From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.34 :: NO.33 :: Aug. 18, 2011

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CRICKET / NOTTINGHAM TEST

Delivering when it matters

Stuart Broad bowled with pace, bounce and movement. The most impressive thing was the wrist and seam position: he certainly comprehends much about the craft of bowling these days, realising the benefits of the fuller length, writes S. Ram Mahesh.

AP

England's Ian Bell made a fine 159 in the second innings.

India was expected to turn up at Trent Bridge, and — like Robin Hood and his merry men who did their thing in Sherwood Forest, not far from the cricket ground — indulge in a bit of stealing from the rich — the rich here being a lavishly-gifted English team, not uncouth aristocrats. Their record suggested as much: this is an Indian side that has bounced back magnificently from defeat, casting aside whatever seemed to be bothering it.

For much of the first two days, this was exactly what happened. M. S. Dhoni won his second toss. His seamers responded as he would have hoped, reducing England to 124 for eight. Stuart Broad, who has done nothing wrong in the series after a first-innings duck, and Graeme Swann, who had an otherwise woeful match, decided enough was enough, and played bold strokes. They rattled India's bowlers. The lengths and the lines were all over the place — as were Dhoni's fields. Broad was the last man out for a sparkling half-century. He had dragged England to 221.

Then India began to bat like it's known to. Rahul Dravid and V. V. S. Laxman lit up the second morning with luminous strokeplay. India struck 19 fours in the first session, eight by Dravid, eight by Laxman, and three by Sachin Tendulkar. Yuvraj Singh, playing his first Test in three years, made the most of an early reprieve and some fortune against the short ball to punish Swann. Dravid and Yuvraj had taken India to 267 for four when Broad dynamited India's batting: five wickets in 16 balls including the first-ever hat-trick against India.

He bowled with pace, bounce and movement. The most impressive thing was the wrist and seam position: he certainly comprehends much about the craft of bowling these days, realising the benefits of the fuller length.

Dravid equalled Sunil Gavaskar's tally of 34 centuries during India's innings, but he couldn't really celebrate it, for India crumbled to 288 all out.

England's bowling performance proved too much for India. Its seamers, barring Sreesanth, were tired from carrying a heavy workload, and the England second innings, which began in tense circumstances, sped away with not a care in the world. Ian Bell made 159 of the finest runs you'd hope to see. On 137 he was part of a bizarre incident. He had made the mistake of leaving his crease. He was under the impression that the ball had gone for four and that it was tea. But the ball wasn't dead: Praveen Kumar had stopped it before it could cross the boundary line although his body language suggested it was four.

AP

India's Rahul Dravid equalled Sunil Gavaskar's tally of 34 centuries.

Eoin Morgan, who seemed aware of the situation, grounded his bat and attempted to caution his partner. But Bell continued to walk towards Morgan, and together they set off for the dressing room. He was ruled out, but after tea-time discussions, India withdrew its appeal. The crowd, which has been booing the umpires and the Indian cricketers, began to cheer. India was roundly praised for its spirit of sportsmanship — the only one at fault in the episode was Bell, who was daft as a brush — but the commendation couldn't soothe the hurt England's batsmen were subjecting it to. Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior and Tim Bresnan came to party — which is to say they invited themselves over and refused to leave; India was the pained host which could do nothing.

England' bowlers hit India hard in the second innings, bowling with high intensity. The short ball proved too much for Abhinav Mukund, Yuvraj and Suresh Raina, but the real damage was done earlier. Two magnificent wicket-taking deliveries accounted for Dravid and Laxman, the first from Broad and the second from James Anderson. Sachin Tendulkar resisted with a classy half-century, but it was too little too late.

“One of the real measures of a good side is whether they are able to come back from difficult circumstances,” said England captain Strauss. “We had to dig very deep; we were twice in a position where India looked very much like favourites to win the game. Most sides are pretty good when they've got everything their own way. But in the last two Test matches we've had to dig pretty deep, and it gives me a lot of pride to see guys putting their hands up and delivering when it matters.”

Strauss' counterpart, Dhoni, had a horror Test with both the bat and the gloves. His second-innings dismissal, lbw not playing a stroke, was emblematic of India's surrender at the end. A pity, for it had started so encouragingly.

THE SCORES

Second Test, Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Jul. 29-Aug. 1, 2011. England won by 319 runs.

England — 1st innings: A. Strauss c Raina b Praveen 32; A. Cook lbw b Ishant 2; J. Trott c Laxman b Sreesanth 4; K. Pietersen c Raina b Sreesanth 29; I. Bell c Dhoni b Ishant 31; E. Morgan lbw b Praveen 0; M. Prior c Dravid b Sreesanth 1; T. Bresnan c Dravid b Ishant 11; S. Broad c Tendulkar b Harbhajan 64; G. Swann c Mukund b Praveen 28; J. Anderson (not out) 6; Extras (b-2, lb-8, w-3) 13. Total: 221.

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-23, 3-73, 4-85, 5-85, 6-88, 7-117, 8-124, 9-197.

India bowling: Praveen 22-8-45-3; Ishant 22-4-66-3; Sreesanth 19-1-77-3; Harbhajan 4.4-0-22-1; Yuvraj 1-0-1-0.

India — 1st innings: A. Mukund c Pietersen b Anderson 0; R. Dravid c Cook b Bresnan 117; V. V. S. Laxman c Prior b Bresnan 54; S. Tendulkar c Strauss b Broad 16; S. Raina c Morgan b Anderson 12; Yuvraj Singh c Prior b Broad 62; M. Dhoni c Anderson b Broad 5; Harbhajan Singh lbw b Broad 0; Praveen Kumar b Broad 0; Ishant Sharma c Bell b Broad 3; S. Sreesanth (not out) 7; Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-4, nb-1) 12. Total: 288.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-93, 3-119, 4-139, 5-267, 6-273, 7-273, 8-273, 9-273.

England bowling: Anderson 26-8-80-2; Broad 24.1-8-46-6; Bresnan 21-6-48-2; Trott 4-1-18-0; Swann 12-0-76-0; Pietersen 4-0-13-0.

England — 2nd innings: A. Strauss c Dhoni b Sreesanth 16; A. Cook c Yuvraj b Ishant 5; I. Bell c Laxman b Yuvraj 159; K. Pietersen c Dhoni b Sreesanth 63; E. Morgan c Dhoni b Praveen 70; M. Prior c Dhoni b Praveen 73; J. Trott c Dravid b Praveen 2; T. Bresnan c Dravid b Praveen 90; S. Broad (run out) 44; G. Swann c sub b Ishant 3; J. Anderson (not out) 1; Extras (b-9, lb-5, w-2, nb-2) 18. Total: 544.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-57, 3-219, 4-323, 5-329, 6-339, 7-458, 8-540, 9-540.

India bowling: Praveen 36-5-124-4; Ishant 29.2-4-131-2; Sreesanth 27-5-135-2; Yuvraj 11-0-51-1; Harbhajan 9-1-47-0; Raina 8-0-42-0.

India — 2nd innings: A. Mukund c Strauss b Bresnan 3; R. Dravid c Prior b Broad 6; V. V. S. Laxman b Anderson 4; S. Tendulkar lbw b Anderson 56; S. Raina c sub b Bresnan 1; Yuvraj Singh c Cook b Bresnan 8; M. Dhoni lbw b Bresnan 0; Harbhajan Singh c sub b Bresnan 46; Praveen Kumar b Anderson 25; Ishant Sharma (not out) 8; S. Sreesanth b Broad 0; Extras (b-1) 1. Total: 158.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-13, 3-31, 4-37, 5-55, 6-55, 7-107, 8-129, 9-153.

England bowling: Anderson 17-3-51-3; Broad 14.4-5-30-2; Bresnan 12-2-48-5; Swann 3-0-21-0; Pietersen 1-0-7-0.



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