What Did England Make Of India’s Lord’s Long Room Play? Pacer Craig Overton Tells Australian Podcast
The right-arm pacer revealed the feeling in the English camp when Team India populated the Lord's Long Room after Indian bowlers' batting heroics in the second Test match.
At the end of day four of the second Test match at the Lord’s Cricket Ground, India was precariously placed at 181 for the loss of six wickets against an upbeat England. India’s lead was merely 154 with a full day’s play left and all hopes pinned on Rishabh Pant to take the lead beyond 220-230 — a target that Moeen Ali would be “pretty difficult”.
Come day five, the rescue act came not from Pant but from India’s pace bowlers. After Ishant Sharma got going with a brisk 16 of 24 balls, a determined show by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah took the lead to 271, leaving England dispirited before they even had bat in hand.
After the declaration, Team India charged the “Long Room” — an iconic space fronting the pavilion from where international cricketers pass to get on to or off the field. The Indian team came together to receive with applause the heroes of the day, Shami and Bumrah. It was quite a show of strength as the team’s fortunes had turned around dramatically in the Test match.
Hosts of the Australian cricket podcast “The Grade Cricketer” Ian Higgins and Sam Perry asked English pace bowler Craig Overton, who was the twelfth man and present on the field, what the English team made of India’s “alpha power play”.
“I think I got the feeling that a few of the boys got a little bit pissed off from what they did,” Overton said. “Obviously they tried to put their stamp on the game and try and show that side and try to be on top of the game, and I think a few of the boys got pissed off and probably got a little too emotional with that sort of thing and (it) probably cost us the game, really,” he added.
Former cricketers and experts were of the English team’s decision-making on day five as it appeared that captain Joe Root and the team had let the opposition get to them and had “”. Overton’s admission confirms this widely held assessment.
England went on to make a terrific comeback on day one of the third Test at Headingley, Leeds, knocking India over for a paltry 78 before putting 120 runs on the board unscathed, with all the remaining batsmen sitting safe in the shed.
According to Overton, it came down to putting the emotions aside and focusing on what has worked for them. “Coming back to this Test match, we just made sure that we wanted to do what we did right, and make sure that we didn't get caught up in what they’re trying to do as the game,” he told The Grade Cricketer.
Overton drew a contrast between the approaches taken by the Indian and English teams. He said whereas India “play at their best” when they are “trying to create a bit of emotion around the game”, teams like England are “quite chilled”.
India and England square off today (2 September) at The Oval, London, as the all-important fourth Test match gets underway at 3:30 pm, IST. The contest is especially important for both teams as they would want to go one-up over the other by the end of this match and hold an edge going into the fifth and final Test at Manchester.
All eyes will be on team selection, in particular with respect to the places of spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin and pace bowler Ishant Sharma, while the Indian middle order will remain under pressure to make an impact on the game.
India last won at the Oval in 1971. It was their first-ever win on English soil and the only win at this London ground. They will look to bat better to give themselves a chance at going 2-1 up in this important away series for India.
(Craig Overton Interview: The Grade Cricketer. (2021, August 31). Craig Overton on Lord's Long Room Siege, Rohit and Ashwin [Video]. YouTube.)
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