India all out 365 (Sundar 96 not out) a lead of 160
The agony is over for England, but what agony to come? Time for three or four overs before lunch. Just rewards for Stokes, the breakthrough made possible by a quick-thinking bit of fielding by Bairstow. Superb batting by Axar Patel and the unlucky (and crestfallen) Washington Sundar, who took their feet to England and stretched India’s lead into the far distance.
WICKET! Siraj bowled Stokes 0
That’s it! After three quarters of a session of toil, England take 3-0. Siraj is surprised by a pitched up which passes through a wide open gate. Sundar is stranded on 96, and Stokes has four wickets for his sweet efforts.
WICKET! Sharma lbw Stokes 0
First ball! Ishant lumbers in front of the stumps and is speared right in front of them. Sundar looks at the approaching Siraj like a man whose confidence has spilt suddenly out of his boots.
114th over: India 363-7 (Sundar 96, Ishant 0) So the breakthrough comes with a run-out, which is probably all it was ever going to be.
WICKET! Axar Patel run out 43
From nowhere! A smashing bit of fielding from Jonny Bairstow, who whips the ball in to Root who removes the bails with Axar a few inches short. Sent back by Sundar for a crazy run that was never there.
112th over: India 363-7 (Sundar 95, Axar 42) Dom Bess dives with all his might – and prevents a low-legged pull from Axar running across the boundary, a shot that brings up the century partnership. 104 off 173 balls. Six from Stokes’s over – time for a change, but who? Do none of these England batsmen bowl dibbly-dobblies?
“Topnof the Morning to you Tanya!” Hello Amitabh Mukherjee!
“What Clive missed pointing out is, 194-300 is the average AQI in Ahmedabad. It’s 250 in parts of Delhi. As Indians, we’re radioactive ️. At least our lungs are anyway. Not a proud moment just a fact Axar taking in lungfuls of that freshness to bring up his 50 and Sundar hid 100. Another fantastic rearguard fightback like at the SCG/Gabba. Dawn of the Asian Era. Secret might just be in Radioactiveness of our lads. Just ask Imagine Dragons.”
111th over: India 357-7 (Sundar 91, Axar 40) Root turns one and it detonates out of the foot holes, just evading Axar’s bat. Not really what England really wanted to see, though Axar will be delighted.
And now we see the ground from the air, pollution obscuring much of the view of the city.
110th over: India 351-7 (Sundar 90, Axar 37) Stokes’ average speed has slowly dropped throughout the match, according to the figures on the television. But not the effort. He looks such an athlete these days, gone are any days of puppy fat.
Going back to Clive Pullinger’s point about the air pollution, this is where the authorities, local and ICC, have repeatedly turned a blind eye and failed their own players.
109th over: India 349-7 (Sundar 89, Axar 36) Root, shirt buttoned (buttoned?) at the wrist, wheels in . Ears pinking in the severe heat. Low arm, and makes it spin, and bounce, out of the dust.
“Foreign pacers do struggle so often on the dustbowls of India,” writes Ayan Chakrabarti. “But the craft and class of Jimmy Anderson in this series is simply unparalleled in recent history. Despite being an Indian supporter my heart bleeds to seem him soldier on sans much support.”
He, I’m sure, would thank you – once he’s recovered.
108th over: India 347-7 (Sundar 88, Axar 35) In the television studio they’re thinking that the pitch is either nicely paced and easy to bat on; or these two youngsters are playing out of their skins. I guess we’ll see whenever England managed to get them out and pad up themselves. In the meantime, Stokes bowls from wide of the crease and slams the ball into the pitch and it rises awkwardly on Axar who stabs the ball away. More short balls follow. I ache just watching them. Just noticed Ben Foakes behind the stumps for the first time today – in the unobtrusiveness stakes, highly valued for a keeper, he scores highly.
107th over: India 344-7 (Sundar 86, Axar 34) Joe Root searches around the field and turns to … himself. A decent enough over, just a couple of singles. That’s drinks and time for me to find a blanket to cover my chilly knees. Such glamour on the OBO. India lead by 139 runs.
106th over: India 342-7 (Sundar 85, Axar 33) Stokes thunders through another over, leaking four runs to a couple of wristy shots from Sundar.
Good morning Saurabh Raye! “This is with reference to ‘All the while India – the Brazil of cricket teams in 2021- can lick their fingers at what a day three pitch might do’
Brazil is usually the neutrals favourite and a liked team overall for a casual follower of football.As an India supporter there is a distinctively uncomfortable feeling that with the IPL riches and a powerful BCCI , the Indian cricket team is really not universally liked or the neutrals favourite anymore ( assuming it ever was), That honour goes to New Zealand.”
A very good point. A better football pundit than me is needed here. Could India, then, be the Barcelona of football?
105th over: India 338-7 (Sundar 76, Axar 33) Washington Sundar, lithe of limb, power-taps Leach straight back through his ankles for four.
“Anybody looked at the air quality index at the ground in Ahmedabad today?” asks Clive Pullinger. “Not sure it’s healthy to be playing today.”
That’s a very good point Clive. The live index confirms your suspicion: 194 US AQI which is unhealthy. Health recommendations suggest: wear a mask outside, shut all windows, run an air purifier and AVOID OUTDOOR EXERCISE.
105th over: India 333-7 ( Sundar 76 , Axar 33) It is the mighty Stokes, long Dennis Compton hair held back by a mixture of sweat and oil. He challenges straight away, one from the over.
104th over: India 332-7 ( Sundar 76 , Axar 33) The pitch has no devil – at least for these Indian batsmen who’ve been out there for three-quarters of an hour now this morning. First Sundar launches Leach over mid-on for a single, then Axar does it better – a saucy six!
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen that “Walking like a dude” ad, and as someone who has been consuming content mostly off my laptop/phone (sans ads), I can only giggle at the absurdity of some advertisements, “chuckles Kanishk Srinivasan
“ And also pity the poor director who has to tell a glowering Virat Kohli to dance and “walk like a dude”. The phrase somehow seems to accurately define his gait, but at the same time, I somehow imagine that it’s explicit usage would irritate him to no end.
I’m wondering if there are other phrases that would capture someone’s essence, but would also irritate if they’re mentioned. Any suggestions from either you or the beloved OBO community?”
So true! My favourite bit is the jumper pull about half way through and the hand sign that accompanies “dude” but I’ve already watched it far far too many times..
103rd over: India 323-7 ( Sundar 73 , Axar 26) Anderson accelerates through another over.
“Back in the 90s there was a British TV comedy set in a TV news room called Drop the Dead Donkey.” writes Martin O’Connor
“Each week they would drop in a few jokes from the week’s news to make the show more topical.
I still remember one episode where a character is looking at a monitor and laments ‘look at these cricket scores. There’s a whole generation of children growing up who think that England batting collapse is all one word’.”
102nd over: India 322-7 ( Sundar 73 , Axar 26) Just one comes from Leach’s over this time.
Aha! An email from Tim de Lisle – who is watching for pleasure in this small hour. Apparently his email address is at the top of the page not mine, while we fix things, please email me any thoughts on email@example.com.
101st over: India 321-7 ( Sundar 72 , Axar 26) Anderson decides short balls are the answer, slotting in three in a row. Sundar pivots and hooks, a shot that deserves more than the single it picks up. Patel drives at a fuller one, misses, then ducks a shorter one and Jimmy looks cranky now. Time for a bowling change. India are now 116 runs ahead.
100th over: India 320-7 ( Sundar 71 , Axar 26) Patel shimmies, and slices Leach over mid-on just a bounce short of being a six. Leach looks anguished. He swing and misses a couple of balls later then connects with the last, lovely feet again, and this time the ball glides through the covers for another four.
99th over: India 312-7 ( Sundar 71 , Axar 18) A snifter to mid-on and Anderson leaks his first runs of the morning. he gets his revenge by crashing the ball into Sundar’s groin a couple of balls later. Medical attention runs on the pitch and everyone takes a breather.
As if Joe Root had just read this tweet from Sambit Bal, Root gently removes Bess and hands the ball to Leach.
98th over: India 309-7 ( Sundar 70 , Axar 16) A slightly less good start by Bess this time around. Sundar charges his first ball and swings him straight, dancing feet in a puff of dust, for six. An even better shot from the second, a fullish toss, which, with low back knee, and all angles, he cruises past cover for four. Ten from the over, which somewhat negates Anderson’s maidens at the other end.
97th over: India 299-7 ( Sundar 60 , Axar 16) Another maiden for Anderson, man made machine. We get a breakdown of yesterday, it is stark. First session: 65 runs, 3 wickets, second session: 73 runs, two wickets, third session: 141 runs, one wicket.
96th over: India 299-7 ( Sundar 60 , Axar 16) Joe Root throws the balls to Dom Bess and… he largely repays his faith. A lovely looping ball to start, the second is driven just a LPs width back past his diving hand for four. Then steady as she goes, and narry a full toss.
On the radio, they think he’s shortened his run up a little.
95th over: India 294-7 ( Sundar 60 , Axar 11) It’s Jimmy Anderson with the ball, ankle support low on his left leg, thick white wristbands on both arms like thick slashes of vanilla custard. It’s a maiden, an excellent maiden, the last ball sliding past the outside edge of a probing Sundar.
We see footage of Joe Root addressing England in a patch of shade on the side of the ground. Stokes looks knackered but determined. Here is Pant on yesterday’s wizardry.
And here come the players.
Graeme Swann is in the middle of at Ahmedabad. “Pant’s hundred is one of the best I’ve ever seen.” And more worryingly for England. “That wicket, I’ve had a look at it today -IT IS A DUSTBOWL. One thing England can take from Pant is how he played with his feet, he smothered it before counter-attacking. It is 39 degrees and feels like 50.”
Good morning from Manchester wherever you are in the world. Play starts in 15 minutes. A pertinent tweet from Ali Martin to start your day.
And Pant’s innings gives me the excuse to play this advert again for all those in need of skin care advice whilst walking like a dude.
What a bubble bath of effervescence and impish genius, what sorcery of hand-eye co-ordination, what strutting, bounding self belief. Rishabh Pant’s hundred may not have been quite as pressurised as his 89 not out in that run-chase against Australia at the Gabba, but it turned what had hitherto been a close match, into one looking terminal for Joe Root and his tired men. And pencilled India into the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand in June.
A night’s sleep can only bring so much replenishment for England after three hard sessions in 38 degree heat and a post-tea spanking from Pant. Even Ben Stokes, who drinks nightly at the well of unquenchable strength, was spent yesterday evening. I hope someone bought Dom Bess dinner last night, how alone you must feel on an Indian cricket field with full tosses in your fingers and head and a dancing princeling at the other end. 89 behind, England must dismiss Washington Sundar – who has played beautifully for his 60 – quickly and hope the tail fall in a heap. And then the batting pulls off the greatest of great escapes.
All the while India – the Brazil of cricket teams in 2021- can lick their fingers at what a day three pitch might do.
I’ll be here around 3.30GMT, with a hot water bottle and a bucket of tea. Don’t miss what could yet be the final day of the series.