England vs India 2018: Nottingham Test heading for an exciting finish
Much has happened on the second day of the 3rd Test between England and India at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. At the end of the first day, India lost six wickets and were aiming for something around 375 on the second day. But that could not be achieved as the tail caved in meekly. By lunch, England openers Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook were in command, comfortably negotiating Indian pace bowlers.
Much was expected from Bumrah who was playing for the first time for India in this series. He missed the first two Tests because of injury. Bumrah did not disappoint his fans. He bowled well and troubled the England openers. But unfortunately, few hot chances were missed and he went wicketless before lunch.
After lunch, the match took a dramatic turn as England's wickets fell like a pack of cards. The damage was not done by Bumrah as expected but by Hardik Pandya who was criticised only recently by the eminent West Indian commentator Michael Holding. But Pandya proved him wrong by a possibly match-winning performance and picked five wickets - the best performance in his career. England were bowled out for 161 and even this would not have been achieved but for Buttler's aggression towards the end.
India are well consolidated at 124 for 2 and Virat Kohli and Pujara are well settled. The obvious strategy for India should be Pujara to hold one end while Kohli flashes his bat all round and scores runs quickly. But I personally feel India should score runs slowly from now on.
Making England start its second innings on the fourth day somewhere around tea time is far better than making England play on the third day. As time goes on, Indian bowlers will gain upper hand. A target of around 450 to 500 for England will be almost impossible to achieve if they start batting on the fourth day.
If rain Gods cooperate, India should win this Test handsomely. Earlier before this Test, I thought like many others that Indian performance could go only from bad to worse. I now change my opinion and complement Virat Kohli, Pandya, Bumrah and other Indian players for their excellent performance that has swung the fortunes in their favour.