A remarkable day for Indian cricket concluded as India won at the Home of Cricket for the third time in their history. A match that looked like a cracker right from the first day but witnessed all the fireworks on the ultimate day.
Let's review a Test match that will go down in the history books of Indian cricket. The hosts had won the toss and put India to bat. However, when asked about what he would've done had he won the toss, Kohli said he would've preferred to bowl too.
Seeing India bat first on Lord's pitch on day 1 felt that it would be an arduous job putting runs on the board. However, the openers set the tone in the most convincing matter, building a partnership of 126 runs before Rohit Sharma was bowled by a gem of delivery by James Anderson.
Many felt that the "Hitman" deserved a century but luck was not on his side as he departed for 83. KL Rahul ensured that his intent was clear and kept batting, while India's number 3, Cheteshwar Pujara disappointed the Indian fans again after he got dismissed at 9 in a similar fashion as he had been in the past.
Virat Kohli had a poor first Test and it was time for the Indian skipper to show more character and determination in his approach and try to avert his past mistakes. India looked on course to score 400 but KL Rahul's dismissal at 129 followed by Ajinkya Rahane losing his wicket just after scoring a run from the 23 balls he faced.
Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja steered India to cross the 350-run mark but Mark Wood brought an end to both their innings. India were summed up for 364 with Anderson's fifer and KL Rahul's 129 being the major highlights of the Test match so far.
It was now England's turn to bat and after losing two wickets at 23, it was Joe Root who came out to bat, building an 85-run partnership with Rory Burns who then got out for 49.
Jonny Bairstow stepped up his game and showed why he could be a great Test batsman as he scored some astonishing shots that got the English crowd cheering.
Bairstow lost his wicket to Siraj when he was on 57, followed by Jos Buttler who scored only 23. Moeen Ali didn't have the best day with the bat either as he departed for 27 and as the England tail approached, India wasted no time in getting rid of them.
James Anderson was subjected to some challenging deliveries by Jasprit Bumrah and after his wicket, England were all out for 391 with a decent 27-run lead.
With two days remaining, Virat and co. had to start well but Rahul and Rohit couldn't reproduce their first innings performances and India 27/2, in a similar position to England were in the first innings.
However, the difference was the skippers, Joe Root on one side scoring an unbeaten 180, while the wickets kept going from the other end, and on the other side, Virat Kohli, who desperately put his bat on a delivery that didn't need any contact as Kohli departed for 20 by Sam Curran.
India were 55/3 with Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara on the crease. Two batsmen who are going through a rough patch for a while now, a duo that faced a lot of backlash, with demands that they were dropped from the side.
India under trouble!
Both these experienced India batsmen had a point to prove and there couldn't have been a better opportunity for themselves to if not restore all the faith in them again but at least tell the world that doing their job wasn't everyone's cup of tea.
The duo started slow but helped India's boat from sinking as they added a vital 100 runs to India's scoreboard. They were looking good until Pujara faced an awkward bouncing short delivery that forced an edge and Mark Wood scalped Pujara, five runs before Pujara could register his first fifty in over ten innings in the Test.
Around three overs post-Pujara's wicket, Rahane lost his wicket too on 61. Ravindra Jadeja was unfortunate too as he got beaten by one of the best deliveries of the game by Moeen Ali. India were 175/6 at the end of day 4 and the hosts were pretty confident going into day 5. Their belief began turning into reality as Rishabh Pant departed early on day 5, with India on 194/7.
However, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah came on the crease with great determination this time and looked confident from the first ball each of them faced. While Shami batted in his natural attacking style, Jasprit Bumrah was fired up too after a war of words with James Anderson. India's tail was not just serving but this time the tail was wagging and the English didn't know what to do.
They hit the short balls away, struck Moeen Ali for gigantic boundaries, and even James Anderson couldn't take the vengeance he wanted from Bumrah.
After a few overs in the post-Lunch session, Virat Kohli decided to withdraw his troops as India had more than what they anticipated to be on the board when they lost Rishabh Pant.
The decisive 60 odd overs
England had to chase 272 runs with almost two sessions to play. After India's brilliant batting display, especially by Bumrah and Shami, the Indian dressing room was fired up to give everything they had on the pitch. Virat and co. wanted to have an impact early in the innings and things went according to plan as England lost both their openers with just a run on the scoreboard.
Joe Root and Haseeb Hameed batted for a while but Ishant Sharma's introduction into the bowling attack reaped its fruits as a sharp inspiring delivery took Hameed by surprise who was then dismissed for just 9. Joe Root's wicket was the one India were looking for, and now Jonny Bairstow was out to bat. Ishant Sharma then started troubling both the English batsmen and on the last ball before the tea break, Jonny Bairstow succumbed to a sumptuous delivery by the Indian veteran.
The umpire gave a not-out decision for India's LBW appeal but Kohli went with his instincts as he mentioned in his post-match interview, and India got their fourth wicket, with England on 67. India commenced the final session in the same way they left it as England's most dependable batsman and skipper Joe Root knicked a ball from Jasprit Bumrah that fell in the safe hands of King Kohli and now India got rid of their biggest threat that could've stopped them from winning this test, England were 67/5.
England then lost a couple of wickets and were 90/7 as Moeen Ali and Sam Curran walked back to the pavilion in quick succession. India were just three wickets away from winning the test. Ollie Robinson tried everything in his capacity but once again, it was Jasprit Bumrah who got him LBW, followed by Jos Buttler who lost his wicket to Siraj, and then was James Anderson who had no answer to a cracking ball from Siraj as he was clean bowled and India registered a win at the Lords, going 1-0 ahead in the five-match Test series.
The best performers
# When we talk about the best performers, the likes of KL Rahul, Joe Root, Rohit Sharma were brilliant in the first innings. James Anderson's fifer helped England restrict India within 400. Even though the Indian pacers had a great game, it was Mohammed Siraj who stood out in both innings, picking four wickets in each of them.
# Ishant Sharma got rid of England's lower middle-order in the first innings but took crucial wickets of Haseeb Hameed and Jonny Bairstow at a time when England were looking to settle in the game.
# Mark Wood may have been expensive but he picked five wickets in the entire match, some very crucial ones.
# Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami were the bowlers who gave India the perfect start in the fourth innings. Ironically, it was courtesy of these two players only that India managed such a respectable total and were fired up to defend with everything they had left in their tanks. The 89* run partnership between these two was the biggest highlight of the Lord's test and it deserved to be in the history books.
That being said, the partnership became India's highest ninth-wicket partnership in Tests in England, something India and the Indians won't forget for years. With incessant criticism on India's tail for many years, this innings was probably the best reply they could get. As the skipper mentioned, Shami and Bumrah seem more determined to prove their batting potentials and it will be interesting to see how they perform in the upcoming tests!
Credits to Rahane and Pujara as well who played a huge role in helping India get back on track. What do you think? Will India beat England in England this time? Or will the English come stronger in the next three tests? Let us know via your social media accounts.
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