India vs. England Live: Praveen Kumar strikes but Pietersen powers on
With due credit to the enterprising tactics of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and an exceptional spell of archetypal swing bowling by Praveen Kumar, India pulled themselves back into the Test match in the post lunch session. England was powered above the mark of 300 by Kevin Pietersen who remains a nagging presence on the crease for India. Pietersen completed his 5th Test century at Lords and defied his critics in the process. The South African born English batsman has been criticized recently for his loss of form especially in English conditions. This ton of his was by far his slowest as he struggled along the way but remained headstrong.
The Indians began the 2nd session within unexpected move as Rahul Dravid bore the burden of wicket-keeping in order to give Dhoni the liberty to bowl. The man who is known to have a “Midas touch” worked wonders in the very first over. Kevin Pietersen was given out caught behind as it seemed that a faint edge was carried. To the ill fortune of India, the DRS system came to Pietersen’s rescue and just enough evidence was found with the use of hot-spot technology to overrule the umpire’s original decision.
Kevin Pietersen capitalized on the good fortune and punished Ishant Sharma with a couple of well effected pull shots. On the other end, Ian Bell was putting together a valuable knock as well characterized by assertive stroke-making. He looked in the least difficulty till Praveen Kumar dismissed him. He scored 45 runs and contributed to a partnership of over 100 runs. Kumar furthered the extent of injury by not letting Eoin Morgan off the mark with a peach of a delivery that swung into his pads. There was doubt over the method of dismissal as it seemed that there was no edge involved. However, to everybody’s surprise Eoin Morgan walked even before the umpire’s decision indicating that there might have been, or that he might have considered himself dismissed lbw.
Matt Prior kept Kevin Pietersen company as they weathered a storm that could have seen India clenching the match. The final session of the day provides opportunity to both the teams and inspite of 5 sessions of play there is no conclusive leader as yet. Harbhajan Singh has not penetrated the batting line-up which remains a worry for India. A lot of credit is due to Mahendra Singh Dhoni who kept the pressure on the English batsman with some valuable medium pace.
Meanwhile, Zaheer Khan was found testing the extent of his injury with the team physio. Further news on whether he will be able to participate in the second innings is awaited.