Friday, August 12, 2011

England v India: Edgbaston Test, Day 2

Would the second day get much better for India? No. Not really. In fact, it got a whole lot worse as they shot themselves repeatedly in the foot by dropping catches and some terrible bowling. Only Praveen Kumar looked threatening, but even he lagged towards the end of a very, very long day for India, which will probably feel like Groundhog Day to a lot of the players.

Here's what happened on day 2 at Edgbaston, as England just generally took the mickey and Alastair Cook returned with a vengeance:
Unfortunately though, what greeted the fans in Birmingham was some drizzle and the covers on. But the drainage system was able to cope and umpires Seaduck Davis and Simon Tailfeather were happy to start the day's play half an hour late.
Strauss and Cook are the not out batsmen, both looking to capitalise on decent starts from the previous evening. India will be hoping for early wickets to try and get themselves back into the match after a horrendous batting display.
England start steadily. Sreesanth and Kumar begin the day and Cook and Strauss easily manoeuvre them around the field. They bring up 100 for the first wicket for the 13th time in their opening partnership's history. The first boundary of the morning though comes courtesy of Sharma, as Strauss gets a thick edge down to third man. 

Useless stat: It's the first time Strauss and Cook have put on a century partnership since the Boxing Day Test. 
Cook begins to show the signs that he is back to his best as he cracks Sharma for a four through the covers.
England's running between the wickets is good (even though there's no need for it with this shot), as they keep the scoreboard ticking over and wait to punish the bad balls, as Geoffrey Boycott would say. 
India do manage to find the edge...
But it would've fallen short had there been a third slip and rushes away to the third man boundary, again.
The third man boundary has been a productive area for England in this series. I'm going to be repeating myself a lot in this post.
Cook brings up his first 50 of the series as he pulls Sreesanth...
And it goes for four.
He raises his bat to the appreciative Edgbaston crowd. England go into the lunch break at 157-0. Sound familiar? 
England continue where they left off before the lunch break, but Strauss misses a straight one from Mishra...
And is bowled on the leg stump.
However, replays show that Mishra was over the line and considering the fact he was bowling a lot of no-balls in his spell, it is disappointing that the umpire didn't go upstairs to check.
As he didn't, it means Strauss departs for 87. It's his highest score since that 110 in the second innings at Brisbane, but he will feel massively disappointed to have missed out on what was probably a deserved ton against a very toothless attack. England are 186-1.
Soon the scores are level and England take the lead...
With a four from Bell off Mishra.
Bell gets a life on 30 as he gets an edge on a Sreesanth delivery...
Which goes in...
And then out of Dravid's wings at first slip. 
Cook reaches his fourth century of the year and his first of the series with a single off Kumar.

The helmet (imaginary) is off and the bat is raised as the Cook that the Australians all know and loathe returns to torment another nation.
Kumar, having bowled 11 maidens and going for only 40 off about 20 odd overs, continues his search for a wicket.
And he gets it in possibly the most satisfying way for a bowler to pick one up.
He sends Bell's off stump cartwheeling and Bell goes for 34. England are 252-2.
Pietersen comes in and plays his usual swashbuckling kind of innings, including this six off Mishra.
England reach tea at 319-2. They are nearing a lead of 100 and England are just grinding India into the ground. India need something special, or it's just a complete and utter embarrassment for the supposed world number one.
KP reaches his half century with another boundary. 
I'll leave you to guess to which area of the field the ball went to the boundary.
Cook reaches his 150 with a pull off Sreesanth.
It goes for four and Cook doesn't look like he's going back to the pavilion any time soon.

Pietersen succumbs to Kumar as he comes too far across his stumps and gets hit on the pads.
Kumar pleas to the umpire in desperation...
And Seaduck Davis gives KP his marching orders. Pietersen is not impressed, but his guilty shuffle forward to outside the line after he'd been struck was not conning the umpire and he has to go.
Pietersen goes for 63 and England are 374-3.
Kumar suddenly loses his line and gifts a leg side delivery to Morgan...
Who gleefully dispatches it to the boundary for a four in a shot that allows him to get off the mark. 
The poor Indian fielding continues though as Morgan hits one up in the air to Sreesanth....
Who, presumably distracted by a celestial bird of the seafaring variety, somehow misses a relatively simple chance. 
He doesn't seem to get a wing on it either, it just seems to go through the gap and the miss allows Morgs to run through for a single.
Cook helps another leg sided delivery on its way...
And the four brings up the 200 lead for England. India continue to dig themselves a deep hole of awfulness.
And this deep hole of awfulness becomes a bottomless pit in the final over of the day. Morgan gets an edge on a Raina delivery...
Only for the ball to, once again, pop into Dravid's waiting wings at first slip...
Only for it to pop out, again. Dravid is furious with himself. Sehwag watches on aghast in the Indian changing room, deciding that he can't be bothered to remain on the field and Tenduckar looks embarrassed to be associated with the bunch.
Once Raina completes his unsuccessful over, England close on 456-3, 232 ahead. Cook is 182 not out and Morgan is on 44 not out. It's a welcome century for Cook, who stated after the close of play that he felt like he'd been "letting the team down" (after 781 runs so far this year...) after his disappointing innings in the previous Tests. Strauss' 87 as well was also very welcome. Every wicket put on a 50 partnership and England's innings contained 60 fours and 1 six.
Tomorrow, England will look to continue their complete dominance of this Test by batting on and on. Will Cook reach his second double century? Will Bopara make the most of his opportunity to remind the England selectors that he's the right man for the job? For the ragged looking India, they will be hoping for someone to step up and give a decent performance, to raise not only their fortunes, but their spirits as well.

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