LONDON: India captain Virat Kohli promised there would no let-up from his side following an impressive 151-run win over England in the second Test at Lord’s on Monday he labeled a “day late” Independence celebration. This match was in the balance early on the final day before a ninth-wicket stand of 89 between Mohammed Shami (56 not out) and Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out), both of whom made their highest Test scores, allowed Kohli to declare India’s second innings on 298-8.
That left England chasing a target of 272 but, with Mohammed Siraj taking 4-32 and fellow paceman Bumrah 3-33, they slumped to 120 all out. Victory, which left Kohli’s men 1-0 up in this five-match series, came just a day after India’s Independence Day on August 15 and the tourists enjoyed plenty of vocal support at Lord’s.
“We fed off that energy,” said Kohli. “It’s a day late celebration for Independence Day. It’s the best feeling we can give the Indians here and back in India.” “We have three matches to go and we will be just as intense,” added Kohli, looking to lead India to just a fourth Test series win in England after successes in 1971, 1986 and 2007.
Reflecting on what was just India’s third win in 19 Tests at the ‘home of cricket’, Kohli said: “I feel super proud of the whole team. The pitch didn’t offer much in the first three days. “The way we played this morning with Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Burmah with the bat was important. We believed we could get them out in 60 overs and the bowlers were outstanding.”
England captain Joe Root made a superb 180 not out in the first innings — his fifth Test century this year — and top-scored again for his side with 33 on Monday before falling to the third ball after tea. And an England team without missing all-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, as well as injured quicks Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer, offered only limited resistance in the absence of yet another major contribution from Root. India, however, overcame a raft of injuries and the absence of star batsman Kohli on paternity leave to win a Test series in Australia this year. England have now gone seven Tests without a win — a sequence that includes a campaign loss in India.
And Root, perhaps somewhat harshly, blamed himself for England’s lack of tactical discipline with the ball on Monday after his pacemen repeatedly bowled too short at Shami and Bumrah. “As captain, you take responsibility,” he said. “I don’t think I coped with that partnership well enough… Maybe we could have looked at attacking the stumps a little bit more frequently, using the short ball as more of a surprise.”
Yet for all their failings in the field, batting out the 60 overs remaining on a placid pitch to secure a second successive draw this series following a rain-marred first Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge should not have been beyond England. Batting collapses, however, have become an all-too common feature of their recent red-ball cricket outfit and there were four ducks on Monday, with Rory Burns and Dom Sibley the first England opening pair to both be out for nought in a home Test innings. “I don’t think there’s any hiding from it, we do need to get better,” said Root. “We need to score heavier. But the guys all know that, they’re working extremely hard.”
The teams now head to Headingley, Root’s Yorkshire home ground, for a third Test starting on August 25, with the England skipper insisting: “There’s still a lot of cricket to be played in this series. More than anything we just need to stay calm and not try to panic and make sure we’re in a really good frame of mind when we turn up to Leeds.” – AFP