LONDON: India slumped to 15 for three either side of two rain breaks at tea on the second day of the second Test against England here at Lord’s on Friday.
Rain, which washed out the whole of Thursday’s play without a ball bowled, meant just 40 minutes’ cricket had so far taken place on the second day.
But that did not stop India losing three top-order wickets in a mere 8.3 overs.
James Anderson took two for five in 15 balls before lunch, while the twelfth of 12 deliveries in the second session saw Cheteshwar Pujara run out for one by Ollie Pope.
England captain Joe Root decided to field when he won Friday’s toss, with a combination of overcast skies and a green-tinged pitch making conditions ideal for swing specialist Anderson.
England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker started this match requiring just six more wickets to become the first bowler to take 100 in Tests at Lord’s.
The 36-year-old Anderson needed just five balls to move nearer that landmark when, in the first over of the day, he bowled Murali Vijay for a duck with a superb late outswinger that had the batsman playing across the line to leave India none for one.
Vijay’s exit brought in Pujara, recalled after India dropped struggling opener Shikhar Dhawan.
But there was nothing he could do as Anderson had KL Rahul (eight), pushing forward defensively, caught behind by wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow off a thin edge.
Rahul might have left the delivery alone, but with Anderson operating from the Pavilion End there was always the concern that the ball might come down the slope to hit the right-hander’s off-stump.
Two balls later, rain stopped play.
The last thing India needed when the match resumed in what were still difficult batting conditions was to donate a wicket to England.
Yet that was what happened.
Pujara pushed Anderson towards point and set off for a single. India skipper Virat Kohli responded to his call and came down the pitch, only to change his mind and retreat with Pujara committed to the run.
England debutant Pope kept his composure, however, the 20-year-old Surrey batsman sprinting in from point to remove the bails, rather than having a wild shy at the stumps.
No sooner had Pujara been dismissed, then there was a fresh downpour at 1:50pm local time (1250 GMT), with no more play before tea.
England lead this five-match series 1-0 after a 31-run victory in the first Test at Edgbaston last week.
INDIA (1st Innings): M. Vijay b Anderson 0 K.L. Rahul c Bairstow b Anderson 8 C. Pujara run out 1 V. Kohli not out 3 EXTRAS (LB-2, NB-1) 3 TOTAL (for three wkts, 8.3 overs) 15 TO BAT: A. Rahane, D. Karthik, H. Pandya, R. Ashwin, K. Yadav, M. Shami, I. Sharma FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-10, 3-15 BOWLING: Anderson 4.3-2-6-2; Broad 4-1-7-0 (1nb)
ENGLAND: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Joe Root (captain), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wicket-keeper), Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, James Anderson UMPIRES: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Marais Erasmus (South Africa) TV UMPIRE: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand)
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2018