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India’s thrilling win at Lord’s: ‘an extraordinary see-saw’ of a Test match

The final day of the second Test was a thrilling, if unusually bad-tempered, day of cricket

The final day of the second Test will surely go down as “one of the most intense in the 207- year history of Lord’s”, said Ali Martin in The Guardian. It began with England pressing for victory – having valiantly fought their way back into the game – but ended, at 6.35pm, with Mohammed Siraj sealing an astonishing 151-run victory for India with the “detonation of Jimmy Anderson’s off-stump”. Over the three sessions, watched by 25,800 spectators, both sets of players regularly “snarled and swore at each other”. This was a thrilling, if unusually bad-tempered, day of cricket.

And unfortunately, it was Joe Root’s men who “lost the plot”, said Mike Atherton in The Times. When play began, the match seemed theirs for the taking: India were 181-6 in their second innings – a lead of just 154 runs. Soon, England increased their advantage with the wickets of Ishant Sharma and Rishabh Pant. That brought “two rabbits” to the crease – Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. Yet inexplicably, England all of a sudden lost discipline and focus. With the field spread, they pelted Bumrah with bouncers – in attempted revenge for the paceman’s aggressive spell of bowling against Anderson two days earlier. The tactic backfired: Bumrah’s “stumps were rarely threatened”, and the two batsmen picked off runs with increasing ease. They ended up putting on an unbroken 89 for the ninth wicket – enabling captain Virat Kohli to declare shortly after lunch. Those watching professed dismay at England’s strategy; Michael Vaughan called it “schoolboy cricket”.

Now came England’s turn to bat, with a “nominal 272” in 60 overs the target, said Nick Hoult in The Daily Telegraph. Things got off to a disastrous start, when Dom Sibley and Rory Burns “became the first England openers ever to be dismissed for nought in the same innings of a home Test”. Further carnage followed: Haseeb Hameed and Jonny Bairstow fell for single figures, before Sam Curran achieved the ignoble feat of falling for the first ever king pair in a Test at Lord’s. Resistance came from predictable quarters: Root top scored with 33 – to follow his magnificent 180 not out in the first innings – and Jos Buttler hit a patient 25 from 96 balls. But defeat followed swiftly when these two departed; England’s final wicket fell with 49 balls remaining. 

What an “extraordinary, see-saw Test match” this was, said Simon Wilde in The Times. England’s “brain-fade” certainly contributed to India’s victory, but it was also testament to the “strong collective spirit” in Kohli’s squad: this is a side that relishes adversity, and never gives up. England, who now trail the five-match series 1-0, have their work cut out if they are to turn things round.

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