Friday, March 24, 2023

IND vs ENG 2021 Lord’s Test Day 3: Joe Root hands England slender 27-run lead with scintillating hundred

A commanding 180* from England captain Joe Root led the hosts to 391 in their first innings, giving them a slender 27-run lead over India in the first innings of the second Test at Lord’s. The England captain continued to torment India’s bowlers, notching up his 22nd Test hundred on Day 3 of a riveting Test.

Resuming on his overnight score of 48, Joe Root returned unconquered all day, facing 321 balls and occupying the crease for over 530 minutes. He hit 18 fours in all, most of them off the middle of the bat.

Joe Root flicked, drove and defended and, at times, even opened the face of the bat as everything India’s bowlers threw at him was often returned with interest. With only one wicket left, Joe Root stunned everyone by doing a Rishabh Pant, reverse flicking Mohammed Siraj (4/94) for four.

The England captain brought up three figures by steering Jasprit Bumrah wide of point. During the course of his stupendous knock, Root also crossed 9000 Test runs, becoming only the second England batsman to reach the landmark, Alaistair Cook being the first.

He went past 150 in streaky fashion, guiding Ishant Sharma (3/69) uppishly past gully for a four. For a moment, the fielder (Rohit Sharma) thought he was in with a chance, but the ball travelled too quickly off Root’s blade.

At 341 for 5, England seemed to be running away with the game, but Ishant Sharma kept India in the hunt by striking off consecutive balls. He had Moeen Ali (27) caught low at slip by Virat Kohli off an outswinger. Sam Curran (0), who finally experienced the feeling of failing against India, then edged the first ball he faced from Sharma to the slip cordon.

A fascinating period of play followed next as Siraj kept rapping Ollie Robinson on the pads, but the umpire did not raise his finger, and Kohli refused to take the DRS. Siraj, finally, got the umpire to raise his finger by striking Robinson (8) in front of the stumps. The review could not save the batter.

On 160, Joe Root had a lucky escape. A fired-up Siraj got one to nip back into the England captain. The umpire gave it not out, but Kohli reviewed this time. Replays showed the ball clipping the top of the stumps, and hence the umpire’s call stood. Mark Wood (5) sacrificed his wicket following a mix-up with Joe Root, though. Mohammed Shami (2/95) cleaned up James Anderson (0) off the last ball of the day to make India feel better.

Earlier, Joe Root featured in what could be a match-defining 121-run stand with Jonny Bairstow (57). The latter played a dogged knock under pressure before Siraj went round the wicket and forced a false shot off a rising delivery.

Jos Buttler, who was also in need of a big score, looked good during his 23 before being bowled through the gate by Ishant Sharma off an inswinger, which he completely missed. Root, however, did not relent and, in the company of Moeen Ali, kept the Indian bowlers at bay before Ishant Sharma lifted India again.

India’s eagerness to get rid of the England captain saw Jasprit Bumrah overstep thrice in the 90th over of England’s innings. Towards the end of the day, he bowled four such deliveries in an over as he tried to bounce out Anderson.

Joe Root was not the only one who troubled India at Lord’s on Saturday. But a few unruly spectators hurled bottle corks at KL Rahul, who was fielding in the third man region, during the 69th over that was bowled by Mohammed Shami.

More corks were spotted in the next over around Rahul, with Indian captain Kohli gesturing to the fielder to throw the bottle corks back at those involved.

Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow give England perfect start on Day 3

Joe Root (left) and Jonny Bairstow. Pic: Getty Images
Joe Root (left) and Jonny Bairstow. Pic: Getty Images

Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow displayed the desired patience and application to frustrate the Indian bowling attack in the first session of Day 3 at Lord’s. Resuming the day at 119 for 3, the England duo took the team’s score to 216 by lunch without much fuss.

A total of 97 runs were scored in the first session of play on Saturday, which saw 28 overs being bowled. Significantly for England, they did not lose a single wicket. England went to lunch on Day 3 at Lord’s trailing India by 148 runs, with Root unbeaten on 89 and Bairstow having just crossed a much-needed half-century. The latter got there by flicking Ishant Sharma to deep square leg for a single.

Earlier, resuming his innings on 48, England captain Root reached his fifty in the second over of the day by driving Siraj through the cover region. A feature of the Root-Bairstow partnership was that they were hardly troubled by the Indian bowlers, and looked solid out in the middle during the session, which clearly belonged to England.

While Bairstow could not convert his innings into a big one, Joe Root returned unconquered. The match is now essentially a second-innings shootout, with all three results still looking likely as it reaches its conclusion.


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