The second test was an emphatic victory for England who beat India by 318 runs. Despite this one sided scoreline, England struggled earlier on.
India won the toss and elected to put England into bat and the Indian bowlers took advantage of excellent swinging conditions. They bowled well and Cook and Trott’s wickets fell early on. Pieterson and Strauss managed to steady the ship, somewhat reaching a fifty partnership before Pieterson was caught out for 29. Strauss followed only 12 runs later triggering a batting collapse in the process. Morgan didn’t trouble the scorers while Prior only added a single to his column. Bresnan kept the bowlers out for a short time before falling for 11. Bell was next to fall, after a promising start.
This meant England were 124-8 and in serious trouble. They were in desperate need of some runs to post a reasonable total. Broad and Swann were given free reign to play some shots and it paid off, as the Nottinghamshire pair produced a blistering partnership of 73 before Swann was caught for 28. Broad carried on his excellent innings reaching a half century. He finally fell for 64 leaving England 221 all out. India had the worst possible start to their first innings, as Mukund was out first ball caught at first slip. This brought Laxman to the crease to join Dravid for the remnants of the first day’s play.
The following day Dravid showed his class as he provided an anchor for India’s innings with a second hundred of the series. Laxman provided ample support producing 54 before being caught behind off of Bresnan. Tendulkar was the next batsman in and he struggled to 16 before he was caught at first slip by Strauss off Broad. A disappointing innings for an increasingly disappointing series for him.
Dravid reached his fifty with a four down to third man. He is the form man of India’s superstars and he doesn’t look as though he will get out. The same can not be said for Raina who played an ugly innings. England peppered him with short deliveries, which eventually led to his wicket. I will be surprised if he keeps his place for the next test.
Yuvraj was the next man in, who I personally think should have started the first test in place of Raina. After a shaky start and he capitalised on any full deliveries the England bowlers gave him and when Swann came on to bowl he was punished. At this point the Indians looked like they were taking the game away from England. During this period Dravid completed an excellent hundred, which exuded class. He is every inch as good as Tendulkar.
England needed to make things happen and as the new ball was taken England looked like a different side. Broad produced one of the all time great spells of fast bowling ,as he took five wickets for no runs. Yuvraj was his first victim caught behind and we didn’t have to wait long for more, as he produced an excellent hat trick a few overs later. Dhoni was next edging a ball to slip. Harbajan was unlucky to be out lbw having got an inside edge the following ball, but Kumar got an absolute corker, which bowled him and completed Broad’s hat-trick. Bresnan got into the action the following over and dismissed the danger man, Dravid with an excellent delivery and Broad finished off the with Sharma, the final wicket. He finished with figures of 6 for 46. This amazing period saw England take 6 wickets for only 21 runs, as India were bowled out for 288, only 67 ahead.
The England openers took to the crease for a difficult period before the end of the day’s play. Unfortunately Cook didn’t survive as he got a leading edge to Yuvraj at point. Bell came in at number three, as Trott was unable to bat after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the field. The two batsmen managed to survive until the end of the day with England 24-1.
The Third day’s play brought Bell and Strauss to the middle and they start the day promisingly by bringing up a fifty partnership, but this doesn’t last long, as Kumar starts to cause Strauss some problems. He is caught behind by Dhoni for 16. Strauss’ form must be becoming a bit of a worry for England after a poor summer. Bell continues his excellent form by flicking boundaries everywhere. A four clipped off his legs through square leg bring up his half century in just 73 balls. Bell continued his blistering play until lunch, by which time England had a lead of 64.
After lunch, Pieterson begins to assault the Indian bowlers by moving across his stumps and flicking the ball across to leg side. He soon brings up his half century. Bell’s century soon followed, as the two batsmen begin to dominate proceedings, until Pieterson ended his own innings by chasing a wide delivery from Sreesanth, which he nicks through to Dhoni.
The real talking point of the match though was when Bell was run out walking off for tea. The crowd were understandably unhappy, but the Indian captain, M.S. Dhoni stopped the incident from overshadowing the match as he rescinded the appeal and invited Bell back out to bat. For this he received a standing ovation from the Trent Bridge crowd. This is a victory for the spirit of the game and should set an example for years to come.
After tea, the run rate increased rapidly as Morgan showed the world how quickly he can score. He reached his fifty at approximately a run a ball, while Bell reached 150 with a cover drive. He didn’t look as though he was ever going to get out until Yuvraj produced a good quicker ball, which deceived him. This was the perfect time for a wicket, as it allowed India to expose a new batsman to the new ball, which was due in a couple of overs.
When the new ball was taken it worked instantly, as Morgan was caught behind off Kumar. This brought the injured Trott into bat who didn’t last long due to a nasty bouncing delivery that he gloved to first slip. This meant Bresnan joining Prior at the crease for an astonishing period of play. The two English batsman demolished the Indian bowlers rhythm and morale, as they smashed 102 in only 19 overs. This sort of pace is usually reserved for twenty20 matches. Prior reaches 64 and Bresnan 48 by the end of play to give England a lead of 374 going into the fourth day.
England start play in the morning like they ended it the following night with Bresnan hitting two fours in the first over to bring up his half century. Prior does the same in the following over, but tries one too many as he gets an edge, which means he is out for a barnstorming 73.
Bresnan continues to power through the Indian bowling attack, as Broad joins in with a few wonderful cover drives. The pair keep playing their shots until drinks break. England are now leading by 471. Unfortunately, for Broad just after tea he runs himself out with a suicidal single for 48. In the same over Bresnan gets an unplayable length ball, which bounced off the shoulder of the bat. He made an astonishing 90 off of only 118 balls. England should have declared here, but instead India have a pointless couple of overs bowling at Swann and Anderson. Soon Swann is out and India have to face a tricky period before lunch. With the insurmountable total of 478, India had no real prospect of a win at this stage only how long they would last against England’s bowling attack.
Anderson opened the bowling and Mukund edges to slip off his first ball only to be dropped. England’s catching has been remarkably poor during this match with a number of oppurtunities missed. Luckily, the bowling has been excellent and another chance follows quickly, as Broad manages to get Dravid out with an excellent delivery just outside off stump.
After lunch, England continued their fine bowling display, as Laxman is bowled by Anderson. It is an unplayable delivery, which sends his off stump spiralling. Mukund follows a few overs later for only 3 runs despite having faced 41 balls. Raina continues his poor form, as Bresnan peppered him with short aggressive bouncers. He tried to hook one, but top edges to the substitute fielder at long leg. The same tactic was used against Yuvraj who was jumping about as if he was standing on hot coals. Tendulkar seemed to be the only batsman capable of handling the fiery England attack. Yuvraj didn’t last much longer as he is out fending off a bouncer from Bresnan. The very next ball Dhoni is plum lbw to an excellent in-swinger. Unfortunately, Bresnan couldn’t finish off the match’s second hat-trick giving Harbajan a full toss, as his yorker goes awry. Harbajan managed to survive until tea, as India left the field they were 77-6 and well on their way to a humiliating defeat.
The Indian batsmen showed some fighting spirit after lunch, as Tendulkar completes a fifty, his first of this series. Unfortunately, he could not convert it into his hundredth hundred, as he misjudges an off cutter from Anderson and is out lbw. Harbajan responds to this loss by being more aggressive. Anything short or wide he flashes at and scores quickly as a result. Unfortunately, his little cameo ended when he was caught out in the deep by young Scott Elstone, the substitute fielder who took his second catch of the day. The final two wickets, Kumar, who put up a spirited display reaching 25, and Sreesanth, who didn’t. They both fell to in-swinging yorkers, the bane of many a tail-ender.
This meant India lost the test by 319 runs and England now lead the series by 2-0. After this performance I wonder whether India have anything in their armoury to stop this series from being a total whitewash.