“May have to follow John Starbuck’s example,” says Colum Fordham, “and celebrate waking up on a damp, dismal morning in Naples to find England lording it in Chennai by having some toast and home-made chilli marmalade. Fascinated by the prospect of watching Kohli cooly fending off Leach and Anderson. I hope for the sake of an even contest in what promises to be a series rivalling Australia-India that Ashwin doesn’t get badly injured by short-pitched stuff.”
Ok, you’ve got our attention. Care to share the recipe?
Jimmy says it was reversing so he just had to land it in the right place, and he got a bit of luck with the bounce. Jack Leach, meanwhile, says he’s taken a lot of confidence from this performance. “I thought i was playing in the IPL,” he says of Pant’s first-innings assault, and going for 80 off eight overs is not something you want, though as a spinner you expect punishment. But his teammates helped him get through it and this is, after all, his first time in India.
Jimmy says he’s feeling great and was pleased to have got the nod for this match – ! – and though the pitch was slow there was movement through the air. He’s not sure if he’ll be back in three days’ time.
Leach then says Sri Lanka was good to get overs in and bowl long spells in the heat. He’s used to playing on turning wickets at Taunton, where he’s expected to take wickets, so knows when to sick in there and when to try and give it a little more to get wickets.
Back to Jimmy, he says he’s never seen Root play better and that he leads from the front, but the other guys need to chip in. And that’s why he’s still here and still brilliant – he’s always looking to improve.
Tell you what though, I cannot wait to see how India come back from this. Their schedule has been an absolute animal, and there’ll have been a huge emotional dump after beating Australia in the way that they did, then coming home for the first time in a while. We saw that it took England a while to get going again after winning the World Cup, so it’s no great surprise that India were a little off it here – not a lot but a little, as Paul Daniels might’ve said –and this will wake them right up.
That is up there with the greatest performances I’ve ever seen from England, who were absolutely spectacularly good from the start until the finish. If we accept that perfection is impossible, it’s not really possible to play much better than that – they batted well, bowled brilliantly, caught well and, by amazing coincidence, Joe Root’s captaincy is improving in parallel to his team which, by amazing coincidence, is improving in parallel to his batting.
Funny thing is, Jimmy Anderson probably isn’t playing in that; funnier thing is, he’ll be replaced by Stuart Broad! I feel like we say this a lot, but it bears repeating: enjoy every second of these absolute lunatics, because we’ve never seen anything like them before and we’ll never see anything like them again.
Goodness me, this series is set – up! Seeing as we’ve got a few hours spare, can the second Test start now, please?
England beat India by 227 runs! They lead the four0match series 1-0!
WICKET! Bumrah c Buttler b Archer 4 (India 192 all out)
Archer flings down fast, straight and full, and it’s much too good for Bumrah, who edges behind! What a ludicrous performance that is from England, who’ve now one six straight tests overseas!
at 8.07am GMT
58th over: India 192-9 (Ishant 5, Bumrah 4) Target 420 Ishant muscles Leach away for four through deep square, the only runs of the over.
“Have been looking at Anderson’s post-30 career record compared to other bowlers’ entire careers,” emails Tom Bowtell. “He nestles nicely between a couple of unknowns:
Allan Donald: 330 at 22.25
Jimmy Anderson post-30: 343 at 23.45
Dennis Lillee: 355 at 3.92.”
We need the OED to amend its definition of “infinite”to include the precise number of ways there are to marvel at what James Anderson has done, is doing, and will do. I’ve never seen anything remotely like it, in any sport.
57th over: India 188-9 (Ishant 1, Bumrah 4) Target 420 Yup, here’s Jofra! He’s got two slips and a silly point, Ishant on strike, and a second-ball boomp-ah has him shoving away from his newtons, nervously; the ball drops shy of midwicket. But have a look at this, a yorker that makes the batsman dance like a drunken cowboy in a saloon – he does well to jam it away! Next ball, the bails drop off as Ishant backpeddles and there’s an appeal for hit wicket, but they go upstairs and it seems like the wind intervened; a single follows.
at 8.00am GMT
56th over: India 187-9 (Ishant 0, Bumrah 4) Target 420 Bumrah doesn’t wait to be asked, swiping his first ball for four through midwicket, then missing with a slow-sweep that flies away for four byes. It’s on! I wonder if Root might introduce Archer here, to finish things off.
“Good Morning, Shalom, Salaam, Namaste,” says Yas; boker or. “Surely Kohli is fighting for his captaincy here? This is a typically ebullient resistance but Rahane wants his armband.”
I’m not sure about that. I’m sure he’ll get more time, and I’m sure that the upheaval of deposing him isn’t something anyone really wants. Ultimately, England have played better here – other than tossing the coin badly, I don’ t think he’s done too much wrong.
WICKET! Nadeem c Burns b Leach 0 (India 179-9)
They’re coming quickly now! This is another beauty from the England all-rounder, drifting in then ripping away, and Nadeem can’t help but edge to two, where Burns and his bob take a juggling catch like John Morris in his heyday! What on earth are we seeing?!
55th over: India 179-8 (Nadeem 0, Ishant 0) Target 420 Credit to Joe Root for bringing on his magic man when he needed something – I suppose it was the obvious thing to do, but with so many options it wasn’t – and that ball was pretty much unplayable.
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WICKET! Kohli b Stokes 72 (India 179-8)
BENJAMIN ANDREW STOKES! BENJAMIN ANDREW STOKES! BENJAMIN ANDREW STOKES! BENJAMIN ANDREW STOKES! BENJAMIN ANDREW STOKES! This is absolute monster of a brute, reversing in, hitting the large patch of spitting dusty menace and staying low to nobble Kohli’s off stump! This is nearly done!
55th over: India 179-7 (Kohli 72, Nadeem 0) Target 420 Kohli channels Ronald Bell, opening the face to earn four.
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“Waking up to six down and a Jimmy masterclass in India,” says Guy Hornsby – let’s just savour that for a moment, shall we – “feels like the late-era away bowling performance that you’d be mad to call to anyone but the Burnley Lara. What a gauntlet for Broad, eh. Now we have the rare agony of seeing if we can actually see it out. Argh.”
They are absolutely ridiculous humans – that level of skill allied to that level of glorious psychopathy is something else.
at 7.44am GMT
54th over: India 175-7 (Kohli 68, Nadeem 0) Target 420 Before this series, England’s principal worry was whether their spinners would be able to take wickets or hold down and end, but Leach is full of confidence now and inserts a silly point to out Nadeem under a bit more pressure. He’s getting bounce now, putting more revs on the ball and bowling a bit faster … and a poke has Pope scrabbling, but he can’t quite adjust weight and get a hand to the ball. That’s a maiden and drinks.
53rd over: India 175-7 (Kohli 68, Nadeem 0) Target 420 But Virat Kohli is still out there, and when Stokes bangs one in, he rolls wrists over the ball once on top of the bounce – no small feat for a relatively short man – and absolutely cleanses four through square leg; what a don. They’re the only runs from the over.
52nd over: India 171-7 (Kohli 64, Nadeem 0) Target 420 I am absolutely made-up for Jack Leach; both he and Dom Bess have shown their mettle in recent times, rebounding from poor innings to perform when the pressure is most intense, and Leach has also been ill. The selectors have also done well to stick with the pair, and this is their reward; in all walks of life, people perform better when they feel comfortable and happy.
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WICKET! Ashwin c Buttler b Leach 9 (India 171-7)
“Woohoo!” hollers Jos Buttler and well he might! Might this be the crucial blow?! Leach sends down a wide one and Ashwin fancies it, but there’s not quite the width he thinks there is and when it drifts and bounces too, he edges his cut behind!
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51st over: India 170-6 (Kohli 63, Ashwin 9) Target 420 Stokes’ first delivery is outside off and when it sits up, Kohli gets back and across, toes tipped and elbow high, to clout four through the covers. That is fit as, that is, and of course he doesn’t just strike the pose like Greta Garbo and Monroe, Dietrich and Di Maggio, he holds it; Virat Kohli we love you. A single to midwicket follows.
50th over: India 165-6 (Kohli 58, Ashwin 9) Target 420 Kohli’s wrists are made of wire elastic – nose-picking must be fraught with danger – and he flicks Leach for three through midwicket, then Ashwin plays away five dots. England could use something here.
“Good Morning Daniel, good morning everyone,” says Em Jackson. “In relation to longevity, Jimmy and Tom need to have posters of Sir Stanley Matthews & Kazuyoshi Miura on their walls. But the real question for me is this, which of Brady or Anderson is most likely to revive the Indoor League à la Fred Trueman. Tom Brady surely?!”
What would our disciplines be? Darts, obviously, slapsies, and what else?
49th over: India 162-6 (Kohli 55, Ashwin 9) Target 420 I thought Anderson might get one more, but Stokes takes over which seems wise; he’s wicketless in this Test which means it’s about time for him to personality someone out. He begins with a maiden.
“Staying up late here in Peru to follow the OBO and I had a spare moment,” says Jimmy.
48th over: India 162-6 (Kohli 55, Ashwin 9) Target 420 They ran a leg-bye on that appeal, after which Kohli adds two via edge, the ball bouncing in front of Stokes at slip and megging him thereafter. I hope Kohli called it, and they run two.
REVIEW! NOT OUT!
Umpire’s call on impact and going well over the top anyway. But that was a good ball from Leach.
48th over: India 159-6 (Kohli 53, Ashwin 9) Target 420 Ashwin comes down the track to Leach, is diddled in the flight and the ball hits the pad … there’s a loud appeal! I thought it was missing but was also looking at my fingers, and England review!
47th over: India 159-6 (Kohli 53, Ashwin 9) Target 420 Hello! A cross-seamer bounces more than Kohli’s expecting and when it gets big on him he half-plays at it, the ball looping towards midwicket before landing safe. But the batsmen have looked pretty solid out there since lunch, and as I type that Kohli plays down through point for two. This is extremely intense.
46th over: India 157-6 (Kohli 51, Ashwin 9) Target 420 Kohli waits for Leach then snaps down with his bat to send the ball towards point and they amble one; that’s it for the over.
“Lets not get too carried away,” says Jason Ali. “The landing of the coin on day one was, arguably, the key event.”
I don’t think anyone’s carried away – England have played brilliantly and it’s ok to acknowledge that. And winning the toss is no good if you don’t then make the most of it, and Sibley and Root in particular batted superbly.
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45th over: India 156-6 (Kohli 50, Ashwin 9) Target 420 Anderson slings down a short one but Ashwin is game, pulling it for one, then after two dots, Kohli flicks to square leg to raise his fifty. He can smell the adulation if he misses this, but he can’t do anything from the non-striker’s and a lovely delivery from Anderson, on a length and just outside off, moves off the pitch and just beats Ashwin’s edge.
“You don’t need to Photoshop it,” advises Chris Purcell of Jimmy Nicholson. “You can quite literally cut and paste it. I did this exact same picture for someone’s telephone manner which was less than welcoming at the press cuttings agency, oooh remember press cuttings? Anyway, all you need is a photocopy machine, scissors, glue, the internet and a printer. Simple. I hope that clears everything up.”
I am not good at cutting, or anything requiring dexterity – typing, for example. Sad but true.
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44th over: India 154-6 (Kohli 49, Ashwin 8) Target 420 Ashwin twizzles a single to midwicket, the only run off the over.
43rd over: India 153-6 (Kohli 49, Ashwin 7) Target 420 I read yesterday that Tom Brady has been on the pitch for about 34.5 hours of play in 21 years; I’d love someone to tell Jimmy Anderson that that amounts to the greatest sportsman of all-time (yes, you can tell that to Usain Bolt if you like). Ashwin squirts him for one into the on side and Kohli plays out the remaining two balls of the over. I wonder how long it’ll be before we see Archer again.
42nd over: India 152-6 (Kohli 49, Ashwin 6) Target 420 Kohli smears across a spin-covering drive down the ground for four – in its own way, that kind of shot is every much as masterful as the more flowing stuff for which he’s more famous. Those are the only runs from the over.
41st over: India 148-6 (Kohli 45, Ashwin 6) Target 420 Here’s Jimmy! If I knew how to Photoshop, that’s what I’d do. And rightly so; after two length balls, he serves Ashwin a lifter that kisses his shoulder hello, then beats the outside edge before one sends the ball to where second slip isn’t and down to the fence for four.
“It’s almost a compliment to India,” tweets Nakul Pande in response to Gary Naylor, “who’ve not been particularly bad, that it’s taken England to be this good.”
Yes, that’s true. It wouldn’t take much of a drop from England or much improvement from India to reverse the balance in the second Test.
Photograph: RONALD GRANT
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40th over: India 144-6 (Kohli 45, Ashwin 2) Target 420 Leach found a beauty earlier in the innings to get rid of Pujara – and before that, to get rid of Rohit – which is to say that the Sri Lanka tour served England beautifully. Bowling to a slip and a gully, Leach rattles through a maiden.
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“What a great set-up for a thrilling series between two fine teams,” says Alistair Connor. “The winners have the honour of playing for the championship against the world’s best side (apparently)… NZ! I’m allowed to say that because I’m a NZer, but frankly it’s a bit surreal eh?”
It’s great. We’re not short of supremely likable sides at the moment, and it’d be great to see your boys win.
“Just having crumpets and jam for breakfast,” taunts John Starbuck. “If England do win this it could become a regular habit.”
It will be incumbent upon you. But if they ruin it from here, you’re never having them again.
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“There are video clips of all the dismissals at bcci.tv,” offers Jonny Wilkins.
Wade in, I promise you’ll not be disappointed.
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“On the subject of captains not being positive enough with declarations,” says Ian Forth, “I’m always reminded of the hyper-positive King Harold in 1066. After victory in Yorkshire at Stamford Bridge against Harald Hardrada, he discovered there had been another invasion on the south coast by William, Duke of Normandy. The sensible counsel he received was to cut off William’s supplies by scorching the earth around his camp (‘bowling dry’?). Instead, ‘thinking positively’ and ‘backing himself’, Harold forced his men on a four-day march, and engaged in battle. The result was the evisceration of not only him personally but the entire Anglo-Saxon nobility (all dead on the battlefield, having thought positively and backed themselves), an England ruled by foreigners for the next 950 years, and a toxic class system which at least provides Guardian journalists with something to write about these days. It’s an ill wind!”
“It’s just the way I play,” he said, after his funky field-position worked against him in the crucial first, second, third, fourth and fifth hours. “I’m taking the positives.”
“Morning Casual Dan!” chirps Debbie Colbourne; morning Debbie! “Hello from the hot and dusty Pilbara in NW Australia. Enjoying the coverage and glaring at anyone in an effort to keep people away so I can listen in peace! Jimmy Anderson has still got it, hope Bess can get over his glitch and bring it home. An England win on Indian soil will trump the Aussies who will immediately claim that they’re only interested in the BBL as usual!”
Australia will be pretty happy with this; they qualify for the world Test championship final if the series finishes 1-0, 2-2, 1-1 0-0, 0-1, 1-2 or 0-2. While we’re here, England need it to be 1-3, 0-3 or 0-4, so at least two more wins assuming they bring this home, while India wouldn’t be able to lose another, needing 4-0, 3-0, 3-1, 2-0 or 2-1.
Anyhow, hot and dusty sounds a fair bit better than snowy and Englandy.
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“Morning from dark and cold Somerset,” says Kare Bridgen. “I have no idea how cricket works and the rules are a blank void to me. HOWEVER, this is brilliant fun and it’s well worth getting up stupidly early for.”
I can think of worse introductions, but in the true spirit of the game, they are laws. Of course they are, and welcome!
“Bit late greeting up this morning, expecting us to be wallowing mid-order,” says the wearied Peter Fotheringham. “But lo, I seem to have missed all the action! After lunch/breakfast will we see any life return to the last dying overs?”
Lo! It’s hard to think so because, though Ashwin is an absolute kli, the peppering he just took off Archer is likely to disturb his equilibrium. You never know, because he and Kohli are special, but there are enough overs left such that you’d expect enough pressure and good balls to resolve things.
“I’ve never seen 13 such consistently brilliantly sessions from England,” tweets Gary Naylor. “A stretch of play to stand with any by any side in history surely? There’s work to do still, but this is extraordinary stuff from Joe Root and his men.”
I’m always feart of recency bias when making statements of that sort, but it’s impossible to disagree. They’ve absolutely nailed this, from picking the team through winning the toss into the opening stand; they’re a good team now, their maximum level a serious one. If they can raise their bottom levels – the batsman and spinners in particular – we’ll really be talking.
Morning Adam, morning Jimmy Anderson, morning everyone. So it turns out that England’s greatest-ever bowler is really great, then, and that consistent line and length with the occasional jaffa interspersed works in all conditions. What a turn-up for the books! In my preview of this series I said that if England could win the toss and score big runs – more likely than usual, given they were nicely settled into conditions – I kind of fancied them, and writing my preamble to this Test I felt that they had too many matchwinners to ignore. It felt dispassionate but I’m still not sure I fully believed it and I certainly did not expect them to reach as close to perfection as they have here. One more session of similar standard should be enough to go one-up, but with Virat Kohli out there, nothing is certain.
Email me your thoughts or tweet them @DanielHarris.
Over to Dan Harris. Thanks for your company – that was good fun. If they’re still going at tea, I’ll be back with you then. It is more likely, however, that we’ll talk again during the Second Test. Bye!
LUNCH: India 144-6
39th over: India 144-6 (Kohli 45, Ashwin 2). Target 420. Ashwin is hit again, on the wrist this time. There’s a big mark above the glove sweatband where he has been hit. The medical staff are out to check him out for the second time in two Archer overs. Now they bring a small arm guard out for him – not before time. Similarities, as noted on TV, to when Shami missed the final three Tests in Australia. Goodness me, he’s hit for a third time, this time on the top of the helmet, running away for four leg byes. But forget about that, this is a proper ordeal now for the Indian champion. Because of the delays, this becomes the final over before lunch. Can he get through the last couple of balls without copping another whack? He can. Brutal stuff. Lunch is called, ending a session where England picked up five wickets, Anderson leading the way with two utter beauties to castle Gill and Rahane, also picking up dangerman Pant for good measure.
I know Aus was a great tour and all but do India HAVE TO get a leading bowler injured in the first Test? Surely there are other ways to win the series
38th over: India 140-6 (Kohli 45, Ashwin 2). Target 420. This isn’t good from Dom Bess, coughing up three full tosses in a row at Kohli, the India captain putting all of them away – two through midwicket and one down the ground. Into the 40s he moves. It prompts a discusson on TV about England’s inexperienced spinners and how that might have factored into Root’s thinking yesterday. On that…
“Morning Adam, from a dark and mild Costa Blanca.” Hope you’re keeping well, David Gaskell. “After all the discussion of Root’s reasons for not declaring yesterday, his (now) obvious choice to keep the ball in a good state has been vindicated. That, anyway, is my analysis and nobody expects a Spanish disposition.”
I was on the OBO at the time and didn’t make much of it other than giving his bowlers a longer breather and a 400+ score to bowl at.
37th over: India 126-6 (Kohli 32, Ashwin 1). Target 420. Archer is back and… ouch, he’s smacked Ashwin in the glove. His right hand, too. Out come the medical staff, who give him the all-clear to continue, but that will be a talking point after the Test. Let’s hope he’s fine. Earlier in the over, Kohli celebrated the end of Anderson’s spell by hitting Archer back over his head for four. As you do.
at 5.55am GMT
36th over: India 121-6 (Kohli 27, Ashwin 1). Target 420. Singles, three of them, to start the Bess over. But runs, of course, aren’t really a factor now with a further 299 of them needed for India to win, which isn’t happening. Ashwin gets through the rest of it.
“G’Day Adam – how goes it?” Very nicely, David Melhuish. “Thoroughly enjoying the OBO from sunny, relaxed Macao. (Approaching 1.45pm). Anderson looks in extremely fine fettle, strong as an ox. Myself and couple of colleagues have been pondering about the likelihood and effectiveness of employing both Jimmy and Broady in next week’s encounter here at Chenai. Would be interested in your take and the general consensus in the OBO stands.”
I’d be very tempted as a one-off to try and punch India’s bruise after this (eventual) loss. But I don’t reckon they’ll be interested.
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35th over: India 118-6 (Kohli 25, Ashwin 0). Target 420. Anderson has taken 5/8 since picking up Ishant Sharma (in the first innings) yesterday, Mark Butcher says on telly. Nothing further on this occasion, though, with Kohli keeping his old nemisis at bay.
“Morning Adam.” Kim Thonger, my man. “To think I bothered to put the alarm on for 0530 to check the score. This is all terribly dull. Why does anyone bother with Test cricket? I’m going back to sleep.”
You can go back to bed in about an hour. This is finishing quickly.
@collinsadam Hindsight, we all know, is a great thing, but would love to hear the thoughts of the numerous people who condemned Root yesterday from the comfort of their arm chairs. Truth is, no one knew if it was right or wrong and only today could tell us. As it emphatically has
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34th over: India 117-6 (Kohli 24, Ashwin 0). Target 420. Ashwin defends the one ball he has to deal with. Well bowled, Dom Bess.
“Hi Adam.” Hi, Siva Kumar. “Fascinating test match, and kudos to the English bowlers especially Jimmy and Leach who have bowled beautifully on a crumbling wicket. That said, it was a foregone conclusion for the team winning the toss when the pitch started slow on the first day itself. Given how well India performed in Australia, I felt Indian chances would have been better with a faster/greener wicket and would have provided the team batting second a fair chance as well.”
The expectation ahead of the Test was that they were going to give them a green seamer. I’m not sure what happened there.
“PS: My first time at MAC stadium was the Pongal testmatch featuring the Windies in ‘79 as a 10 year old. I still remember Gundappa Vishwanath’s batting in that match.”
What special memories they must be. Thanks for dropping me a line. Mark Ireland has also done so, to report that there are video clips available from the BCCI website. See how you go.
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WICKET! Sundar c Buttler b Bess 0 (India 117-6)
Yep, he smashed it. Well taken by Buttler with plenty of turn and bounce from Bess after angling into the left-hander. Over by lunch?
Dom Bess of England celebrates the wicket of Washington Sundar of India. Photograph: BCCI
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HAS BESS FOUND SUNDAR’S EDGE? Given not out but Root sends it straight upstairs. It looks out on the first replay. Stand by.
33rd over: India 110-5 (Kohli 17, Sundar 0). Target 420. “Clips banned from social media cos they’re frankly indecent,” says Daniel Forman of my earlier complaint. Not wrong. Those inswingers – phwoar. Sundar does well, making it to the end of the successful over without doing anything that could get him into strife.
“Oh, what a joy to wake up to Jimmy on fire!” I’m sure Sara Torvalds in Finland is sharing that experience with many England fans.
WICKET! Pant c Root b Anderson 11 (India 110-5)
Nick Knight tells us on telly that Anderson now has the most wickets for a bowler after the age of 30 picking up 342 of them. He’s overtaken Courtney Walsh. Make that 343! Pant, with those hard hands, has picked out Root at extra cover. Jimmy is elated – that’s looks to have a been a plan, as it was for Dickwella in Galle.
James Anderson of England celebrates the wicket of Rishabh Pant of India. Photograph: BCCI
at 8.06am GMT
32nd over: India 110-4 (Kohli 17, Pant 11). Target 420. Shot, Rishabh. The southpaw waits for the right ball to advance at Leach, crashing him through cover for four. He sure loves taking on finger spinners.
“Morning all.” Hello, James Fielding. “Recovering from a case of Brazilian covid in Lisbon. Most definitely over the worst of it but those two from the master have just had me up out of bed running around the room! Jimmy hey, bloody hell!”
I can see the headlines now, the solution to Long Covid? A James Anderson highlights compilation. Beautiful stuff. Stay well!
31st over: India 104-4 (Kohli 16, Pant 6). Target 420. Oooh, some reverse away from Pant from around the wicket – he plays it well, with soft hands. Pujara-esque. Eek, now that I’ve typed that, he goes hard at the next ball that moves, ever so close to edging behind.
“How in the world did Anderson do that?” asks Sohid Ahmed, capturing the tone of my inbox right now. “Please, we need this to be fair contest. We can’t have the best test batsmen earth has to offer
facing bowlers from another planet.”
A lot of people out there have invested a lot of time and energy suggesting that Anderson isn’t any good outside of England, etc etc etc. This is going to be a tough time for them. Let’s go easy.
You know, I’d really hate it if I’d based my entire personality on not rating James Anderson right about now. #INDvENG
Source by www.theguardian.com