Lord Test Day 4 @ Lunch England 72/5 as Ishant Sharma roars
“Cricket is a funny game” goes the old adage and Day 4 at Lords was a testament to that. England was definitely the better team for the first 3 days and safely in the driver’s seat. However a spell of three overs by Ishant Sharma means that the Three Lions have been pegged back. Kevin Pietersen scored a double ton in the first innings but was hurled back down to the ground with a brilliant bouncer that took something off his gloves. He was dismissed with a solitary run in his account. Ishant Sharma followed it with the wicket of Ian Bell and bowled Jonathan Trott with an unplayable delivery. From 53/1, England were reduced to 62/5. From being in the driver’s seat, England were batting to set a challenging score for India.
The day began a little lazily as the English batsmen looked to weather the first hour of the play. Praveen Kumar was at his probing best and continued from the first innings. He picked up the wicket of Alastair Cook to raise India’s body language a bit. India were a lot more aggressive in their field settings as Dhoni placed a couple of close bat-pad fielders. Harbhajan Singh seemed determined to change his figures from the first innings and did himself a huge favour with the wicket of Andrew Strauss. He looked in great discomfort against the off-spinner and was found plum in front of the wickets while trying a conventional sweep.
The flurry of wickets means that there are a wide range of possibilities in this Test match now. At Lunch, England are leading by 258 runs. They are unlikely to declare anytime before 350 and there is a distinct possibility that India would restrict them before that score. In either of the two cases, England will consume at least one more session of play, leaving themselves 4 sessions to dismiss India. India will have the opportunity of going for the win as well as to sit back on the defensive.
There is another possibility by means of which, India would want to dismiss England within the next 50 runs. However, that will require another fiery spell from Ishant Sharma. India need to be aggressive but they do not want to leak runs as well. The last recognized pair of Matt Prior and Eoin Morgan will be key to the destiny of this Test match. Meanwhile, Sachin Tendulkar is down with viral and uncertainty prevails over his condition.