BUMBLE AT THE TEST: Anderson proved his eternal class for England

BUMBLE AT THE TEST: Jimmy Anderson proved his eternal class with another staggering performance… as England’s retention of Sam Billings behind the stumps released Jonny Bairstow, a dasher with the bat

  • India fought back to 338-7 on the first day of the rearranged final Test v England
  • The match was postponed last year due to Covid cases among the tourists’ staff 
  • Sam Billings fits into this team perfectly with his skill with the bat and the gloves
  • Jimmy Anderson got two India players out early on, showing his eternal class

India’s Rishabh Pant halted England’s momentum with 146 off just 111 balls on day one of the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston.

The visitors were in trouble at 98 for five, before Pant crashed 19 fours and four sixes in a remarkable stand to help his side to 338 for seven at stumps. 

Sportsmail‘s DAVID LLOYD picks out his talking points from the first day of action at Edgbaston. 

India’s Rishabh Pant halted England’s momentum on day one of the rearranged final Test


A quick recap as to how this very odd, one off-game which is also part of a series came about. 

Well, the cancellation of the original through India’s non-appearance at Emirates Old Trafford would have cost the ECB £40million, so they negotiated a postponement instead. 

And a reminder as to the official reason given for the call-off last September – India’s reserve physio tested positive for Covid. Of course, it might also have been significant that some IPL franchise owners wanted their players back….


The retention of Sam Billings behind the stumps was a good decision in my book as it released Jonny Bairstow to do his thing. 

That thing being marmalizing bowling attacks. Billings is a dasher with the bat, more than adequate with the gloves, and so fits into this England squad perfectly. 

The missing Ben Foakes is the best wicketkeeper in the world and England are blessed to have quality cover in that particular department. To name but two: Harry Duke, of Yorkshire, and Worcestershire’s Ben Cox.

Sam Billings fits into this England team perfectly with his skill with the bat and the gloves


The recall of Cheteshwar Pujara reminded me of the great Abbott & Costello baseball sketch ‘Who’s on first.’ 

If you don’t know it, do yourself a favour and get on YouTube. If you do know it, watch it again. 

Pujara is an accomplished number three for a decade, so a massive tick for him in acknowledging someone needed to put their hand up and move up the order in Rohit Sharma’s absence. It didn’t work.

Cheteshwar Pujara moved up India’s batting order in Rohit Sharma’s absence but it didn’t work


Jimmy Anderson misses a Test match, comes straight back in against a quality team like India and proves himself a real handful. 

Nipping two out early on Friday morning highlighted the staggering level of performance he turns in time and time again. During his eight overs before the rain, he made the ball talk.

Jimmy Anderson got two India players out early in the day to show his eternal bowling class


Wondering why this match has a 10.30am start time? Well, it’s all to do with Indian television timings. 

Not that bringing things forward half an hour is a first. During the 2005 Ashes, when Channel 4 were at the helm of TV coverage, there were similarly early starts and they used to toddle off for the 3.30 at Ascot. 

As a racing man, I thought it was wonderful. Back then, it was to get Hollyoaks on in its regular evening slot. Or was it Tom and Jerry?


I’m getting a bit of a reputation. Letters keep arriving for me at the local pub. There was even a call for me at the Fauconberg Arms on Wednesday lunchtime, asking if I was in.


True to form the Eric Hollies Stand kicked off after lunch. For atmosphere, it’s an absolute hoot. 

Yes, a bit like Headingley’s Western Terrace, it occasionally gets a bit rowdy but by and large it’s all innocent fun.

I will certainly miss that lot in a fortnight when Twenty20 finals day rolls into town. Is there anybody else that can sing Sweet Caroline though? Perhaps they’ve booked a Bumble tribute act…

The atmosphere in Edgbaston’s Eric Hollies Stand (pictured here in 2015) is an absolute hoot

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