India vs. England Live: 217/3 at Lunch on Day 2
India began Day 2 on the back-foot as Zaheer Khan was ruled out for the first innings leaving the Indian bowling line-up depleted. There is no definite news on his injury but there is a possibility that he will bowl in the 2nd innings. India may require him desperately as England negotiated the first session with relative ease. Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen picked up from where they had left off on Day 1 and were rock solid for most part. The eventual dismissal of Jonathan Trott by Praveen Kumar came against the run of play and he would be very disappointed at having missed out on a potential ton.
Ishant Sharma blew hot and cold in the first session and got a fair bit of beating from Kevin Pietersen once the English batsman had settled himself. Pietersen looked in some discomfort on Day 1 but he made up for it on Day 2. He looked much more like himself inspite of the uncharacteristic slow run rate. He troubled the Indian bowlers with his big stride forward and almost walking into the deliveries. His innings included just a percentage point of scoring in the covers and he predominantly scored his runs on the on-side.
Given India’s circumstances, England could have run away with the game by now but Praveen Kumar showed some discipline. He supplemented his swing bowling with smart thinking and dismissed Trott by coming closer to the stumps at the point of release. He mixed his deliveries well and sprayed the ball both ways. He was potent in cutting the flow of runs as well and after being expensive on Day 1, he was a miser till lunch on Day 2.
India would be worried because the Tea session may see England score at a higher run rate with the sun baking the pitch. In such a context, Harbhajan Singh’s role becomes vital. He has neither cut the flow of runs nore has he been able to produce any magical deliveries. He has not troubled the duo on the crease a wee bit. Dhoni has been very defensive with his field settings operating without any close-in fielders and allowing Harbhajan to come from around the wicket. The strategy virtually negates the possibility of a lbw dismissal.
The next session of play will be crucial in determining the result of this Test. If India are able to contain the English from one end and keep picking up regular wickets from the other end then there will be a possibility for the Indian batsman to overhaul the score. On the other hand, England would want to up the ante after the first few overs of the new ball.