As ever, the lines are open via email or the birdphone. Just ring and ask for Geoff. I’ll take it in my room. Claudia, stop listening!
Good morning, afternoon, or evening, and welcome to (whisper it gently) day five. That’s right, just say it to yourself. Find a quiet room in the house, stand in the furthest corner, and allow the self-satisfaction of sounding out the syllables. You can share it later, but this moment is just for you.
The fifth day. The finest treat of Test cricket. The thing that no other forms can offer. For four days we’ve veered between rain and sun, light and shade, frustration and absorption. We’ve been off, we’ve been on, and so has the game. Wrestling back and forth with some deep ranks of quality bowling and a couple of batting performances of admirable resistance.
So here we are: with nine Bumrah wickets and one Root century in the bank, ahead of the closing chapter. India at 52 for 1 need a further 157 runs to reach the 209 required for victory. They lost that wicket last night to some wicked Stuart Broad bowling – KL Rahul, the top-scorer from the first innings. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshawar Pujara are at the crease.
That Indian batting lineup looks imposing down to Pant and Jadeja but the engine room of Pujara, Kohli, Rahane struggled in the WTC final against New Zealand, and struggled again in the first innings here. India might be favourites to win, but that could very easily change.
It all depends how much assistance England’s bowlers can get early in the day, and what their champion operators can produce. As we saw last time India visisted in 2018, this supposedly slow game can move very quickly indeed.