England vs India report: Record-breaking stand between centurion Joe Root and James Anderson rescues England

Report on Day Four of the Test: Last-wicket stand rewrites history books amid all the drudgery to provide the crowd with an emotional charge as tail wags ferociously

Trent Bridge

A humdrum pitch equals a monotonous match. Yet from this unpromising combination, unforgettable deeds have sprung. The latest and most extraordinary of them – unless there is to be a remarkable added twist, which in Test cricket can never be entirely unexpected – was performed today.

It was epic in its scale and, on any surface, wholly unpredictable. On the fourth day of the first Investec Test, Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson shared a Test record 10th-wicket partnership of 198. Root scored an exemplary 154 not out, overcoming a patent lack of rhythm at the start of his innings to bat magisterially.

But it was Anderson, a fast bowler born to bat at No 11, who earned the plaudits and won the hearts of the crowd. He made 81, comfortably the highest score by any England last man, and played with such authority and pizzazz it was a surprise when he essayed an errant drive to slip which ended this improbably exuberant affair. That England led on first innings having been 202 for 7 was the real statistical measure of its worth.

It was genuinely rip-roaring, uplifting stuff, enough to melt the flintiest soul. But it could not conceal the drudgery of the match and the probability that it is drifting towards a draw. The taking of two wickets by England late in the day to remove Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, who seemed bedded in, offered the glimmer of an opening that there might after all be somewhere for it go.

At the close, India were 167 for 3, 128 runs ahead, and will feel the need to bat for most of today to secure a certain draw. Any side would and should have struggled to take wickets on the sort of surface provided, though Matt Prior dropped a fairly straightforward offering to give England an early breakthrough. It is becoming increasingly clear that England are in need of a spinner.

Joe Root celebrates his fourth Test century Joe Root celebrates his fourth Test century

Moeen Ali is not up to the front-line role despite his two wickets today and Simon Kerrigan, of Lancashire, will probably come into the party for the Third Test starting at Lord’s on Thursday. After his horrific experience when he made his debut against Australia last year, Kerrigan is not a shoo-in to play. He is having a reasonable but hardly spectacular season for Lancashire, but he was with the squad at Nottinghamshire last week.

England, it is plain, have to do something. Throughout this morning none of this mattered as, somehow, the match provided its second glittering 10th-wicket interlude. India, who began the day still 105 runs ahead, were left bereft of ideas and staring down a tactical black hole, which is where both sides might have wanted to drop this pitch. Such a benign surface as this demanded pinpoint strategies but their celebrated captain, MS Dhoni, stuck for far too long with an umbrella field and short-ball attack.

For several overs his supposed short leg was so far from the bat he may as well have been standing at deep mid-wicket. It should have taken Dhoni about five minutes to work out that more bounce could be extracted by dropping marbles into cold custard.

But it would not do to dwell on Dhoni’s squandered ploys. Anderson, who had played with studious aplomb the night before in reaching 23, recognised that this was his big chance. In 210 previous first-class innings he had never made more than 37, in all senior cricket for Lancashire, England and his hometown club, Burnley, his best effort was 49 not out, which was for the latter against Todmorden 12 years ago.

James Anderson celebrates reaching his first ever half-century James Anderson celebrates reaching his first ever half-century

This was of an altogether different hue. Anderson’s first, indeed primary, job was to bat long enough for Root to reach his fourth Test hundred. By doing that he would not only help a colleague achieve a significant milestone but the team to cut their deficit.

Root exuded canniness. He protected Anderson from the strike when necessary, turning down copious singles, but he found the gap for twos and hit the bad balls for four. Anderson did not waver in his duty. Root reached his hundred with his 12th four, drilled accurately through the covers.

The next target now was for Anderson to reach his maiden fifty. When he was 45 he prodded to gully, where Vijay did not react quickly enough to take a low chance. It seemed that Anderson might yet be undone by his lack of a pull stroke, but just as the musing on this shortcoming was reaching its zenith he unfurled a classic of the genre, standing tall at the crease, which sped to the mid-wicket boundary.

Had Joe Hardstaff Jnr, the most prolific of Nottinghamshire’s former Test batsmen, scored a triple hundred, the crowd could not have been more generous. They rose to Anderson in a genuine outpouring of admiration and jubilation. To a man, woman and child they were happy for him.

There was a little more where that came from. The pair went on and looked like going on some more. Pace, medium pace, spin, occasional spin – nothing worked for India. The pair sailed past England’s Test 10th-wicket record, which was set 111 years ago in Sydney, and then overhauled the world record of 163 set on this very ground only last year by Australia’s Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar.

The 200 partnership and Anderson’s hundred both beckoned. But the fairytale and Anderson’s vigil ended with a tumbling catch at slip. This has been an unsatisfactory match, but it has been adorned with moments to cherish.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence