The first test at Trent Bridge offered some advantage to India on the first two days; but by and large, the entire match was dictated by first innings’ last-wicket stands from either side. On fourth day, when stumps were drawn, India were 167/3 with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane being the not out batsmen. Just when the draw appeared imminent, England reduced India to 184/6 in the first hour of play. If one went back a bit, India had lost 5 top order batsmen from being 140/1 at one stage, with the addition of just 44 runs. Such a quick slide exposed the fragility of India’s so called strong batting line-up. Therefore, rather than trying to mount a challenging total and asking England to bat again, consolidating the innings became a higher priority. With the cream of Indian batting whipped off, the rescue was engineered by debutant Stuart Binny and Bhuvi Kumar. Once it became clear that the proceedings had only academic importance, even Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance took to bowling. The farce finally came to an end after India declared at 391/9 and the two teams agreed for a draw.
Sometimes, Indian batsmen can shock you by their indiscretion. On the fourth day evening, even after losing Shikhar Dhawan early, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara batted with authority. The two of them added 91 runs in a little under 30 overs and almost took India to safety. Then both of them got out in the next two balls. Vijay tried a needless heave to Moeen Ali’s last ball and Pujara got out to the first ball of the next over from Plunkett. Kohli and Rahane saw the day off for India. Next day, the two overnight batsmen yielded their wickets in a space of 5 runs as Broad’s victims. Jadeja and Dhoni were expected to put their heads down and build a safety net again. While Jadeja didn’t disappoint as much, Dhoni got careless with his batting. First he played an awful shot to Broad but escaped because an easiest of catches off a thick-edge was dropped by Cook in the slips and then when Plunkett came on in the innings’ 62nd over, he beat the Indian captain in air with a ball which Dhoni tried to whack away. Instead, he missed it completely and through a large crack between his bat and pad, the ball shattered his stumps.
At 186/6, India had a lead of 147 over England but the whole day remained. Jadeja, who didn’t have the luxury of launching a tearing attack, was so quiet that he hadn’t got off the mark for 36 balls until then. But he found a nice company in Stuart Binny. While both batsmen exercised caution, Jadeja looked needlessly subdued with just 10 runs from 62 balls by the 70th over. When India reached 249 in 82.1 overs, Jadeja fell caught behind to Anderson. Bhuvi Kumar walked in next to join Binny and the pair put on 91 runs for eighth wicket to reaffirm that the Nottingham test truly belonged to the tail-enders. Binny made 78 off 114 balls and couldn’t have had a better debut innings. Bhuvi Kumar continued in the company of Ishant Sharma but by this time, there was nothing left in the match. To entertain the bored crowd at Trent Bridge, Alastair Cook brought himself on from one end and Gary Ballance from the other and claimed Ishant Sharma in his second over. Shami joined his first innings’ batting mate Kumar but he played just 3 balls, before Dhoni declared. No.9 batsman Bhuvi Kumar had a rare achievement of scoring half-centuries in the same match. The teams mutually agreed for a draw.
The first Investec test became a farce in the end, the like of which hasn’t been seen in recent times. With results out of test matches becoming more of a certainty, it was kind of odd that the test ended as a draw. But more than anything else, the Nottingham test will go down in annals of test cricket history for the last wicket stands, first from India and then, when England did the same in turn, they created a new test record.
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