India v England: fourth Test, day four– live

Key events

Lunchtime email: “Through all the discussion of Bazball,” says Stephen Todd, “I feel a couple of critical thoughts are overlooked. The first is that the go-hell-for-leather ethos only works when you have lots of dominant batters. The Aussie Steve Waugh sides also scored at a much higher rate than their peers: much like current England, they had the batsmen who could.

The second is a part of a book of podcast by Malcom Gladwell, when he talks about ice hockey teams ‘pulling the goalie’ – taking their goalie off in exchange for an extra attacking player. It’s usually a last-minute attempt for a team down by goal or more. The story goes that it doesn’t happen as much because it also means you could give up more goals and lose by a lot more. Gladwell worked with statisticians who said that teams should actually pull the goalies much, much earlier. It increases your winning chances, and also increases your lose by a lot chances. I feel Bazball is exactly this. England have a good lineup, so they can play to 4-5 runs an over. But they also risk losing bigger than they otherwise would have, if it all goes south. And of course maybe you lose games that could have won if you played it safe. I feel this is really what has changed. It’s a risk vs. reward space, where ultimately the seemingly over the top risk is actually more prudent, given all the other variables.”

I think the key aspect for me, which I alluded to earlier, is that the spirit of Bazball – players playing their natural game in a fun environment – is how, in general, you get people to perform to their maximum. Not just because they’re relaxed, but because they feel part of something and want to succeed for that something: an idea about the game, but also leadership they love. It translates to any workplace too.

That was a very good session from the tourists. India started really well, finding a boundary an over as England’s costly habit of offering one again surfaced. But the first wicket changed the tone, and though India remain warm favourites, things can change very quickly indeed. This is another fantastic match.

37th over: India 118-3 (Gill 18, Jadeja 3) Gill pulls a single – we’ve not seen many of those, which tells us England’s lines have been good – then Shoaib zips one past Jadeja’s outside edge. Two slips and a short leg in for the final ball, but it’s played away nicely and that’s lunch – England’s session, but India are still in command. India need 74 runs to win.

36th over: India 117-3 (Gill 17, Jadeja 3) Root returns to golden arm it before lunch so while he gets warm, what’s the story with his barnet? How, at 33, do you decide that what you need is a step? The 90s are back with a vengeance, so who will be England’s Ronnie Irani? Will indy singles have brackets (again)? So many questions. Jadeja takes one to mid on then Stokes fiddles with his field, changing little things before every ball – you’ve got the sweep, now you don’t, now you do – that’s so simple but so clever, never allowing the batter to feel settled. Another single follows, twizzled by Gill to leg, then Jadeja, caught on his haunches, does really well to play into the ground from there, and with one over remaining before lunch India need 75 runs to win.

35th over: India 115-3 (Gill 16, Jadeja 2) These orange India hoodies are rude in the extreme, I want one. That’s how it works on TMS, right? Also, I enjoy a victoria sponge. Back in the middle, Shoaib raps Gill on the pad and Foakes likes it, but again when asked by his skipper, the bowler says going down; there’s a real equanimity about him that suggests he’s the right temperament to bowl spin in Tests. Another maiden and India need 77 runs to win.

34th over: India 115-3 (Gill 16, Jadeja 2) The pitch is such that if England’s bowlers keep bowling – and at the moment, the batters are letting them – they should get the help to create chances. This pair, though, are seriously good players who aren’t fazed by the situation – they play the game for these situations – and another tight over, one taken from its final delivery, builds tension. England are probably 50 runs short, but another breakthrough in the nine minutes before lunch and we’re really talking. India need 77 runs to win.

“Talking about India,” says B Hari, “we are blessed with an abundance of cricketing talent. Makes it uber competitive. Poor Patidar, back to our domestic Ranji trophy to grind his way back into favour.”

I guess it also means that because the team is so good, it can carry a player acclimatising, so if they think he’s got it he might get a little longer. But I believe there’s a young lad who might at some point force his way back into the team.

33rd over: India 114-3 (Gill 15, Jadeja 2) Because England have got a hold of the scoring, the necessity for immediate wickets has receded and they’re building decent pressure with some economical bowling; after four dots, Shoaib persuades one to stay low; Jadeja watches it well, playing late to jab down on it. Maiden. India need 78 runs to win.

32nd over: India 114-3 (Gill 15, Jadeja 2) A question for Bazball unbelievers: without it, where do you think this series would be? And I ask that question not because I think the tactics are crucial, but because I think they create the environment of love and positivity that allows a manifestly inferior team to still be competing at this point. Gill swipes Hartley’s first ball for two to cover, the only runs from the over. India need 78 runs to win.

31st over: India 112-3 (Gill 13, Jadeja 2) The succession of full-tosses England sent down last evening might just cost them this match because they’ve got the strangle on now. Gill, though, opens the face nicely and earns three off a delivery that, had it turned, was on a really good line. Shoaib then rips one past Jadeja’s outside edge and two singles follow. Imagine the joy he’ll be advertising if India see this through and he’s there at the end. India need 80 runs to win.

30th over: India 107-3 (Gill 9, Jadeja 1) My screen crashes, returning for me to see Gill has taken a single from Hartley, and there are frantic dives when Jadeja feathers around the corner, but the ball goes to grass and I’m not actually sure there was any bat involved. India need 85 runs to win.

29th over: India 106-3 (Gill 6, Jadeja 0) Question for you: first Test next summer, who keeps? I know Jonny in form is unignorable, but I’d be very tempted to stick with Foakes, who’s had another good tour. Anyhow, this is another good over from Bashir, beating Jadeja’s outside edge with one that sticks and spins; maiden. India need 86 runs to win.

28th over: India 106-3 (Gill 8, Jadeja 1) I actually feel bad for England’s spinners because they’ve shown decent promise here, but in all likelihood two of them won’t be in the first squad of the summer. Gill flicks Hartley to leg, a throw hurtles in, and at slip, Root makes a fine diving stop to save three … then a grubber is too low even for Foakes, racing to the fence for four byes. A single to midwicket follows, Jadeja off the mark, and that’s a better over for India. India need 86 runs to win.

27th over: India 100-3 (Gill 6, Jadeja 0) There’s no one who’ll relish this situation more than Jadeja, but England know if they can get rid of him, they’ll really be on a roll. Meantime though, they’ee doing alright, and if you think that without Bazball, this series would be here or anywhere proximate, I’m afraid I cannot possibly agree. India need 92 runs to win.

WICKET! Patidar c Pope b Bashir 0 (England 100-3)

He only needs one! Shoaib’s bowled well this morning and when he finds a bit of turn, Patidar edges and, at short leg, Pope reacts like a demon, seizing the ball as it whistles past his shoulder! What are we seeing here?!

27th over: India 100-2 (Gill 6, Patidar 0) This is chance for England to up the tension, but for Patidar it’s a chance to be the hero. And when Gill takes one down the ground, Shoaib has five balls at him…

26th over: India 99-2 (Gill 6, Patidar 0) A classic Andy Flower wicket that, dry bowling yielding results, and England now have two new batters to attack. Oh, and we see the wicket again – it looks like there was an edge, so does that mean it was caught, given it preceded the stumping? Anyroad, look at the celebration, Stokes leaping and fist-pumping; he think his boys can turn this around; of course he does. Wicket-maiden, and India need 93 runs to win.

WICKET! Rohit st Foakes b Hartley 55 (India 99-2)

Now then! Now! Then! Hartley, coming around, finds a little bit of turn away from the bat, and Foakes has the bails off in a trice! Wicketkeepers are good! P-R-E-S-S-U-R-E!

25th over: India 99-1 (Rohit 55, Gill 6) Now then! Gill gets down to sweep, misses, and wears ball on pad. The umpire signals a leg bye too, but that was turning well away from the stumps and Shoaib knows it’s not out when offered the chance to go upstairs; in that sense, he’s the anti-Broad. Rohit then comes down the track to ease a single to long on, and two dots follow; decent over, problem being England need more than decent. India need 93 runs to win.

24th over: India 97-1 (Rohit 54, Gill 6) Rohit cuts one to cover, then Hartley finds some bounce and turn, beating Gill’s outside edge; England need more of that, lots of it. A single to midwicket follows, and India are ticking them off – slowly, but nevertheless. India need 95 runs to win.

“I don’t know if it will make sense,” says Arul Kanhere, “but somehow Rohit feels more relatable than any other athletes … it’s as if he decided to pick up a cricket bat after taking a stroll in the park. Reminds me of my jolly old uncle … happy, relaxed, irritated, animated and goofy, without the ability to hit sixes at will though.”

Yup, agree – it’s the cuddliness. He’s India’s Raekwon.

23rd over: India 95-1 (Rohit 53, Gill 5) After drinks, Gill drives Shoaib and Lawrence, on as sub, misfields as they try to steal one, so isn’t able to chuck in hard. Another single follows, to backward square, and runs are coming more slowly now.

“As an England fan,” writes Will Vignoles, “it is really a shame that this series has gone South the way it has – some poor cricket from England but is really shown there’s a reason India don’t lose at home, and that’s that they’re really very good at cricket and usually that’s what matters, especially at home. In a way, it reminds me of the 2018 series in England between these sides, where England’s 4-1 win didn’t tell the story of how India were in pretty much every game but lost vital moments which meant they couldn’t take advantage of some strong positions. Hopefully England can pick up the final test and finish on a high – despite (almost certainly) two heavy defeats this hasn’t been the horror show of three years ago. Although in a way this is more painful.”

22nd over: India 93-1 (Rohit 52, Gill 4) England have slowed down the scoring, which gives them a bit more time to make something happen. Gill plays five dots, then takes a single into the on side. India need 99 runs to win.

“I’ll forgive the heat of the moment and yes, his best match with the nut was a victory,” chides Rowan Sweeney, “but if you want to elevate him beyond Golden Arm, Root’s 8 wickets at 49 is hardly excellent.”

I do think he’s better than golden arm, but yes, fair enough: excellent was probably over-egging it.

21st over: India 92-1 (Rohit 52, Gill 3) Between overs, we see Rohit speaking animatedly to Gill; he’s desperate to lead his team home here. He again flicks over the infield for one, this time giving his junior partner five balls to face; he takes the last of then for a single. India need 100 runs to win.

20th over: India 90-1 (Rohit 51, Gill 2) It’s one and done for Root, his task accomplished and Hartley returning. Stokes seems to really like him, but not as much as he will if he can knock Rohit over; Rohit eases away two towards point that raises his fifty, adding one more thereafter. We then see footage of his irritation at Jaiswal’s wicket – going at Root before he’d had a proper look – but he’s commandeering this chase very nicely and England badly need shot of him. India need 102 runs to win.

19th over: India 87-1 (Rohit 48, Gill 2) Yup, Bashir returns and when Gill comes down he realises he’s misjudged the flight, doing well to turn into the on side for one, and Rohit lifts his final delivery over midwicket for another single, which means he retains strike. India need 105 runs to win.

“I wonder if Rehan is the spinner with the biggest upside,” emails Daniel Forman, “with his ability to turn it both ways. And he’s definitely the most Bazball, either way his batting and attitude. Plus he’s probably the man most likely to offer something in Australia.”

I agree he’s got the most going for him if he turns into a brilliant version of himself, but at the moment he’s behind the other two for good reason.

18th over: India 85-1 (Rohit 47, Gill 0) I wonder if, if Joe Root had his time again, he’d take his bowling (even) more seriously. He’s been excellent in this series and the term golden arm is almost an insult because it suggests chance rather than skill. England are still in this, just, and when Gill gets going with one to long on, India need 107 runs to win.

WICKET! Jaiswal c Anderson b Root 37 (India 84-0)

The golden arm does it again! Jaiswal looks to open the face and drive over extra, but a bit of turn away means he ends up slicing to short third, where a diving old man takes terrific catch hurling his carcass forward. How do you do fellow kids! And do we got ourselves a ball-game?!

18th over: India 84-0 (Rohit 47, Jaiswal 37) Root replaces Bashir, who I’d not be surprised to see again soon, perhaps from the other end.

“Probably not a bad decision just now,” says Andrew Crossley, “but I’m almost certain that there was no inside edge; the snicko mark was bat hitting pad just above the boot, I think. Shame not to then see ball tracking…”

I don’t think it was hitting, for what that’s worth.

17th over: India 83-0 (Rohit 46, Jaiswal 37) The problem England have is generally, this track has been easier to bat on in the morning, and at this rate the match will be over before it livens up later on. Stokes has a long chat with Hartley before this over, and one does keep low for him, but Rohit defends then flicks into the on side for one. India are making this look pretty straightforward. India need 109 runs to win.

16th over: India 71-0 (Rohit 42, Jaiswal 29) I guess the question regarding England’s spinners is which will go best at home. Hartley is perhaps the Giles selection – one you make when you don’t love any of your options, so go for the guy who doesn’t get whacked and is good with bat and in field – whereas Shoaib is the Bazball selection, one with the biggest upside. But for now, it barely matters: Rohit opens the face nicely for three, then Jaiswal sweeps four – England, running out of runs to play with runs with which to play are offering the shot and India are taking it – then another cut for four follows, and with 11 runs from the over, this feels extremely over. India need 110 runs to win.

15th over: India 71-0 (Rohit 42, Jaiswal 29) Jaiswal touches around the corner wide of Pope at short leg, then nails a reverse for four; India are making sure to get in at least one proper scoring shot every over and for that reason, they’re racing towards their target and a series victory. Don’t they care about keeping it alive into the fifth? So selfish. India need 125 runs to win.


It’s a good ball this, Hartley seeing Jaiswal coming and dragging down … but Jaiswal got a shard of bat on it, so the call is a simple one.

15th over: India 67-0 (Rohit 42, Jaiswal 25) In fairness to the bowlers, though, the pitch isn’t offering as much as it had; perhaps Hartley will find something, replacing Anderson. Rohit waits for his loosener, playing it down into the off side and running one, then the bowler goes around, Jaiswal comes down and when it jags back in, wears ball on pad. There’s an appeal, it’s rejected … and England go upstairs!

14th over: India 66-0 (Rohit 41, Jaiswal 25) Who do we think has been player of the series? It’s hard to look beyond Jaiswal, I’d say, though it’s always hard to look beyond Bumrah, the best bowler in the world in every format. Meantime, after allowing four dots, Rohit gets down on one leg to haul Shoaib from outside off around the corner for four, then takes a single down the ground. This is terrific batting. India need 126 runs to win.

13th over: India 61-0 (Rohit 36, Jaiswal 25) Do we think Anderson has gone for Sun In? His hair – and what a head of it it is – has that look. Rohit looks to turn through midwicket, the ball rears up, and even though he doesn’t know where it is, Jaiswal calls him through for a quick single; Anderson shares some sentiments and Rohit chuckles to himself. Three more singles follow, the second of them Rohit’s 9000th in first-class cricket, and India are seeing this away with a great deal of certainty. India need 131 runs to win.

12th over: India 56-0 (Rohit 33, Jaiswal 23) Jaiswal misses with a sweep and there’s a strangulated appeal but impact was outside the line and it wasn’t hitting the stumps. Then an edge past slip sends Anderson hurtling to the fence again and this time he dives but the ball slides on and that’s four. Shoaib, though, is bowling nicely … but can he find a breakthrough? India need 136 runs to win.

11th over: India 52-0 (Rohit 33, Jaiswal 19) Jaiswal has had such a series and he flicks a single to long leg. Then, after two dots, Rohit waits for one, using the inswing to loft an apparently effortless pick-up over long-on for six; in the field, Stokes nods in appreciation and nothing about the way his side have attacked this chase suggests it might get big on them. India need 140 runs to win.

10th over: India 45-0 (Rohit 27, Jaiswal 18) No, it’s Shoaib; big show of faith in him from Stokes and I liked how he bowled yesterday, his tight line creating pressure. After two decent balls, Jaiswal nurdles him around the corner for one, the first run of the morning, then Rohit glances behind and Anderson tanks after it, diving to haul it back before it goes over the rope as they run three; he is an absolute freak of nature. Another single follows, then a bit of turn and bounce which Rohit manages to ride. India need 147 runs to win.

“I totally agree with your preamble musings on each match being a referendum on Bazball,” writes Mark Kelly. “Sometimes it feels like every play and miss elicits a Pavlov’s dog like response from a commentator regarding Bazball being all fine and good but you have to play to the match situation and conditions. It’s like they actually want them to fail. I am eagerly anticipating the start of play. I am not sure how long that eagerness will last. It is afternoon here in Sydney so at least I haven’t gotten up at silly o’clock to watch it.”

Ah, but there’s nothing like waking up early doors to find that England have made a mess; yesterday was a classic of the genre.

9th over: India 40-0 (Rohit 24, Jaiswal 16) Anderson, his highlights reminding us that he’s 21, starts outside off and Rohit defends; three dots follow. He’s got one slip, so I guess he’s looking for bowleds, lbs and catches on the drive; maiden. Joe Root from the other end? India need 152 runs to win.

“I think your suggestion to change the name BazBall to WokeBall is a brilliant one,” chortles Ianco Gavan.

Jimmy Anderson, two wickets away from 700, has the ball.

Here come our players, Ben Stokes geeing his men up. India need 152 runs, England need 10 wickets.

“In answer to your spin question,” begins Nicholas Bentley. “We need to be clever and rotate both Hartley and Bashir through the summer, we can’t just expect one to step up when we need them in India or Australia. Sadly, I fear that there is no place for dear Jack. Sport is cruel.”

He’s lasted a lot longer than I thought he would, I must say. But I too enjoy Hartley’s attitude and it does looks like Bashir might spin it a bit harder.

Talking of spinners, I love the devil of India’s. Kuldeep Yadav has such an infectious mischievousness that you only get if you also have implacable confidence in your ability to cause havoc. Will any of England’s be able to impose themselves this morning?

Email! “Lovely preamble … and paean to test cricket,” says Aditya Srinath. “Brings to mind this lovely Bob Weir/Perry Barlow lyric”

“‘What shall we say, shall we call it by a name

As well to count the angels dancing on a pin.’”

Something I’ve been wondering: which of England’s spinners will we see play Tests regularly? There’s an opening for one, because Jack Leach, the number one, is injured and not so good he can’t be replaced.


Once we give something a name it becomes a thing, and once it becomes a thing, it takes on a personality and characteristics, there to be misrepresented and misconstrued over and over again. We may know this from, er, ourselves, or from the constant media bombardment that reminds us – once, for example, there were kind people trying to help those needing it most in whatever way they could, now they are “the woke mob” and they’re ruining our previously thriving planet.

So, as soon as we decided that playing fun, aggressive cricket played in a nurturing, inspirational environment was to be called Bazball, we also decided that every match was to be a referendum on the same. The reality, though, is somewhat different.

India are the best home Test side in the world, a settled winning machine favoured by conditions and the five-Test series. England, on the other hand, are finding themselves, taking on the expers with spinners no more experienced in Tests then you and me. Or, put another way, it is not because of Bazball that India are poised to win this brilliant series, it is because of Bazball that this brilliant series is brilliant – and still alive.

Probably not for long, but such is facing India in India; such is not Bazball. Of course, it may yet be that Baz n’ Ben’s England pull off yet another victory for the ages, but even if they do not, they remain what we know them to be: a developing team doing all they can to sustain this wonderful things of ours. There are those who’ll tell you that elite sport is about winning, and maybe they’re right. But life is not, so.

Play: 9.30am local, 4am GMT


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