England vs India 2nd Test: Pitch comes to Indian Bowlers' aid
It is still early in the 2nd test match between England and India at Trent Bridge, but the gratitude of all the followers of test cricket is in order, to the pitch curator. A match that can swing by every passing session, with battles in each passage of play, where skills of batsmen and bowlers are continuously tested, makes it a compelling watch. It elevates test match cricket to it’s highest pedestal, which connoisseurs of the game relish most.
The bowlers had a significant impact on yesterday’s proceedings, with Dhoni winning a crucial toss once again. He did the right thing by putting the opposition to bat. England captain, Strauss would have done the same, given the overcast conditions and the grass on the surface.
Sreesanth, an ideal test match bowler, albeit still lacking the required temperament, bowled most of his spells in the right areas, daring the English top order to play every ball. Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma chipped in with impressive bowling figures. But for me Sreesanth was my bowler of the day. Bhajji looked pretty ordinary, and one can only hope that he will have a bigger role to essay in England’s second outing.
The honors of the day belonged to Stuart Broad, who suddenly looks to be at the peak of his prowess. His brilliant counter attack along with Swann, stretched the scoreline from 124/8 at tea to finish at 221. Broad’s effort reminds me of Andrew Flintoff in the Ashes 2005 series. At Lords he wreaked havoc with the ball, and tomorrow could be a big day for him once again.
India have their task cut out. Despite a poor start, they held firmly, thanks to the experience and skill of the two masters of the game – Dravid and Laxman. They can put pressure on England by playing for the whole second day and in doing so, will put India in the drivers seat.
Day two will be a crucial day in deciding the outcome of this series. With fitness issues sorted for Zaheer, Gautam and hopefully Sehwag, the third test will be a real tough contest, between the two sides. Both teams will fight hard to win as many sessions on day two, in this test. England could go ahead 2-0 if they wrap up the Indian innings cheaply. A 50 run lead will be gold dust. Conversely India will seek to play the whole day, and seek the same 50 run edge. Day 2, will be an epic battle of sorts to witness.
Finally it will come down, to the discipline in bowling, making tough decisions and the rub of the green. For the famous Indian middle order, it will require them in bringing all their skill and ability to the party. For once it is pleasing that no one really cares if Sachin gets his hundredth century or not. That is how it should be.
So go on gladiators, entertain us!