James Anderson couldn’t make much impact in the second innings of the Lord’s Test, finishing with figures of 29-11-77-1. However, he may have caused a bigger harm to his team on the second day of the series when he tried to needle Ravindra Jadeja.
That Jadeja didn’t react despite being pushed around must have surprised many back home. Known for a short fuse, he is wiser by the experience gained from travelling the world and handled the situation maturely. But, he is not among those to be cowed down. The retaliation had to come. And it came at Lord’s in the second innings on Sunday.
With a sensational counter-attacking innings of 68, the all-rounder took the game away from the hosts on the fourth day.
It was a day he could do no wrong. Back with the ball, he struck with his very first delivery, winning a leg before appeal against opener Sam Robson. Thereafter, the pacers took over to push England to the brink of defeat. At 105 for four, chasing 319 to win, the hosts have their backs to the wall on a tricky pitch.
The stunning turnaround started after opener Murali Vijay fell on 95. He had been the rock which had kept the India innings glued together. England had worked their way back into the game with three wickets as India slipped to 235 for seven. The new ball was due, and their main bowler, Anderson, was well rested and thirsty for Jadeja’s scalp.
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On the other hand, he had been demoted in the batting order for a newcomer, Stuart Binny — a sign of the captain’s lack of confidence. It was in this situation that Jadeja joined Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
His swing bowling was expected to be the key but Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s batting at No 9 in both Tests has made a huge difference for India. (AFP Photo)
In the first innings, his walk from the dressing room to the wicket had been accompanied by continuous boos. When Jadeja started his walk back on Sunday after facing only 57 balls, the stadium gave him a standing ovation.
Having looked all at sea against the moving ball in the series, none at Lord’s would have envisaged a counter-attack at that stage. When it came, it surely caught England off-guard. Jadeja first made his intentions clear with a ferocious pull against Stuart Broad before going after his rival, Anderson. His first spell with the second new ball was 7-1-39-1.
The bowlers were unsettled with charges down the track. When they tried to bounce him, he responded with powerful horizontal bat shots. What hurt England more was that runs were coming from both ends with Kumar playing a great supporting role, displaying solid technique.
In the first 10 overs after lunch, the two amassed 66 runs with Jadeja hitting 30 and Kumar 31. Their eighth-wicket 99-run partnership in 100 balls, seemed to flatten the home team.
When England began their chase of 319, the figure of Jadeja was back chasing after them. At the total of 12, he removed Robson.
Ishant Sharma breathed fire from the Pavilion End. He first cleaned up Ian Bell and then had skipper Alastair Cook edging to Dhoni to take two wickets in seven balls. Such had been the pressure built up by the India pacers that when Moeen Ali hit his first ball for four, it had come after 13 overs.
In 16 games at Lord’s, India have won one, in 1986. Save the weather, they should be confident of wrapping up their second ever win at the home of cricket on Monday.