LONDON: The sun took a long time to peep out from behind the clouds, but it wasn’t exactly shining on the Indians. The bleak, cloudy morning at Lord’s had done enough damage to India and by the time a beautiful twilight settled down over Lord’s, India were bowled out for 107 in 35.2 overs on Day 2 of the second Test. The famed Indian line-up had no clue how to deal with the king of swing, James Anderson (5-20), who is now one short of 100 wickets at Lord’s.
After the first day’s play was completely rained off, there were two stoppages within the first three hours. By the time Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane came back after tea to resurrect India’s batting, the visitors were down to 15-3. The duo held fort for 55 minutes, playing out the seam and swing of Anderson and Stuart Broad, but there was no letup in pressure as Chris Woakes and Sam Curran followed. Kohli, after playing and missing for quite a while, was let off by Jos Buttler on 19 off Woakes. But Woakes kept extracting movement off a damp pitch and Kohli edged the very next ball to go back for 23.
The middle-order batsmen tried to take a leaf out of the Kohli book and took stance outside the crease to deal with the swing, but it’s difficult to adjust to a new style so quickly on such a difficult pitch. The likes of Ajinkya Rahane (18), Hardik Pandya (11) and Dinesh Karthik (1) tried to scratch around for a while, but they lacked the technique to deal with such severe interrogation.
Ashwin (29) preferred staying back at his crease and he looked a little more comfortable than the more recognized batsmen in the line-up. He tried playing late and connected a few, but all that was damage control.
What Anderson, with the aid of a little bit of grass and a cloud cover, can do at Lord’s was there for everyone to see. The sky was closing in and after Joe Root put India in, it was common knowledge that rain was around the corner. So Anderson had to make the most of the conditions and it took him five balls to produce that magic delivery. It swung very late, squared opener M Vijay up and knocked his off-stump back.
KL Rahul (8) was promoted to open the batting after Shikhar Dhawan was dropped, but the Karnataka player didn’t look comfortable at all against the moving ball. It was just a matter of time before Anderson would induce the edge. Just as Rahul got dismissed, caught by the keeper, the heavens opened up and the players were off for the first time.
It was almost after a two-hour stoppage that the match started for the second time. This time too, everyone knew it wouldn’t be too long before the game would be stopped. In fact, Cheteshwar Pujara (1), returning to the team, and Kohli ran off once just as the rain had started but before the England team could get back into the dressing-room, it stopped and the umpires asked the two Indian batsmen to come back and take guard again.
It was probably just a minute’s stoppage, but it was enough to disturb the concentration of Kohli and Pujara.