The very next ball… this time Kohli reviews a huge turner that would have missed not only Broad’s stumps but his side-table as well. Not out.
Broad reviews an LBW and it is over-turned! A slog-sweep that was just missing off-stump
41st over: England 103-8 (Foakes 4, Broad 3) I think Broad has decided to have a go, a slog sweep brings him no runs but shows the way.
From Snow White (Joel Eley) “Happy Birthday from Malaysia, have a meeting tomorrow morning with Indian customers with whom I was discussing the game before leaving the office. For once I hope the discussions tomorrow are only work related. I can only see India runs in my crystal ball.”
But Rose Red (Neelesh Naik) writes: “Don’t write off this game just yet. India’s spinners got the hot and dry afternoon, England’s seamers will get the cool swinging evening. We may still have a match on our hands. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
40th over: England 101-8 (Foakes 3, Broad 3) Broad somehow survives one that screams away from his bat as he props forward. India are having a ball out there, wide smiles and a fair chance of an appeal every delivery. Broad sweeps Ashwin’s last ball for a single as a bitter February wind rattles my letter box.
39th over: England 100-8 (Foakes 3, Broad 2) Foakes defends an Axar maiden, and Stuart Broad may yet both bowl and bat as dusk falls.
38th over: England 100-8 (Foakes 3, Broad 2) The welcoming arms of three figures. England have lost 6 for 24 in 95 deliveries.
“Good morning Tanya,I thought you’d like to know what a glorious early spring day it is here in the middle of Portugal. I’m sure you’ll be happy for us.” I’ll be happy Geoff Wignall, but I’m also desperately envious.
“The other thing was that I’ve no wish to be unduly hard on YJB (if such a thing is possible); after all anyone can miss a slowish straight one early in an innings, especially if they aren’t in the habit of playing straight. Though No. 3 in a test match team might not be the ideal place for them. More worrying perhaps is that the review suggested he didn’t know it had been a straight one, in which case he certainly shouldn’t be at No. 3 in a test match team.”
WICKET! Leach c Pujara b Ashwin 3 (98-8)
The final angle seems to show a clean catch and Leach has to go!
Leach defends, but straight into the waiting hands of Pujara at gully. They check for a fair catch, the soft signal is out…Pujara seems to gather it right on the ground by his left knee
37th over: England 97-7 (Foakes 2, Leach 3) A Mexican Wave starts unrolling round the ground to add to the squeeze on the England batsmen’s addled brains. Leach picks up a couple through the slips.
36th over: England 94-7 (Foakes 1, Leach 1) Leach survives an Ashwin over, though with a near run out to add to the pressure. Kohli is grinning like a man who has been mis-delivered a very expensive cheese that belongs to his hated next-door neighbour.
35th over: England 94-7 (Foakes 1, Leach 1 ) England looking hopefully towards three figures.
John Busby writes: “After years of griping at England’s team selection I was pleased to wake up this morning to see that England had finally listened to my advice and picked the 11 I recommended. Not an ideal start, I’ll admit, but as the new National Selector I’m happy to state that these are the best players for the occasion and conditions. Whatever happens from here the players have my full backing. Except for Foakes. I’ll be dropping Foakes for the next test in favour of a batsman/wicketkeeper. “
WICKET! Archer b Axar Patel 11 (93-7)
A ball that skids through, a fractionally slow Archer is beaten and the off stump clocks back. The sun is still on the stands but has left all of the playing surface apart from a small segment on the left. England in deep trouble before they’ve even had a chance to switch on the floodlights.
34th over: England 93-6 (Foakes 1, Archer 11 )A short ball and Archer, scoffing at those who raise their eyebrows about his position at No. 8, cuts Ashwin for four . A slightly more blood-pressure raising sweep to short leg follows.
33rd over: England 88-6 (Foakes 1, Archer 6) Foakes and Archer both practise their stretched forward defensive as Patel speeds through another.
“Happy Birthday Tanya, writes Tom Paternoster-Howe, I remember reading about seemingly crazy declarations back in the old days of uncovered pitches and sticky dogs. Do you think that maybe England’s batting isn’t utter incompetence and is actually a genius plan to have a bowl at India this evening?”
32nd over: England 87-6 (Foakes 1, Archer 5) There’s no respite for England, R Ashwin now, on a line, on a length and absolutely shooting through the over.
31st over: England 86-6 (Foakes 1, Archer 4) Axar asking question after question, Foakes pushes forward nervously, Kohli under the helmet at silly point burning holes in the pitch with the intensity of his glare. A maiden.
30th over: England 86-6 (Foakes 0, Archer 4) Archer eyes up Ashwin and asks why not? sweeping him for four to get off the mark.
Are England so excited about bowling under lights that they’ve decided to rush through this batting malarky so that they can enjoy the fun stuff in the third session? mulls Robin Hazlehurst. “There was talk a while back about four day tests, after which a load of exciting matches went down to the wire on the fifth day. Is this series making the case for the prosecution, or did it just not get the memo?”
“By the way, Pink Glove by Pulp for the wicketkeepers.”
29th over: England 81-6 (Foakes 0, Archer 0) Four dots, then the wicket – Axar Patel continuing where he left off at Mumbai. England down and dirty here, though of course Archer has played plenty of IPL so won’t be intimidated by the crowd or the conditions.
WICKET! Stokes lbw Axar Patel 6
Stokes reviews an lbw, more in desperation than hope. It hits the back pad, with Stokes leaning forwards in an attempt to smother the spin and the ball hits the top of middle and off and its umpires call and now we see if the England tail can wag.
28th over: England 81-5 (Foakes 0, Stokes 6) Replays show Ollie Pope playing for the turn but reading it wrong before the ball riccochets into off stump!
“What does one think of England’s team selection now?” asks Neelesh Naik. “ Is this a four seamer pitch really? Wonder what’s going through Moeen Ali’s head right now? I think England have only themselves to blame for their scatter brained approach to Test cricket. This is looks like its going to be a walk in the park for this Indian team.”
WICKET! Pope b Ashwin 1
The ball spins from the top of Ashwin’s long, long fingers, Ollie Pope probes forward and the ball crashes into the top of off stump.
I’ve had a few messages disagreeing with George Garrett’s email from earlier on. Here is the article mentioned so you can mull on it yourselves
and here is Jonathan Liew on links between cricket and the establishment round the world:
And somehow twenty minutes have passed and England are back in the heat of the bullring!
First, Richard Hirst: “I apologise to the nation.” It’s ok Richard, Stokes and Pope are to stage an afternoon revival. You heard it here first.
Dean Kinsella is less convinced: “There’s a fine old cricketing maxim that aptly describes England’s current predicament; we’re fucked”
Maybe, but chew on this to cheer you up.
27th over: England 81-4 (Pope 1, Stokes 6) Pope, young eyes peering through the grill, uses his feet to come forward to Patel, his back foot slips, stirring up dust and he is squared up, but survives. He plays low and straight, complete concentration. The last ball before lunch is flicked away for a run and that is it for now.
Not the session of England’s dreams, but a chance now to regroup. Two wickets for Axar, one each for Ishant and Ashwin, a beautiful innings gushing potential by Crawley, a partnership of 47 with Joe Root. Time for a quick coffee, see you back here in twenty minutes.
26th over: England 80-4 (Pope 0, Stokes 6) Stokes somehow plays out a maiden from Ashwin and there’s time for one more before lunch/brunch/tea.
25th over: England 80-4 (Pope 0, Stokes 6) Axar Patel greets Ollie Pope with a beauty that spits past the bat.
I won’t tell anyone you sent this email Richard Hirst,”Will I put the mockers on Crawley by asking about the highest percentages of a team’s runs scored by individual batsmen?”
WICKET! Crawley lbw Axar Patel 53
Beautiful bowling by Patel, who toys with Crawley in that over, this one skidding on while Crawley plays for the spin of the ball before. Hit on the front pad, Crawley considers a review but Ben Stokes’ face tells is all. The end of a princely innings.
24th over: England 80-3 (Crawley 53, Stokes 6) The pup rolls over to display the full roast chicken as Ben Stokes flexes and dispatches the ball over mid-on, with just a bounce to past the rope.
23rd over: England 76-3 (Crawley 53, Stokes 1) The pitch is biscuit brown, the grass spring green, think early shoots of spinach. Stokes watchfully plays out an over from Patel, sweeping a single from the last ball.
22nd over: England 75-3 (Crawley 53, Stokes 0) Stokes prods and there’s a leg bye off his first ball, the last of the over. India are cock-a-hoop.
“Well, tenuous, but the first Psychedelic Furs LP had a very pink cover and included the wonderful track ‘India’. It starts slowly.” Thank you Peter Collins, my post-punk, new-wave education starts here.
WICKET! Root lbw Ashwin 17
Root reviews, but Ashwin is sure. Would Crawley tell Root to go? The ball hits the front knee roll and yes, would have hit the stumps. Umpires’ call falls for India this time and England have lost their talisman twenty minutes before lunch.
21st over: England 72-2 (Crawley 52, Root 16) Root sweeps down to fine leg and sends Axar Patel to the boundary.
Robert Speed is feeling the heat, “With spin at both ends, seems crazy for the batsmen not to remove their helmets in this heat. Even go for the broad brim, Richie Richardson style.” I believe that England players have to keep their helmets on for health and safety reasons – though I love seeing players bat in caps because you can see their faces. Kohli will I’m sure bat in a cap later this Test if he stays out for long enough.
20th over: England 67-2 (Crawley 52, Root 11) Ashwin and Pant are convinced by an lbw call against Crawley who gets well forward and is hit on the back leg. Kohli is not – he never is – and leaves it to the last tick of the clock to call for a review and then continues to look pained. We run through ultra edge and ball tracker – its a close run thing but umpire’s call and Kohli’s rather hopeless run of reviews continues. Perhaps he and Bairstow should form a club?
19th over: England 67-2 (Crawley 52, Root 11) Another honey-dipped drive through the covers and an extra-cover smooth for four and Crawley brings up his fifty in just 68 balls. Simply gorgeous.
18th over: England 58-2 (Crawley 43, Root 11) Crawley brings out his defensive prod against Ashwin.
17th over: England 57-2 (Crawley 42, Root 11) This must be one of the prettier partnerships on the eye that England have had at the crease for some time. Wristily fluid, no angles. Mangoes, not pineapples. A couple off Axar Patel, watchful batting.