Thursday, July 28, 2011

England v India: The Lord's Test, Day 4

Day four started off with England looking to score runs. They had a lead of around 190, but that would not be enough against a team like India and on a pitch like this one. The morning session, however, did not exactly go how England would've liked. Here's day 4 from the Lord's Test:

Strauss begins the morning with a pull for four off Kumar.
Strauss will be hoping to put his poor Sri Lanka series behind him and to play like fans know he can.
But Cook, who's not had the best of games considering his incredible run of form in the past few months,  goes as he nicks one behind off Kumar.
He goes for 1 and Australians weep into their baggy greens. England are 23-1. We can handle an early wicket. It won't be that bad, Trott's in next.
Set on 32, easily his highest international score of the summer, Strauss decides to try and play the shot that Duncan Fletcher loved to encourage his England side to play against the spinners, the sweep. 
It doesn't go well. Harbhajan appeals as Strauss completely misses the ball and is struck on the pad. 
Strauss departs and England are 54-2. On the bright side for the captain, in one Test match he has got almost double the amount of runs that he got in the entire Sri Lanka series.
In comes the saviour of the first innings, Kevin Pietersen. Can he do it again?
In a word: no.
He goes for 1 and England find themselves 55-3. It was at this point in a field in Woodbridge that I found myself shouting at my phone in public.
It doesn't get much better 5 balls later, as Ian Bell hangs his bat outside off and nicks one behind.
He goes for a duck.

England are 55-4 and Ishant Sharma has suddenly got his tail feathers up. In a field in Woodbridge, I weep into my village cricket whites.
And then the unthinkable happens. The duck who thrives on situations like this is bowled.
England are 63-5 and no matter how hard Trott stares at the pitch, that situation is not going to change.
Matt Prior comes in and England lose no more wickets. They go into the lunch break 72-5 and England suddenly find themselves in an awkward position. If they get bowled out cheaply, India suddenly have a way back into the match. 
It gets worse for England after the lunch break, as Eoin Morgan looks completely uncomfortable in the situation and decides to mistime a pull shot off Sharma...

And he's caught by Gambhir.

Or is he? Morgan's not convinced and stands his ground.
But replays shows he's gone for only 19 and England are in a bit of a hole.
Broad, on a king pair, is the next man in. He survives his first ball and gets off the mark a couple of balls later with a single into the off side.
It's a relief for Broad and he can now focus on staying in and not causing England fans to weep into their village cricket whites.
Broad edges one through the slips, Rahul Dravid at a wider first slip than he had been previously.
It goes for four.
As the Prior and Broad partnership begins to grow, things get worse for India, injury wise.
With Tenduckar on his sick bed and Zaheer Khan limping about in the pavilion, Prior manages to smack a ball straight into Gambhir's wing.
It is a painful blow and Gambhir goes off to have his wing x-rayed in a nearby hospital.
Unperturbed by the incident, Prior continues with his fine innings.  
He reaches a fantastic 50 as he decides to do a Minecraft and dig his way out of England's hole.  At tea, England are 174-6, a lead of 364. Now the question is, will Prior get a century? How long will Strauss bat on for, or will he wait until England are bowled out?
England's 200 comes up with a four from Broad off Sharma.

Broad reaches his 50 with a single off Harbhajan.
It is a top effort from Broad, and he has stuck well with Prior, like Prior stuck with Pietersen in the first innings.
Prior, like KP in the first innings, can probably see Andrew Strauss in the corner of his eye, so he decides  to go into the 90s in style. 

He smacks a huge six into the stands as he takes advantage of the part time bowler of Raina.
Prior reaches his superb century off the final ball of the 71st over.

He crunches it through the off-side for four and celebrates a fantastic hundred.

His 103* puts England into the position to declare, and they do on 269-6. They have a lead of over 450 and India will have to bat well to save the game.
With Gambhir still at the hospital, Dravid joins Mukund in opening the batting. Mukund does not repeat his innings of first time round, but has a similar dismissal, as he gets an inside edge on a Broad delivery...
And is bowled for 12. India are 19-1. The next man in is VVS Quaxman, and it is his and Dravid's wicket that England will desire the most at the moment as Tenduckar can't bat for 225 minutes due to not being on the field for that long.

Dravid continues where he left off in the first innings and continues to make good friends with the Lord's boundary.

India close on 80-1. Day 5 promises to be a corker, as any result is conceivably possible. Could India pull off the unthinkable? Could India snatch a draw? Or would England bowl them out? You know the answers, I'm just, once again, trying to create some excitement. Sorry about that.

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