Everything that can be said about England’s desperate top order has ultimately already been said. But on day five against India at Lord’s, their struggles hit a record low. Rory Burns was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah in the first over of the innings for 0, and Dom Sibley by Mohammad Shami within his opening six, also for 0.
It was the first time ever that both of England’s openers have been out for a duck in a home Test match. It is a statistic that will most probably see the end of Sibley, who was playing for his place in this game but has failed to take his final opportunity. It is also a statistic that will drive countless England fans to a point beyond frustration. With Joe Root walking out at 1-2. enough is surely enough.
It has been, all in all, a chastening day for England, who having put themselves within arm’s reach of victory after taking the wickets of Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma, failed to push home their advantage, bowling erratically and setting some perplexing fields. The biggest worry remains the batting, and my goodness how many times that phrase has been voiced, typed and quoted. India’s bowling and attitude has been typically excellent, made all the more threatening by England’s most generous of opening pairs.