England produced one of their worst home performances in recent memory to lose the second Test against India by 151 runs at Lord’s today.
From a position where they started the final day as marginal favourites, England’s bowling was flayed by the India tail before their batting capitulated to 120 all out.
Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah – two genuine tailenders – shared a ninth-wicket stand of 89 in front of some raucous Indian support.
Shami had reached 56 not out and Bumrah an unbeaten 34 when India declared on 298-8, setting England an unlikely 272 to win or 60 overs to survive.
They instantly found themselves 1-2 after openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley fell for ducks, and hope faded when Jonny Bairstow then, crucially, captain Joe Root were dismissed in the space of four balls separated by tea.
Jos Buttler, who faced 96 deliveries for 25, chewed up 16 overs with Moeen Ali and 12 with Ollie Robinson, either side of Sam Curran completing a king pair.
However, Robinson and Buttler fell in successive overs, before Mohammed Siraj bowled last man James Anderson to end with 4-32 and put a rampant India 1-0 up with three Tests to play.
Disappointing England Test performances have become commonplace, especially overseas. They have also been bowled out for 85 and 67 at home by Ireland and Australia respectively, but at least they won those matches.
What makes this defeat so abject is the manner they threw away a genuine chance of victory, one which came after they were second best in the drawn first Test and allowed India to reach 276-3 on day one here.
Their tactics during the Shami-Bumrah stand were completely baffling. Perhaps sucked in by the emotion of Anderson being peppered by Bumrah on the the third evening, England targeted the man rather than the stumps. By the time they changed the plan, it was too late.
Not only that, but the fractious nature of the contest – there were numerous verbal exchanges between the two sides – seemed to galvanise India, while England wilted.
Sure enough, when England came to bat to save the match on a pitch only showing an occasional sign of uneven bounce, they were blown away, much to the delight of the swathe of India fans inside a buzzing Lord’s.
England are now without a win in seven Tests and must find a response when the sides reconvene at Headingley on 25 August. India, on the other hand, will take some stopping.
With India 181-6 overnight – 154 ahead – their hopes seemed to rest on the swashbuckling Rishabh Pant.
That they could be taken to a declaration by Shami and Bumrah – men who averaged 11 and three respectively in Test cricket – is barely believable.
And yet, after Robinson had Pant caught behind for 22 and trapped Ishant Sharma lbw for three, England took leave of their cricketing senses, scattering the field and hardly producing a delivery aimed at the top of off stump.
Although Bumrah began with some wild swipes, Shami was assured throughout. As England became increasingly frustrated, Bairstow dropped a half-chance at mid-wicket when Shami was on 31, while Root shelled a straightforward catch at slip off Moeen when Bumrah had 22.
Shami went to his second Test half-century from 57 balls by hoisting Moeen over mid-wicket for six, both men reaching their highest scores. Overall, the ninth-wicket pair bumped along at 4.5 an over.
By the time the declaration arrived in the second over after lunch, India were the only side with a realistic chance of victory, while England were absolutely scrambled.
Given their fun with the bat and England’s fragile batting, it was almost inevitable that Bumrah and Shami would do early damage.
When Burns got a leading edge off Bumrah and Shami produced a devilish away-swinger to take Sibley’s edge, it was the first time in an England home Test innings that both of their openers had fallen for ducks. Sibley must be in severe danger of being left out of the third Test.
Even the prolific Root, who made an unbeaten 180 in the first innings, could not save his team. He was caught at first slip off Bumrah in the first over after tea and England looked beaten.
Although Buttler and Moeen battled, they still needed the fortune of Buttler being dropped by first slip Virat Kohli off Bumrah and Moeen being caught behind off a Ravindra Jadeja no-ball.
When Moeen and Curran edged successive Siraj deliveries, Curran became the first man to return two golden ducks in a Lord’s Test.
Robinson provided support to Buttler, yet when he was lbw on review to a skilful Bumrah slower ball from round the wicket, it was the start of the final three wickets falling in seven deliveries.
Siraj had Buttler caught behind and bowled Anderson with a beauty, the pace bowler setting off on a sprint to begin the celebrations of a famous India victory. (BBC)