Joe Root Defiant, But India Hold Slight Edge After See-Saw Second Day


England captain Joe Root’s latest rescue mission with the bat could not prevent India maintaining their grip on the second Test at Lord’s on Friday.

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The hosts were 119-3 at stumps on the second day, still 245 runs adrift of India’s first-innings 364.

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But amid yet another top-order collapse, star batsman Root was 48 not out.

Root had come in with England struggling at 23-2 after Mohammed Siraj took two wickets in successive deliveries — with the recalled Haseeb Hameed out for a golden duck.

Together with Rory Burns, Root repaired some of that damage in a third-wicket partnership of 85 before the left-handed opener was lbw to Mohammed Shami for 49.

The second ball after tea saw Dom Sibley, on 11, tamely chip Siraj to midwicket — a repeat of the struggling opener’s careless first-innings dismissal during last week’s rain-marred drawn first Test in Nottingham.

His exit brought in Hameed, playing his first Test since the last of his three previous caps, all in India five years ago. During the absence he suffered injuries and a loss of form that saw the now 24-year-old move from Lancashire to Nottinghamshire.

Hameed had replaced Zak Crawley, averaging just 11 in Tests this year.

But Hameed’s long wait for a home debut Test innings ended, bowled first ball playing down the wrong line to Siraj.

England were 23-2 — the 15th time in their 19 Test innings this year they had lost their second wicket before reaching 50.

That left Root, the lone England batsman to pass fifty at Trent Bridge with scores of 64 and 109, facing an all-too familiar repair job.

Root blocked the hat-trick ball and when he square-cut Ishant Sharma for four to go to 14, surpassed Graham Gooch’s tally of 8,900 Test runs to go second behind Alastair Cook (12,472) in England’s all-time list.

That shot came during a flurry of four boundaries in six balls, with Burns hitting three fours in one Siraj over — an off-drive and two resounding pulls.

And even as batting became increasingly awkward under the floodlights, Root still eased Jasprit Bumrah through the covers for four with a defensive push.

– Five-wicket Anderson –

Earlier James Anderson took 5-64 as India were dismissed after resuming on their overnight 276-3 having lost the toss.

It was the 31st time in 164 matches that Anderson had taken five wickets in a Test innings and the seventh occasion at Lord’s.

Anderson’s haul came amid some sloppy England fielding  with several catches dropped and run-out chances missed.

It was a particularly commendable return given the 39-year-old Anderson had come into this game nursing a thigh problem.

England were already without Stuart Broad after Anderson’s longstanding new-ball partner had been ruled out of the rest of this five-Test series with a calf injury.

Anderson has 626 Test wickets, with only two retired spinners in Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets) and Australia’s Shane Warne (708) having had more success in the format.

But it was Ollie Robinson who made the key breakthrough when, with just Friday’s second ball, he had KL Rahul mistiming a drive to short cover for 129 after the opener had added just two runs to his overnight score.

It was the end of a more than six-and-a-half hour innings of 250 balls that included 12 fours and a six, with Rahul also sharing an excellent first-wicket stand of 126 with Rohit Sharma.

This innings followed Rahul’s 84 in the first Test, where he was only selected after Mayank Agarwal was hit on the head batting in the nets at Trent Bridge.

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