Ravindra Jadeja vindicated the team management’s inspired call with a half-century before a wagging tail ensured a 95-run first-innings lead for India, even as comeback man Ollie Robinson kept England in the hunt with his maiden five-wicket haul in the first Test. Courtesy Jadeja’s 16th half-century — a chiselled 56 off 87 balls — and a 73-run contribution from the last three stands on the third day, India managed 278 in their first innings in reply to England’s 183.
Robinson, who recently came back from suspension due to racism charges, bowled the hard lengths to pick up 5 for 85 in 26.5 overs, but James Anderson’s 4 for 54 was, perhaps, more impactful in the context of the Indian innings.
On the day, Anderson became the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when he surpassed Indian legend Anil Kumble. Only Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne remain ahead of Anderson now.
By the time rain robbed another full day’s play, England openers Rory Burns (11 batting) and Dom Sibley (9 batting) had erased 25 runs out of the first innings deficit, but India still have their nose ahead going into the final two days of the game.
The chatter around all-rounder Jadeja being preferred over specialist off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would stop for the time being as the optimistic visitors focus on things more important to take them closer to victory and a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
While opener Rahul laid the foundation for the visitors with a well-made 84, Jadeja snatched the initiative with his characteristic enterprise, hitting eight fours and a six, in his 56 off 86 deliveries at Trent Bridge.
With it, the lively cricketer has paid in full the faith the team management showed in him while making the big move to leave out the seasoned Ashwin from the playing XI at the expense of a man who can bat a little better than the off-spinner, who himself is no mug with the bat in cricket’s top-flight.