England v India: Four talking points as tourists thrashed by an innings
England v India: Four talking points as the hosts romp to victory to take a 2-1 lead in the series
Broad injured by Aaron bumper, unable to bowl on day three
With England coasting along after a superb partnership between Jos Buttler (70) and Joe Root (77), Stuart Broad was taking the attack to India, hooking Varun Aaron for two sixes before seeing another short ball land flush on the Nottinghamshire batsman’s helmet creeping between grille and peak and drawing blood. Broad retired hurt and England eventually declared nine down with a lead of 215, with the 28-year-old playing no further part in the days play. With Liam Plunkett nursing an injury and the lack of form showed by Chris Jordan, England will be praying that Broad will be okay for the remainder of the series. One positive for the hosts from the injury to Broad was the opportunity to give Chris Woakes the new ball. The Warwickshire all-rounder has been low on confidence with the ball and the confidence boost was compounded as he managed to pick up the wickets of Murali Vijay for only his second Test wicket and first since his debut a year ago.
Confidence flowing for Moeen
Moeen Ali has impressed with the ball as England’s main spin threat, despite being criticised by many in the press and around. He will know all he can is continue to take wickets and work hard which is what he is achieving but perhaps what is most promising is the change in confidence in the Worcestershire spinner. From being a part-time off-spinner who’s captain didn’t have the confidence the bowl him even in favourable conditions, to become a legitimate threat with a five wicket haul and is even marshalling his fielders around. The key that Moeen is comfortable in the Test arena is that he is now telling Alastair Cook where he thinks the fielders should be placed and causing the batsmen problems with the majority of deliveries. He topped his day off with a brilliant run out of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to round off a top day for the 27-year-old.
Pankaj Singh finally breaks his duck in rare high point for the tourists
Having been perhaps one of the unluckiest debutants in Test history, Pankaj Singh finally got his rewards for a lot of promising bowling when he had Root caught down the leg side after 416 Test deliveries. As is often the case a second wicket came along quickly after when he had Buttler caught at mid-off, getting some reward for a long toil in the field. He has impressed in his Test and a half so far moving the ball both ways and bowling at good speeds without reward until today and his confidence will only be boosted by getting his first two wickets on the board.
England dominate with bat and then ball to turn the table on India
Having had a shortened day because of rain yesterday and with India looking to fight back, England did well to build their lead and put the tourists under plenty of pressure. Buttler looked comfortable at the crease alongside Root as they batted India out of the match before Moeen and Anderson did the business with the ball. It is quite the change of fortunes from the first two Tests where England had struggled for parity let alone the dominance they have enjoyed first at Southampton and now at Old Trafford. This young side have a brilliant mix of youth and experience and while they are certainly not the finished article and question marks do remain over one or two of the players, they are making superb progress as a side and are feeling the confidence flowing and benefiting from it. India on the other hand are in free-fall. Having gone 1-0 up in the series at Lord’s and with everything seemingly going their way, the tourists have been ripped apart in the last two Test matches by the hosts. Of course they are missing their match winner from headquarters Ishant Sharma but their batting is the problem with collapses coming left, right and centre. Plenty of questions need answering by MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher ahead of the final Test at the Kia Oval if they are to get anything out of this series.