How precision bowling by English pacers caused India batting collapse

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England's teammates celebrate a wicket during the 4th day of the Third Test Match between England and India at Emerald Headingley Stadium, in Leeds (ANI Photo)

The fourth Test is very important for India as they lost the third one last week. That loss was a big setback to the Indian team’s campaign. It was a total collapse

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Kennington Oval

England dominated the opening session of the fourth Test of the five-match series at the Kennington Oval on Thursday as India lost the wickets of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara in quick succession. But India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday became the fastest batsman in the history of the game to register 23,000 international runs.

Kohli achieved the feat in the opening session of the opening day of the fourth Test against England here at the Oval on Thursday. The Indian skipper took just 490 innings to register the feat while Sachin Tendulkar had taken 522 innings to achieve the same milestone. Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had taken 544 innings to score 23,000 international runs. Kohli has been going through a lean patch of late as he has not registered a single ton in international cricket for 51 innings. He last scored a century way back in 2019 against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

The fourth Test is very important for India as they lost the third one last week. That loss was a big setback to the Indian team’s campaign. It was a total collapse.

England’s pacer Ollie Robinson celebrates a wicket during the 4th day of the Third Test Match between England and India at Emerald Headingley Stadium, in Leeds (ANI Photo)

With the score reading 215/2 at the start of the fourth morning, India would have hoped to continue the remarkable comeback they had started scripting on the third day of the third Test at Leeds on Friday. But it wasn’t to be as the England bowlers came out all guns blazing and wrapped the game up in the opening session itself to register an innings and 76-run win and thereby level the five-match series 1-1 with two games to go.

The Indian innings folded up for 278 as Ollie Robinson (5/65) was on fire from the word go on Saturday. Craig Overton also pitched in with figures of 3/47 and James Anderson picked one to make it 400 wickets on home soil. But the star of the show was Robinson as he put the hosts off to just the start they would have dreamt of as he trapped Pujara in front of wickets. It was a complete misjudgement from the Indian batsman as Robinson went very full and Pujara assumed it’s going to go away from him. England took a smart review after a huge appeal and Pujara (91) was sent back packing to the pavilion.

Notably, this was for the sixth time in his career, Pujara was dismissed without adding to his overnight score — the most for India surpassing Rahul Dravid, who had five such dismissals.

All hopes were now pinned on skipper Virat Kohli as he worked his way towards a fifty. But just when one thought he would build it up into a match-winning knock, he edged one to the slip cordon. Robinson was the bowler again for England and Joe Root made no mistakes as Kohli walked back after making 55.

This started the beginning of the end for the visitors as Andreson joined the party to dismiss Ajinkya Rahane (10). And with Rishabh Pant (1) once again failing to rise to the challenge against the new Dukes ball, it was all about waiting for the inevitable.

Joe Root hailed the clinical display of England against India as hosts registered an innings and 76-run win at Headingly and thereby levelling the five-match series 1-1 with two games to go. “It was a very clinical performance. We took advantage of the conditions on day one, thought we bowled exceptionally well,” Joe Root said in a post-match press conference on Saturday.

“It was almost the perfect storm, everything seemed to fall our way. Perfect little nicks to the keeper got us off to a great start, it was a brilliant bowling performance. We found our lengths, exploited the wicket really well. And that opening partnership [Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed] to set things up was almost a turning point in the game for me.”

“A substantial first-wicket partnership was exceptional and credit to those two lads. Under the pump off the back of last week, to come out and perform like that and get us 135-0 was brilliant. Really set the game up and gave the rest of us the opportunity to go and make that big first inning score that me and Silvers harp on to you guys about all the time.”

After this victory, Joe Root became the English captain with the most Test wins. Root has led the English side a total of 55 times and won a record 27 Test matches pushing Vaughan to second on the list with 26 victories. Alastair Cook is on third with 24 victories in 59 matches. “I’m living my boyhood dream, captaining England. Something I dreamed of doing from being really small. Great group of players, who are very talented and dedicated to becoming better all the time,” Root said.

“Couldn’t be more proud, proud to have gone past Michael. But you don’t do that on your own as a captain, it’s down to the group of players and the coaching staff as well. It’s all one big thing. You’re the one making the decisions but they are the ones going out and time and time again putting in performances. And really proud of the way they have done that this week.”

India’s captain Virat Kohli plays a shot during a hard-fought half-century during the 4th day of the Third Test Match between England and India at Emerald Headingley Stadium, in Leeds on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

Ollie Robinson who architectured England’s victory against India in the third Test at Headingley revealed the ‘simple plan’ of hosts to get the crucial wicket of the Indian captain Virat Kohli.

The England bowlers came out all guns blazing on Saturday morning and wrapped the third Test up against India in the opening session itself. The hosts registered an innings victory to level the five-match series 1-1 with two games to go. Robinson (2-16 and 5-65) who took his second five-wicket haul in just his fourth Test was adjudged as the Man of the Match for wrapping up India’s second innings for 278.

“It’s a dream to be honest, to get a Man of the Match award in my first win for England. I enjoyed bowling here before, and it’s nice to use the conditions here, so I’m happy to get a five-for here,” Ollie Robinson said in the post-match presentation.

James Anderson was once again one of the best players on display as he reached 400 wickets on home soil and Ollie was all praise for the veteran. “To bowl with Jimmy and learn from him is an honour. It has only improved my game. I keep learning and trying to be as good as possible.”

“It’s nice to get Kohli, after he got me for two fours in the over — it’s a simple plan to Virat, fourth and fifth stump, get it to angle away, and hope he nicks it and he did,” he said.

However, India captain Virat Kohli stated that hosts had more intent with the bat after England registered an innings and 76-run win at Headingly on Saturday and thereby levelled the five-match series 1-1 with two games to go.

“It’s down to scoreboard pressure. We knew we were up against it when we were out for 80 and the opposition put up a big score. We put up crucial partnerships and saw the day through, but the pressure from the English bowlers was brilliant this morning and we didn’t respond well,” Virat Kohli told the host broadcasters at the end of the game.

“Batting collapses can happen in this country, the pitch was good to bat on, but their discipline with the ball forced us to make a few mistakes, and it was difficult to deal with spells where we weren’t getting runs. We didn’t make good decisions as a batting side. The pitch looked good to bat on, and when England batted it hadn’t changed much, so they had a lot more intent with the bat, made better decisions. They were the deserving side to win, to be honest,” he added.

Asked if he felt that the lower middle-order could have pitched in more, Kohli said: “You could say that we don’t have enough batting depth, but the top order has to give enough runs to the lower middle order to step up. The lower order can’t bail the team out all the time. We don’t have much other than the batting in the second innings to take from this game in terms of positives.”

Talking about playing another spinner, Virat said: “Playing another spinner would depend on the pitch and we’ll take a call later. It depends on the moisture and how it will hold up for five days. The pressure from the fourth seamer is important sometimes and sometimes we have to make sure taking only three seamers means that the spinners have to come in quickly. We need to correct our flaws quickly and we’ve done this before, and we look forward to the Oval Test.”

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