There was enough buzz around Nottingham as the England vs India first Test kicked off at Trent Bridge. The first of the five-match Test series is usually the most important as both sides look to set the tempo at the very beginning. The match was set up beautifully in the balance going into the fifth and the final day with both teams quietly confident of their chances of winning the match. But again, the rain gods struck and the fifth day was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
In the end, both captains shook hands and will go into the Lord’s Test with the series level at one apiece. Let’s talk about the major highlights from the England vs India first Test.
SOUNDS OF ‘ROOOOOOOT ROOOOOT’ RING AROUND TRENT BRIDGE
It had been three years since the England captain, Joe Root had scored a century in a home Test. The only criticism that Root has been a victim of in his illustrious career has been his conversion rate of 50s to 100s in Test cricket. Yet another knock failed to deliver in the first innings as Root perished for 64. The team eventually collapsed for a mere 183 in the first innings and apart from Root, there wasn’t a single batter who was ready to take up the responsibility of scoring some tough runs.
It was yet again on Root’s shoulders in the second innings as India had a lead of 95 after the first innings. Everyone in the stadium knew if Root fails here then England fails. But this is where we saw the very best of the England captain. Root put his hand up and played a sublime inning, one of his best hundreds as Michael Atherton described it on commentary. The whole stadium stood up in appreciation and applauded their captain on reaching this landmark.
JASPRIT BUMRAH PROVES HIS DOUBTERS WRONG
Jasprit Bumrah has been one of the outstanding players India has had in the last few years. He has performed exceptionally well on every tour he has been on and is one the toughest bowlers to face in Test cricket but just because he was a bit off-colour in the World Test Championship Final, Twitter went into full troll mode.
It seemed like Bumrah had something to prove going into this first Test and there was no way better than what he managed to achieve in this game. He finished the match with figures of 9/110 that included a brilliant five-wicket haul in the second innings.
KL RAHUL IN STUPENDOUS FORM
India were struggling to find an opener in the build-up to this match. It seemed certain that Mayank Agarwal would replace Shubman Gill as the opener alongside Rohit Sharma but the Karnataka opener was ruled out due to a concussion. The team management turned to the other Karnataka opener in the squad, KL Rahul and the batter didn’t disappoint. Rahul batted like an opener who was born on those tough English tracks and set the tone for the innings. He left the ball brilliantly outside off stump and latched onto anything that was loose from the English bowlers.
Rahul top-scored India’s first innings with a gritty 84. He’d be mighty pleased by his efforts and would rank this innings more than some of the hundreds he has scored previously.
BATTING WOES FOR BOTH TEAMS
Both teams seem to have a top bowling lineup and a few batters who are short on confidence. There has been plenty of criticism going the English top order’s way while the Indian middle-order has copped a fair share of its criticism as well. None of these players did enough to go into the second Test at the Home of Cricket with any sort of confidence. So, we need to see how these players live up to the pressure at Lord’s when the time comes.
TEST CRICKET NEEDS TO DO MORE TO STAY RELEVANT
The most frustrating part of this Test was that we saw only three days of cricket in essence and whatever cricket was on display was of top quality. Most days were called off early due to bad light, only for the light to improve further in the evening, but by then the players were already in their hotels. The English weather struck on the final day and again the match was called off extremely early before the rain stopped. None of the teams are in any hurry to get their overs completed in time and we always end up losing plenty of overs in a whole day’s game.
Something needs to be done about this part of our beautiful sport. As of now, it seems like the officials are finding reasons not to play rather than trying to have as many overs in a day. The case should clearly be the opposite. The rigid norms of not starting a day early or not playing post 6 PM needs to be discussed thoroughly if Test cricket wants to stay relevant in the coming years.
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