Ducks, Books And Cricket Sucks: The England v India Test Series So Far

Last summer's five-Test series will belatedly come to an end this week when the fifth Test is played at Edgbaston
16:05, 30 Jun 2022

Cast your mind back to a time when Chris Silverwood was England coach and Joe Root was captain. When Rory Burns, with five ducks in his last 10 knocks, and Dom Sibley, coming off eight single-figure scores in 10 innings, were opening the batting. When there was no Ben Stokes, and the middle order comprised of Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler - prior to his becoming white-ball skipper and Test outcast - and a Jonny Bairstow who had recorded six ducks in five Tests against India. And Ollie Robinson, their hot new bowling prospect, had immediately found himself embroiled in a racism scandal.

That was only last summer, with Virat Kohli and his India side coming to these shores to begin a five-Test series which will belatedly come to an end this week when the fifth Test is played at Edgbaston.

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But while the world looks very different after England’s 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand under Stokes and Brendon McCullum, it’s worth reminding ourselves just what materialised when the first four matches of this series were played out…

FIRST TEST (Trent Bridge)

England are rocked on their heels before a ball has been bowled, with Ollie Pope suffering an injury. With Stokes already unavailable, the middle order suddenly looks desperately short of quality. They collapse, unsurprisingly, to 183 all out. Joe Root’s top score of 64 can’t make up for the four ducks in the rest of the lineup. Lawrence and Buttler accounting for two of them.

Robinson returns from his racism ban to take 5 for 85 to limit India’s first innings lead to 95, before a Root century helps to set India 209 to win. The tourists are 52 for 1 before rain wipes out the entire final day. Rain dances are more effective than batting lineups, we find out.

RESULT: Match drawn

Robinson acknowledges the crowd after taking five wickets
Robinson acknowledges the crowd after taking five wickets

SECOND TEST (Lord’s)

England are without Stuart Broad due to a calf strain, which is good news for Jimmy Anderson since apparently the pair can only play in the same team once a series because of some sort of voodoo. Haseeb Hameed comes in for Zak Crawley and scores 0 and 9. Burns and Sibley score a grand total of zero between them in the second innings. The result is as you would expect taking all that into account. 

KL Rahul gets a ton in India’s 364 first time out as Anderson takes a five-for, Root responds with 180 not out as England claim a 27-run lead but only Bairstow sticks around with him for any significant period. The visitors get contributions right down the order second time up and set England 272 to win, skittling the hapless hosts for 120 in less than 52 overs to take a series lead.

RESULT: India win by 151 runs

THIRD TEST (Headingley)

A win! A win! A win! England’s last under Silverwood and Root, and their only one in 17 attempts prior to the dawn of ‘Bazball’. Anderson’s 3 for 6 and Craig Overton’s 3 for 14 lead a dominant first-day bowling display under leaden skies as India score just 78. Good job Kohli opted to bat, eh? 

England finally get a good start with the bat, with Burns, Hameed and Dawid Malan all scoring 60-plus before Root hits a hundred as though we were watching repeats of the first two Tests. Trailing by 354, India manage 278 in their second knock as Robinson takes five-for.

RESULT: England win by an innings and 76 runs

Root celebrates his century in the Third Test at Headingley
Root celebrates his century in the Third Test at Headingley

FOURTH TEST (The Oval)

Bairstow takes the gloves and Pope returns. Bowling first, Chris Woakes – yes, remember him? – leads the early charge as India fall to 191 all out. Pope’s 81 is the highlight of England’s 290. A 99-run lead… so far, so good.

On Saturday, India take over. Rohit Sharma digs in to score 127 and the tail wags to set the hosts a target of 367. Despite a century opening stand between Burns and Hameed, England collapse to 210 and the chance of a series win is gone.

RESULT: India win by 156 runs

So delirious are India at their advantage going into the final Test at Old Trafford that coach Ravi Shastri believes himself impervious to Covid-19 and heads off to launch his new book in a public event, taking captain Kohli with him. What could possibly go wrong?

Within days, the Fifth Test is forced to be scrapped as an outbreak of Covid ravages the India camp. Lancashire CCC report ‘unprecedented’ financial issues due to refunds, the series – and World Test Championship – are left in limbo, and thousands of ticketed fans are left with a whole cricket-less weekend to fill. Still, let’s hope Shastri got all the book sales he was after.

FIFTH TEST (Edgbaston, from Friday)

Thankfully, we’re back on. It’s a different venue, a different year and a very different England, but the series will finally come to an end over the next week. Was a one-year delay enough for the home side to get their house in order? And will ‘Baz and Ben’ continue their kamikaze-first, worry-later winning spree?

The long-awaited final chapter is upon us.

Betfred’s England vs India 5th Test odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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