The day was brilliant for English cricket, as for the fans of Test Cricket. Bright sunny day in London town, with a festive atmosphere at the home of cricket. England dominated the number one ranked test team, almost with ease and clinical efficiency. Many English players turned in brilliant performances, but critically they worked so well as a team in all departments.
As always, last day match tickets are sold at the gates only. The queues this morning were miles long, with fans streaming in large numbers on a Monday morning, to fill up Lords to capacity. I wonder why the ICC goes on about the future of Test Cricket. If the contest is well matched and the prize worth fighting for, the fans of Test Cricket will come.
This series is about being the number one Test team, an honour worth battling for. And the fans from both sides were there in large numbers.
There were young English lads with Tendulkar t-shirts, families, school kids, and of course the die hards. All seemed to have one wish in common, to see Sachin score a hundred, in addition of course to their side winning or achieving an honourable draw.
India was brought to book by a highly efficient four man English bowling unit. If Anderson doesn't get you, Broad will. If neither, then Tremlett or Swann will.
Hopes of a miracle from India (a la Dec 2008 Chennai - when India chased down 380 or so in 98.3 overs in the 4th innings against England to clinch a famous win) died early, right in the first session of the day. With the loss of Dravid, Gambhir and Laxman, it was always going to be uphill, to play out the day and draw the match.
Despite the odd dropped chance and favourable umpiring call, India could not save the day. The only real rear guard came from Raina, who seemed to mature and ripen in the English sunshine. His team mates and particularly his seniors seemed to lack the fight that Raina demonstrated. So much so that even the English fans were hoping to see him reach the triple figures, as he so deserved it. He was honoured with a loud standing ovation when he finally fell.
In the final analysis, the game was lost for India when their bowling unit crumbled on day one, leaving a gaping hole in the combination. England batting made capital, particularly KP, and England took control of the game and did not relinquish this control till the end. The small exception was the short burst of English wickets in the morning of day four achieved by Ishant.
The big highlight for England, in addition to taking a lead in this four test series, is the resurgence of Stuart Broad. A player who was almost pipped to the post by Tim Bresnan for this game, due to a string of poor performances against Sri Lanka recently.
The next test match at Trent Bridge starts Friday this week. So hold your peace and watch India resurge. They are slow starters and will rebound hard. The series is alive and well.
Monday, 25 July 2011
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