England bounced back with ball and bat on day two of the second LV= Insurance Test at Lord’s, leaning on the enduring class of James Anderson and Joe Root to carry the fight against India.
The tourists had dominated on the first day by piling on 276 for three, but found England in resilient form as the home of cricket turned ‘Red For Ruth’ in a fundraising effort for the Ruth Strauss Foundation.
The hosts swept up the seven remaining wickets for just 88 to bowl India out for 364, with Anderson wrapping up superb figures of five for 64. At 39, he remains one of the finest craftsmen in the game and walked away with the 31st five-wicket haul of his career – his seventh at Lord’s and fifth against India.
England’s reply threatened to spoil his hard work when Dom Sibley and the returning Haseeb Hameed were dismissed by consecutive Mohammed Siraj deliveries just after tea, but Root was once again able to dig his side out of a hole.
He shared an 85-run stand with Rory Burns (49) and finished unbeaten on 48 in a final score of 119 for three.
Things started in the positive way, with overnight centurion KL Rahul drilling Ollie Robinson straight to cover from the second ball of the morning. Having carried his bat through three full sessions on Thursday, he had finally coughed up an unforced error on 129.
Anderson made it two in as many overs when Ajinkya Rahane felt for one outside off stump and nicked it to Root. The electric start was partially defused by Rishabh Pant, who made a typically-colourful 37, charging Anderson and Mark Wood and dispatching Robinson’s attempted bouncers at will.
His fun stopped with a thin edge off Wood, exposing a lengthy tail. Ravindra Jadeja, with 40, attempted to protect them but England’s mopping up job was efficient. Moeen Ali got the first spinner’s wicket of the series when Mohammed Shami lobbed into the leg-side and Anderson produced a couple of deliveries that were simply too good for Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
Having sealed his five-for, Anderson held the catch as Jadeja hacked at Wood to end the innings.
England’s efforts in the field were, give or take, a best-case scenario given their undesirable starting point of 276 for three. But any sense of satisfaction will have been compromised by the next item on their to do list: produce a substantial first-innings of their own.
The flimsiness of the top order in recent times has hardly been a secret and the dropping of Zak Crawley this week was proof that head coach Chris Silverwood’s patience is running thin.
Against that backdrop, and faced with a challenging new-ball spell, Rory Burns and Dom Sibley did well to reach the tea break with their opening stand in tact after 14 overs.
Things were about to take a morale-sapping turn for the worse, though. Three balls into the evening session Siraj was on a hat-trick, Sibley and Hameed were alone with their thoughts after making costly errors and Root was once more invited to drag his team back from the brink.
Sibley was livid with the manner of his dismissal for 11, overbalancing and flicking the tamest of catches to short midwicket. That is the Warwickshire man’s bread-and-butter scoring area but increasingly a target for opponents who feel he is vulnerable to a loose shot.
Before stomping off, Sibley thrashed himself on the pads in self-flagellation in a very public show of anguish.
Enter Hameed, back at the highest level after almost five turbulent years away. Weeks ago he struck a century against the Indians in a warm-up match at Durham, but this was a miserable follow-up. Playing down the completely wrong line of a straight, length ball he was bowled middle and off stump.
At 23 for two Root strode out for his latest rescue attempt, beginning by seeing off Siraj’s hat-trick ball. Virat Kohli squandered two DRS referrals pursuing hopeful lbw appeals against his counterpart before England suddenly exploded into life with a flurry of five boundaries in eight balls.
Burns took three off Siraj, an off drive and two solid pulls, before Root followed with a cut and a thick edge off Ishant.
That was enough to take him past Graham Gooch’s career mark of 8,900 Test runs and into second place on England’s all-time list behind Sir Alastair Cook.
While the scoring was never going to continue at that rate, the tone had shifted and the pair continued to score busily until Burns was finally undone by Shami, lbw from round the wicket.
Root safely reached stumps with Jonny Bairstow for company, with plenty still to do for the Yorkshire duo.