England is just a win away from capturing the no.1 ranking in Test cricket. That would be a fitting achievement for the side that has been red hot in Tests for quite a substantial amount of time. They have been virtually unbeatable at home as India have found out. And their Ashes exploits Down Under, strengthens their credentials away from home too.
The margin of victory in the Nottingham test was a whopping 319 runs. Let’s find out who made this result possible, analyze their efforts that won them the Test and decide on the Sportskeeda Star of the Match for the just concluded 2nd Test.
THE BATTING STARS
- On the first day, when England were in dire straits and staring at a 120 to 150 score, Stuart Broad came in and delivered a Sobers-like performance. A run a ball 64 and his partnership of 73 with Graeme Swann for the 9th wicket must have really frustrated the Indians no end.
- The Indian reply was as usual centered on Rahul Dravid’s concentration and grit. Yet another century (117) for the perennial grinder and accumulator of Indian cricket. That he was part of that mammoth collapse triggered by Broad’s hat-trick sores things a bit. He threw his wicket away in the end for want of partners and this dismissal was so un-Dravid like.
- VVS Laxman (54) and Yuvraj Singh (62) made contrasting 50s. While VSS’ was a chance-less effort, Yuvraj’s 62 was majorly possible because of a reprieve by KP when Yuvraj was just on 4. A regulation catch at gully was dropped and Yuvraj rode on this and hit some classy 4s laced with typical power.
- England’s second inning exploits were achieved thanks to contributions from so many batsmen. But, Ian Bell leads the way. What a classy 159 at a strike rate of close to 80. It was layered with class and his drives, cuts, gentle dabs etc. etc. were so convincing and the Indian lead of 64 was off in a jiffy. His run-out faux pas made so much noise in the media and the topic diverted to the spirit of cricket and fair play. But, that should not take away from the sheer quality of Bell’s effort.
- Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan supported Bell with solid 50s in respective partnerships of 162 and 104. While KP started off slowly and then proceeded to display his typical power and confidence in his 63. Morgan’s effort was a welcome return to form. He looked out of place in the first 3 innings of the series but his 70 must give him a load of confidence. He made an almost run a ball 70 that was more in keeping with his reputation as a premier ODI middle order batsman.
- Prior, Broad and Bresnan rubbed salt into the wounds of the Indian attack with absolutely smashing knocks. Prior has been on a dream run and his 73 was made in just 60 balls. This confirmed his status as the best wicket keeper batsman around. Broad smashed a couple of huge 6s in his 32 ball 44, and his drives through the off side were laced with tremendous power and the balls just screamed their way to the ropes. But, Bresnan made the biggest impression among the lower order English bats. He played like a typical middle order batsman. His shots must have made his established batsmen team mates proud. He was unlucky to miss out on a 100 but, on evidence of this 117 ball 90, Bresnan will be making many more runs in more crucial situations too rather than just beat a dead snake like the Indian attack on Day 4. Broad and Bresnan will be major forces in England’s fortunes as the possible no.1 Test team in the coming days. Both are tall pacers and aggressive lower order batsmen and the competition between these 2 will drive England up the ladder even further.
- Sachin Tendulkar made an inconsequential 56 and thank god he didn’t make a 100 for that would have diverted all the talk away from the appalling Indian performance and the sole focus would have been on the much discussed, much expected and much awaited 100th 100. Harbhajan and Praveen had their share of fun slogging a couple of boundaries. In fact, Bhajji smashed 4 boundaries in an over off Bresnan and also smashed Swann for a huge 6 in what was a psychological battle between the 2 off spinners.
THE BOWLING STARS
- The 3 Indian pacers Ishant, Praveen and Sreesanth shared the spoils on Day 1 but they couldn’t curb the Broad force and their final haul of 3 wkts each is a half-baked effort in hindsight.
- Stuart Broad single handedly inspired the English team on Day 2 with his hat-trick that triggered an Indian collapse to the order of 6 for 21. That a dubious LBW verdict against Bhajji was also part of this spell shouldn’t take any ounce of credit away from Broad. 6 for 46 including a hat-trick, in front of his home crowd. Stuff of dreams
- The poor Indian pacers shared such a huge workload in the absence of a quality spinner at the other end and their efforts in the English 2nd inning murder of 544, don’t look good. Praveen’s 4 wkt haul had to happen, given the number of overs he was bowling and also the aggressive mood that the opposing batsmen were in. Only his economy rate was of Test standard. The rest of the bowlers were baulked for 4 to 5 runs an over.
- Anderson bowled a couple of beauties to castle Laxman and Sachin. But, other than this, it was Bresnan’s pace, nip and bounce that did the trick as he followed up his 90 with a maiden 5-for. Broad returned to finish off the tail fittingly.
THE SPORTSKEEDA STAR OF THE MATCH
Broad made crucial runs on the first day, curbed the Indian lead single-handedly with his hat-trick and helped pile on the lead on Day 4. Bresnan helped to stretch the lead on Day 4 to huge levels along with Prior and also terrorized the Indians with his bounce in their disastrous pursuit of 478. But, it was Ian Bell who made England’s huge lead possible with his 159, which was made at such a pace that time was never a factor in this match.
For surmounting the meager deficit and then piling on the runs at such a level of class and rate, IAN BELL is our Sportskeeda’s star of the match for the Nottingham Test.