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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Live Report – England vs India, 1st Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day


Get your dose of analysis, stats and colour from Trent Bridge on ESPNcricinfo’s live blog

India’s bowlers performed admirably to give them the advantage against England on day one. Can their batters push it home? Follow ESPNcricinfo’s live updates to find out (Please refresh the page to get the latest). Click here for ball-by-ball commentary. Also, here is our coverage of the match in Hindi

30 minutes, 7 overs, 6 runs, 1 review lost, 0 wicket


Gripping stuff as it often is in bowling conditions. England have chosen to open up with James Anderson and Ollie Robinson. Ideally you want to open with the best two bowlers, but possibly England want experience in each spell so holding Stuart Broad back for later.

In seven overs, England have induced 10 mistakes from India, but no edge has gone to hand. James Anderson has bowled four overs but not a single inswinger although he has flipped the shiny side on a couple of occasions. The ball is still swinging, but England have shown desperation in wasting their second review on Rohit Sharma. India have made 27 false responses and lost no wicket. England were bowled out in 93.

India 27 for 0 in 20 overs, Rohit 13 off 56, Rahul 11 off 65.

Ishant Sharma watch

We have Nagraj Gollapudi on the job. This is what he has to report

Every day since India arrived at Trent Bridge, Ishant Sharma has been undergoing what appear to be fitness tests: running lengths, bowling to empty nets, and training away from the rest of the squad. He was absent from the team huddles on Wednesday and Thursday, running through the paces while being observed by Indian trainer Nick Webb and physiotherapist Nitin Patel. On Thursday India bowling coach Bharat Arun had a quick conversation with Sharma, on what from a distance could have been about his follow-through where Ishant has fallen on all fours several times during matches.

However, the question remains: does Sharma have an injury or a niggle? The BCCI has not yet given an update, and insiders claim there is nothing wrong. Ishant last played in the WTC final against New Zealand where he was hit on his webbing and got a few stitches but was cleared fit during India’s preparations for the Test series in Durham.

Ishant remains a key player in the Indian fast bowling attack, and India would want him to be fit for a long series with four more Tests to go. Ishant has enjoyed bowling in English conditions, and is on the verge of becoming the first overseas fast man to take 50 wickets in the country.

Length and luck

A complicated, messy topic to start off the day then. We have all had the feeling Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah have had to work harder for their wickets in England than, say, Anderson, Broad, Boult, Southee and Jamieson. At lunch yesterday, we dug numbers to go with the claim. While Bumrah and Shami were getting a wicket for every 19 false responses in England, Anderson and Broad needed to induce around 10 false responses for a wicket. No fast bowler since 2014 has a worse ratio in England.

It can be attributed to two things: luck and length. Observers of sport – and practitioner, at least when speaking publicly – don’t like to acknowledge luck because it messes around with their idea of merit in sport.

Also there is logic to the idea that the fuller you bowl, the likelier you are to take the edge as opposed to beating the bat. On to length then, but we don’t have accurate data for lengths Anderson and Broad bowl in same conditions as Shami and Bumrah. However, yesterday when Bumrah and Shami got their wickets at around 10 false responses apiece, it kinda sorta checked out. Host broadcaster put out a graphic that said Shami had bowled 31% deliveries in the full zone as opposed to 19 in the World Test Championship final. Bumrah had taken it up from 26 to 35 after a wicketless return in the final.

However, what accounts for this? Kyle Jamieson, the most prolific bowler in the final, bowled the lowest percentage of deliveries in the full zone among all fast bowlers in the game.

Also the length bowlers bowl is not binary. They are also bowling to batters and to conditions. If they know a batting group is likelier to punish anything too full, you will see they will bowl a slightly shorter length. Does that say something of the England batters, who made quite a few driving errors against New Zealand too?

There is no evidence either to suggest that if you bowl fuller, nothing deliveries down the leg side will get you two wickets. It is all very complicated, and it is possible that both these assertions are correct: India bowled fuller, but were also luckier.

We will be keeping an eye on the lengths Anderson and Broad bowl today. Welcome to the Live Report on Day 2. India trail by 162 and have all their wickets in hand. The weather is fair to start off with, but there are showers forecast later in the day.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo


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