England captain Alastair Cook completed another miserable day after being dismissed for five following a record-breaking stand by India’s last-wicket partnership in the first Investec Test.
Cook, whose leadership and form are under intense scrutiny, was bowled by Mohammed Shami via a deflection off the thigh pad to continue a torrid recent run.
He has now gone seven innings since his last half-century and 25 since he last scored a hundred, a slump that was put into stark focus by the 111-run stand between number nine Bhuvneshwar Kumar (58) and number 11 Shami (51 not out). Their partnership took the tourists to 457 all out on a docile pitch that Cook must have thought would help him banish his demons.
The sight of Kumar and Shami happily making their way to maiden Test fifties will linger with Cook as he ponders his own lack of runs.
For the second time in successive summers at Trent Bridge, where Australia’s debutant number 11 Ashton Agar came within two runs of an Ashes hundred 12 months ago, England were shut out by a record tenth-wicket partnership.
India’s tailenders were immovable for 38 overs and put on the highest last stand in any Test between these two countries – after India lost four wickets for two runs to stumble to 346 for nine.
Numbers nine and 11 made a mockery of that stumble, delaying tea by 30 minutes and then returning to complete their 50s in successive balls – Shami’s with a six back over the head of Jimmy Anderson in the process completing the century stand.
Shami in particular surpassed himself, boasting a previous all-time high of 33 in his professional career and Test average of 3.33.
Murali Vijay (146) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (82) had completed their own century stand as just one wicket fell before lunch.
There was an irony to Vijay’s departure, lbw on the back foot to a delivery from Anderson which simulation demonstrated – unlike so many on this surface – would have cleared the stumps. But India, by their own unilateral volition, have no recourse to DRS in this series, so Vijay’s 361-ball vigil was over.
Then, after lunch, England started the afternoon with four wickets in 21 balls.
Jadeja edged behind chasing a short ball from Stokes and, in the same bowler’s next over, first Dhoni pushed an attempted single to mid off and was run out by an athletic direct hit from Anderson, then debutant Stuart Binny speared a catch straight to point.
Broad had his second wicket when Ishant Sharma left one that hit the top of off-stump, and it seemed Cook’s men were suddenly on the fast track.
But Kumar and Shami had other ideas.