By Matt Somerford
Joe Root has vowed to fight on tomorrow morning when he and James Anderson will look to extend their last-wicket stand and limit India’s first-innings lead in the opening Investec Test at Trent Bridge.
Root and Anderson pieced together a rescuing 54-run partnership after a forgettable afternoon session saw six wickets fall.
At that stage England were 202 for seven and in danger of failing to reach the follow-on target but Root, who finished the day unbeaten on 78, dovetailed with the bowlers effectively to frustrate India.
Initially Root and Stuart Broad counter-punched in a 78-run alliance, from 85 balls, before Anderson stuck firm to be unbeaten on 23 at the close.
England therefore reached stumps on 352 for nine, still a sizeable 105 runs adrift, but with the chance to supply their own last-wicket frustrations after Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami recorded an 111-run stand yesterday.
“That will be the plan,” Root told ecb.co.uk.
“We’ve got to make sure we regroup as a side and get clear plans together. Then we just go out there and fight and make things as hard as possible for India.
“You never know, if me and Jimmy keep playing the way we did tonight we could really put them under pressure and make this lead really small.”
After having the majority of the first two days in the field – as India churned out 457 in 161 overs – England’s bowlers had hoped to spend today with their feet up.
That was scuppered by the afternoon session, when England lost six for 68, inspired by Ishant Sharma who found bounce and carry like at no other time in the match.
After Gary Ballance and Sam Robson batted through the morning session, to reach half-centuries in a 125-run partnership, Ishant prised out both lbw in quick succession.
Ian Bell was then drawn into a false shot and while Ishant was then rested, after a spell of 7-1-29-3, England tripped again at the end of the session losing three for five in 10 balls.
England were dizzy from the strikes, but Broad came out swinging to pile the pressure back on India.
He struck 47 from 42 deliveries before Bhuvneshwar trapped him lbw, but the innings effectively paved the way for England to battle back.
Root found more fluency and while Liam Plunkett managed just seven, before Bhuvneshawar pegged back his off stump, Anderson continued the defiance – highlighted by a reverse-sweep off Ravindra Jadeja to get off the mark.
“We have to give a lot of credit to Stuart and Jimmy at the end there and (Liam) Plunkett as well – even though he was in there for a short while we were still putting pressure back on them and frustrating them,” Root said.
“We’ve got to make sure we go out tomorrow and try and whittle down this lead as much as possible and then you never know, we could get ourselves back in the game.
“I like it when it is tough – it is a good challenge. I thrive off it at times, but the way they played took a lot of pressure off me and put a lot of pressure back on their bowlers. Going forward we need to make sure we can continue to do that as a side.
“I do think they’re probably still in a slightly more commanding position.
“All we can do now is fight and make sure we front up tomorrow and put in a really good performance as a side.”