ime travel jokes are banned here in Edgbaston, all too obvious given the context of this delayed fifth try in the series from last summer.
But looking out the TARDIS window and watching the ball fly around in England’s erratic morning session, then witnessing their striker collapse – albeit in installments, as dictated by rain delays – only the Birmingham skyline in the distance reminded you it wasn’t Lord’s in August 2021.
Here, as then, England got their tactics wrong against an Indian tail who fought their way to a total of 416 first innings, having at one point yesterday summer 98 for five before the marvelous century of counter -attack on Rishabh Pant drags tourists into the ascendancy. .
In response, England never started, never really had the chance to, as the showers came and went, and the batters did the same. The first 27 overs of their answer came in four mini-sessions, with a top-notch wicket falling in each, the first three to the brilliant Jasprit Bumrah and then, most damagingly, Joe Root’s to Mohammed Siraj in the last half hour. of the day as the hosts reached the stumps 84 for five, still 332 behind.
Ravi Jadeja, who shared a 222 sixth-wicket partnership with Pant on Friday, started the day joining him to reach triple figures in a crazy first hour in which Stuart Broad beat the most expensive of the Test history and took his 550th wicket, while James Anderson quietly landed the 32nd five of his Test career, just weeks short of his 40th birthday.
In the second Test of this series, at Lord’s 11 months ago, England were eight behind India and only 182 points clear on the final morning, to resort to a short-pitch barrage that failed failed to test the technique of Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, two tailenders without any. India’s No.9 and No.10, spat on average between them, shared an unbroken 89 partnership before Virat Kohli was remarkably able to declare and engineer victory as the home side were sucked into a moody retaliatory mission after Bumrah’s bumper assault on Anderson the day before.
Here they didn’t even have that excuse, but brushed the field aside and made few attempts to dismiss Jadeja – who got knocked out trying to lift Anderson – and again had little joy at bounce messengers Shami and Bumrah.
The former added 16 to set the tone, while Bumrah then faced a Broad on what summed it all up, costing 35 runs, including five wides, a no-ball hit for six, five extra boundary tees and a near run -out . Beyond their two centurions, India’s next top scorer had been extras, with 40.
Bumrah spent his first day as alternate captain – the first of any Indian fast bowler in the role – with his feet up, but did his second, playing Alex Lees for six with the last ball before an early lunch , then having Zak Crawley caught, predictably, sliding with his first delivery after. Root pretty much survived Bumrah’s hat-trick, which whistled past the edge, but Ollie Pope later became his third victim.
Crawley’s failure outside the stump was familiar and by far the most troubling. On the eve of that Test, Ben Stokes said the fly-half would remain in England’s plans ‘regardless’ of his performance here, but only a second-leg score will prevent that faith from being sorely tested. considerable. England’s next test, against South Africa, is over six weeks away, maybe time for Crawley to get back to form, but that’s not really how he got here, his first acceleration on the team and his midway recall from the ashes based on potential, talent and style, not the weight of county races.
His departure for nine marked a 20th single-digit Test score since scoring 267 against Pakistan almost two years ago, with the 24-year-old averaging just 18 over the same period. A replacement is surely needed in the short term at least, if only England can find one.
The worst downpour of the day resulted in the longest of his delays, 30 minutes of which could probably have been avoided. With an hour to beat and the sun finally shining, it wasn’t quite the proverbial tricky evening session, but as Bumrah and Shami surveyed, still fresh after all the stops, England would have done well to survive it.
When Root was caught trying to cut a ball too close to him, New England may have taken their first step back, with Stokes sending Leach in as a night watchman with instructions to block and lose weight. time in the remaining 25 minutes of the day. Even that didn’t quite pan out, with the spinner sneaking up to Pant to give Shami a deserved wicket.