England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 1st day August 10, 2011

England in control after seamers strike


England 84 for 0 (Strauss 52*, Cook 27*) trail India 224 (Dhoni 77, Broad 4-53, Bresnan 4-62) by 140 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It's a mark of the high standards which England now set that India's eventual total of 224 felt a few too many after the pace attack had made short work of the top order, but the openers reached 84 without loss to ensure England remained firmly in control at Edgbaston. The visitors slumped to 111 for 7 before MS Dhoni rediscovered his form with a counter-attacking 77 as Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan shared eight wickets to do the bulk of the damage.

Andrew Strauss won his first toss of the series and was happy to insert - as his opposite number had twice done in the series - but though conditions were helpful the pitch was slow and the Indian batsmen mostly aided in their own demise. The only real exception was Rahul Dravid, removed by a wonderful ball from Bresnan moments before lunch, while Virender Sehwag's return lasted one ball and Sachin Tendulkar fell for 1 as England surged either side of the interval.

If it wasn't for Dhoni this match could well have been over as a contest already, but India still have a huge task to keep the series alive after Strauss and Alastair Cook made a significant dent in the total during the final 23 overs. Strauss reached his first international fifty of the season as the pace bowlers struggled to make an impression and Amit Mishra didn't pose many problems.

England's quicks, on the other hand, are a handful in most conditions so a well-grassed pitch and cloudy skies just added to the threat. James Anderson wasn't quite at his best, but Bresnan continued to demonstrate his development as a Test cricketer - and it's worth remembering his place was only confirmed when Chris Tremlett was ruled out on Tuesday - while Broad's resurgence shows no sign of abating.

Yet it wasn't perfect from the home side. While Dhoni and Praveen Kumar were adding 84 in 14 overs there was a strange loss of direction in the field. Strauss was very quick to go on the defensive to Dhoni, at one stage with eight fielders on the boundary, and the bowlers diverted from their successful strategy. As with the Broad-Swann stand at Trent Bridge it showed the impact of a positive approach and India were served well by the captain coming out of his shell. Dhoni had taken 16 balls to get off the mark, and India were going nowhere as the main batsman had departed in a rush, but he burst into life with a string of boundaries and the strut so often associated with his batting hinted at returning. His fifty came from 62 balls and included three mighty sixes to various corners of the impressively redeveloped ground.

Still, Dhoni's innings only papered over the ever-expanding cracks in India's batting. It would have seemed inconceivable at the start of the series that such a strong line-up (even allowing for the missing Sehwag and other injuries) would have failed to pass 300 in five innings. Sehwag's return couldn't have been briefer when he failed to lower his hands and gloved Broad's first delivery to the wicketkeeper. The umpire, Steve Davis, initially said not out and Strauss was swift to call for the DRS, which clearly showed the mark on HotSpot. Sehwag was seemingly carrying the hopes of a nation on his dodgy shoulder, but the odds were always stacked against him having an impact even if he's one player who often goes against convention.

Given the form of England's pace attack, a grassy pitch and cloudy skies, further wickets seemed there for the taking but India responded solidly. Gautam Gambhir, also returning from injury after the blow to his elbow at Lord's, had already collected two boundaries in Anderson's first over and moved along at a pace more akin to Sehwag's. Dravid, who wasn't given much of a break despite a return to No. 3, showed the judgement and skill that made him India's stand-out batsman in the series.

However, as India were sensing stability England burst through as Bresnan, who had bowled with nagging accuracy and immediately located the right length for the pitch, was rewarded when Gambhir inside-edged a drive onto leg stump. Tendulkar was greeted with the cheers that have followed him throughout the series and Anderson was recalled immediately to target someone he has removed seven times.

This time, though, Anderson had to settle for a helping hand in the wicket when Broad found the outside edge and he held the catch at third slip. It was the third time in the series that Broad had removed Tendulkar, whose 100th hundred is proving elusive, and India's problems didn't stop as Dravid received an unplayable leg cutter that took off stump in the final over of the session. England have had to work hard to dislodge Dravid in this series and Bresnan won't have bowled many better deliveries in his career.

Suresh Raina was again unconvincing as the quicks toyed with him before he loosely drove over a delivery from round the wicket, then Laxman joined the list of poor shots when he flicked a pull straight to long leg much as he did at Lord's. Mishra, who replaced the injured Harbhajan Singh, was batting high at No. 8 and soon edged a drive to give Broad his fourth.

The innings was at its low point, and England will have expected to be batting by tea, but India responded with some gusto. Praveen more than played his part with an idiosyncratic innings which included crunching drives and haphazard defence. The partnership was ended when Praveen top edged a pull off Bresnan, but it again needed DRS to confirm the edge after Davis said not out for the second time.

Given the ultra-defensive fields set by Strauss it was ironic that Dhoni's resistance was ended when an edge flew to the one close man - Strauss, himself, at first slip. The innings was ended when Cook, at silly point, managed to cling onto a well-timed punch that lodged in his elbow. When a team is playing confident cricket those are the sorts of things that go their way. One more good day can seal the series and No. 1 spot.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vyas on August 12, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    It is time to change the guard.Now Sachin has unforgettable series in which he is failed to score atleast 100runs in five innings,scored just one half century.dhoni never scored captian's innings,somehow seniors or others who are new to test cricket score runs he is credited for that match victory.dhoni must be removed from the captiancy and team.he takes rest and he has enough money,advertisement contracts,may be he can sit the commentary box for his achievement of world cup.someone can step into his shoes who are more than his worth for captiancy and wicket-keeping. RANK NUMBER ONE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE COMMITED TO TEST CRICKET WHO SHOWS COURAGE,WILLINGNESS. DHONI IN SECOND TEST PLAYED VERY ORDINARILY AND SHOWS HIS ATTITUDE. SELECTORS OBSERVE THAT

  • stephen on August 12, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    @jnr.1972 I'm British and was born in England, I've lived in Australia since I was 18m.o baby. I haven't got a citizenship here, my choice, so I'm english still, who's the patriot? I love Australia but my birthplace and soil and my parents memories, is Bristol England. Actually I would be happy to live in most countries, with all people, from the experiences I have had travelling. I don't personally like patiotism coz it segregates people from being the world's people that I believe it should be. But then you wouldn't have Test cricket Nations? It is the "English Team" or lets start labelling them the "Multi-Cultural team' but that name might be taken by most of the Test Teams at the moment?

  • Dummy4 on August 11, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    West Indies should have beaten India . I am sorry that the West Indies do not seem to want to win games against India for some reason or other. West Indies could have beaten India in the World Cup too. West Indies seem not to want to win !

  • Kashi on August 11, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    Of course there is another way of looking at things from Indian perspective:

    When is the next Zimbabwe/ Bangla Desh series. We want to see India winning and Tendulkar scoring 100s

  • Kashi on August 11, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    I am an Indian, but happy at the turn of events. Its time we build a new team. Let us lose this series, couple of series after that. Does Not matter. Get Rid of all those who seem to have a command over Indian Cricket. Tendulkar, Sehwag, Zaheer to name a few. There is lot of young blood - bring them in - India can have a wonderful team in years to come. There is Manish(Pandey), Vinay (Kumar), Pujara, Ravindran to name a few.

  • VISWANATHAN on August 11, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    World No. 1 team , cannot bat or bowl like even a 10th team; excuses are many; reality bites, lack lusture bowling, Poor opening partnership, brittle lower middle order. Looks Dravid and Laxman only deserves to be in playing XI. ICC parameters for test ranking is grossly wrong, team India winning series in India and not winning a series in Australia, South Africa, now the terrible failure in England, still a shame to ICC to call India as No.1. Better ICC revamps the rating methodology.

  • atul on August 11, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    Poor boy Mukund, could not find a place in team because of other World Class Batsmen in the ranks, even though apart from Dravid, he is the only player scoring 100 in this tour.

    This team seems to be made of injured players, who are there physically but their mind is elsewhere. May be thinking on next IPL moolah or CLT20 coming up.

  • Fiona on August 11, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Come on India dont reliquish your test raking spot so easily you are shaming your fans and the spectators who have paid good money to see you stand around looking like you are waiting for a bus.

    I am going to the Oval for the last test and I did not stump up to see this type of apathetic dross.

    Buck Up!

  • Dummy4 on August 11, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    Hy Team India. Please come back, you have a reason that there is a riot so we are not safe say to ICC. Don't spoil more name of our country, you already what done what you can so now enough & if in flight only 1 sit if left give 1st chance to Sachine to come back to India. Don't worry about 100th century he will make against Kenya, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe

  • SAMPATH KUMAR on August 11, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    This has been the worst ever performance by India for the last 37 years against England in England(it is very unlikely that India can win at least one test match in the current series).They did not lose 2 test matches in a series after 1974. 1974 - India lost 0-3(total 3 tests), 1979 - lost 0-1 (total 4), 1982 - lost 0-1(total 3), 1986 - won 2-0 (total 3), 1990 - Lost 0-1(total 3), 1996 - lost 0-1(total 3), 2002 - Drew 1-1 (total 4), 2007 - won 1-0(total 4). Though Indian batsmen are poor against swinging and bouncing ball (has been the story since 1932 except on 2 or 3 occasions)...I thought DRAVID,LAXMAN and SEHWAG(may not have good defensive technique, but with his pure timing he can turn the game in favour of India if he bats for at least 90 min.) would perform really well and save India but they are also not up to the mark in this series. Definitely, this is going to be the testing time for DHONI...

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