James Anderson needs just one more wicket to become the first to reach 100 at Lord’s after England piled on the pressure in the rain-ravaged second Specsavers Test.
Following a first-day washout, only 35.2 overs were possible between downpours on the second. But that was still enough for Anderson (five for 20) to dismiss both India openers, for a collector’s-item comedy mix-up with Virat Kohli to bring Cheteshwar Pujara’s run-out and then the returning Chris Woakes to see off the captain as the tourists stumbled to 107 all out.
It was stop-start for England between increasingly heavy showers, but their pace attack nonetheless made up for lost time to give them prospects of pushing for a 2-0 series lead.
Joe Root unsurprisingly chose to bowl on a cloudy morning – and it took England’s all-time leading wicket-taker until only the fifth ball of the match to answer the call.
Anderson made short work of a scoreless Murali Vijay, who pushed towards mid-on only to lose his off-bail to a perfect outswinger back up the slope from the pavilion end.
Then in his fourth over, he was at it again – KL Rahul his second victim, edging behind on the forward-defence to one that just held its impeccable line.
Rain permitted only 6.3 overs before lunch, and there were to be only 12 more deliveries until an unlikely evening resumption.
Just before the players had to scarper from the elements a second time, in mid-afternoon, Pujara’s return here in place of the dropped Shikhar Dhawan came to very little.
Kohli had already turned down one long-looking single into the leg-side, with Pujara facing Anderson, then after initially answering the call for a sharper one to point, he had a rethink, swiftly retreated and left his partner stranded as debutant Ollie Pope ferried the ball in to lift the bails.
Within seconds, Kohli and England’s fielders were running off after the dejected Pujara.
A teatime storm threatened to be terminal, with the Lord’s outfield soon resembling a lake, but its famed modern drainage allowed a telling return which yielded seven wickets.
England did not help themselves with familiar frailties among their slip catchers, but Woakes would not be denied. Back here after the thigh and knee injuries which ruled him out of England’s white-ball season and his home Test at Edgbaston last week, he quickly confirmed his liking for this famous venue. Taking the ball down the slope from the Nursery End, he twice had Kohli playing and missing and twice edging just short of the cordon in his second over – a maiden, like his first.
Then he and England’s new second slip Jos Buttler engaged in a remarkable ‘double one-two’. Buttler dropped Kohli, then caught him next ball, and in Woakes’ next over he did the exact same thing with Hardik Pandya.
India were then 62 for six when Sam Curran, who had replaced Anderson, brought one back to bowl Dinesh Karthik through the gate as he shaped to drive. Root recalled Anderson in place of Woakes, as cloud cover gathered again, and he made another immediate impact when Ajinkya Rahane – who had stood firm throughout the extended session – pushed forward and edged to slip.
Anderson bagged his fourth and fifth wickets when Kuldeep Yadav was lbw to full-length swing and then number 11 Ishant Sharma was also pinned in front.
But in between Stuart Broad broke his duck at the other end – counter-attacking top-scorer Ravi Ashwin also lbw – to ensure his pace partner’s Lord’s century would have to wait another innings at least.