Broad rips through India

England's Stuart Broad (left) celebrates with skipper Joe Root after dismissing Dinesh Karthik on Sunday. AFP

Indians dished out another lifeless, toothless, heartless and gutless batting performance to stand on the brink of a chastening defeat against England in the second Test here on Sunday.

When England skipper Joe Root declared their innings at 396/7 — a massive lead of 289 runs — after batting for an hour in the morning, the Indians needed the predicted rain and a massive miracle to save themselves from defeat. The rain did come down at Lord’s but for not as long as they would have envisioned, their batting opened up first by James Anderson (2/9) before being ripped apart by Stuart Broad (4/16) to leave them reeling at 66/6 at tea.

Moment openers Murali Vijay and KL Rahul strode to the crease with dark clouds hovering around on a chilly summer morning, one could easily figure out that was the last thing they wanted to do. The weather, almost akin to Friday when they were ransacked by Anderson, was testing. Short of runs and confidence, they looked edgy from the onset, making them sitting ducks for the veteran English pacer who yet again gave his side a roaring start.

Anderson notched his 100th dismissals at the iconic venue when he sent Vijay packing for a pair, the ball seaming in and catching the inside edge of the right-hander before landing into the safe hands of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. Having gotten out to an out-swinger in the first innings, Vijay tried to cover that angle but the ball this time too was simply good.

Very soon Rahul joined him in the dressing room — undone by a similar seaming-in ball. With no footwork whatsoever, he was trapped flush leg-before wicket. Chesteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane staged a mini resurrection of sorts when the first rain disruption came to their rescue.

Following a 90-minute stoppage, Pujara and Rahane resumed their fight but they knew the task in front of them was monumental with skipper Virat Kohli nursing a “back stiffness” from the morning. Both showed some heart to delay the inevitable but the English bowling was just too good. Anderson and Chris Woakes followed by Broad and Sam Curran just kept coming at them like hungry predators. That relentless attack from the quartet forced Rahane to flash at a wide Broad delivery that cost him his wicket. A centurion when India played last time here, the vice-captain quickly realised the massive mistake he had made.

At the other end, Pujara managed to somehow survive. Broad bowled a brilliant over — 25th — where the Saurashtrian was beaten almost every ball, the bowler unlucky to have not got a wicket. Broad got his reward in his very next over though, crashing through the defences of Pujara. Not only did it end his 87-ball resistance but opened the floodgates.

Kohli, the only Indian batsman who has looked comfortable on this tour, appeared like he had been affected by his back injury. He took on-field treatment and soldiered on but Broad, amidst a superb spell, would ensure, not only will the skipper have to endure physical pain but the agony of a pasting. He delivered a short ball which Kohli tried to fend it off and debutante Ollie Pope completed a fine catch diving-in from short leg. Kohli asked for a review but to no avail.

Karthik walked in and walked out the next ball when rain forced tea. But the clouds are moving and with it England’s march to a 2-0 lead.

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