Rain saves limp English batting

Yet more poor batting from England went unpunished as rain impacts large parts of First Test

Dom Sibley (number 52) struggled with the bat at Trent Bridge

Rain was the overall winner at Trent Bridge as three of the five days of the First Test between England and India were affected by the wet stuff.

There would have been more of feelings of frustration in the Indian camp as the tourists looked the better side, but the draw raises plenty of questions with England’s line-up.

Not to sound like a broken record, but for what feels like the umpteenth test match on the bounce, England’s batting order fell apart.

Rory Burns went without troubling the scorers, and further down the batting card he was joined in the duck club by Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler and Ollie Robinson. Other than a dogged half ton from Joe Root and flurries from Sam Curran, Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow, it was a day to forget for the English with the bat.

From 138–3, England slumped to 160–9. So often the lower middle and lower order has dug in to save the blushes of the full time batsman, but on day one at Trent Bridge Burns, Sibley and co were out of luck.

Being bundled out for such a low score set India up nicely, and they were able to see out the rest of the day unscathed to leave themselves in complete control.

Day two at Trent Bridge was short but intense. Ollie Robinson broke the deadlock just before lunch and Jimmy Anderson picked up two in two, including Indian captain Virat Kohli for a golden duck, to bring England right back into the match. Bad light and rain brought a premature end to proceedings in Nottingham.

Rishabh Pant threatened to do what he does best and start going down swinging until he found Jonny Bairstow off the bowling of Robinson. When KL Rahul fell for a hard working 84 to Jimmy Anderson, the Burnley man’s 621st in test cricket to take him up to third in the all time list, India led by just 22 with four wickets in hand.

However, a superb 56 from Ravindra Jadeja and a stand and deliver cameo from Jasprit Bumrah gave the tourists a lead of 95. Several dropped catches from England had gifted too many runs for English liking, would it come back to haunt Joe Root’s men? Only time would tell.

England came out to bat for a second time with two openers determined to stick around. Dom Sibley and Rory Burns dug in with some classic attritional cricket to get through to the close of another day plagued by rain at 25–0.

The fourth day in Nottinghamshire saw England lose two wickets before lunch, that of Burns and Crawley, before Root joined Sibley in the middle. If England ever needed their captain to stand up and save them, it was now. And boy did the Yorkshireman do that.

A timely century helped to see England past 300 and set India over 200 for victory. Bairstow and Sam Curran supported their captain with well worked scores of 30+ and the tourists would have, weather permitting, the best part of four sessions to chase down the total.

Stuart Broad got the wicket of Rahul when India still needed 170 runs for the victory to give England a sniff at getting the required wickets. Unfortunately, it would be the last wicket to fall as rain washed out the fifth and final day.

The draw probably flattered England as India were stronger in almost all departments. With a full final day, you would have fancied the visitors to get to the total with little concern.

The batting issues were blatant for England and few shone with the bat at Trent Bridge. Root shone in both innings and Curran and Bairstow picked up handy runs, but three of the top four faltered raising big questions over who deserves to keep their place for the Second Test at Lords which starts on Thursday.