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August 27, 2010
Nadir of the day
"I've got to look at the positives and drag my confidence up, which has been hammered in the last 18 months. I'm nowhere near the person I used to be but I've got to keep trying to work at it." Those were Kevin Pietersen's words on the eve of the Lord's Test, as he poured his heart out to Mike Atherton in an interview for Sky Sports. Unfortunately for Pietersen, his quest for redemption is far from over yet, after a horrible dismissal that raised a whole new host of doubts about his mindset. After arriving at the crease a mere three balls into the day, KP watched from the non-striker's end as Mohammad Asif sent down a maiden, but rather than afford himself a sighter in prodigious swinging conditions, he flung a wild drive at an outswinger from Mohammad Amir, and snicked his first ball to the keeper. The atmosphere as he returned to the pavilion was reminiscent of Ian Botham's infamous pair in 1981 - with none of the members quite knowing where to look.
Bowler of the day
Amir's astounding onslaught ripped the guts out of England's innings, as he claimed 4 for 0 with his first ten balls of the day, and in the process inflicted ducks on England's No. 4, 5 and 6 - for the first time in the team's Test history. But his most notable dismissal, for a number of reasons, came in the second over of his post-lunch spell, as Matt Prior's plucky resistance was ended by another well-directed outswinger. Amir sunk to his knees to perform a celebratory sajda, as well he might. He had completed his second five-wicket haul in the space of six days - to become, at 18 years and 136 days - the youngest man to etch his name on the Lord's honours board. In the same breath, he overtook Daniel Vettori to become the youngest bowler to reach 50 Test wickets, and celebrated the achievement two balls later by inflicting England's fourth duck of the innings on Graeme Swann.
Anchor of the day
England's batting coach, Graham Gooch, yesterday suggested that England's batsmen had forgotten the art of building Test innings, but one man in the top six was totally exempt of that charge today. Jonathan Trott's ponderous batting style has had its detractors of late, not least in the last Lord's Test against Bangladesh when he ground along to a career-best 226. But today the value of a man who puts a price on his wicket was plain for all to see. With impeccable judgment and a calm assurance on the front foot, Trott arrested the rot in England's middle order, notched up his third Test century and in the process went past 1000 runs in Test cricket. This is his 23rd innings, putting him equal with Mike Atherton and Kevin Pietersen, among other notable England batsmen.
Impetus of the day
Stuart Broad's backfoot cover-drive was once likened by Geoffrey Boycott to that of Garry Sobers, but his batting had been in the doldrums of late, with just 106 runs in 11 innings since the Ashes, until he rediscovered his rhythm with a combative 48 at The Oval last week. Suitably emboldened, he put his recent troubles behind him with a brilliantly belligerent maiden first-class hundred, one that was greeted with a raucous standing ovation from an absorbed Lord's crowd. On 88, he had gone past his father, Chris, to become the highest-scoring Broad in a Test at Lord's, having already, on 73, emulated Trott in passing the 1000-run mark. It's not inconceivable that he could complete the double in this Test as well. He is currently on 94 Test wickets, and so needs six in the match to become the 11th Englishman to reach the mark, and the first since Ashley Giles and Andrew Flintoff, who brought up their 1000 and 100 in the same Cape Town Test in January 2005.
Partnership of the day
In a series marked by stunning batting capitulations, Broad and Trott's eighth-wicket alliance has the look of a match-seizing moment. So far in the series there have been just seven century stands - compared to 60 in single figures - and by the close the pair had eclipsed Eoin Morgan and Paul Collingwood's 219 at Trent Bridge. It was the second time in consecutive Tests that Broad had been involved in a 100-run stand for the eighth wicket, having added 119 with Matt Prior at The Oval, and by the close, their stand was sandwiched at No. 2 in England's all-time standings for the eighth wicket, between those involving Gubby Allen and John Murray, the only other England No.9s to make a Test match century.
Reprieves of the day
It was rather a case of horses and stable doors, but when the part-time legspinner Imran Farhat found Broad's edge twice in consecutive deliveries in the 101st over of the innings, the reaction of Yasir Hameed at slip summed up the extent to which Pakistan's morale had been battered. The first snick flew at a catchable height straight past his left hand and away for four, the second looped up off a leading edge and was fumbled as Hameed dived across to gather. Broad had been on 121 at the time, and he had added just one run to that total when Saeed Ajmal successfully appealed for lbw. Broad, however, correctly decided to use his review, and Ajmal was distinctly dischuffed to discover that the ball would have been sliding down the leg side.
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