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India vs England, Historic Lord’s Test, Day 2

July 22, 2011

In my last post I had mentioned about India’s concern about the injury of Zaheer Khan, and it eventually came true. Indian team management declared today that Zak won’t be available any further for the rest of the England’s first innings. Absolute shocker! The main premiere strike bowler goes out of picture for some sort of time. India had came into this match with only 4 specialist bowlers. So if one of them goes out, the remain three needs to take almost a double of the workload that they were assigned to. One of them is Harbhajan, and there was nothing in the pitch so for the spinners. So to make him bowl for some 30-32 overs on day two is just going to be some sort of waste.

With all these problems for India the things got underway. It all started of quite well for England. Trott was carrying his good work so as KP. Pietersen was the man who was taking most of the strikes and was standing way outside his batting crease and they tended to make almost everything into the on side. At this point I didn’t quite understand why Ishant Sharma didn’t test him with the bouncers atleast once or twice in two overs. They could have tried the full length leg stump yorkers more often to him. But it didn’t quite come out. Zaheer made Pietersen to work hard for his runs in the first day but today he hardly had to do any sort of hard work. First spell of Kumar didn’t have the bite neither had Ishant Sharma’s.

It didn’t take long for spin to come on. Dhoni brought Harbhajan Singh very early in the morning but at that time India’s strategy was very much surprising. Yes, it has been a problem for Harbhajan when he doesn’t get an early wicket in the spell and that it affects the rest of the part of his spell or even later spells. So all we were expecting was an attacking field set by MSD. But there were no catching fielders around the bat at that time. The score wasn’t really coming thick and fast, but still they were coming with a fair rate.

Ishant was then taken off as Dhoni had almost no other choices but to shuffle his bowlers around. And against the run of play the man replacing Ishant, Praveen Kumar got the all important breakthrough of well set Jonathon Trott. Trying to play across the line which he seldom does, missed the line of the delivery and was duly judged LBW by Billy Bowden. Trott was not very happy with the decision but the hock eye showed that it would have crashed into top of the leg stump. Pietersen on the other hand got the lbw out of question by standing way way outside of his crease and at the same time stretching a big long stride and so few of the decisions went to his favour.

In came Ian Bell, who has been in superb form in this form of the game with averaging 226 in the test matches of 2011. He was quite happy to take on spin and wasn’t scared to come down the wicket and go over the top. Before lunch these two were building a solid partnership. India came close to take a wicket at this time when the flick of KP behind the stumps didn’t carry to Dravid waiting in the leg gully, a sudden field change from Dhoni it was. Till lunch England added 90 runs with the loss of just a single wicket. So the first session of day two belonged to England completely.

In the start of the afternoon session captain cool made an interesting move. He delayed to take the available new ball and also decided to hand over his wicket keeping gloves to Dravid and have a go himself with the old cherry. Just at that time Pietersen had his luck again. He was given caught behind as there was a genuine noise heard by everybody. But he took the UDRS and hot spot suggested that the sound made was by the bat hitting the pad rather than an outside edge. Both the players were scoring freely at this point of the game until Dhoni made a change of ends for Kumar with the new ball.  compared to the end that he had bowled on day one (last night I had said that he should actually have been bowling from this end ). Pietersen meanwhile had completed his 18th test century, his 5th at Lord’s and it took almost a 3 years’ wait to taste the moment. Kumar though in his new spell swang the ball both ways and keep the batsmen guessing everytime that whether to play or to leave. In this way Bell nicks it one to the Indian keeper. But till then they had alreary added 110 runs to the total and the damage was done.  But in the same over it was Eoin Morgan who fell to Praveen without disturbing the scorers. Well, in this case the replay didn’t show any nick of the bat as the hot spot suggested so. But Morgan walked and didn’t ask for the review. So, from 270-3 England all on a sudden was 270-5. But still the body language of the champions wasn’t so that they had smelt the blood. And so it was once again a big partnership. Prior and Pietersen added 120 runs for the 6th wicket partnership. Prior really went after the bowling as his 71 came of just 93 balls striking at more than 76.

Kumar continued his good jobs as he provided yet another double break. He got Prior and Broad in consecutive deliveries. But the man in Greame Swann had a counter attck on the Indian bowlers to contribute a quick 23 before he was bowled by Raina. Then we could saw the most destructive KP as his last 44 runs came of just 17 deliveries. He completed a fantastic double hundred, his 3rd in his whole career and England eventually decide to declare 474-8 with about 6 overs to go for the day’s play.

Indians were tired after being in the field for a long time and it won’t have been surprising had England chipped in with a couple of wickets in this period. But the two Indian openers Gambhir and Mukund kept the things quite for the rest of the time as India leave the field with 17-0.

Batting conditions have been seen to get improved over past few hours of play. I feel that this is the pitch that may be the best for batting in the 5th day, so India don’t bother to bat in the 4th innings, but what is extremely important from their perspective is to see off the first session tomorrow. If they can do it, the conditions will be much more batting friendly in the upcoming sessions of play for day three, as well as there is hardly any assist yet to be seen from pitch for the spinners. So the challenge for India tomorrow is going to face the chin music in first couple of hours of play. Many of the short pitch stuffs and bouncers are waiting, for you, watch out…

One Comment
  1. Arindam Dutta permalink

    good one……but not the best one….keep trying……….

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