India came into the fifth day of this second Test match against England at Lord’s under pressure. They were 181/6 (leady of 154) and all hopes were on Rishabh Pant to get them to fighting total. Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri and co would’ve hoped that the wicket-keeper batsman can take the attack to England and help India nudge a lead of around 200.
All hopes crashed when Pant edged one off Ollie Robinson to Jos Buttler behind the stumps. India slipped to 194/7 and the lead at that stage was just 167. England would’ve fancied their chances of running through the last three wickets and they got one in the form of Ishant as Robinson foxed the veteran Indian fast bowler with a slower delivery.
At 209/8, India were in dire straits. However, they found heroes in the form of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. The duo have added a stunning 77-run stand for the ninth wicket that is yet to be broken (at Lunch on day five).
It was Shami who was the aggressor of the partnership. He smashed a fabulous half-century to bail India out of trouble. And the way he got to his half-century was spectacular as well. He thrashed Moeen Ali for a four and a six off successive deliveries to raise his second Test half-century.
On the second ball of the 105th over, Shami stood still and slogged one to cow corner for a boundary. The ball just landed inside the boundary ropes as Shami moved on to 44. The very next delivery, Shami stepped out and danced down to track to hoick one well over deep mid-wicket for a maximum. That brought up his 50 and it is the second half-century of his Test career, both of which have come against England (the first one came in 2014 at Trent Bridge). The six that Shami hit scaled 92 metres.
The entire Indian dressing room was on their feet on the Lord’s balcony. They gave Shami a standing ovation as the fast bowler took his helmet off and raised his bat to celebrate his fifty.
A humongous six brings up the 50 for Shami, along with a huge round of applause at Lords! 🇮🇳
— Sony Sports (@SonySportsIndia) August 16, 2021
That partnership between Shami and Bumrah frustrated the England team. As the Shami-Bumrah pair added every run, it piled on the misery and it reflected on the faces of the England players. They had tried to serve up some chin music to India’s No. 9 and No. 10 early on. Jasprit Bumrah had bowled a hostile over to James Anderson to end day three and England tried giving it back. However, it backfired. England had opened up the field and the Indian lower-order batted smartly to pick singles and hit the odd boundary. Shami and Bumrah weathered that early storm and barrage of bouncers, especially from Mark Wood and then just piled on the runs.
In fact, there was a lot of words exchanged between the England players and the two Indian fast bowlers. However, it didn’t deter or affect Shami or Bumrah who kept the scoreboard ticking to extend England’s misery and only added to the frustration of the England players.
At lunch on day five, Shami is batting on 52 (five fours and a six) while Bumrah is unbeaten on 30 (two fours). Their stand has changed the complexion of the game. India’s lead has swelled up to 259 and it has now ensured that with two sessions to go in the Test match, it is England who are on the backfoot and have very little chance of winning this game.