England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day July 29, 2011

Broad reduces India's advantage

203

India 24 for 1 trail England 221 (Broad 64, Praveen 3-45, Ishant 3-66, Sreesanth 3-77) by 197 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

For the first two sessions of an overcast day in Nottingham, India's fast bowlers dominated England's batsmen with swing and seam movement to have them on 124 for 8. The end of England's innings, however, came later than India wanted it to. Stuart Broad led a stirring counterattack after tea, and confronted by his aggression, India went to pieces. Their bowlers lost their successful lines and lengths, MS Dhoni deployed defensive fields, and the lethargic fielders were exploited. Broad and Graeme Swann had a 73-run partnership for the ninth wicket at 6.25 per over, which propped England up to 221.

The injection of adrenaline Broad had given England was continued by James Anderson, who struck with the first delivery of the Indian innings. Abhinav Mukund, having seen the ball jag around for nearly 69 overs, played a push-drive to one that swung away and watched Kevin Pietersen catch the outside edge at gully. It was left to Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, opening and batting at No. 3 because of Gautam Gambhir's absence, to show how it's done. They played late and with soft hands. Their bats were beaten and their bodies hit. They survived appeals and a review but, with a little luck, ensured India's advantage was not entirely lost. Broad bowled a menacing spell - 7-3-5-0 - but India ended the day with nine wickets intact, trailing by 197 runs.

On the day, India did not suffer from Zaheer Khan's unavailability as much as many thought they would. Zaheer's replacement, Sreesanth, bowled spells of perfectly pitched outswing, and he forged a formidable alliance with Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma, reducing England from 73 for 2 to 124 for 8.

England had been satisfactorily placed at lunch after MS Dhoni put them in. They had lost their marathon men - Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott - early but Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen, batting together in a Test for the first time since Perth in December, survived a testing second hour. Cook was lbw to Ishant an over after he survived a close shout against Praveen. Replays of the not-out decision indicated the ball would have hit the stumps, though a fraction of it pitched outside leg, while those of the out decision indicated it would have bounced over.

There was more lbw drama. Praveen hit Pietersen below the knee roll and appealed vociferously. Despite Pietersen's giant stride forward, replays indicated the bails would have fallen. Praveen argued with umpire Marais Erasmus and had to be ushered away by Harbhajan Singh.

It was between Cook's dismissal and the Pietersen appeal that Sreesanth made his entrance. Sreesanth doesn't enjoy bowling to left-handers - Strauss clipped his first ball for four - as much as he does to right-handers, and as soon as he had Jonathan Trott on strike, he found the edge to slip with an outswinger. England were 23 for 2 and Strauss and Pietersen performed a steadying act until lunch.

They couldn't continue after lunch, though. In the first over after the break, Sreesanth shortened his length to counter Pietersen's forward stride. Pietersen poked before trying to pull the bat away from the seaming ball and Raina, standing close at third slip, took the catch. Sreesanth's spell after lunch was 7-1-14-2.

While all the wickets so far had fallen to testing deliveries, Strauss went to one he should have left from Praveen. He drove away from his body and was caught at third slip for 32. Strauss's departure exposed England's weakest link, Eoin Morgan, who failed once again by falling lbw to Praveen for a duck. And when Matt Prior, India's tormentor at Lord's, edged the perfect outswinger to be caught at slip for 1, England were 88 for 6.

Ian Bell and Tim Bresnan, who replaced the injured Chris Tremlett, put on 29 for the seventh wicket. Dravid dropped Bell on 22 but he eventually went for 31, under-edging a cut off Ishant to Dhoni, after Bresnan had fallen for 11.

Resuming on 124 for 8 after tea, India's bowlers inexplicably abandoned the plans they used to dismiss England's top order. Instead of pitching full and seaming it away, they bowled a shorter length with wider lines, giving Broad and Swann space to play shots. Broad swung hard and connected cleanly. Some shots fell tantalisingly over fielders' heads. Others landed short. Swann too used a fearless approach to ambush India.

Abhinav had the opportunity to catch Swann at mid-off but he was slow in moving forward, perhaps because he was wearing shin pads in the outfield. The Indians scattered, leaving vast expanses unmanned, allowing runs if the ball touched bat or body. Suddenly, the old men were exposed. There was a single taken just wide of slip because Laxman was moving like a snail. It was an astounding turnaround.

The 50 partnership came in seven overs and the resistance had reached 73 in the 12th over when Praveen got a length ball to kick sharply at Swann, who gloved it to gully and was later taken for an x-ray. There was only angry relief in the Indian camp. Their outstanding work in two sessions had unraveled spectacularly in an hour.

Broad steered England past 200 and reached his half-century off 56 balls. He was eventually caught on the deep midwicket boundary but his 64 had given England a fighting total in difficult batting conditions.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on July 31, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    Will Gambhir be available for third test?

  • dummy4fb on July 31, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    @harshavardan reddy - why do u want ishant out he is bowling so well either praveen or sreeshant would have to make way for zak and ya if india win this then a full strenght india team at edbatson with return from injury players getiinh a game at northampton viru gauti dravid sachin laxman yuvi dhoni h singh /a mishra (prefer bhajji but he is not performing) zak praveen /sreeshant ishant then lets see wat eng does but hope viru is back

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    I think Haribhajan singh needs to be rested for the next two forthcoming tests

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Credit where credit is due, Dravid and Laxman have batted very well this morning, but cannot help thinking if Eng get a breakthru there might be a collapse..the ball is still talking, ni¡ot like yesterday but enough to cause problems if they get it in the right areas.

  • dummy4fb on July 30, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    What has happened two times in the series already ? The " already anointed as top test team " -- England, lost top order and middle order without putting 65-70 runs on the board...Way to Go England !! You are such a bad example for a top test team ! :D

  • prasanna1118 on July 30, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Guys i was thinking even without zak india got eng for just 221, Think of eng score if zak has played .. Eng wud ve all out for 120- 140 .. even less ... We know atlast england former and current players say they were done in by the conditions and like that stuffs of excuses but they never accept india bowled well and again they wont accept England played poor ... What was England doing man ?? They play day in day out in these conditions but fallen apart to injury hit indian attack .. ?? India never bat poor on square turners and we proved that against this Eng team in chennai in 2008 .. Anyways if India doesnt deserve No1 ranking ,then for sure Eng are far off from no-1 !!

  • maddy20 on July 30, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    @kevinpp24 & A_Vacant_Slip By the end of the day my friends, you will see who destroys who. Get ready to blame the sunshine for India batting so well. I am sure most Poms here on cricinfo will quote that as an excuse when India end the day with a strong grip on the match!

  • Jay_N on July 30, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    I am sick tired of reading so many "imagines" and "would have's" in these comments. Just imagine how realistic the comments would have been, if people could understand that would have's have no place in reality.

  • nnvv on July 30, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    I think the ind-eng cricketing relations have seen the worst verbal outbursts among its fans in recent days. I blame Ian Botham for starting this nonsense. He had too many things to say even before the series started. Right from calling the ranking system flawed to making biased statements against the world-cup winning team. Bottom-line is that India has been #1 in tests for 2 years and they have successfully defended their title against the SA in SA. They need no certificate for any commentator, least from Ian. If england clinch the title from India in this series, so be it. Even SA clinched the title from aus but it proved to be short-lived. Indian commentators, however biased, refrains from making derogatory statements about the opposition. I haven't heard shashtri or gavaskar make comments about pietersen being overhyped...

  • CricHacker on July 30, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    Now WHO IS TRYING TO BLAME IT ON TOSS! lol....

    Posted by kevinpp24 on (July 30 2011, 07:53 AM GMT) Dhoni must be lucky to win the "TOSS". When nothing goes well Indians blame on everything including TOSS. I was just wondering what would have happened had England won the toss, would have destroyed Indians.

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