India fans in the stands as rain delays play Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Rain scuppered what promised to be a thrilling conclusion to the first Test between England and India at Trent Bridge as the match ended in a draw without a ball bowled on Sunday’s last day.
The opening fixture in this five-Test series was intriguingly poised with India 52-1 in their second innings, needing a further 157 runs to reach a victory target of 209 in what promised to be tough batting conditions.
But rain meant no play was possible Sunday.
“We thought we were in a good position to have a crack at the target,” said India captain Virat Kohli at the presentation ceremony.
“It would have been a nice, interesting day of Test cricket. It was unfortunate that the weather prevailed in the end.
“Heading into day five, we felt like we had our chances in front of us. We definitely felt on top in the game.”
Persistent rain prevented play resuming as scheduled at 11:00 am local time (1000 GMT).
Further downpours kept the players off the field before the umpires abandoning play just before 4:00pm (1500 GMT) — only for the sun to then break through the clouds — to leave the teams all square ahead of the second Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday.
That India faced a tricky chase was largely down to England captain Joe Root, the player of the match, making 109 in his side’s second innings of 303 after he had top-scored with 64 in a lowly first-innings 183.
– ‘Robbed’ –
“It was a great Test match,” said Root, none of whose 21 Test hundreds have come in a defeat, with England winning 16 and drawing five of those matches.
“The weather has robbed us of would could have been a fantastic final day.
“We could have pushed for victory today. Having played on that wicket it certainly felt like nine opportunities would’ve come.”
England were unable to call on Ben Stokes, with the star all-rounder set to miss the whole of this series after taking an indefinite break from all cricket because of mental health issues.
Their batting woes were exemplified by Zak Crawley, who having made just 33 runs in this match is averaging 11.14 in 14 Test innings since his superb 267 against Pakistan at Southampton last year.
India paceman Jasprit Bumrah took 5-64 on Saturday to finish with impressive match figures of 9-110.
In India’s first innings 278 recalled opener KL Rahul top-scored with 84 in his first Test in nearly two years.
England seamer Ollie Robinson, playing just his second match at this level, took a Test-best 5-85 after the re-emergence of historic racist and sexist tweets during his debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in June saw him serve a three-game ban.
Meanwhile, James Anderson’s 4-54 took the England great, already the most successful fast bowler in Test history, into third in the all-time list of wicket-takers at this level.
His tally of 621 Test wickets has been surpassed only by two retired spin bowlers in Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Australia’s Shane Warne (708).
India, who beat Root’s men 3-1 at home earlier this year, are bidding for only their fourth Test series win on English soil following 1971, 1986 and 2007 triumphs.
This match also marked the start of the new World Test Championship cycle, with India having lost to New Zealand in the inaugural final at Southampton in June.