England vs India 2018: Chris Woakes' sterling spell is SK Play of the Day
After a damp squib of an opening day, Lord's sprung into life in an action-packed evening on the second day. Despite persistent rain, the world-class drainage allowed as many as 37 overs to be bowled.
With overhead conditions aiding prodigious swing bowling, England skipper Joe Root won another crucial toss and had no hesitation in consigning the Indian batsmen to an extremely challenging day's play.
Aside from the thick cloud cover, the visitors were also greeted by a green-tinged surface. James Anderson pounced on some particularly suspect footwork and removed the Indian openers rather cheaply. Virat Kohli's catastrophic misjudgment resulted in Pujara perishing to a needless run-out.
When play resumed late in the day, India began the third session at a perilous 15/3. Kohli, as well as a nervy Ajinkya Rahane, managed to survive Anderson's initial burst. But they were left shaken by Chris Woakes' sterling spell. The comeback man broke open the game by dismissing the Indian captain and then Hardik Pandya in quick succession.
Woakes architects England's dominance
As is often said, one man's misfortune can be another's gain. With Ben Stokes' affray trial opening up a slot in the playing eleven, Woakes obtained an ideal opportunity to showcase his skills. He found his rhythm by delivering a maiden over to Rahane.
Woakes troubled Kohli by moving the ball late. His kiss-the-surface style of bowling was perfectly suited for the occasion.
A couple of outside edges did not carry to the slip cordon as there was not much pace on offer from the pitch. To the batsman's credit, playing with soft hands certainly helped his cause.
Woakes procured the prized scalp in his third over. His stifling angle from over the wicket gave an illusion that the ball was coming into the batsman.
Kohli, who was standing outside the stumps, pulled out a shot at the last second. Fortunately for him, Jos Buttler put down a collectable chance at second slip.
Kohli's luck ran out soon as Woakes outclassed him in the very next delivery. Getting the ball to move away late, he induced a poor shot from the in-form batsman. This time around, Buttler wrapped his hands around the opportunity.
Hardik Pandya arrived into the middle after watching his skipper succumb to the moving ball. Sensing the all-rounder's itch to hit his way out of trouble, Woakes coerced him to play away from his body. However, Buttler failed to hang on to the chance.
Despite the drop, Woakes did not his shoulders droop. Realising that it was only a matter of time before another one would find it to the cordon, he shortened his length and got the ball to straighten from an impossible angle. Pandya was squared up and could only offer another catching opportunity to the cordon. As was the case earlier, Buttler made amends once again.
Anderson wrecked India's lower-order to complete what was a scarcely believable day's play. While the spearhead might have finished with yet another five-wicket haul, Root will acknowledge that it was Woakes who had cracked open the game for England.
Having bowled India out for a paltry total of 107, England will feel supremely confident of securing an emphatic result from the rain-hit Test.