England v India: First Test drawn after rain ruins final day

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Trent Bridge
Joe Root
Joe Root (centre) made 64 and 109 in the match
First LV= Insurance Test, Trent Bridge (day five of five)
England 183 (Root 64; Bumrah 4-46) & 303 (Root 109, Bumrah 5-64)
India 278 (Rahul 84, Robinson 5-85) & 52-1
Match drawn

England captain Joe Root said the weather "robbed us all" after the final day of the first Test against India was abandoned as a draw.

Persistent rain prevented what could have been a superb finish, with all four results possible on Sunday morning at Trent Bridge.

At 52-1, chasing 209, India were favourites, although England were given an outside chance by captain Joe Root's magnificent fourth-day century.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say India were probably in the driving seat going into today," said Root.

"I felt like we'd have been able to create nine chances of a surface like that. Things could have quickly fallen in our favour."

Wet weather delayed the scheduled start of 11:00 BST and continued to sweep in throughout the day.

There was a dry period that promised an inspection at 14:30, but the rain returned and the match was called of at 15:50.

"We were in a good position to have a crack at the target," said India captain Virat Kohli.

"It would have been a nice, interesting day of Test cricket. It was unfortunate that the weather prevailed."

The second Test of the five-match series begins on Thursday at Lord's.

England escape

Even though England were given some hope of victory by the brilliance of Root, this is realistically something of an escape after they were bowled out for 183 in the first innings.

Without Root, their batting is brittle: they have been dismissed for less than 200 in eight of their past 13 completed Test innings.

Most of the current top six will feel like their place in the side is vulnerable, with Zak Crawley - averaging only 11 in Tests this year - looking most at risk.

"Zak is a very strong character," said Root. "He has to keep looking at bringing that to his game when he goes out there.

"He has shown everyone he can perform at this level. Next time he gets out there, he needs to make sure he believes in that."

Haseeb Hameed could come into the top three, while Ollie Pope looks set to be fit for Lord's. There is likely to be space for only two of Pope, Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence.

"In terms of selection, we'll talk about that over the coming days and have real clarity going into the second Test," said Root.

England's fragile batting complicates their attempt to cover for the absence of Ben Stokes, the talismanic all-rounder who has taken an indefinite break from the game to focus on his mental wellbeing.

Without Stokes, England have been playing without a specialist spinner in a four-man attack.

One solution could be a recall for Moeen Ali, who could bowl off-breaks and bat in the top seven, but fellow spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess were preferred when the squad for the first Test was chosen.

If England stick with four bowlers at Lord's, any decision to include left-armer Leach or the extra pace of Mark Wood would probably come at the expense of Stuart Broad or Sam Curran.

India denied

India had the better of this match, only to be denied the opportunity to win a series opener in the UK for the first time since 1986.

"I thought we were 70-30 ahead going into day five," Kohli told BBC Sport.

"We were quite pleased how we started. We were very strong with bat, ball and in the field. We are absolutely confident heading into the second Test of the series."

After injuries ruled out openers Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul looked assured for scores of 84 and 26, answering the biggest question India had over their batting line-up.

As for their bowlers, they have an embarrassment of riches, to the point that mesmeric off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin - with 413 Test wickets - was omitted for this match.

Pace bowler Ishant Sharma had a hand injury, but practised at Nottingham before the game at Lord's, where he bowled India to victory in 2014.

India were highly competitive on their last tour in 2018, and a victory margin of 4-1 was a scoreline that flattered England.

Until proven otherwise, there will remain doubts that India's batting line-up can consistently stand up to English conditions, but the tourists will head to London as favourites to win this series.

Which side were closest to victory?

Former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta on BBC Test Match Special: "This will definitely go down as a very frustrating day for India.

"Needing 157 and with nine wickets in hand, they had a fairly good chance of winning."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: "Lord's will be a massive opportunity for England's batting line-up. They have to go into the Ashes with some runs in the bank.

"I think England will make two changes: Ollie Pope in for Dan Lawrence and Haseeb Hameed for Zak Crawley."

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