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India vs England, Historic Lord’s Test, Day 1

July 21, 2011

We have arrived again to the home of cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground as India the tourists take on   the fully charged up English side. And what a venue to start of the 4 match test series. Well, we expect a cracker of a tournament from all aspects of the game here. This particular match is going to bear  a huge significance. Many views are possible. Some people will see the test as the    2000th test match in the history of test cricket, some will see it as the 100th between the playing   nations. Just hold on, there’s more.. Coach of Team India Duncan Fletcher is having his 100th test match as a Coach,96 as England’s coach, and 3 before this match as India’s. And last but not the least, nobody can write a better script if the “God of Cricket” gets his 100th international ton here at the “Home of Cricket” (although he doesn’t have a decent record here at Lord’s, but he is too good as a player to be judged with these silly statistics).

All the eyes of the cricket fans around the whole world is focused in this test. India, the champions can lose their spot to the ranked 3 test side England if they lose the series with a difference of 2 wins. But the start provided to India was a good one, the toss I mean. Dhoni won the all important toss and did not hesitate whatsoever to put the hosts into bat under a very much overcast condition and a dry green pitch. Conditions would suite the bowling side, English Captain knew it. So they made a very calm and quite start. First 3 overs of the match, 2 from Zaheer and 1 from Praveen Kumar were maidens. After that Cook tried to get moving but his innings did not last long. He was judged leg before to Zaheer at 19 on the board. At this point of time Indians were bowling well, but what the problem was for them is that their attitude in the field. After getting the breakthrough one would have expected much more shouts in the fields from the Indians, somebody cheering the bowlers up, but that all didn’t happen somehow. Before the fall of the first wicket Strauss had survived a run out where Ishant failed to hit the timber. Till lunch only 21 overs of play could have been possible for the delayed start to this match due to weather conditions and 43 runs were scored.

At this phase India I guess had made a mistake in the choice of the ends of the bowlers from which they bowl. It all took me with a little surprise that from the end Zaheer started bowling. The Lord’s pitch has a little slope on one of its two sides and for all the bowlers who like to get the ball into the left handed batsmen that very end from where Zaheer wasn’t bowling is a great encouragement, but don’t know what was the plan that he was bowling from that end. He should have been bowling from the other end.

Also there were problems with Praveen Kumar. Well, in the English conditions you will find almost in every county side a Praveen Kumar like bowler who is much of a swing bowler, can swing it both ways, but don’t have the pace. In the West Indies tour Indian bowlers had a fair amount of success with the short pitch stuffs, but here if you don’t pitch it up to the batsman you will get hammered away in the Praveen Kumar like pace. Jonathon Trott capitalized at this point. Plus, he was having the problem of landing in the pitch as well, and if you are warned too early in the innings it can be a matter of concern for the rest of the match. Ishant didn’t show the spark that he did against West Indies during the last series. He also tried too many short pitch stuffs.

As a result Dhoni had to bring Harbhajan just before the stroke of the lunch break. Harbhajan almost provided a breakthrough in the very first ball that he bowled. A sharp chance went down in the 1st slip where the man fielding was the person who has more catches than anybody in the history of test cricket. The ball had turned sharply from the footmarks and took the outside edge of Trott’s bat but it not stick into the palm of Rahul Dravid.

Zaheer got the England’s Captain after the lunch break. But Kevin Pietersen and Trott were quite smooth with there going since then. As a result any further damage to the English batting wasn’t done. After the tea break we hardly had any play as it started to drizzle a bit heavily and at stumps day 1 the hosts are 127-2 and we could not have even 50 overs of play in the day 1 of the 1st test of Npower test series.

India will have to go home and think again as they have not been able to make the most of the conditions that they had early in the morning. And also another affair, at one point of the match it was seen that Zaheer Khan going off the field with an injury and Kumar completes his over. Now don’t know that how much a serious thing is that, but if so that really can be a huge blow for the tourists. Zaheer has been there premiere pacer and even today he took both the wickets that fell. So if he is unavailable for any sort of time and that also so early in the series, it’s really going to be serious problem for India.

In the past few series it has been seen that India is starting a series with a slow tempo but indeed they have bounced back, and kept their rank intact. But if you go down here, the things can get really very difficult with a thread of losing the first test series ever in the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

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