NOTTINGHAM: Jasprit Bumrah’s five-wicket haul left India well-placed to win the first Test despite a fine hundred from England captain Joe Root at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
Bumrah took 5-64 in an England second innings where Root’s 109 on the fourth day was the centrepiece.
That gave the unorthodox paceman impressive match figures of 9-110 after he had taken 4-46 in a meagre England first innings total of 183, where Root’s 64 was again the top score.
At stumps, the visitors were 52-1 in their second innings, needing a further 157 runs to reach a victory target of 209.
Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were both 12 not out after KL Rahul, who top-scored with 84 in India’s first innings, was caught behind off Stuart Broad for a well-made 26.
Bumrah’s haul was in stark contrast to his 0-92 during India’s defeat by New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton in June — his last match at this level.
But the 27-year-old insisted he had not made many alterations to cope with English conditions following his sixth five-wicket in just 21 career Tests.
“Not a lot of adjustments, just the mindset adjustments, probably not looking at the end result too much, probably being in the moment, trying to back our skills, be in the present and enjoy the game of cricket,” Bumrah told reporters.
– Root ‘relief’ –
Earlier, a roaring Root was unusually animated in celebrating his 21st Test century, punching the air and his chest.
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere within the ground,” said Root. “There was quite a lot of relief.”
His latest rescue mission — England were 46-2 when he came in — was all the more valuable given his side could not call on Ben Stokes, who has so often bailed out a faltering top order, now the star all-rounder is taking an indefinite break from cricket to “prioritise his mental health”.
None of Root’s previous 20 Test tons have come in a defeat, with England winning 16 and drawing four of those matches.
“You always want more (runs) but I do feel like there are nine chances in that surface,” said Root.
Asked about his side’s batting woes, Root replied: “I’m just trying to score as many runs as we can, so is everyone else.
“We’re going through a tough patch at the minute, it’s been quite hard but it’s certainly not down to lack of effort.”
Frustratingly for the hosts, Dom Sibley, Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence all got to 25 before each played a key part in their own dismissal.
England resumed Saturday beneath sunny blue skies on 25-0, a deficit of 70 runs, with Rory Burns 11 not out and Sibley unbeaten on nine.
There was little left-hander Burns could do with a Mohammed Siraj delivery that seamed late to have him caught behind for 18.
Bumrah prolonged Zak Crawley’s run of low scores when, he squared up the batsman, with wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant holding a fine diving catch low to his right.
Crawley’s exit for six meant he had scored just 156 runs in 14 Test innings since his brilliant 267 against Pakistan at Southampton last year.
Root’s third-wicket stand of 89 with Sibley ended tamely when the opener — whose 28 took a laborious 133 balls — drove loosely at Bumrah and was brilliantly caught by a diving Pant off an inside edge.
Bairstow was largely untroubled until, he gave his wicket away on 30 by pulling Siraj to deep square leg.
Lawrence and Buttler, two of four first-innings ducks, both avoided a pair.
But they each fell to Shardul Thakur, with Lawrence lbw and Buttler clean bowled playing no stroke.
Root, however, on-drove Thakur down the ground to complete a 154-ball hundred in style with his 14th four.
The first over with the new ball, however, saw Root caught behind off an excellent Bumrah delivery after nearly five hours at the crease.
Bumrah had Sam Curran caught at mid-on for 32 and next ball an inswinging yorker bowled Broad off his toes.