Rahul repels England before India tail hits out in first Test

Nottingham, United Kingdom: KL Rahul kept England at bay before India’s tail hit out as the tourists took command on the third day of the first Test at Trent Bridge on Friday.

Opening batsman Rahul, in his first match at this level for nearly two years, top-scored with 84 as India made 278 in reply to England’s meagre first-innings 183 — a significant lead of 95 runs.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s typically dashing 56 featured eight fours and a six and there was more pain for England when India tailender Jasprit Bumrah made a Test-best 28.

Ollie Robinson, playing just his second Test after being suspended following the re-emergence of racist and sexist tweets on his England debut against New Zealand at Lord’s on June, enjoyed his first five-wicket haul at this level with a return of 5-85 in 26.5 overs.

England great James Anderson’s figures of 4-54 in 23 overs took him to 621 Test wickets, with only two retired spinners in Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Australia’s Shane Warne (708) now ahead of him in the all-time list.

England, who did not help their cause by dropping Rahul in the slips on 52 and 78, were 11-0 in their second innings at tea.

India resumed on 125-4 after Anderson took two wickets with successive deliveries — including a golden duck for India captain Virat Kohli.

Rahul was 57 not out after only being recalled to open when Mayank Agarwal was ruled out having been hit on the head batting in the nets on Monday. 

But he should have been out for 52 when he edged Anderson only for Dom Sibley to drop a routine catch at second slip.

After a rain delay of nearly an hour, Rishabh Pant hit Robinson for six before the seamer had his revenge when the wicketkeeper mistimed a drive straight to short cover, with India now 145-5.

India were 191-5 at lunch, a slender lead of eight runs, with Rahul 77 not out and left-hander Jadeja 27 not out.

Rahul had added just one run to his score when he edged Anderson to first slip only for England captain Joe Root to drop the catch.

It was the 22nd chance dropped off Anderson’s bowling in the past three years and confirmed England’s position as the worst slip-fielding side in Test cricket since 2019.

Fortunately for England, Rahul’s composed 214-ball innings ended when he nicked Anderson straight into the gloves of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to end a stand of 60 with Jadeja.

Left-hander Jadeja, with only the tail for company, hoisted Anderson for a superb six high over square leg and celebrated an 81-ball fifty with his familiar ‘sword’ twirl of the bat.

He was out soon afterwards, a mistimed drive off Robinson well caught in a swirling breeze by the back-pedalling Stuart Broad at mid-off.

But the runs kept coming when Root took the new ball but, surprisingly, didn’t give it to either Anderson or fellow veteran quick Broad

Bumrah smashed left-armer Sam Curran for 14 runs in three consecutive balls — a clip through midwicket for four followed by a fine pull for six and an edged four over the slips.

He was last man out well caught by Broad, running round from fine leg, off Robinson.

Broad, six years to the day since taking a Test-best 8-15 against Australia at Trent Bridge, his Nottinghamshire home ground, finished with figures of 0-70 in 20 overs.

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