And so we came to the finale of this intriguing test match, I had another horror night in my hotel, I have no idea why people coming from a different time zone can’t understand that people want to be asleep at 3am in the morning! But, slamming doors and shouting for 2 hours at that time at least meant I was wide awake at 5am to be able to update Day 3. This match would definitely be over on Day 4 so I packed my bags and checked out a day early, my own bed was looking very inviting!
The drive to my parking spot was a clear one on this 4th day and the walk to the ground a pleasant one. I walked past some sort of tournament on my way, I later learnt it was Quidditch, that game from Harry Potter! How facinating, apparently it’s played around the country and is popular in universities, played by mixed teams it involves 2 balls, 3 hoops and a person with a yellow tail! Something to watch either time.
It was another hot day and the sun soon made an appearance, I’d got back into the sun for Day 4. Again I had spaces around me, which in the Scrivener Stand was a good thing as the seats are quite cosy.
The task in front of India was to get 84 runs, for England it was 5 wickets. Virat Kohli was at the crease, which felt like a slight advantage to India, his wicket was the key.
The crowd wasn’t huge but it was vocal, the Hollies stand had it’s usual range of fancy dress, including a very good Gareth Southgate look alike, he roused a big group dressed in England tops time after time, the atmosphere was great!
We were in for an edge of the seat session of cricket, cricket is so often a game giving advantage to the bat these days, test cricket should be a competition between bat and ball and the wicket and conditions at Edgbaston certainly provided that!
England had the perfect start as Karthik knicked a ball from Jimmy Anderson to the slips, I can only imagine the relief Dawid Malan felt when he took the catch! The celebration photo shows his face quite clearly.
The figures were now 82 runs and 4 wickets, it was still anyone’s game! We had an edgy 12 overs when the ball didn’t really bother the bat and vice versa, India added 29 runs, England were still seeking another wicket.
The next wicket was the big one! Ben Stokes trapped Virat Kohli LBW, Kolhi appealed, as India’s biggest hope he had no choice really, but he was bang to rights and out for 51! That gave him a remarkable total of 200 across the match, what a delight to be there to see him shine.
We were down to 53 runs and 3 wickets, it was nail biting stuff! The roars of the crowd got even louder when Stokes despatched Shami 3 balls later, caught by Bairstow, the runs remained the same but England needed just 2 wickets! India’s cupboard wasn’t exactly bare, but it was sparse. Hardik Pandya is a good all rounder but in just his 8th test match marshalling the tails enders would be a big ask.
Ishant Sharma was in with Pandya, he hit two 4’s giving the India fans cause for celebration. A fiery character Ishant had been fined for his celebration when he got Malan out the day before, the umpire also had words with Ben Stokes while he was bowling to the big man.
Joe Root changed things around and brought Ail Rashid in to bowl, he’d taken Ishant’s wicket in the first innings.
The change of bowling worked and Ishant was again trapped LBW by Rashid, it took a review, but he was clearly plumb! At 154 for 9, 40 runs needed and 1 wicket, the balance had most definitely shifted!
England had lost both of their appeals in the first innings, it was good to see this one sucked, especially under the circumstances. Umesh was the final batsman in, he coped with 19 balls without scoring a run.
Hardik Pandya had faced 60 balls before he edged a Stokes ball into the hands of Alastair Cook, the ball went to him at chest height, another relieved man I imagine. That was the game won by England, with a margin of 31 runs. Ben Stokes finished with 4 for 40, his day with the ball.
England lose Stokes for Lord’s as he has a date in Court on Monday, the squad has been announced as I type, Chris Woakes in back in and Ollie Pope replaces Dawid Malan, I really hope the young Surrey man gets a start,
Sam Curran received the Man of the Match accolade, tough on Virat Kohli, with his 200 runs, but Curran’s innings was the game changer, I hope he has many more such plaudits to come. This was a wonderful start to the five match series, here’s hoping the rest are as good!
I met a group of friends from Essex as the game finished and had a drink with them, Geoff, Steve, Oli and Harry, I somehow feel they’d be great to sit next to at a match! Roll on Thursday and Lord’s