England’s recent 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand was being considered a warning for India. While the hosts were high in confidence after mauling the defending World Test Champions, the tourists from the Asian sub-continent were dealing with the challenge of constituting their playing XI as skipper Rohit Sharma was struct by Covid-19.
Team India took the field with Jasprit Bumrah being named the stand-in captain and was put to bat under overcast conditions at Edgbaston. The absence of Rohit, who is the leading scorer of the series, was felt big time as the tourists lost 5 of their batters before getting 100 runs on the board.
The way ahead for India seemed extremely tough but Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja shifted the momentum. With a 222-run stand for the sixth wicket, the duo lifted the limping Indian innings. While Pant smashed 146 off 111 balls, Jadeja scored his first hundred on English soil; 104 off 194 deliveries.
After the day’s play, Jadeja addressed a press conference where he was told that veteran England pacer James Anderson, who bagged a five-wicket haul on Saturday, said that the all-rounder sees himself as a full-fledged batter.
Jadeja had one of the best replies to this query. He said, “When you (a bowling all-rounder) get runs, people often say that he thinks of himself as a batter. But I always look to give myself time when I walk out to bat and create a good partnership with the batter who is already out there. It’s a good thing that James Anderson realised it, after 2014. I’m happy.”
Jadeja smashed a total of 13 boundaries during his stint at the crease. It was only his third Test hundred which came at a very crucial time. The all-rounder spoke about his mindset while facing the English bowlers and said he just wanted to stay in the middle as long as possible.
“The ball swings in these conditions and to face that, you have to be disciplined. You have to pick the ball away from the off-stump and play. It hardly allows you to get set because even if you are batting at 40, 50, or 60, a good ball can get you dismissed.
“We have seen good batters falling prey to such deliveries. So, that’s what I thought. Nothing could have been done against a good delivery but I thought of giving myself enough chances to not play poor shots. Rather, I wait for the ball in my zone and then go after it,” he said.
“Getting a Test hundred in England is always good. It has boosted my confidence. I would look to do better for the team in the future,” Jadeja added.
Besides Pant and Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah shone with his all-round efforts to seal the day in India’s favour. At stumps, after making 416 in the first innings, India reduced England to 84/5 in 27 overs, the hosts trailing by 332 runs.
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