India hold the advantage in the Second Test at Trent Bridge after bowling out England for a modest 221 on the opening day’s play. England did fight back in the final session from a disastrous 117 for 6 to finish with a respectable total thanks to Stuart Broad’s half century and then grabbing a wicket in the very first ball of the Indian innings. The visitors saw off 15 overs of play losing the wicket of Abhinav Mukund and it’s their best chance to work towards a series-leveling victory.
Toss and Teams :
Conditions were overcast and the pitch had a greenish look with it because of some live grass! It was surely going to help the seamers while the overhead conditions would move the ball in the air. India was lucky with the toss and they obviously put the opposition to bat first. The visitos made two changes to their line-up because of the unfit Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan. Gambhir was going to be replaced with Yuvraj Singh though Rahul Dravid was asked to take up his opening position. Zaheer’s place went to Sreesanth ahead of Munaf. For England, Chris Tremlett was rested due to a hamstring strain which made way for the all-round Tim Bresnan.
Tale of the Morning Session :
India got its first breakthrough in the 6th over iself when Alastair Cook (2 from 16 balls) got a half stride forward in defence and got struck on the pad plumb infront of middle by one that nipped back from Ishant Sharma. Cook had barely survived a plumb lbw to Praveen Kumar in the previous over but got away because of Asad Rauf ruling him not out. England were going nowhere as Praveen and Ishant kept the scoring down with some tight bowling.
Sreesanth who was brought in as one change in the 11th over got rewarded immediately with his perfect outswinger which was full in length and invited a false drive from Jonathan Trott (4 from 15 balls) away from his body to result in a regulation edge to VVS Laxman at second slip. England were forced on the backfoot at 23 for 2 and almost lost their third wicket in the form of Kevin Pietersen in the 17th over when he was plumb infront after shuffling far too across to Praveen Kumar. However, Umpire Marais Erasmus turned it down and an angry Praveen Kumar ended up with almost a heated argument with the South African Umpire!
England by lunch were on the recovery path at 69 for 2 in 27 overs with both Strauss and Pietersen moving into 20s.
Tale of the Afternoon Session :
India had a dream start after lunch when Sreesanth struck in just the fifth ball of the new session when he got the big scalp of Pietersen with Suresh Raina taking a low catch at third slip. Pietersen (29 from 53 balls with 4 fours) was forced to go back and dab at a short delivery at 132 kmph which kicked up slightly to force a low edge to break a 50-run stand for the 3rd wicket.
Just around nine overs after KP’s exit, Strauss lost his patience to have his team in trouble at 85 for 4. Andrew Strauss went after a sucker delivery at 125 kmph from Praveen Kumar which was full and well outside off and chased that with an expansive drive to get a thickish edge which was caught superbly by Raina at third slip. Just three balls later, Eoin Morgan’s woes in the series continued as he got out for a duck. Morgan fell across on the frontfoot which hardly stretched forward and ended up getting hit on the pad by one that pitched around middle and held its line from Praveen Kumar for an lbw.
England soon slipped to 88 for 6 in the 40th over when Matt Prior (1 from 4 balls) got a superb delivery from Sreesanth and he just couldn’t do anything about what was a leg cutter kind of delivery around middle! It was at 137 kmph landing on middle and Prior was squared up on the backfoot as the seamed away to take a thin edge which was caught low at first slip by Dravid. The hosts seemed to have finally got a fighting partnership going when Tim Bresnan joined Ian Bell. The partnership lasted nearly 10 overs putting up 29 runs before it was broken by a magical delivery that was similar to that of Prior’ dismissal. The bowler this time was Ishant Sharma who squared up Bresnan (11 from 23 balls) on the backfoot around middle and got the ball to seam away just enough for a fine edge which was caught by the diving Dravid low to his left.
In the 51st over, India got rid of the last recognised batsman Ian Bell (31 from 81 balls with 4 fours) chased a short and wide delivery with a cut shot and got a bottom edge to MSD with the ball swirling away a touch off the seam. It was an untidy catch from Dhoni but that was just enough to reduce England on the mat at 124 for 8. England finished the afternoon session at 124 for 8 in 51 overs.
Tale of the Final Session :
There was no doubt about the batting abilities of Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann and they came to good use to frustrate India after Tea. The two lower order batsmen were not going to hang around but were instead counter attacking the bowling to get some quick runs. The 9th wicket stand lasted about 11 overs but it added up as many as 73 runs! The partnership was broken when Swann got a nasty delivery from the innocuous Praveen Kumar out of nowhere. Graeme Swann (28 from 35 balls with 3 fours) was looking to come forward and then was forced back as Praveen’s delivery darted back off the seam a long way and kicked up out of nowhere to hit the glove and fly straight to gully! Swann was taking evasive action and just had no chance in keeping his eyes on the ball as it would have knocked off his head! It was so nasty that Swann had to go for a precautionary x-ray for the hurt left hand.
England got to 197 for 9 thanks to the support that Broad got from Swann. Last man James Anderson (6* from 18 balls) helped Broad to add another 24 runs to the total before the latter got out. The English innings came to an end with Stuart Broad (64 from 66 balls with 9 fours) clobbering Harbhajan Singh in the air towards deep mid wicket and was caught by Tendulkar. India’s three pacers did a fabulous job taking three wickets each. Sreesanth was slightly expensive going for 77 in 19 overs but he got three big wickets.
India had an hour to bat through before stumps and their innings got to a terrible start with Abhinav Mukund departing first ball for a duck to Anderson. Mukund only got half forward in his rash square drive to a juicy full length away swinger and got a thick outside edge which was caught low by Pietersen at gully. The visitors were fortunate enough to have the experienced duo of Rahul Dravid (7* from 38 balls with 1 four) and VVS Laxman (13* from 52 balls with 2 fours) to weather the storm and see through the day without any further damage. The hosts finished the first day’s play at 24 for 1 in 15 overs.