England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 5th day July 23, 2007

India's lucky escape

The Lord's Test is only the second time India have drawn a Test after being nine down

India have been at the receiving end of the rain gods' fickleness more than once - most recently against West Indies in Antigua in 2006 - but this time they had the London weather to thank for coming away unscathed. Their escape at Lord's is only the 16th time a team has saved a Test after being nine down in the fourth innings. The table below lists all the instances.

Draws after being nine down in the fourth innings
Team Against 4th-innings score Target Venue and year
India England 152 for 9 278 Old Trafford, 1946
Australia West Indies 273 for 9 460 Adelaide, 1960-61
England West Indies 228 for 9 234 Lord's, 1963
England West Indies 206 for 9 308 Georgetown, 1968
Australia West Indies 339 for 9 360 Adelaide, 1969
West Indies Pakistan 251 for 9 306 Bridgetown, 1977
West Indies Australia 258 for 9 369 Kingston, 1978
West Indies India 197 for 9 335 Kolkata, 1978
Australia New Zealand 230 for 9 247 Melbourne, 1987
Pakistan West Indies 341 for 9 372 Port-of-Spain, 1988
New Zealand Australia 223 for 9 288 Hobart, 1997
West Indies Zimbabwe 207 for 9 373 Harare, 2003
England Sri Lanka 210 for 9 323 Galle, 2003
Australia England 371 for 9 423 Old Trafford, 2005
West Indies India 298 for 9 392 St John's, 2006

This is only the second time India have escaped with a draw after being nine down, and the first time since 1946. They have drawn a few games after being eight down, though, including a couple where they had a chance to win. One of those draws was at the same venue in 1971, when India saved the game after being 145 for 8, chasing 183. India went on to win the series with a famous win at The Oval.

India's close shaves in Tests
Against 4th-innings score Target Venue and year
England 152 for 9 278 Old Trafford, 1946
West Indies 355 for 8 361 Bombay, 1949
England 145 for 8 183 Lord's, 1971
England 429 for 8 438 The Oval, 1979
Australia 135 for 8 331 Adelaide, 1981

India were ultimately saved by the weather, but they did bat more doggedly than they usually do in the fourth innings - only five times since 1980 have they batted more than the 96 overs they did at Lord's.

Most overs batted by India in the fourth innings (since 1980)
Against 4th innings score Overs Result Venue and year
England 397 all out 109.4 Lost Lord's, 2002
Australia 333 all out 100.1 Lost Adelaide, 1992
Sri Lanka 281 for 5 100 Draw Colombo (SSC), 1997
England 198 for 3 97 Draw Ahmedabad, 2001
South Africa 206 for 3 96.2 Draw Port Elizabeth, 2001
Pakistan 303 for 3 96 Draw Karachi, 1989
England 282 for 9 96 Draw Lord's 2007

One of the less encouraging aspects for India was the performance of Sachin Tendulkar, who finished yet another undistinguished match at Lord's, where he now averages 21.29, with a highest of 37 from seven innings. It was also only the sixth time he fell lbw in both innings of a Test. Of those six occasions, five have been since 2002, a fact that confirms Tendulkar's tendency to get trapped in front far more in the last few years. Since 1999, that has happened 31 times, which translates into nearly 27% of all dismissals; before 1999, the corresponding figure was only 9%.

Tendulkar's tendency to fall lbw
Period Tests Dismissals Lbws Lbw %
Till December 1998 63 87 8 9.19
Since January 1999 75 112 31 27.68

England deserved a better result, but they can take plenty of heart from the display of their inexperienced pace attack. James Anderson, in particular, was a revelation with his consistency. Clearly, India is a side that brings out the best in him: his only previous Test against them was at Mumbai in 2006 after 14 months away from Test cricket, and came away with match figures of 6 for 79. Anderson averages 15.69 against India, with 13 wickets from two Tests.

This Test was also remarkable for the manner in which the bowlers called the shots. Over the last few years Lord's had built a reputation for being a batting paradise, but over the five days of this Test, there were only brief periods when bat dominated ball. On an average, 25.20 runs were scored per wicket, which, among the 12 Tests played here since 2002, is the second-lowest. The only instance when there were fewer runs scored was in 2005, when a super-charged Glenn McGrath and Steve Harmison ensured that only 20.92 runs were scored per dismissal. This Test was also a huge contrast from the previous game here this season, between England and West Indies, when five hundreds were scored and each wicket averaged 55, the highest runs-per-wicket figure over the last five years.

The struggle for batsmen is also evident in the number of lbw dismissals in the match - there were 14, which is a record for a Lord's Test, and the fourth-highest in all Tests. The highest is 17, in the game between West Indies and Pakistan at Port-of-Spain in April 1993. There have been two instances of 15 lbw decisions in a match - at Port-of-Spain, again, in a Test between West Indies and Australia in 1999, and at Lahore in 1996 when New Zealand took on Pakistan.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo