If this was an exam then England aced it. In truth, the channel hoppers weren’t really tested at Paris Cricket Ground. France succumbed for a pitiful 73 in their virginal venture to the crease. James Anderson and Stuart Broad claimed three victims apiece, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran backed them up with two each.
Keaton Jennings (54) and captain Joe Root (69) constructed a second-wicket partnership of 112 in England’s first innings.
Haseeb Hameed (2) and Gary Ballance (9) will be frustrated to have been the only England batsmen to have missed out on runs but can at least console themselves that they’re the only batsmen in the side to have contributed centuries in recent times.
Keaton Jennings (54) battled hard for a much needed fifty and in reaching so, probably saved his Test career.
As for the rest of the willow wielders, under pressure Keaton Jennings was hardly fluent but recorded a much needed half-century (54) in partnership with captain Joe Root. Root himself was in sparkling form, striking 69 from just 50 deliveries as he and Jennings compiled 112 for the second wicket. The pair fell in quick succession before Ballance missed out however Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes then set about putting England out of sight of their French hosts. Stokes reached a long awaited half-century but was harshly adjudged run out when on 60. The Durham dynamo had put together 120 with Bairstow who would fall in the eighties (84) for the second Test in a row. This was the first Test in four that England have failed to have a centurion but the first in a long time that as many as four individuals have passed 50.
Ben Stokes (60) was controversially run-out, even though replays suggested that he might have grounded his bat before the stumps were broken.
England’s innings petered out somewhat before the visitors, having reached 333-9, declared for the third Test innings in a row. England posses a ruthless nature when it comes to day/night cricket and know that their pace bowlers are capable of making inroads into opposition batting line-ups with the pink ball under floodlights, hence the trend for late night declarations.
Mason Crane (17-1-55-0) bowled his entire spell unchanged but in truth he served only to provide respite for French cricketers.
It was probably only the fact that England chose to bowl Hampshire spinner Mason Crane unchanged throughout the entire first session of the second day that France were able to reach three figures second time around. Crane finished with respectable but generally unthreatening figures of 17-1-55-0 and despite England winning back to back Tests for the first time in memory, his place in the XI may well come under threat.
Sam Curran (File photo) recorded match analysis of 17-6-39-8!
As it was, skipper Joe Root opted to provide senior members of the bowling attack some respite and let Crane twirl away alongside Sam Curran. Curran would repay his captain’s faith in sensational style. The teenager claimed career best figures of 6-27 with wicketkeeper and Surrey team-mate Ben Foakes holding all six catches (A world record?). The former Essex stumper held a world record eight catches in France’s second innings to add to the first three wickets to fall he had been responsible for in the hosts’ first innings. The eleven dismissals in the match for Foakes equalled the Test record. So obvious is it to Jonny Bairstow that he won’t be required to keep wicket for England anytime soon courtesy of Foakes’ phenomenal start to his Test career behind the stumps, that in France’s second innings JB bowled six perfectly respectable overs for the concession of just eleven runs.
Many players will have gained confidence from their Parisian excursion but England will hope for a sterner Test the next time they take to the field.