England v India, 3rd Test, Edgbaston, 4th day August 13, 2011

A snicky shoelace, and Tendulkar's misfortune

Plays of the day from the fourth day of the third Test between England and India at Edgbaston

Precedent of the day
Were India's batsmen up for the fight? To judge from the maddening swish with which Virender Sehwag collected his king pair on Friday evening, there was a certain something lacking from their mindset, and on Saturday morning, Gautam Gambhir did nothing to dispel that perception. James Anderson's first delivery pitched on middle-and-leg and zipped towards the slips, and as it did so, Gambhir obligingly nudged it on its way. Graeme Swann swallowed the offering, and after seven deliveries of the fourth day, the stable door was flapping open.

Shoelace of the day
In a thrilling morning spell, Anderson was bowling as if the ball was on a string - an apt analogy given the bizarre manner of Rahul Dravid's departure. With two hundreds to his name in the series so far, Dravid's endurance was India's only real hope of prolonging the contest into the final day - or, as it happened, the final session. But on 18, he was beaten by a jaffa from Anderson that zipped past his edge, and caused an audible snick as the ball headed inexorably for the base of Matt Prior's gloves. England went up in unison, and umpire Simon Taufel's finger followed suit, and after pausing to confer with his partner, Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid chose not to challenge the verdict. Had he done so, however, the replays would have shown that the plastic end of his shoelace had been responsible for the snick.

Achievement of the day
It was not an auspicious day for India's batsmen, but at least they avoided one small level of ignominy, courtesy of a scrambled leg-bye in the 27th over, as Graeme Swann tweaked an offbreak past Tendulkar's hip. That extra took India's score to 71 for 4, following on from their first-innings 224, which thereby ensured that they had finally overhauled Alastair Cook's personal match total of 294 runs. That they did so for the loss of 14 wickets rather epitomised the gulf that has erupted between the two sides.

Saw-off of the day
For the second time in consecutive lost causes, Tendulkar provided more proof that, in spite of his lean returns in this series, he remains a class above many of his colleagues. He alone found the rhythm and composure to thwart England's bowlers, as he pushed along to 40 from 60 balls to awaken the prospect of a significant slice of Indian cheer - that long-awaited 100th international hundred. Alas it was not to be, and the manner of his departure rather summed up the state of the Indian innings. MS Dhoni planted his front foot down the pitch and smacked a drive at Swann, who reached out his right hand and deflected the ball onto the non-striker's stumps. The replay was tight, but the line in such moments belongs to the umpire.

Brawler of the day
If the rest of India's team could be imbued with Praveen Kumar's spirit, this series would still be alive and kicking. Not content with upwards of 40 overs in every other innings, Kumar has regularly shown his top-order colleagues how to wield the willow with maximum effect. Today's slugfest was typical of the man, as he swung through the line to make 40 from 18 balls - and all that with a squelched thumb courtesy of Anderson, a blow so painful he threw his helmet to the ground in disgust. After a bit of patching-up, however, he resumed his stance, and took his frustrations out on Swann, whom he clobbered for 17 runs in four balls - and four overs for 55 all told - including a massive six over long-on that landed in a pint of beer.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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  • Shanmugam on August 14, 2011, 20:24 GMT

    @mustermark, no questions on who the best sub-continent team is. I am sure a lot of us English fans would agree that India are well and truly the best by a country mile. Pakistan may have slightly better bowlers (now that Aamer and Asif are banned) but have pathetic batsmen. With Aamer and Asif though, the difference between the teams isn't much. These two, especially Aamer, bowled brilliantly last summer. I remember Aamer's devastating spells. Boy, he was superb.

    SL have some decent batsmen but their 'attack' (if you could call it that) is probably as good as, if not worse than, Bangladesh's. It was a surprise that they managed to draw 2 out of 3 tests but they did bat well and were also helped by the weather. At no point did they look like taking 20 English wickets.

    India's performance in this series doesn't reflect their true potential. But, also remember that after the big 3 and fat Zak retire (very soon), they are going to have some difficult times, especially in tests.

  • Shanmugam on August 14, 2011, 20:16 GMT

    @Ravi Koulagi, was that a serious comment? If that is the case, I'm afraid, English fans could also ask why India didn't recall Strauss after he was bowled off a no-ball. These things happen and you take it and move on.

    Bell's situation was different. He was silly enough to walk off when the ball was still in play. Dhoni and the Indian team were gracious enough to recall him as they felt it didn't look right. Personally, I feel that they shouldn't have recalled the batsman. Bell should have learnt his lesson the hard way. Strauss and Flower should have never approached the Indian players to ask the Indians to reconsider. Even several former English captains felt that Bell shouldn't have been recalled. As it was, the decision didn't change the course of the game. Perhaps, the Indian team didn't want this incident to be a talking point and moved on. Time for us fans to move on too. You are more than welcome to clutch on that straw though.

  • Ryo on August 14, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    @mustermark: Pakistan has also NOT had a completed Test series at home since Nov 2007. Coming onto 4 years. All the whilst India stayed at home and racked up cheap points. It just shows how the Pakistanis have had to fight and scrap just to stay alive and competitive, all the whilst grooming new young, inexperienced teams. Take this thought to bed tonight, Pakistan put up a better fight in Eng with arguably one of its worst teams ever, in comparison to India which got annihilated with arguably its greatest team ever....

  • Martin on August 14, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    He'd had enough and couldn't wait to go back to the pavilion. It's not his fault he's playing with 9 others who don't really care. He is playing in an embarresment of a cricket "team" and I feel sorry for him. Only Dravid and Kumar have been any good for India this series. @kanjithem - are you saying that what KP did was worse than someone breaking Bells' stumps at Trent Bridge and then someone appealing for it???

  • NARAYAN on August 14, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    Oh i am mighty pleased that India again came up trumps against Pakistan. Ooops Pakistan OMG from where they come into picture. Mr Dhoni has surprassed all wicketkeeping skills of Kamran Akmal(Remember that Catch dropper) Yeah Dhoni is now the No-1 champ in this field now. Take heart more to follow from that maan

  • Dummy4 on August 14, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    First of all congrats to England on becoming the #1 side in the world . I knew they deserved it and predicted India's fate as 3-0 or 2-0 during the SA series. But some of the comments from both sides are pretty wrong. For example, even if the full version of the UDRS was used, Strauss and Dravid's decisions wouldn't have been overturned. Dravid could review the decision with the DRS available and Simon Taufl could check for the no-ball. Also, I think the reason Dravid _didn't_ use the DRS was because of the English media reaction which he would have got had the replays showed a nick.

  • Rajaram on August 14, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Wake up MS Dhoni and BCCI - the Indian Team is no good.

  • jason on August 14, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    @Nikhil Senaratna- Strauss isnt a good captain? please explain! @ahulcricindia not sure he played in the 2005 ashes mate. Atherton was retired a while by then. Also December 2009 - August 2011 is not over 2 years its more like 21 months. won ODI WC in own country..hoooray but its not TEST CRICKET is it. its irrelevant to how good a test cricketing nation you are....especially when the discussion is avout TEST Cricket. Please list these extrodinary heights? apart from becoming world number 1 for 21 months??? oh and getting humiliated in England? A common theme seems to be that England cant be number one until they beat India in India...well India cant be No 1 until they beat England in England...could be a lot of years til that happens.

  • Dummy4 on August 14, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    BCCI should arrange an UDRS training camp....hahaha..... Rahul dravid proved the point that why BCCI oppose UDRS..... Their players don't know how to use it.... Rahul Dravid should be blamed for not using UDRS... very disgusting!!

  • Bob on August 14, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    @rahulcricinndia.. "The fact is that the same Indian team had maintained the no.1 status for more than 2years" I know defeat is difficult to take, and some folk will cling to anything they can to make it easier.. but that statement is untrue..India became number 1 considerably less than 2 years ago, in Dec 2009.

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