t drink my customary beer in the evening either.
Anyway I digress. This is a cricket blog rather than the diary of an idiot with a back made of balsa wood. And fortunately, due to the joys of social media, I have been able to watch yesterday’s wickets and ask everyone else what they thought of the action. Below is a summary:
Apparently England bowled beautifully – oh how sweet it will be when Jimmy Anderson sails past Glen McGrath’s test wickets record – but India also batted like a bunch of middle-aged losers on Diazepam. A common narrative was that their batsmen struggled in alien conditions much like our batsmen struggle in alien conditions in the subcontinent. However, judging by the below tweet, conditions really couldn’t have favoured the bowlers more.
James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes & Sam Curran with a new Dukes ball bowling on a venomous Lord’s pitch spiced up by rain and with dark, apocalyptic skies above. Batting doesn’t get much tougher than that in Test cricket. #EngvInd pic.twitter.com/nWJyYFPSOs
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) August 10, 2018
Having seen the wickets (which I accept aren’t a true reflection of events) not too many batsmen threw their wickets away. The dismissals that stuck in my mind were Anderson’s jaffa to dismiss Vijay and Woakes’ top nut that roasted Kohli. Had England caught better then India might not have made triple figures.
Naturally one could argue that India’s batsmen could’ve left the ball better, and their footwork was less than exemplary, but I think most sides would’ve struggled against Jimmy in those conditions. And let’s not forget that the last time England’s bowlers enjoyed such helpful conditions they knocked Australia over for 60 back in 2015 at Trent Bridge. Perhaps India should thank their lucky stars that Stuart Broad was somewhat below his best yesterday or things could have got very messy indeed.
The big hypothetical, of course, is what might have happened if Kohli had won the toss yesterday? I think we can safely say that England’s weak-as-a-kitten batting line-up would’ve struggled big time too. As it stands, however, if we get a decent enough start tomorrow then the likes of Pope, Bairstow, and Buttler can really make hay under zero pressure against demoralised opposition. And that’s a very dangerous position for India to be in.
In fact, I’m tempted to put a fork in India now. In this game at least, they’re possibly done already. Their only hope is that England’s batsmen have a tendency to self-destruct too.