Pant slashed Ollie Robinson at Jos Buttler behind the sticks for 22 and the smirk on Virat Kohli’s face on the team’s balcony showed just how worried he was. India was still only 167 ahead and the long tail had been exposed. The new ball only had three overs.
Ishant Sharma hung around for a while, but was put off by a slower Robinson for a useful 16. The visitors were 182 ahead and when Jasprit Bumrah stepped out to join Mohammed Shami, a pair best known for their bowling exploits, Indian players would have been tempted to change into their whites.
Kohli did not. Maybe he trusted Shami and Bumrah and their long net sessions with the other bowlers, during their two week camp in Durham before the series.
They were also helped by the tactics used by the English bowlers. Instead of bringing out the drummers, they focused on knocking Bumrah and Shami’s head back, because of the chin music Bumrah gave to their bowling talisman James Anderson late on Day 3.
There were also generous words from the England point guard and Buttler and it seemed to distract them from their plans. After a few anxious moments and blows to the helmet, the two new ball throwers, perhaps became more determined by the whole conversation and settled down to script a touching retaliation.
They whistled and pained at first, but quickly focused on getting behind the line and only played offensive shots when they felt the ball was in their half.
The field started to expand, making both available and with each added run the smirk on Kohli’s face slowly turned into a smirk. He found more company near him and the lodge found his voice.
The nervous movements in the balcony chairs turned into excited leaps. Shami Square led Robinson to the top point, took Anderson over the midwicket, and when Moeen Ali threw the ball he dropped it into the top level to remember his second half-century.
Bumrah was more orthodox after an angry slap in the face of Wood. England’s attack also faltered a bit and after Wood had another shoulder injury and they didn’t have enough ammo to blast the players up on flat, slow ground.
Bumrah and Shami added 89 for the ninth wicket, the highest for that position at Lord’s, beating the 66 between Kapil Dev and Madan Lal in 1982. India’s lower order contributed the least in terms of races of all. test teams since 2018. But things seem to be changing.
After bowlers contributed a substantial amount of races with Ravindra Jadeja in Nottingham, Kohli, in her post-match interview, said those races were like gold dust and a reward for all the hard work that they provided.
“They’ve been in the net regularly, wanting to contribute regularly. As the opposition, when bowlers get points it can be boring, ”Kohli said.