England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 3rd day July 23, 2011

Towering Tremlett unsettles the master

Sachin Tendulkar's battle with Chris Tremlett was an enthralling contest between a giant of the game and a giant of man

Scorecards rarely give the full picture. Stuart Broad will want a copy of today's which shows 'Tendulkar c Swann b Broad 34', but he owes a huge thanks to the man who preceded him at the Nursery End during the afternoon session as Chris Tremlett gave the latest example of the formidable Test bowler he has become.

Test cricket doesn't come much more intense than the two hours between lunch and tea that the bumper Saturday crowd at Lord's was treated to. There were flowing boundaries, edges, wickets, dropped catches and a towering fast bowler making life difficult for one of the best batsmen to have ever played the game. Tickets aren't cheap, but they were worth every penny.

Tremlett has removed Tendulkar once before in a Test match - a rib-cage short ball that was fended to short leg at Trent Bridge in 2007 - and can justifiably feel he could have had him again here. It was an enthralling contest between a giant of the game and a giant of man. That series four years ago gave India forewarning of what Tremlett was capable of so, although his career stalled after that promising start, his impact hasn't surprised the visitors.

"We noticed Tremlett four years ago," Rahul Dravid said. "I remember the boys saying that he could be a special bowler. That's been proved in recent years and he's developed a lot."

The head-to-head with Tendulkar started before lunch and he took the early honours with a sweet square drive, but in the penultimate over of the session Tremlett beat the bat on three occasions as he made the ball swing and seam from a full length. They resumed after the interval and kept exchanging blows. Tendulkar would thread a boundary and Tremlett would respond with some extra effort.

Tremlett's 15th over asked questions with every delivery. Tendulkar was desperate to try and get forward, but the height of Tremlett made it awkward, and an over later he went for a drive which spooned into a vacant area at point. That was the last ball Tremlett sent down in the spell - delivered 11-3-30-1 either side of lunch - and when Broad replaced him to took just four deliveries to find the outside edge which was snapped up at second slip.

"If you can apply pressure from both ends you have a better chance," said an appreciative Broad. "We talk about that as a bowling unit, bowling in partnership, not giving easy runs away. Whenever you come in and get a wicket in your first over it is normally down to the guys who have done the work previously so a lot of credit has to go to them."

The swing from Tremlett, subtle as it was, brought another dimension to his bowling. Everyone knows about his bounce, and he often finds seam movement from a tricky length, but movement in the air is not such a common weapon for him. It was a marked improvement on his display on this ground against Sri Lanka which, he admitted during the build-up, may have been hindered by the Lord's slope.

The occasional delivery was still speared down the leg side, particularly in his first couple of spells, but there was much more of the splice-jarring accuracy that makes him such a threat. He didn't finish unrewarded, either. VVS Laxman managed to flick to fine leg, then with the second new ball he had MS Dhoni caught at slip and removed a flinching Harbhajan Singh for a duck. It was the least he deserved.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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