England's Wood, Moeen rock India in second TestMonday, August 16, 2021
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — England's Mark Wood and Moeen Ali struck late on against India at Lord's yesterday to leave the second Test intriguingly poised heading into the last day.
India were 181-6 in their second innings, a lead of 154 runs, when bad light forced an early close.
The start of a fourth day of fluctuating fortunes had seen Wood remove in form openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, and the visitors were in even greater trouble at 55-3 when Sam Curran captured the prize wicket of India Captain Virat Kohli.
Cheteshwar Pujara (45) and Ajinkya Rahane (61), both of whom had previously struggled for runs this series, checked England's progress – albeit it took them a sedate 59 overs to add exactly 100 for the fourth wicket.
But from 155-3, India lost three wickets for 20 runs.
Express quick Wood dismissed Pujara before off-spinner Moeen removed Vice-Captain Rahane and the dangerous Ravindra Jadeja.
Pujara's 206-ball vigil ended when a Wood delivery leapt off a length and lobbed gently to England Captain Joe Root at second slip to leave India 155-4.
Rahane was then caught behind cutting off Moeen who then bowled Jadeja with a superb delivery that turned and bounced to clip the top of the left-hander's off stump.
Wood, recalled after Stuart Broad suffered a series-ending calf injury having played in last week's rain-marred drawn first Test at Trent Bridge, had figures of 3-40 in 14 overs.
But, worryingly for England, Wood also had a shoulder injury that would need to be assessed in the morning after diving headlong into an advertising board when saving a boundary.
Mooen, in for dropped batsman Dan Lawrence to an England attack missing Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, had 2-52 in 20 overs.
Shortly before play ended, the umpires appeared to suggest the game could not proceed if England took the new ball, even though the floodlights were on.
England, however, did not want to risk conceding runs in those circumstances, with Rishabh Pant 14 not out and Ishant Sharma unbeaten on four.
“There were two parties — one wanted to stay out there; one was not so sure,” Moeen told Sky Sports.
“It's been a great Test match. For me to come back and be part of it has been great... As soon as I got the call I was buzzing to come back and play,” he added.
Play resumed Sunday with England 27 runs ahead after Root's superb 180 not in a total of 391.
Rahul and Rohit had provided the bulk of India's first-innings 364 with 129 and 83, respectively.
But Rahul fell for five yesterday when, having left the ball so well this series, he edged a 93 mph (150 kph) Wood delivery to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Rohit drew India level when he pulled a 91 mph Wood ball for six.
But trying to repeat the shot just three balls later, even though three fielders were out for the hook, he was well caught low down by Moeen, running in from deep square leg, for 21.
India were now effectively none for two.
Kohli, who had been in good touch, survived left-arm swing bowler Curran's review for lbw on height.
But still on 20 and seemingly playing for inswinger, Kohli edged a Curran delivery angled across him and was caught behind off a thin nick.
“As far as Rohit is concerned, he has made it clear this is a shot he plays,” said India Batting Coach Vikram Rathour.
“Kohli, it was just a lapse in concentration.”
Cricket crowds traditionally clap batsmen for reaching multiples of 50 runs but yesterday there was plenty of ironic applause from India, as well as England, supporters for every 50 balls faced by both Pujara and Rahane.
But there was also much genuine warmth from spectators at the 'home of cricket' when Vice-Captain Rahane, previously out for five and one this series, completed a 125-ball fifty after being dropped on 31 by Jonny Bairstow off Moeen.
“In cricket these phases [of low scores] will come,” said Rathour as he reflected on Pujara and Rahane's recent form. “But as long as they are giving their best, which they are, I don't think we are concerned at all.”