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Day 2 saw India lose a huge opportunity as they failed to convert a strong start into a substantial lead. There was good cricket all round and except for a poor decision, there was much that advertized Test cricket. Rahul Dravid’s century and Stuart Broad’s exquisite spell that included a hat-trick were the highlights at Trent Bridge on Day 2. India’s lead of 67 runs was much less convincing and leaves the Test match in a state of equilibrium. The pitch will be much better for batting on Day 3 and thus it may turn into England’s favour. India would not want to chase a score in excess of 200 in the fourth innings and thus they must bowl with determination in the morning session.
England’s priority would be to play the day out. If they manage to do that they will surely win the Test match. However, Trent Bridge offers something to the bowlers throughout the day and that means the batsman can never put their guard down. We saw Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann extract a bit of spin as well but the onus will remain with the three-man pace attack. Ishant Sharma looked in deadly form from the very first over he bowled on Day 2 and was quickly rewarded with the wicket of Alastair Cook. He would be India’s key proponent on Day 3 as he has the ability to take wickets in a cluster. We saw the exhibition of that skill at Lords and it would be easier to do at Nottingham. We saw Stuart Broad do it with ease on Day 2.
The loss at Lords was a vicious blow to India and in the context of the series, it is imperative that India be on their bodily best on Day 3. Their shoulders should point towards the sky in the field irrespective of the fact that the sun comes out or not. The slip cordon would have some catches to latch onto as well and if an opportunity goes flying by, the percentage lost would be much more.
England were a little too cautious while batting in the first innings. The overt swing at Nottingham teaches us that the bowlers would eventually come up with that fatal delivery (unless you are Rahul Dravid) thus they should try and punish the loose balls. Maximizing the score in proportion to the invested effort would be integral to setting a good target for India.