August 11, 2002

Tendulkar shines after woeful start by India

A rapid half century by Sachin Tendulkar, his first of the series, revived India's ailing fortunes in the second Test at Trent Bridge.

When bad light ended play with nine overs remaining, India were 99/2, 161 runs behind England, with Tendulkar unbeaten on 56 and Rahul Dravid 34.

Tendulkar joined Rahul Dravid at the crease after India's two openers had been dismissed in the first and second overs. Virender Sehwag was lbw playing no stroke to his second ball from Matthew Hoggard, and Wasim Jaffer was unfortunate to be given out lbw by umpire Russell Tiffin to a ball from Andrew Flintoff that replays showed would have gone over the stumps.

While Dravid proceeded quietly, Tendulkar adroitly found the gaps in the field from the start. When he reached 48 he passed Geoff Boycott's total of Test runs, putting him eighth in the all-time list. Forty of his first 50 runs came in boundaries, and he treated the crowd, made sparser by two delays for bad light, to some delightful strokeplay.

India could hardly have had a worse start after England had taken a first-innings lead of 260. Successive stands of 97 between Alec Stewart and Flintoff, 60 between Craig White and Dominic Cork, and a record 103 for the ninth-wicket between White and Hoggard enabled the hosts to reach their highest Test total since reaching 653/4 declared, also against India, at Lord's in 1990. White finished unbeaten on 94 as England were eventually dismissed for 617.

Flintoff set the tempo with four backward of point off the second ball of the morning, and an off-side boundary by Stewart took England's wicket-keeper past the 7728 runs scored by his long-time England colleague Michael Atherton. Stewart is now fourth on England's list of Test run-scorers, behind Graham Gooch, David Gower and Boycott.

India took the new ball in the 91st over, when there was yet another referral to the third umpire, after Virender Sehwag claimed a catch at third slip off Stewart. With replays indeterminate on whether the ball had carried, the third umpire Jeremy Lloyds rightly ruled not out.

At the other end, Flintoff greeted Zaheer Khan with two resounding boundaries through mid-off and mid-wicket. Another edge from Stewart off Agarkar - this time between keeper and first slip - gave the Surrey veteran his 39th Test fifty. With driving of vintage quality and timing, Stewart appeared set for a run-a-ball hundred when Zaheer struck twice, first uprooting Flintoff's off stump as the batsman was beaten by pace and away movement. White took a single off his first ball, only for Stewart to depart in almost identical fashion to Flintoff. Stewart's 87 had come off 92 balls with 14 boundaries.

White and Cork added another 60 before Cork was smartly caught, one-handed at short leg off a turning ball from Harbhajan. Hoggard then delighted the crowd with his best first-class score of 32, while Ganguly was reduced to using part-time bowlers in an increasingly desperate search for a breakthrough.

An inside edge by White off Ganguly broke England's ninth-wicket batting record against India of 83, set by Keith Fletcher and Norman Gifford at Madras in 1972/3. The two had added 103 when Hoggard finally went, caught at first slip off Ashish Nehra.

White deposited Harbhajan high into the Radcliffe Road stand, but the Yorkshireman was left stranded on 94 when Steve Harmison couldn't get on top of a square drive, and was caught at backward point off Agarkar.