IND VS ENG: Led by James Anderson, England rip sorry India apart for 78

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Indian batsmen came out to bat at Headingley expecting a boatload of rib-roasters from the England fast bowlers, but what they eventually got were carrots dangled outside their off-stumps.

And guess what? They fell for it. After the heady high of Lord’s where the noise was backed by gripping performances, Virat Kohli & Co cut a sorry figure when they were rolled over for 78 (40.4 overs) in their first innings after deciding to bat first on a moisture-laden surface on Day 1 of the third Test.

It was India’s lowest score in England since they were shot out for 42 at Lord’s in 1974 and it was the ageless James Anderson again who did the bulk of the damage in his opening spell.
The 39-year-old took 3/6 in his only spell which lasted eight overs. The rest of the scalps were shared by Ollie Robinson (2/16), Sam Curran (2/27), and Craig Overton (3/14).

The success of openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in the first two Tests had papered over the noticeable frailty of India’s middle-order. Today it was thoroughly exposed. The bowlers have often bailed out the team in this series. But even for the formidable pace quartet, extracting a positive outcome from this game looks like a bridge too far.
England’s latest opening pair (22nd in last 10 years) – Rory Burns (52*) and Haseeb Hameed (60*) – took 28 overs to wipe off the deficit and look poised to stretch the lead (42) further after finishing the opening day at 120 for no loss. The only thing that went the tourists’ way was the toss. Kohli called it right after losing eight in a row and decided to field an unchanged XI.

Left ruffled after the fiasco at Lord’s, the hosts looked sharp and focused as they kept the Indian batsmen engaged outside the corridor. They were helped by the overhead conditions which aided swing, seam bowling, and some indiscipline by the Indian batsmen.

Anderson tasted blood on the fifth delivery of the morning when he invited KL Rahul (0) for a drive. The overconfident Indian opener, fresh from his heroics in the previous Test, attempted to get off the mark with a boundary but instead gave Jos Buttler his first of five catches.

It was also the first time Anderson had picked a wicket in his opening spell in nine innings this summer. He didn’t have to wait too long for his second when Cheteshwar Pujara (1) hung his bat out to a genuine outswinger.

For a top-order batsman who has played Test cricket for over a decade, Pujara probably needs to rework his game to stay in business as the mode of his dismissals have been eerily similar in recent times.
Just when it looked as if Rohit Sharma and Kohli had steadied things, Anderson teased the Indian skipper with a slightly fuller delivery outside the off-stump. Kohli’s eyes lit up but all he could do was produce an edge for Buttler to complete an easy catch.

Ajinkya Rahane, the second highest scorer of the innings with 18, fell at the stroke of lunch as he poked his bat at a climbing Robinson delivery.

Even as wickets fell around him, Rohit Sharma looked at ease against the moving ball. His footwork was decisive and he left more deliveries than he played even as he crawled his way to 19 off 105 deliveries.

The opener however, got himself into a tangle while trying to pull Overton and spooned the ball to mid-on. It was the third time Rohit had fallen to the pull shot. India lost six wickets for 11 runs in the post-lunch session, four of them on 67.

Kohli inexplicably chose to start with Ishant Sharma, who looked short of rhythm, instead of tossing the ball to Jasprit Bumrah who has enjoyed an edge over Burns. It was one of the many errors India made.

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