The second day of the Lord's Test saw India lose two early wickets, before Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant guided them to a first-innings total of 364. In reply, England were soon reduced to 23-2 before Joe Root and Rory Burns staged a fightback. The visitors were 119/3 at stumps.
A score of 37 doesn't make much of an appeal for a No.6 in Test cricket, but Rishabh Pant's crucial contribution on Friday somewhat provided India with a much needed impetus at a delicate juncture. The visitors had lost two early wickets, after adding no more than six runs to their overnight score of 276-3. With India's vulnerable tail seemingly long in Shardul Thakur's absence, another couple of wickets would've possibly neutralized all the hard yards put in by the openers in a matter of a few overs.
Pant however, with his aggressive intent decided to challenge the bowlers in a way of his own. James Anderson and Ollie Robinson were attacked with sheer audacity during a 58-ball stay which included five boundaries. He made Robinson bowl the short stuff and then feasted on it. Similarly, Anderson didn't look as threatening any longer. He played arguably one of the shots of the day when he skipped his crease and hammered a genuine quick one from Mark Wood towards the extra cover boundary.
Pant was the dominant partner in the 49-run-stand for the seventh wicket, with Ravindra Jadeja contributing 16. He ensured that India crossed the 350-run mark which could be significant as the game progresses.
Wood and Curran fail to deliver
When India started day two of the ongoing Test with an overnight score of 276-3, a total in excess of 400 looked like a cakewalk. KL Rahul was set in the middle, while the threat of an in-form Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant loomed largely. But with Indian batting, there's nothing predictable. On Day 2, the English opening bowlers Ollie Robinson and James Anderson provided a dream start to the hosts, outfoxing Rahul and Rahane respectively within the first seven deliveries. That presented hopes of limiting India to below 325.
However, things eased out for the visitors thereafter, as Sam Curran and Mark Wood failed to create a significant impact. Curran, on the lines of the first day, threatened the least and was taken out of the attack after four overs for 14 runs. Mark Wood did bowl better than he did on the opwning day, but couldn't do much damage unless India steered close to 340.
At the end of the first session on Day 2, Curran and Wood had returned with combined figures of 2/159 after delivering 45 overs. The duo failed to build on the efforts of the opening bowlers and let Indian batters get away. England might've dearly missed the services of an experienced Stuart Broad, and perhaps Craig Overton, both of whom could have perhaps been more effective considering the vagories the venue.
Dom Sibley fails yet again
If playing out deliveries is an art, then Dom Sibley is a master of it. In his three innings of the ongoing series, the right-hander has started solidly and faced 70, 133 and 44 deliveries. But despite weathering the storm up front, he has failed to convert it into something substantial. After the scores of 18 and 28 at Trent Bridge, he threw it away when on 11 on Friday, much to the frustration of himself and the team.
The most disappointing facet of Sibley's batting has been the manner of his dismissals. In the first innings of both the Tests, he was strangled down the leg-side by Mohammed Shami - a mode of dismissal that would frustrate any top-order Test batsman. In the second innings of the opening Test too, the 25-year-old had played a terrible shot to gift his wicket to the tourists.
Sibley has been under pressure for some time now, owing to his poor returns. Since the start of last year's Pakistan series, not even once has he averaged 35 or more in any of the subsequent bilateral affairs, which included a poor run against Sri Lanka and India earlier this year. Another failure might well cost him a place in the England XI.