Stokes’ ‘Botham moment’ cannot mask England’s failings as India turn the screw

James Anderson and Ben Stokes chat
James Anderson (right) frustratingly ended day two just one wicket away from 700 - Getty Images/Gareth Copley

Ben Stokes provided an Ian Botham moment of scene-stealing drama to announce his return as an all-rounder but even that could not disguise a day of methodical screw-turning by India.

Stokes’s wicket with his first ball for 251 days was an important moment for England’s future but this Test belongs to India, who are 473 for eight, 255 runs ahead on a pitch that is turning with the odd ball keeping low. England will do well to avoid an innings defeat.

A day after India ripped England out in 58 overs, the bowlers were forced to toil hard. India always conjured a partnership to bat their way back into ascendancy, a story of the series. Six times in nine innings India have batted for 98 overs or more (this one is 120 and counting). Contrast that with England. Six out of nine times they have been bowled out in fewer than 70 overs because India boast an attack with pace and mystery spin that seizes the moment.

England avoided a total meltdown because the two senior players – Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill – got out soon after their hundreds and the two young players, Sarfaraz Khan and Devdutt Padikkal, failed to convert half-centuries into three figures.

It could have been worse. India threatened a run riot with 129 for nought in the first session but Stokes’s team, to its credit, never gave in. A return of 212 for seven across the final two sessions was a decent comeback, too little to make much of a difference, but at least prevented a total debacle.

There were a string of fielding lapses, and two missed catches, which showed how tired minds are after seven weeks on the road. Tom Hartley was guilty of letting a couple through his legs in the deep (watch video below) but stuck to his task admirably with the ball for two for 126 and so did Shoaib Bashir, who has a big heart and shrugged off being hit for eight sixes, equalling the most in an innings by an England bowler, with four for 170 from 44 overs. Between them they bowled 60 overs. It could take weeks for them to go through that many in the County Championship.

Bashir has emerged as the No 1 spinner over the past two Tests and his growth between now and the next Ashes is one of the main priorities. He has given it more of a rip than any other England spinner on this tour and bowls with overspin like Nathan Lyon, which is promising for Australian pitches.

It was only while Stokes was bowling just after lunch that England really crackled into life. He rattled Rohit’s stumps with a ball that nipped off the seam as if he had been bowling every day for six months, rather than recovering from knee surgery.

It inspired James Anderson at the other end who, sucking on his captain’s energy, looked a sharper wicket-taking threat than at any other time in the innings and bowled Gill for his 699th Test wicket.

The rest of the time it was hang in and hope, England lucky the temperature was 15C and not the 35C in which most touring teams are baked in India.

It was clear England lacked a young seamer able to bowl a long spell and inject blood in an aging corpse. Freshening the seam attack needs addressing urgently this summer.

Mark Wood has found this tour tough, going at four an over for the first time since his breakthrough in St Lucia five years ago. Anderson at 41 rarely bowls more than four overs and was treated with disdain in the morning by Gill. He bowled 10 overs across the day, none after tea. Stokes, understandably, had to protect his body, bowling only five overs.

England ignored Gus Atkinson for the entire tour clearly thinking he was not ready, which shows a mistake in squad selection. Surely he would have offered something different rather than the tried and tested Wood-Anderson combo.

India’s intent on a blue-skied morning was to bury England and prove a point. They have been smarting over comments such as Ben Duckett suggesting Yashasvi Jaiswal had learnt by watching England and have coursed with determination to make it 4-1 in the series in the most painful way possible.

A wicketless session ensued in which Gill and Rohit completed centuries with barely a fuss. For both batsmen it was their second hundred of the series, a feat of consistency that has been beyond any Englishman and if you were to pick a composite top three from this series all would be Indian.

Gill dismissed Anderson in the first over, advancing down the pitch and whacking him over his head for six (watch video below). Scores were level 40 minutes into the day and India ahead when Gill hit Bashir down the ground for another six. Rohit was missed at leg slip by Crawley when he turned Bashir round the corner on 68, and that was the only chance of the morning, both batsmen reaching their centuries in the 10-minute spell before the break.

England badly needed a lift. Stokes came on and with his first ball showed why he should have bowled earlier; Rohit beaten all ends up. Botham bowled Bruce Edgar with his first ball after a 63-day ban in 1986 and this was one of those moments only great cricketers can conjure.

Anderson knocked over Gill but Sarfaraz is a strutter when his team are on top and after a slow start went after Wood’s bumpers in particular, hitting 41 off 21 balls as he reached fifty. Padikkal, too, played some excellent cover drives in a 97-run stand that broke any hope of England rescue mission.

First ball after tea, Sarfaraz guided Bashir to slip and Padikkal was bowled by a beauty that turned and beat the outside edge.

Dhruv Jurel holed out in the deep, Hartley fired in a quicker ball to trap Ravindra Jadeja on the back foot and bowled Ravichandran Ashwin as India lost three wickets in nine balls but Stokes missed Kuldeep Yadav at slip, wearily dragging himself to his feet but perhaps relieved India had not declared so England can restart after a night’s sleep.

Fifth Test, day two: As it happened

12:09 PM GMT

Sir Geoffrey’s verdict after day two

11:21 AM GMT

OVER 120 and stumps: IND 473/8 (Kuldeep 27 Bumrah 19)

Bumrah tries to drive but Wood picks it up in his followthrough then misses the ball when completing his pull too late. Point and mid-on stop him getting off strike. He connects with the fifth ball, raising the front leg to add flourish to a pull for a single.

Kuldeep fences the last through point and that leaves India 255 ahead with two wickets left.

11:17 AM GMT

OVER 119: IND 472/8 (Kuldeep 27 Bumrah 18)

Ollie Pope missed a run out chance off the last ball of  Wood’s over by missing the ball.

Here comes Bashir for his 44th over and his last of the day. Had he had a silly point he would have had his fifth wicket when one spits off the pitch and pops off the gloves.

He would have had his fifth has Stokes held on at second slip when Kuldeep swept on to his boot and the ball popped up. It was going to Root but Stokes dived instinctively across him.

To add insult to injury, Kuldeep nails the next ball for four with a clumping sweep.

One over to come but that doesn’t stop the incursion of India’s physio to delay us further.

11:12 AM GMT

OVER 118: IND 467/8 (Kuldeep 23 Bumrah 17)

Here’s Mark Wood and he goes full, reversing it in and Bumrah creams it through cover for four. He defends the next one off the back foot and the third off the front. He’s breaching 91mph but it’s coming on true. Wood stays pounding a good length and Bumrah defends but follows one that shapes away on its way through to the keeper so starts shadow batting to show what he would do next time.

Bumrah drops the shorter one at his feet and hares a single.

India lead by 249.

11:07 AM GMT

OVER 117: IND 462/8 (Kuldeep 23 Bumrah 12)

Maiden for Bashir to Kuldeep who keeps him out channelling Brigadier Block or Barnacle Bailey.

11:05 AM GMT

OVER 116: IND 462/8 (Kuldeep 23 Bumrah 12)

Kuldeep tries and fails to find a gap off the first four balls of Hartley’s 39th over but sweeps the fifth for a single. That apocryphal Hirst-Rhodes story springs to mind about getting ’em in singles.

11:03 AM GMT

OVER 115: IND 461/8 (Kuldeep 22 Bumrah 12)

Ctrl C + ctrl V. Another one-run over as the match drifts past its scheduled close. Now we’re into the extra half-hour required to get the rest of their overs in. There will be five more after this. A change of innings would eat up two.

10:59 AM GMT

OVER 114: IND 460/8 (Kuldeep 21 Bumrah 12)

Not sure what India are achieving here. Yes, England are tired after a long tour but surely the openers would be more vulnerable after six hours in the field than after a night’s sleep. They take three singles off Hartley.

10:56 AM GMT

OVER 113: IND 457/8 (Kuldeep 19 Bumrah 11)

England ponder a review when Bashir pins Kuldeep, Stokes wants it more than most but is talked out of it because of an inside edge. Kuldeep drives a single to the point boundary rider.

10:51 AM GMT

OVER 112: IND 456/8 (Kuldeep 18 Bumrah 11)

Swann is all about the bantz at times but when he talks about spin he is as shrewd as they come. He feels the field is too defensive, the flight is too low and the speed too fast to lure tail-enders into playing the big shots they would instinctively play if he hung one up. It takes experience as much as advice, I suppose. Just the single, from Kuldeep’s sweep.

10:48 AM GMT

OVER 111: IND 455/8 (Kuldeep 17 Bumrah 11)

Graeme Swann says Bashir has to bowl slower at Bumrah, tempt him to hit over the top. And he should be told to do so by the experienced players. After five dot balls, Bumrah slices four past slip, not so much a cut as a bump and run, the bat as plank rather than flashing blade.

We are likely to play until 11.30am GMT. Will India declare to give England a tricky spell if there are no further wickets?

10:44 AM GMT

OVER 110: IND 451/8 (Kuldeep 17 Bumrah 7)

Bumrah scrapes one that keeps low through midwicket for a single.

10:43 AM GMT

OVER 109: IND 450/8 (Kuldeep 17 Bumrah 6)

Bumrah is enjoying himself, pulling Bashir for a single, opening the face to glide two down to third man and then working one into the legside off the back foot to pinch the strike.

England's Tom Hartley (R) celebrates with teammates Ben Stokes (L) and Ben Foakes
Hallelujah! Tom Hartley strikes twice - Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

10:40 AM GMT

OVER 108: IND 444/8 (Kuldeep 15 Bumrah 2)

Single to Kuldeep off the first ball, poking it to cover. Bumrah defends with a projection of authority, trying to show he’s in control, nose over the ball, all very correct, all very diligent. Get Wood on to stick one up his hooter.

Quadruple Nelson.

10:34 AM GMT

OVER 107: IND 443/8 (Kuldeep 14 Bumrah 2)

Bumrah is beaten by Bashir’s slider but connects with his sweep to lap a single. To say Bashir came into this with a sore spinning finger ... he is certainly giving it a rip 38 overs in. Kuldeep pinches the strike with a legside whisk for a single.

India lead by 225 on a pitch that is turning and occasionally keeping low.

10:31 AM GMT

OVER 106: IND 441/8 (Kuldeep 13 Bumrah 1)

Kuldeep pastes Hartley for four with a blistering slog sweep and then works a single through point. There must be a temptation to keep Bashir going and use a seamer at Bumrah? Jasprit gets off the mark streakily by clothing an on-drive just short of mid-on, halfway back.

10:27 AM GMT

OVER 105: IND 435/8 (Kuldeep 8 Bumrah 0)

Bashir twice beats Kuldeep with jaffas that drift in and turn away to beat both edge and off stump. The same ball did for Padikkal but these two turned too much. Kuldeep chops a shorter one for a single and Bumrah survives two balls, the second of which beats him all ends up as it skids through outside off.

10:25 AM GMT

OVER 104: IND 434/8 (Kuldeep 7 Bumrah 0)

The left-handed Kuldeep uses the turn back in to him from the left-armer to work Hartley square into the legside for a single. Hartley almost sneaks one through Bumrah’s gate as he goes low to defend, angling the bat down but leaving the gate on the latch.

10:23 AM GMT

OVER 103: IND 433/8 (Kuldeep 6 Bumrah 0)

Ben Stokes is cock-a-hoop with his young spinners and rightly so. They have survived a mauling to come back throwing punches. The game has all but certainly gone because Kuldeep will still be a handful on this pitch yet they have shown resilience and nerve to rein India in from 275 for one. Kuldeep fences a Bashir off-break into point and sets off on a hairy single which turns into two when the throw misses by a mile. Kuldeep steers two down to third man then farms the strike by nurdling a single off his pads.

10:18 AM GMT

OVER 102: IND 428/8 (Kuldeep 1 Bumrah 0)

Well, well, well. Hartley joins the party and he’s brought his own jam!

10:16 AM GMT


Ashwin b Hartley 0  Played for turn but was beaten by the arm ball that snuck through the fate to hit off and middle.  FOW 428/8

Tom Hartley
Tom Hartley chips in with two wickets in an over - Gareth Copley/Getty Images

10:10 AM GMT


Jadeja lbw Hartley 15  Yes, would have hit leg stump as he played back to one that ragged in, beating him for turn and pace.  FOW 427/7

10:10 AM GMT

IND review

Jadeja lbw Hartley

10:09 AM GMT

OVER 101: IND 427/6 (Jadeja 15 Ashwin 0)

Enter Ashwin in hsi 100th Test. England are having a moment to savour.

10:05 AM GMT


Jurel c Duckett b Bashir 15  Walks down and loses his grip as he targets cow corner, the ball hits the outside half and spoons towards the rope where Duckett takes it, fingers pointed upwards, in front of his chest. FOW 427/6

Shoaib Bashir
England's silver lining: Shoaib Bashir - SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images

10:04 AM GMT

OVER 100: IND 426/5 (Jadeja 14 Jurel 15)

Jadeja kicks one away then tucks in when Hartley errs too full, driving for two through mid-on, Duckett halving the damage with an acrobatic sliding save. Jadeja uses his feet again and the ball pops off his inside edge on to his pad into the offside. They hare a single.

10:00 AM GMT

OVER 99: IND 421/5 (Jadeja 10 Jurel 14)

Bashir pins Jadeja as the left-hander tried to flick one away that was darted in to him. Again it was heading down. It will look stupid if he emerges from this to make a big score but Jadeja doesn’t look in great nick right now.

09:56 AM GMT

OVER 98: IND 420/5 (Jadeja 9 Jurel 14)

Hartley drops short and Jurel pans a cut for four through point to put India 200 ahead then adds a single with a tickle off his toes. Jadeja bunts a low full toss for a single down through mid-on. Jadeja is building a platform slowly, Stokes-style.

09:54 AM GMT

OVER 97: IND 414/5 (Jadeja 8 Jurel 9)

Jurel whisks a single off Bashir through midwicket but again it’s another patient over from the batsmen as Bashir probes with off-breaks from round the wicket to Jadeja.

09:52 AM GMT

OVER 96: IND 413/5 (Jadeja 8 Jurel 8)

Just the single off Hartley as England’s spinners maintain their recent control. There’s so much time left in the game, it’s no disgrace that Jurel and Jadeja are playing out dot ball after dot ball. If they can build a proper partnership it will likely grind England into the dust. But there is a sense of drift rather than going in for the kill. But of you’ve got nine and a half sessions left, there’s no urgency.

09:47 AM GMT

OVER 95: IND 412/5 (Jadeja 8 Jurel 7)

Jadeja takes a single off Bashir off a thick edge, Jurel whips one to deep backward square. Wonder when England will try pace, maybe when the lacquer has completely gone in a couple of overs.

09:43 AM GMT

OVER 94: IND 410/5 (Jadeja 7 Jurel 6)

Hartley replaces Root after his two-over spell and could be excused cursing Crawley who costs him another four at point sweeper, going down in instalments with his diving stop, allowing the ball to squeak under him. Hands on England caps all round in the infield.

09:41 AM GMT

OVER 93: IND 406/5 (Jadeja 7 Jurel 2)

The most encouraging thing about Bashir is that he seems imperturbable. He seems to enjoy the battle and the needle, takes getting hit with a big pinch of salt and relishes the duel, celebrating accordingly when he outfoxes someone. He looks the most outwardly confident spinner England have had since Swann, plenty of moxie and strut. Remarkable given his age and inexperience. But he has the temperament for this stage.

09:34 AM GMT


Padikkal b Bashir 65  That preference for hanging back does for him in the end.  Bashir beat him with a beauty of an off-break the over before but this one was pitched closer to middle and off and ripped past the edge to hit the top of off. FOW 403/5

09:34 AM GMT

OVER 92: IND 403/4 (Padikkal 65 Jadeja 6)

Root drops to one knee to beseech the umpire to raise his finger when pinning Padikkal on the back foot but it was angled from too far across and looked as if it was heading down. Padikkal, like Root, prefers playing back to the spinners and works him away off his pads for a single but, after Jadeja does the same, he pierces cover for another off the front foot.

09:31 AM GMT

OVER 91: IND 400/4 (Padikkal 63 Jadeja 5)

A brute of an off-break from Bashir from round the wicket drifts into Padikkal, dips and rags past the edge. But he pays no mind to a close shave and he leans back to tap the next delivery into the offside to bring up India’s 400. India’s peak is above the clouds and far away for England now. And still growing.

England’s young spinners have done better than could reasonably have been expected this series, but this feels like a Test too far. Suspect Jack Leach, if fit, will remain England’s first choice spinner next summer, but Hartley and Bashir will be welcomed back when England tour Pakistan in October.

09:28 AM GMT

OVER 90: IND 399/4 (Padikkal 62 Jadeja 5)

Root can’t find his length and two overpitched ones are pushed for singles, two short ones chopped and punched for two more.

09:26 AM GMT

OVER 89: IND 395/4 (Padikkal 60 Jadeja 3)

Bashir continues to varnish his figures with another tidy, parsimonious over, yielding only the single to Jadeja to mid-on. Root will join him for a spell of double off-spin to replace the toiling Hartley.

09:21 AM GMT

OVER 88: IND 394/4 (Padikkal 60 Jadeja 2)

Double misfield first from Bashir at backward square, Padikkal’s flick grazing under his hand and then Crawley, running round on the rope, tumbles to claw it back but it rebounds off his sliding body to hit the boundary. Two balls later Hartley drags it down outside off and Padikkal pans it for four square.

Devdutt Padikkal salutes the crowd
A maiden Test fifty in debut for Devdutt Padikkal - AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia

09:18 AM GMT

OVER 87: IND 386/4 (Padikkal 52 Jadeja 2)

Padikkal makes it a half-century for each of India’s top five by boshing Bashir back over his head for six, exploiting the slightly too full length to get under and lever it into orbit. Padikkal pats down a single off the edge and calls Jadeja through for a single.

09:15 AM GMT

OVER 86: IND 379/4 (Padikkal 45 Jadeja 2)

Spin from both ends and a big shout from Hartley when he pins Jadeja but it looked as if it pitched outside leg and they wisely decide against a review. Earlier both left-handers had worked the left-armer against the angle and turn to cover for singles.

09:11 AM GMT

OVER 85: IND 377/4 (Padikkal 44 Jadeja 1)

The ball drifted away and turned back into Khan and he was done in the flight, too, thinking it was shorter than it was. Bashir celebrates with a little swagger. Good for him. Jadeja gets off the mark with a Red Bull dash to mid-on, beating the throw.

Shoaib Bashir
That's the way to do it: Bashir is as pleased as Punch - REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

09:06 AM GMT


Sarfaraz Khan c Root b Bashir 56  Falls to the firts ball after tea by late cutting a ball straight to slip, misjudging the line. It was too close to him to play that shot. It was like Collingwood on his knees every morning slicing catches to the cordon at practice, the slip cradle having fallen into obsolescence.  FOW 376/4

08:48 AM GMT

Tea verdict

That was a session that started with a bang – two quick wickets for England – before settling back into the pattern of the innings: utter Indian dominance. At tea on day two, they are 376 for three, with a lead of 158 and a fourth straight victory edging closer.

It has been a hard yakka for England’s young spinners who have gone wicketless today, but two wickets did fall to seam.

Both were notable: the first was Ben Stokes’s first ball back after 251 days as a specialist batsman, Rohit Sharma bowled neck and crop. Then Jimmy Anderson, inspired by his captain, bowled Shubman Gill with a lovely nip-backer. It was Anderson’s 699th Test wicket.Those wickets fell in the second and third overs of the session, and that was as good as it got for England. The centurions, Sharma and Gill, were replaced by the debutant Devdutt Padikkall and the starlet Sarfaraz Khan, who batted beautifully against pace and spin to share an unbeaten 97.

For the spinners Shoaib Bashir – who had Sharma dropped at leg-slip in the morning session – and Tom Hartley there was little to cheer, even on a surface that India’s spinners picked up all 10 wickets on yesterday.

08:47 AM GMT

TEA: IND: 376/3

Two heartening wickets for England, for the captain thrillingly and for Jimmy Anderson to put him on the threshold of 700.

But a fine partnership of 97* has dampened England’s tiny spark.

08:44 AM GMT

OVER 84: IND 376/3 (Padikkal 44 Khan 56)

Sarfaraz flick to midwicket whose throw breaks the stumps at the striker’s so they sprint back for two further buzzers. Another decent probing over from Anderson, without swing but a nagging line to the left-hander from either side of the wicket. Padikkal defends stoutly.

India head to tea 158 runs ahead with seven wickets left.

Sarfaraz Khan looks like the pick of the new batsmen who have debuted for India in this series. Not just a burly hitter but a good player of pace as well as spin, a cricket brain and the desire to be involved when fielding. England must hope that he can soften up Australia next winter and induce a few retirements among their bowlers!

08:39 AM GMT

OVER 83: IND 373/3 (Padikkal 44 Khan 53)

Bashir continues for the penultimate over before tea and both batsmen work his off-breaks, the left-handed Padikkal against the turn, into the legside for singles. Khan takes another one in similar fashion to face Anderson pre-tiffin.

08:35 AM GMT

OVER 82: IND 370/3 (Padikkal 43 Khan 51)

Only a one-over spell for Root as the Anderson pursuit of 700 is given another foray. Padikkal defends the first four solidly from round the wicket, Anderson maintaining 81mph. He is looking to hit the top of off as usual but Padikkal proves stout and patient before creaming the last ball through cover for four with flashing hands.

08:30 AM GMT

OVER 81: IND 366/3 (Padikkal 39 Khan 51)

Khan skelps a sweep for four, absolutely clobbering it even though it wasn’t quite the right length. He took a big stride and collared it. Two balls later he does it again, though this one was closer to him, and he carts it over square leg to bring uo his third fifty in three Tests.

08:27 AM GMT

OVER 80: IND 357/3 (Padikkal 38 Khan 43)

Root comes round the wicket as per and racks up five dot balls, some more virtuous than the the others. Padikkal plays tip and run into the offside but it’s a promising start, using the angle and some drift.

England take the new ball and give it straight to Bashir.

08:25 AM GMT

OVER 79: IND 356/3 (Padikkal 37 Khan 43)

Bashir replaces Hartley and Khan starts by driving the off-spinner for two through point, then on-drives for a single. Padikkal flicks a single into the onside which means he will be facing Joe Root’s first over of the Test. Cue Hey Jude from the BA.

India lead by 138.

08:19 AM GMT

OVER 78: IND 352/3 (Padikkal 36 Khan 40)

Sarfaraz puts the pedal to the metal, whisking Wood’s attempted yorker that lands too short off his toes for four followed by a corking pull off a rather flaccid bouncer for six! He’s built like Samit Patel but hits like Mitchell Marsh. Khan tucks a single off his thighpad then plays tip and run to farm the strike, dropping it to cover and scurrying through.

08:14 AM GMT

OVER 77: IND 339/3 (Padikkal 35 Khan 28)

More tidy stuff from Hartley, restricting them to a run each, both into the legside.

08:11 AM GMT

OVER 76: IND 337/3 (Padikkal 34 Khan 27)

Sarfaraz shows his class by clearing his front leg and slapping a drive over the bowler’s head for four, his right elbow swinging through a truncated semi-circle like a sextant. Wood bounces him and Sarfaraz cuts over the slips for four. The next ball nips back and takes the inside edge and crashes into his thigh causing him to hop. Wood sprints to the ball and tries to kick it on to the stumps but proves as accurate as his Toon hero Stephane Guivarc’h was for the Mags.

Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz hits through the line - AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia

08:05 AM GMT

OVER 75: IND 329/3 (Padikkal 34 Khan 19)

The dam seems to be bursting and Sarfaraz tucks into a drag down to smack four over midwicket and then mows across the line to clear Crawley at deep  midwicket for another four. There were cries of ‘Catch it!’ but even the tallest man on both sides, leaping with his right arm extended couldn’t reach it.

08:00 AM GMT

OVER 74: IND 318/3 (Padikkal 33 Khan 9)

Wood has enjoyed no good luck so far in this match. Now he angles one in to Padikkal from round the wicket that reverses and screeches past his edge as he groped forward. The hands immediately clutch his head, Edvard Munch style. Each batsman takes singles off the last two balls of the over, both clipped behind square.

07:56 AM GMT

OVER 73: IND 316/3 (Padikkal 32 Khan 8)

Padikkal pats a single off Hartley to cover, still favouring the back foot. Graeme Swann had rather wishfully been predicting rain all morning, at least until the two wickets fell. It looks bright and sunny now. Hartley has his sleeveless sweater on, though.

07:53 AM GMT

OVER 72: IND 315/3 (Padikkal 31 Khan 8)

Twist and Shout greets Wood’s first ball of a new spell. He’s 10kph on average quicker than his captain. Sarfaraz ducks the bouncer, nicks one into his pad but deals with the rest comfortably, nose over the ball as it comes on at pace but nicely.

Is this the loudest ground DJ in India or is it to do with the altitude that it sounds louder? Is that a thing? It’s a long, long time since my last physics class. Is it even physics? I’m digging a bigger hole now. Anyway, he’s obtrusively loud between overs. Worse even than the 2019 World Cup lot.

07:43 AM GMT

OVER 71: IND 315/3 (Padikkal 31 Khan 8)

Padikkal really doesn’t like to use his feet much. Sometimes he comes down but mostly he shuffles back to defend or use his eye and timing to swing at the ball away from his body. Highly effective so far. Two singles off the over and that’s drinks. Only 11 overs in that hour compared with 30 in the first two.

07:39 AM GMT

OVER 70: IND 313/3 (Padikkal 30 Khan 7)

Maiden for Stokes, looking to hit top of off stump he plugs away in the channel and apart from a moment of exasperation when Jeetan Patel walks in front of the sightscreen he maintains his cool, angling the ball in.

Hartley will replace Anderson next. Wood for Stokes?

07:32 AM GMT

OVER 69: IND 313/3 (Padikkal 30 Khan 7)

England are targeting Padikkal’s static drive but while he obliges he bisects cover and extra-cover with another uppish stroke for four. Then Hartley risks exile from Lancashire by fumbling at third man and turning two into four. Anderson starts the penultimate ball of the over too straight and Padikkal whisks it off his ... erm ... padikkals for four more, his third of the over. The partnership grows to 34.

One more for Stokes.

07:28 AM GMT

OVER 68: IND 301/3 (Padikkal 18 Khan 7)

Stokes maintains a consistent pace around 83mph, probing away from round the wicket at the left-handed Padikkal who gets away from strike by chopping a single to third man. The captain then squares Sarfaraz up an beats him on the outside edge with his classic delivery, angling in and nibbling away, only just missing the stumps, too.

He may be tempted to bowl a fifth over but surely he won’t risk any more.

07:23 AM GMT

OVER 67: IND 299/3 (Padikkal 17 Khan 6)

Anderson beats Padikkal all ends up with a ripper that angles in from round the wicket then snakes past the left-hander’s edge and whistles past off stump. Padikkal then leans back and, because of his gimlet eye picking up the length extraordinarily early, punches the ball in front of the catching point for four. It was a handsome stroke but not without risk.

07:20 AM GMT

OVER 66: IND 295/3 (Padikkal 13 Khan 6)

An expletive or two leave the captain’s mouth when he fails to cling on to a hard return catch, diving forward it spills out of his grasp by his bootstraps but he is reprieved by the no-ball siren. Kate Mason offers an apology for it after Sarfaraz opens the face and glides four down through third man. Stokes sees him as a leg-before candidate and shouldn’t be too upset to find the outer half of the bat as well, giving him two modes of dismissal. He might need an extra slip, though.

Rohit Sharma is clean bowled
Ben Stokes castles his opposite number - AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia
Stokes is mobbed
Stokes delights his team-mates but he has of late, (but wherefore he knows not) lost all his mirth - AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia

07:12 AM GMT

OVER 65: IND 290/3 (Padikkal 13 Khan 2)

Anderson comes round the wicket to Padikkal and posts a shortish point and shortish backward points as they have seen that he likes to hit the ball on the up and doesn’t really take a big stride to the pitch. Anderson again finds the edge and it beats Root’s dive at first slip, scooting away for four. Didn’t carry. Was more of a second slip chance had it carried but England cannot run to one and a pair of points as they are so far behind.

Why didn’t Stokes bowl this morning when the game could still have been cracked open with more on the line instead of India sitting on a handy lead after lunch? His loyalty to his bowlers is admirable but they didn’t look like taking a wicket this morning. England needed their Bothamesque captain to apply the handbrake turn. He did it and all of a sudden, Anderson looked a better bowler too.

07:07 AM GMT

OVER 64: IND 286/3 (Padikkal 9 Khan 2)

Lovely shot from the left-handed Padikkal who check-drives Stokes for four through cover as the England captain goes full, looking for reverse. He timed the pants off that one. He looks another elegant batsman off India’s never-ending production line. Now Padikkal opens the face to steer a single through third man.

07:03 AM GMT

OVER 63: IND 280/3 (Padikkal 4 Khan 1)

Gill’s feet didn’t move and Anderson tails one through the gate. Magnificent. And suddenly England, if not opening the door, prise off one of the padlocks.

06:58 AM GMT


Gill b Anderson 110  Haha! Classic case of reverse-jinxing by this writer. Gates him with reverse swing and that’s wicket No 699! Anderson’s celebration looks more like catharsis than joy. FOW 279/3

06:56 AM GMT

OVER 62: IND 279/2 (Gill 110 Padikkal 4)

Amazing from the great man, positively Botham-esque. And he follows up that peach with some very nagging deliveries to the left-handed debutant Padikkal who takes on a drive and edges through vacant third slip for four. Truly gob-smacking comeback. He has an uncanny ability to make the weather.

06:50 AM GMT


Rohit b Stokes 103  Who writes his scripts? A wicket with his first ball. An absolute jaffa. Pitched on off and middle and goes like a leg-cutter to nibble away and knock back the off pole. Brendon McCullum and Paul Collingwood beam, but cover their mouths. FOW 275/2

There is only one response to that: hahahahahaha.

Who writes his scripts? Ben Stokes comes onto bowl for the first time in 251 days, since July 1, day 4 of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s. And he bowls Rohit Sharma with his very first ball. Ridiculous man.

06:50 AM GMT

OVER 61: IND 275/1 (Sharma 103 Gill 110)

Anderson replaces Bashir after lunch and has a short mid-on parallel with the non-striker. His first ball hoops gently down the legside and Gill leaves it alone but he and Rohit take singles off the next two in-duckers, clipping them for singles to midwicket and mid-on.

Anderson breaks a smile when the siren sounds for overstepping but it’s not there next ball as Gill walks down and drags an on-drive for four. England try to get the ball changed but are told to persevere with this one, which itself is a replacement. Gill mugs the old fella again by charging down and swiping him over midwicket for another four. India look more likely to make 700 than Anderson take two more wickets on this pitch.

Ben Stokes marks out his run-up. Eight months on from his last over ...

06:40 AM GMT

A fifth bowling option?

Ben Stokes has spent the last few minutes of the lunch break on the field warming up to bowl. Is this sensible? Who knows, but it would give his team a lift and broaden their options, which look thin at the moment: two tired old fast bowlers, two raw young spinners. Stokes hasn’t bowled since July 1st last year, but he’s worked hard on this tour and is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee op. Why not?

06:37 AM GMT

Lunch verdict: Climb Every Mountain

Climbing mountains is part of life in Dharamsala with its twisty, windy lanes snaking round the hills and England will need to scale a huge peak to avoid a big defeat in the fifth Test.

By lunch on day two, India are in cruise control. A wicketless morning session for England capped a miserable 24 hours. India are 264-1, ahead by 46 with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill sitting on unbeaten hundreds, showing England how to do it in the first innings.

India added 129 at 4.3 an over on a beautiful, crystal clear morning. England lacked any penetration and are just hanging in, hoping for a mistake.

They had one chance, a clip to leg slip off Bashir by Rohit on 68 that eluded Zak Crawley. That was it however. Mark Wood busted a gut in a six over spell that had both batsmen hopping but not really worried about getting out. Tom Hartley was tidy bowling at the right handers without posing any real threat. Bashir kept his head despite some rough treatment - he has conceded nine sixes.

Gill batted superbly. He treated Anderson with disdain, hitting him down the ground for six and cutting him for four two balls later. Anderson kicked the turf and stomped off to the outer after a three over spell. That 700th wicket feels a long way off.

Rohit’s second hundred of the series came off 154 balls and was unflustered as his low key celebration. Gill brought his hundred up with a four swept off Bashir and waved to his father in the stands, before bowing to his team-mates.

Ben Stokes has stuck with his four frontlines bowlers, perhaps saving himself for the summer, but England need to different. Stokes grabbing the ball might lift everyone and make something happen. Otherwise this is going to be a long day.

06:06 AM GMT

LUNCH: IND 264/1

It couldn’t have gone much worse for England. Crawley had a hard chance at leg slip to bag Rohit early but since then it’s been all India. England’s heads haven’t dropped but this looks like a nailed-on trouncing. By the time they get to bat again, they’ll likely be pooped and spooked by cricket’s greatest player S.C. Oreboard-Pressure.

06:03 AM GMT

OVER 60: IND 264/1 (Sharma 102 Gill 101)

India head in to lunch 46 ahead, having blitzed 129 off this morning’s 30 overs. India are in supreme control and England have no options other than to plug away with their four frontline bowlers who have been inadequate so far in the face of formidable batting.

05:59 AM GMT

OVER 59: IND 262/1 (Sharma 101 Gill 100)

Now it’s Gill’s turn, slog-sweeping Bashir for four to bring up his second century of the series. It has come off 138 balls with 10 fours and five sixes. Chanceless, a terrific innings.

05:56 AM GMT

OVER 58: IND 257/1 (Sharma 100 Gill 96)

Hartley has been decent this morning but drops short at the start of the over and Gill crashes a cut for four. After defending two straight back to the bowler, he clips the arm ball off his pads for a single. He wanted two but Rohit sent him back, keeping the strike for the last ball of the over and it’s all he needs to get to three figures, whisking a single through midwicket to bring up his fourth century as Test captain and 12th in all. He averages 46 overall but 63 at home.

There could be a few hundreds scored by Indian batsmen today, but that’s a lovely one from Rohit Sharma. He’s just taking it easy. One scare, when he was missed by Crawley at leg-slip, but nothing else to report. Now it’s over to Gill.

05:52 AM GMT

OVER 57: IND 251/1 (Sharma 99 Gill 91)

Bashir keeps Rohit on 99 with a maiden as Rohit waits and watches, shuffling deep into his crease to defend or nurdle the ball away without finding a gap.

05:49 AM GMT

OVER 56: IND 251/1 (Sharma 99 Gill 91)

Heart in mouth stuff for Rohit’s fans but not the man as his onside flick sails wide of mid-on for four, ‘cries of ‘Catch it!’ in vain. Rohit closes the face too soon on Hartley’s stock ball and it flies off a leading edge short of cover and they jog a single to take him to 99.

05:46 AM GMT

OVER 55: IND 246/1 (Sharma 94 Gill 91)

Glorious from Gill to use the angle from round the wicket to late cut the off-spinner for three. Would have been four but for Wood’s chase, dive and claw-back, still giving everything to the case.

05:44 AM GMT

OVER 54: IND 242/1 (Sharma 92 Gill 88)

The two right-handers milk a pair of singles apiece off Hartley. Stokes wants to back his young spinners all the way but they don’t look like taking a wicket at the moment. I’m surprised he hasn’t tried something else. If not himself, and  wouldn’t want him to risk it until the English summer, he could use Root, for example. Anyone. Bairstow on his 100th Test. England haven’t lacked effort, just penetration.  I mean, Alastair Cook has a Test wicket.

05:40 AM GMT

OVER 53: IND 238/1 (Sharma 90 Gill 87)

AC/DC greets Gill breaking the run of economical overs by striding towards Bashir and lamping him 82m back at cow corner for his fifth six and the seventh of Bashir’s bowling so far yesterday and today. Bashir’s figures are 20-3-101-1.

05:38 AM GMT

OVER 52: IND 231/1 (Sharma 89 Gill 81)

A second maiden for the Merseyside jam magnate, nagging away on an off and middle line to Gill. England management’s great conundrum with Bashir and Hartley will be finding them enough opportunities over the next four years so that when England are back in India, both are seasoned enough to be the main men. There’s a good argument to make for Bashir to move ahead of Leach as the main spinner at the start of the English summer.

05:34 AM GMT

OVER 51: IND 231/1 (Sharma 89 Gill 81)

Stokes posts himself at leg gully for Bashir who, after four dot balls, almost winkles a wicket with a drag-down as Gill bottom edges his pull for a single. This line from Bashir gives him the confidence to slow down through the air and give the ball more chance to turn. It’s a good first over from round the wicket.

Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma
India's second-wicket partnership pile on the runs - SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images

05:29 AM GMT

OVER 50: IND 230/1 (Sharma 89 Gill 80)

Rohit, one of the few India batsmen in living memory to sweep, nails Hartley for four with it, slapping it square. England have two vastly experienced quicks who are contributing nothing and two rookie spinners who are equally game but just as ineffective.

Bashir is going to come round the wicket to try a different line of attack.

05:26 AM GMT

If you’re an England fan and just waking up for this

Go back to bed.

05:25 AM GMT

OVER 49: IND 225/1 (Sharma 85 Gill 79)

Bashir replaces Gill and the No3 greets him by thumping him over mid-off for six! No Root so far in this Test. He could try his round the wicket line of attack and golden-arm up a wicket for his captain. Stokes is sticking with his four frontliners so far, not one of them a genuine threat today. Gill will beat Rohit to three figures at this rate.

05:22 AM GMT

OVER 48: IND 218/1 (Sharma 85 Gill 72)

Rohit tucks Wood’s back of a length opener round the corner for a single and Gill reads that he’ll be teates with a yorker, gets into position early and creams an on-drive as the delivery lands 5cm short of the blockhole. Gill almost falls over when failing to execute a pull but biffs a back-foot drive for three. Rohit ends a costly over pulling a bouncer off middle and off fine for four as Hartley fumbles on the fence and lets the ball roll back on to the toblerones after initially stopping it with an outstretched hand.

The partnership is 114 and the scores are tied. England left about 250 runs out there yesterday and are being made to pay.

Aye aye aye. Scores are level as a little misfield from Hartley at long-leg gives Rohit four more, which rather sums up England’s morning.

05:15 AM GMT

OVER 47: IND 206/1 (Sharma 80 Gill 65)

Maiden for Hartley, finding some consistency in his line and using drift and dip to keep Gill scoreless a while. Well bowled.

Well that was a dreadful first hour. England created one chance, a clip by Rohit Sharma off Bashir to leg slip that left Zak Crawley clutching at thin air, but that was it. Anderson was treated with disdain by Shubman Gill, Wood banged bouncers in at 90mph to little effect while the spinners did their best to keep a lid on things but India added 67 without fuss. India are pulling up a chair to the buffet table and tucking in.

05:12 AM GMT

OVER 46: IND 206/1 (Sharma 80 Gill 65)

Wood stays on for a fifth over and is pounding the middle of the pitch, flogging himself to death on a thankless pitch. Rohit is standing outside leg and while he doesn’t connect with a pull, he smokes four with a punch through the covers and then leans back to let three successive offside short balls climb through to Foakes.

05:03 AM GMT

OVER 45: IND 202/1 (Sharma 76 Gill 65)

Hartley is tuning it away from Gill, advised by Swann to keep bowling at the stumps to try to gull him with the arm ball as Jadeja did to Root yesterday. Gill defends watchfully, playing out the maiden and on come the drinks.

05:00 AM GMT

OVER 44: IND 202/1 (Sharma 76 Gill 65)

Wood put the willies up Iyer with his bouncer earlier in the series but Gill is made of sterner stuff. Gill misreads it and tries to ramp it, gets in a tangle but still manages to evade it. He takes on two more short ones with pulls but cannot beat square leg then brings up the 200 with a back-foot drive for two. Another controlled pull this time goes past square leg’s right hand and they jog a single.

04:54 AM GMT

OVER 43: IND 199/1 (Sharma 76 Gill 62)

Hartley replaces Bashir, bowling round the wicket. Rohit probes the infield for four dot balls either side of taking a single to point and Gill giving him the strike straight back by tapping the arm ball towards midwicket and burgling a run.

04:52 AM GMT

OVER 42: IND 197/1 (Sharma 75 Gill 61)

No justice for Wood as he pins Gill with a big inswinger that did 2° too much, missing leg. He squares him up with pace and the angle next ball and the ball kisses the edge and flies through second slip for four. Second slip was removed the ball before to go out on the hook. Wood treats him to a 92mph off-side bouncer after his disappointment and Gill limbos out of the way as the ball zoomed past his adam’s apple. The next ball is down the corridor, back of a length and Gill plays a superb shot, hammering it off the back foot through cover point for four with a vertical bat.

Gill hits out
India climb into England's bowlers - SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images

04:46 AM GMT

OVER 41: IND 189/1 (Sharma 75 Gill 53)

Bashir is bowling respectably with no reward but that’s because he’s defending by bowling too quick, says Graeme Swann who worked with him in Abu Dhabi before the tour. It’s understandable because of the assault by Gill and Rohit – it takes nerve to take 5mph off when confronted by two masterly, well-set players.

04:42 AM GMT

OVER 40: IND 186/1 (Sharma 74 Gill 51)

Fifty for Gill, his third of the series to go with his century in Vizag, bringing this one up by pulling Wood hard nd flat for a single. Wood is sticking to the short stuff even if the pitch refuses to help him. Rohit tucks a single off his hip but after four short ones, Wood slips in the yorker and Gill chisels it out for a single.

04:36 AM GMT

OVER 39: IND 183/1 (Sharma 73 Gill 49)

Nicely bowled by Bashir under extreme pressure, beating Gill in the flight and finding a leading edge that fell safe. Rohit and his partner work singles into the legside but there are signs of dip and rip from the young offie and no lack of heart after that drop

Oh dear. This already had the air of a long day, but to miss Rohit Sharma on 68 like that does not help one bit. Bashir has taken some tap, but is holding his nerve so far.

04:33 AM GMT

OVER 38: IND 180/1 (Sharma 72 Gill 47)

The trumpeter has been playing the Great Escape already this morning. Some hope! Now it’s Twist and Shout for Mark Wood’s introduction. Shubman Gill defends two then cashes in on the width splatting successive fours with a crashing square cut and an elegant cover drive. Gill’s father is in raptures in the family seats.

It looks like this is the day when England are going to be Bazballed.

04:29 AM GMT

OVER 37: IND 171/1 (Sharma 72 Gill 38)

Chance! And dropped by Crawley at leg slip. A tickled leg-glance which went at Crawley fast and hard and he stuck out a hand but didn’t stick. Would have been a fine catch but it hit him between the thumb and forefinger as he swooped low to his right. The ball racing away for four shows how hard it was hit.

04:25 AM GMT

OVER 36: IND 166/1 (Sharma 68 Gill 37)

One false-ish shot from Rohit off Anderson as he brings the bat down the plane of off-stump, looking to hit it through long on but it flies off a thick edge along the ground to cover point. The next ball to complete the over is wider and shorter and Rohit dabs it, poking his hands towards it and jabbing it, wide of gully for four. Anderson has the heart of a lion and is twice as feisty but even with a touch of reverse swing he can’t maintain any consistent air of threat.

04:21 AM GMT

OVER 35: IND 162/1 (Sharma 64 Gill 37)

Bashir experiments with lack of flight and a shorter length, restricting Rohit to a single eased down to long on and walked rather than strolled.

Rohit hits a six
Rohit strikes out - AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia

04:17 AM GMT

OVER 34: IND 161/1 (Sharma 63 Gill 37)

Anderson swings the first into Gill who defends it by jamming his bat down then responds with a big swing of his bat at the next, walloping Anderson for an 85m six over long on. Rohit smiles and goes in for a fist-bump. Anderson goes into his shell and tries back of a length, hangs it outside off and Gill crunches a square cut, bat halfway between horizontal and vertical, for four. Anderson reverses the next ball into Gill, clipping the outside flap of his front pad as he tried but failed to tickle it. The ball races away for four leg-byes as England appeal but it was always heading down.

A good day to be sitting at the Pavilion end if you are an England fan because that affords you a sight of the mountains. I suspect that will be the only pleasant viewing for the day. Anderson’s quest for 700 is reminding us of the 600 at the Rose Bowl a few years ago when it all felt a little desperate, trying to squeeze it into the last game of the series.

04:11 AM GMT

OVER 33: IND 147/1 (Sharma 63 Gill 27)

Bashir tosses his first two deliveries too wide and Rohit pumps the first one back over his head for six and the second over mid-off, with no one back on the rope straight, for a one-bounce four. Bashir tightens his line to off-stump but keeps it pitched up and Rohit defends the next four off the front foot, the young Somerset offie holding his nerve with his fuller length.

04:09 AM GMT

OVER 32: IND 137/1 (Sharma 53 Gill 27)

Anderson has 698 wickets at the start of his fifth over of the innings, eight of them in this series at 35. It’s his first over from this end. Two slips and a gully and he starts at 130 kph, 81 mph, looking to hit top of off and nip the odd one back to pin the right-handers. Not much swing but his usual, nagging, probing line keeps the batsmen tied up for four dot balls until each works a straight one into the onside for singles.

04:03 AM GMT

OVER 31: IND 135/1 (Sharma 52 Gill 26)

Bashir starts to Rohit, turning it dramatically into the India captain as Jerusalem begins. Good drift too as Rohit covers the turn More energy and volume from behind the wicket than yesterday, too. He starts with a maiden, making Rohit look awkward twice when playing the turning ball towards short leg.

04:00 AM GMT

Shoaib Bashir will open the bowling

He’s smiling broadly which is always good to see. He has a leg slip and a short leg.

03:44 AM GMT

Stokes to bowl?

Good morning for Dharamsala where it’s a truly stunning morning. Barely a cloud in the sky, and the snow-capped mountains look glorious. Not necessarily the views that supporters of Jimmy Anderson might have wanted to hear. If 700 doesn’t happen today, at least the view will be nice.

In other news, Ben Stokes has had a long bowl in the warm-up. Will this be the day he returns to all-rounder status? Given his form with the bat, it would be handy if so...

03:42 AM GMT

Preview: Himalayas, a visual metaphor

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of day two of the fifth Test from Dharamsala. England have only to look behind the pavilion at the Himalayas to be smacked in the face by a visual metaphor of where yesterday’s shonky performance with bat and ball has left them. They have had some terrible days on tour in India in the recent past – Karun Nair scoring 232 of his 303 on day four at Chennai in 2016-17, bowled out for 134 and 164 in Chennai five years later, dismissed for 112 and 81, and 135 in back-to-back defeats at Ahmedabad on the same tour – but Thursday was by far the worst day of the Key-McCullum-Stokes era in terms of being outplayed.

Kuldeep Yadav exposed the holes in both their batting and their bowling. His mastery of his googly and the sheer exotic quality of the art of left-am wrist spin, bamboozled England’s best batsmen in the way all India’s spinners used to do at the start of tours of India. It seemed to this observer at least that they had not spent any time between Tests working out a way to confound him. He’s nothing new to them but to see them groping wildly and flailing suggests a touch of complacency about his threat. He has, of course, also improved immensely, proving, as in the case of Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill and Adil Rashid, that wrist-spinners take time to mature. Rehan Ahmed is not here, never mind in Kuldeep’s class. But he needs a long run of bowling, at home and away, domestically and internationally, as well as the backing he already enjoys, to develop.

So what does today hold in store? It looks before we start like the penultimate day of the Test. One would expect India to build a commanding lead and roll a demoralised England over. Steven Finn reckons England still have a slim chance – if they do they will need something special from Jimmy Anderson, including his 700th Test wicket, some fireworks from Mark Wood and wickets for their two rookie spinners to have any possibility of avoiding the 4-1 result that will always appear to readers of Wisden in 50 years time like a rout when, in truth, the middle three Tests were all on a knife-edge at one point.

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