|Ground:||Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood|
|Scorecard:||England v India|
|Event:||India in England 2014|
DateLine: 17th July 2014
By Andy Jalil at Lord's In association with INVESTEC
London – Other than a few individual performances and new records, the drawn first Test wasn’t much more than a drab affair and not least for its lifeless biscuit coloured pitch. In contrast to that there was a distinctly green top to be seen for the second Test and the England captain Alastair Cook’s decision to bowl first on it clearly paid off.
Cook has been under pressure with criticisms of his captaincy after the whitewash in the Ashes series followed by another series loss against Sri Lanka last month. His loss of form with the bat has added to his worries. To make matters worse relations between the teams has been at a low ebb amid all the talk of the alleged physical incident between James Anderson and Ravendra Jadeja during the last Test, which has certainly added much spice to the series.
All four England pace bowlers proved to be effective for the greater part of the day with India batsmen struggling from the fall of the first wicket which came as early as the third over. By stumps India were 290 for nine, having made considerable recovery owing to the marvellous effort of Ajinkya Rahane’s second and timely century compiled cautiously in just under four hours.
The pressure was maintained on India’s batsmen none of whom were allowed to settle in. Even Cheteshwar Pujara, who was at the crease for almost three hours could only manage 28 having faced 117 balls before losing his middle stump to a ball from Ben Stokes.
Anderson bowled well in all his spells starting with the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan for 7. Liam Plunkett came on as first change and he claimed the next wicket in his fifth over shortly before lunch. Murali Vijay got a leading edge to a ball that straightened as he attempted to play to leg. Gary Ballance at third slip had taken the catches for both the wickets.
There seemed a recovery was on the way on 86 for two when Anderson struck again. Virat Kohli, on 25, received a ball that was angled in and then moved away late taking an edge for a catch behind and Anderson had two for 14 in ten overs. He had been difficult to score of; his first five overs of the day had been maidens.
Rahane came in at the fall of Kohli’s wicket and held his end scoring steadily while losing partners at the other end. After Pujara went on 113 for four, just ten runs were added before MS Dhoni edged a ball from Broad which he could have left outside off stump. Five runs later it was the turn of the spinner Moeen Ali to get among the wickets when he pinned Jadeja plumb in front of the stumps.
Rahane had progressed to 28 taking the total to 145 when India lost the seventh wicket also lbw. Stuart Binny may have been a little unlucky as the ball appeared to be going over the stumps from Anderson who at that stage had three for 21 in just fifteen overs.
Eventually, Rahane found a partner who hung around long enough to revive the innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave excellent support as they brought up the first 50-partnership of the innings and Rehane by then had reached his third Test half century when he drove Plunkett for four to extra cover.
On 235, Broad brought an end to the eighth wicket stand bowling Kumar for 36 with the second over with the second new ball and in the following over Rahane hit a six and a four off consecutive balls from Anderson to move to 88. He soon followed that with two pulls to mid-wicket for four in Anderson’s next over to reach 98. On 99 he effortlessly drove Anderson to the cover boundary to reach three figures from 151 balls before giving the bowler, in his next over, a return catch.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)