ICL: Indian Cricket League

England fight back after dramatic collapse


Unexpected turn of events cropped up everywhere on the second day at Lord’s. When the ground resembled a lake shortly after midday any play appeared a remote possibility but, after the drainage system worked its magic, the Test took a dramatic twist as India sparked a collapse of 6 for 26. However, England’s green attack more than held their own, with James Anderson removing Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar while Chris Tremlett impressed on debut.

For those spectators who hung around during the morning monsoon the action was worth the wait. Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth did the bulk of the damage as England’s innings, which resumed on a healthy 268 for 4, subsided in less than 11 overs. Although it was a rapid slide, there was still time for some controversy involving Kevin Pietersen, who walked for an edge to MS Dhoni before turning around halfway back to the pavilion after Steve Bucknor asked Simon Taufel whether the ball carried. TV replays reprieved Pietersen but two balls later another edge brought his downfall and India burst through.

The bowlers continued to hold sway when India replied with Ryan Sidebottom striking back for England, trapping Dinesh Karthik lbw after troubling him with swing. He should have removed Wasim Jaffer in his second over but Matt Prior went one-handed to an outside edge and shelled the chance in front of first slip. Jaffer was on one at the time and he carefully held India together with a watchfully constructive half-century.

It was a distinctly old-fashioned innings and, after passing fifty from 100 balls, he made eight from his next 56. The pressure created by Tremlett and some clever field settings resulted in his downfall - a leading edge back to the bowler who moved well for someone so injury prone and held the catch low in his follow-through.

Dravid, on the ground where he made his debut in 1996, was removed by a perfect outswinger from the impressive Anderson as England lifted their spirits before tea. Anderson is in his first Test since January at Sydney and produced his most consistent display in England colours for a long time. He probed with his late swing, maintained decent pace and deserved the scalp of Tendulkar, who was trapped by the inswinger which Anderson has spent a lot of time perfecting with Lancashire.

Tendulkar registered his best Test score at Lord’s but was still a long way short of putting his name on the honours board. He began cautiously as Tremlett produced an encouraging first spell in Test cricket but was beginning to increase his tempo when he was caught on the crease by Anderson. The third of India’s big three, Sourav Ganguly, survived until the end although he came close to finding gully with a cut shot that Ian Bell couldn’t leap high enough to catch.

Whereas England chipped away the Indian bowling display was as dramatic as the thunderstorm that crashed over Lord’s earlier in the day. Another amazing mopping-up operation by the Lord’s ground staff again showed the value of the drainage system as on most other grounds there would have been no chance of play.

There was a noticeable bounce in India’s step as RP Singh cleaned up Sidebottom, the nightwatchman, in the first over with the new ball before the extraordinary passage of play involving Pietersen. After India’s disappointment turned to ecstasy in the space of a few moments there was no stopping them as Zaheer and Sreesanth were a combination transformed from the poor opening-day effort.

With Prior at No.8 because of the nightwatchman, England’s batting was deep but India continued their resurgence through a double-wicket maiden from Sreesanth. He trapped Prior playing across the line and, three balls later, had Tremlett stone dead for a duck. Monty Panesar fell in similar circumstances, caught on the crease as the ball swung back late into the pads. Sreesanth produced the late swing that had made him a threat in South Africa last year and all the Indian bowlers had learnt from their failings on the first day.

During the collapse Bell watched from the other end, unable to do much for England’s cause. Everything had appeared much rosier when he caressed his first delivery straight down the ground but he completed the rapid demise by chopping Zaheer into his stumps. England brushed themselves down, though, and an inexperienced attack performed above expectations to set up a fascinating weekend.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Saturday, July 21st, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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