England bowlers haven't been used to facing a stiff test in this series. However, on Day 1 of the Trent Bridge Test, they had to. With the pitch and conditions looking lively, Joe Root opted to bowl. He would have been expecting his pacers to make early inroads but the Indian batsmen had come out with intent. The openers left more. They were solid in defence and scored off the loose balls. The England bowlers did find movement but didn't trouble the openers much. The 60 runs that Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul added were crucial. It set the platform. But then Chris Woakes arrived and scalped three wickets in quick succession – Dhawan, Rahul and Pujara.
A fightback was on but then the pitch eased up and this is where Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane capitalised. It was a challenge for the English bowlers. But they lacked the bite. The fielders didn't help as a couple of catches were dropped. Adil Rashid's looseners over after over only made things worse and didn't allow the pressure to mount on the Indian batsmen.
He did get Kohli's wicket which would prove to be crucial but a lesson was learnt. Bowling a bit quicker and fuller is the key. Not giving an inch. The new ball zipped around and Anderson did get the wicket of Pandya off the last ball of the day to end on a high note. They did mount a fightback at the fag end of the day but the work is only half done yet. This Indian lower-order can frustrate. And with Pant looking positive at the wicket it is important for the English pacers to use the early conditions to good effect and wrap the Indian innings up within the first hour of the day. The new ball is just 10 overs old and making the most of it when it's hard and moving around.
They need to get Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin early and then finish off the tail in quick time. The England bowlers will have to up the ante right from the word go. Pant has the ability to trouble the bowlers and Ashwin can bat too, anything above 350 could be tricky. Restricting India below 340 would be the key. And then getting off to a good start, just like India.
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