It was supposed to be a big showdown, but for India, it turned out to be a shambles
England 432 (Root 121, Malan 70, Hameed 68, Burns 61, Shami 4-95) beat India 78 (Sharma 19, Anderson 3-6, Overton 3-14) and 278 (Pujara 91, Sharma 59, Kohli 55, Robinson 5-65) by an innings and 76 runs
It promised to be a high-stakes morning. On one side, India’s two most experienced batters, out of form on this series, but who had rediscovered a little of their resilience on day three. That they had blue skies to bat beneath will have put them more at ease, also. On the other, James Anderson and co. running in with a bright red Dukes, on a Headingley surface that never really dies.
It was supposed to be a big showdown, but for India, it turned out to be a shambles. They lost their last eight wickets for 63 runs; their last seven for 41. And they didn’t last till lunch, going down by an innings and 76. Ollie Robinson, England’s best bowler in the second innings, claimed 5 for 65 – a second career five-for in just his fourth Test. Craig Overton took two wickets to wipe out the tail and seal the match. Moeen Ali produced a big-spinning beauty to get a wicket of his own, and Anderson was unlucky to wind up with just one dismissal to his name – he’d been all over Virat Kohli in his first spell.
It didn’t take long for England to strike. Midway through the fourth over of the day, Pujara – who had largely left judiciously until then – shouldered arms to a Robinson inswinger that struck him low on the pad, just outside off, and which would have gone on to cannon into off stump. England had to use a review to get that decision. Pujara had begun the day nine runs short of what would have been his first Test hundred since January 2019, but did not add to his score.
Kohli battled on at the other end, surviving an especially tense Anderson over in which he was required to overturn a caught behind decision, via DRS. Having begun the morning on 45, India’s captain got to fifty in the next over, whipping Robinson through midwicket, then smoking him down the ground, before he edged the last ball of that over to first slip, having prodded at a ball that left him slightly. He was out for 55.
Then, the wickets came like a flash flood. Anderson had Ajinkya Rahane nicking off, the ball again seaming away a touch as the batter hung his bat out. Rishabh Pant tried a couple of advancing hoicks, but was caught defending. Mohammed Shami was bowled when a Moeen offbreak ripped from way outside off stump, and through the gate. Robinson then had a leaden-footed Ishant Sharma edge through to the keeper, Ravindra Jadeja had some fun thumping a few boundaries but eventually he succumbed to Overton. On day four, there was little of the resolve that had defined India’s day three performance.
India now have four days off before the fourth Test, which in theory, should be played in conditions more to their liking, at The Oval. Following the high of Lord’s though, this Test at Headingley, which has now featured two plunging collapses, is almost certain to have deflated them.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf