India will have to wait till the final day after their roll was turned into a battle of attrition initiated by two unlikely England batsmen in the Trent Bridge Test. Jasprit Bumrah fast forwarded India towards their target, snapping four wickets with the new ball to claim five in the innings, seven in all, in a superb comeback from injury. But England’s last wicket pair of Adil Rashid and James Anderson held out in the extended 30 minutes to keep India waiting till the last day. England were 311/9, 209 runs behind.
There are defeats – and defeats. Had England been routed, as it looked as though they would be when they fell to 62 for four wickets, India would have gone to Southampton for the fourth Test with all the psychological advantage. But an historic partnership between Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes for the fifth wicket converted the rout into a strategic withdrawal which will not be completed until day five.
England’s batting has become so brittle that it seems able to summon up only one partnership per Test match, but this was a splendid one, spanning 169 runs and four hours. In terms of runs, though not time, Stokes and Buttler surpassed the epic defiance of Willie Watson and Trevor Bailey in the Lord’s Test of 1953 as the highest stand for England’s fifth wicket in the fourth innings, although they accomplished it on the final day to draw the match when everything involved in an Ashes series was at stake.
Had this been a four-day Test, the final hour would have been a heart-stopper as England collapsed against the second new ball, propelled with ferocity by Jasprit Bumrah of the unique action and rare angle, before their tailenders indulged in some slap-stick then buckled down to bat out the extra half-hour of eight overs. But the minor feat was ultimately achieved, by taking this game into a fifth day and partially stemming the Indian ocean which had been overwhelming England.