England bewitched by India with Shardul Thakur meriting acclaim

  • Thread starter Simon Burnton at the Kia Oval
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Simon Burnton at the Kia Oval

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This was England’s third Test defeat of the summer but the inquest will surely be brief after a spellbinding win for India

Forget about operas and fat ladies singing, you know a Test is over when India’s captain starts conducting. It happened here 24 minutes, five overs and two wickets after lunch on the final day, shortly after Ollie Pope’s stumps had been rearranged by Jasprit Bumrah. First a few overhead claps, then Virat Kohli extended his arms to full width and swayed them gently up and down, like an albatross in flight. Not an inappropriate bird, England might have thought, for Kohli to be impersonating. The pocket of the JM Finn stand that has been overwhelmingly populated by India’s blue shirts throughout the Test responded immediately and vocally. It was on. Four-and-not-quite-a-half days of perfectly poised cricket and suddenly, in the space of a few minutes, the scales tilt.

India still needed to take six more wickets, but the dominoes had started to fall. There have been times this summer when England have been bewildered, bedraggled, benighted; here they were bewitched. Statistically the second session here reads like a humiliation – England lost six wickets for 62 runs in 25.1 overs on a flat pitch – but they know well enough what one of those tastes like, and this was not it.

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