Wednesday, August 10, 2011

England v India: Edgbaston Test, Day 1

After two devastating defeats at Lord's and Trent Bridge, India could've done with some good news. Unfortunately for them though, Yuvraj Singh was ruled out for the remainder of the series with a broken finger and, in a blow to England (cheap shot alert), Harbhajan Singh was ruled out too, with a stomach tear. The remaining fit members of the Indian squad travelled down to Northampton for a two day tourist match. India lost. Virender Sehwag, returning from shoulder surgery, made only 8 and MS Dhoni lasted 13 balls before succumbing to Luke Evans. To top it off, after the match, Zaheer Khan, having bowled only three overs and gone for 24, was ruled out for 14 to 16 weeks with an ankle injury.

For England, it wasn't as bad. Jonathan Trott, having injured his shoulder at Trent Bridge was ruled out. He was replaced by the guy he replaced back in 2009, Ravi Bopara. In what must have been a massive relief to the England selectors, Chris Tremlett was ruled out with back spasms, meaning that Tim Bresnan could keep his place in the England side after his superb 90 and 5fer in the previous Test.

With riots getting the football matches in the capital postponed, the rioters of the West Midlands could not perturb the third Test between England and India. Here's what happened on day one at Edgbaston: 
Strauss wins the toss for the first time in the series and decides to bowl. England make only one change, which is Bopara in for Trott. Dhoni says that he would've bowled as well, and has three changes. Sehwag, Mishra and Gambhir come in for Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Mukund.
After a productive opening over for Gambhir, Sehwag is not so lucky.
First ball up, he tries to avoid, but ends up gloving it behind to Matt Prior.
But umpire Seaduck Davis is not impressed and the pleas of the England team fall on deaf ears.
Strauss makes use of the DRS straight away.
And Sehwag has to go. He goes for a golden duck and India find themselves 8-1.
Despite the loss of Sehwag, India's run rate is high as England pitch up the deliveries in the search for swing. Gambhir takes advantage...
As he clatters Broad to the boundary for a four.
Dravid, despite scoring at a rate that would be deemed "Jonathan Trott" by Bob Willis, also hits an over pitched delivery to the boundary.

England begin to wonder where their next wicket is going to come from, but then up steps Bressy Lad.
Gambhir chops onto his own stumps and departs for 38.
India are 59-2. 
Tenduckar comes to the crease, still in search of his 100th 100, but still looking slightly out of nick. After a decent over from Anderson, where he came very close to bowling Sachin, Broad takes his wicket.
He, once again, goes for a drive outside off and ends up nicking it to Anderson at 3rd slip.
He goes for 1 and India are 60-3.
India hope to go into lunch without another wicket falling, but England have other ideas.
Bressy Lad picks up another as he bowls Dravid for 22 with an absolute peach of a delivery. The wicket also marks the lunch break and India go into it 75-4 and, once again, find themselves in a whole heap of trouble.
Raina, still looking uncomfortable at the crease, soon departs as well.
He misses a straight Anderson half volley and is on his way back to the pond for only 4. 
Quaxman brings up India's hundred with a drive for four into the on-side.
But he doesn't last for much longer. He goes to pull a ball that probably wasn't short enough and gets a top edge on it.
It flies up in the air...
And down to Stuart Broad at fine leg.
England celebrate reducing India to 100-6.
Mishra gets off the mark with a four that Ravi Bopara manages to dive over, but he soon succumbs to Broad.
He nicks it behind and is caught by Prior for 4.
India lose their 7th wicket on a Nelson.
Dhoni shows why his average in 2011 was 14.60 as he has a waft at one from Broad outside off.
But, after that dodgy start, Dhoni gets back into the swing of things and launches a counter attack with Kumar, who seems to have adopted the Stick Cricket slogan of 'Hit Out or Get Out'. 
Dhoni, presumably remembering how much of a pain in the neck Swann and Broad were at Trent Bridge, smacks Anderson back over his head...
All the way for a six.
Dhoni reaches his first 50 of the series with a four off Swann.

England finally get the breakthrough as Bressy Lad finally gets a short ball on target, rather than splaying it down the leg side in a manner befitting a certain Australian (who might have got 6 wickets today, time for a nonchalant whistle). 
Seaduck Davis doesn't agree with England's appeals though...
So Strauss makes use of the DRS once again.
And Kumar is gone. England bowl almost half of the deliveries bowled in the afternoon session short. This is the only wicket taken with the short ball. India are 195-8.
Broad finally pitches one up and in his surprise at getting such a delivery, Dhoni gets an edge on it.
He goes for the big shot, but instead finds the ball nestled in the wings of the solitary figure of Strauss in the slips.
He goes for 77 and India are 224-9, far better than they probably expected. 
Anderson picks up the last wicket, although not many people seem to know about it.
Sharma middles one and hits Cook, who was looking to take evasive action, in the duck breast.
Cook somehow manages to cling onto the ball...
Ian Bell and the rest of the England team congratulate Cook on his armpit catch and also celebrate a fine bowling performance (apart from that bit in the afternoon session where they forgot where the good length was and decided to try and be "the enforcer" but instead found that they were firing it DOWN THE LEG SIDE) as they dismiss India for 224. It's a bit more than both sides would have expected considering that India were 111-7 in the mid-afternoon, but both Dhoni and Kumar did well in their counter attack. 
Three maidens begin the England innings, as both Strauss and Cook begin watchfully. However, Cook soon gets off the mark and Strauss soon follows and the runs begin to flow. After Kumar and Sreesanth prove ineffective, Sharma comes on and is greeted with a four by Cook.

Strauss makes Sreesanth pay for giving him a bit of width as he cracks a delivery to the boundary with a square cut.

And Strauss, having passed 32 (the number he's been dismissed on twice this series), reaches his first 50 since the Sydney Test back in January.
He gets the single off Sharma...
And duly raises his bat. He will hope to carry on tomorrow, rather than be dismissed like he is most mornings after the evening before... (Lord's 2009, Adelaide, Melbourne, there's probably more, it's a bit late and I can't be bothered to check)
England close on 84-0 and find themselves dominating once again. The partnership of 84 is the highest opening partnership that England have had of the series and both Strauss and Cook have reached their own personal highest score of the series thus far. England are 140 runs behind and will be hoping that Strauss and Cook can press on tomorrow, provided the weather holds off.

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