England vs India – 5th Test

Saturday 2nd July 2022 – 2021 Test Series – 5th Test, Day 2 – Edgbaston, Birmingham

“So what happened to the other four tests?” It’s a fair question asked by the Current Mrs Fuller as we pack for a weekend in Birmingham. I explain the controversy around the aborted 5th Test at Old Trafford last September with the Indians 2-1 up. She quickly twigs that we (I) had booked a 5 star hotel with a spa to enjoy whilst the cricket was on and makes the assumption I’ve splashed the cash again for this weekend.

Alas (for her) I haven’t and explained it was all down to COVID and Brexit – the cover all excuse for everything and anything these days.

Initially the Edgbaston test was against South Africa in late August but because of the insistence by the ECB to play the 5th Test v India, and their schedule, it was decided to move the games around. Non refundable hotel and travel reservations? Sorry, but that’s tough. I’m sure such considerations were never even thought of.

Day one saw India struggle, reduced to 98/5 by early afternoon. But then the thorn in England’s side, wicket keeper Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja put on 225 in 28 overs, almost T20 cricket, giving India a strong position at the end of day one.

Our train to Birmingham should have got us to the ground in time for the start of play. Alas, signal problems outside of Coventry meant by the time we trundled into New Street, we had missed four wickets and the extraordinarily Stuart Broad over which saw India plunder 35 runs.

The final wicket fell as we arrived at the ground which gave us the chance to try out the new E-Bar beer machines, a decent idea that sped up the queues at the bar although the choice of beer was limited to just Pravha.

The forecast called for rain through from 12pm to 3pm and sure enough it started to fall as Bumrah started his first over of the day. The final ball of his over saw the rain start to fall heavily. The players were poised to come off as the umpire called No Ball. The subsequent deliver saw the ball go between Lees bat and pad, hitting off stump. Lees was followed back to the pavillion by the players as now the umpires felt the rain was a problem.

A ninety minute interruption, during which time lunch was taken by everyone and then we were back out. Bumrah’s next delivery saw Zac Crawley playing limply outside of off stump and being caught comfortably by Shubman Gil. 27-2.

Ollie Pope has been missed by Surrey in recent weeks but his 82 in the last test vs New Zealand saw him retain his spot at number 3. Alas, he became Bumrah’s 3rd victim with the score just on 44.

It was going to be a long afternoon session for England with rain perhaps their only saviour. And sure enough it fell again before Root and Bairstow had a chance to play themselves in.

The fans in the Hollies looked bedraggled. Dressing as Fred Flintstone in the early morning sunshine seems a fun idea but add a bucket full of ale and sitting in the rain for a few hours and it’s a very different look. The covers came off, then went back on again before tea was taken.

One session left and Root fell, caught behind by Pant off Mohammed Siraj for 31 with the score at 78. Jack Leach came to the crease in the outdated Nightwatchman role. With the conditions massively favouring the Indian seam attack, it was a completely wasted wicket when he was back in the pavilion after facing just five balls.

There was a temptation for Bairstow and Stokes to end the day with some swashbuckling batting but that would have been as unwise as sending in Leach at number six. The two firebrand batsmen navigated the final few overs and England finished the day on 84-5.

We’d seen less than 2 hours play in total, less than a hundred runs and another England collapse but test cricket these days doesn’t come with any conditions. You could see 400+ runs or 15 wickets – that now comes with the territory for this New England side. It wasn’t quite the party that some had hoped for but that’s the risk you always have with the English summer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.