England v India: Talking points as weather curtails Indian fightback
England v India: Three talking points as the hosts end the second day with a healthy lead of 85
England’s fragile underbelly rears its ugly head once more
Before the Southampton Test match, England’s performance with the bat on Friday would have been unsurprising. Given how well they played on the south coast and all the talk of turning a corner and momentum, it was disappointing to see a number of loose shots get punished by the England batsmen. They had the match by the scruff of the neck after just one day and managed to leave the door open for the tourists, although they are still in the ascendancy. Jos Buttler faces a different kind of innings to his debut, when he was given licence to attack and score quickly. Instead he will now have to support Joe Root, who is the more experienced batsman as England try and push their lead past a hundred and beyond. There is plenty of batting left with Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson to try and propel their side to a sizeable advantage.
Kumar proves you can’t keep a good man down
After a quiet time of it in the third Test at the Ageas bowl, Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck back with a vengeance, picking up wickets and causing plenty of problems to all the batsmen. Lacking the express pace of the other bowlers in the Indian attack, Kumar relies on accuracy and movement both in the air and off the pitch, and he exploited some poor shot selection from the hosts. MS Dhoni will be delighted with the progress his side have made in what little play was possible on day two, but will realise that there is still plenty of hard work ahead. If Kumar can lead the attack and nip the England first innings in the bud, India will feel like they have half a chance, otherwise it could be a repeat dose of the Southampton treatment.
England in the ascendancy despite stuttering day
There isn’t a member of the English camp that would say it couldn’t be better but England will be content with a lead of 85 with four wickets left in their first innings. A slight hiccup in the morning session has not done irreparable damage and Root and Buttler will come out focussed knowing a good first session tomorrow could take the match away from the tourists. India though will feel quick wickets early and they are right back in the match as the surface shows no signs of deterioration, nor is it misbehaving. The fact of the matter though is England are in the driving seat in Manchester and if they don’t fluff their lines in the remainder of this Test, they should take a 2-1 lead to the Kia Oval.