England humble India to take 2-0 series lead
Trent Bridge: Stuart Broad, the hat-trick magician of the first innings, nailed the final one in the coffin in front of his home crowd as India were all out for 158 runs, the hosts winning the second Test by 319 runs and with more than a day’s play left untouched.
For the statistically inclined, the loss put England 2-0 ahead of India in the four-Test rubber. Incidentally, England`s victory margin is more than what India have scored in any of the four innings they`ve batted. This was the first time that India lost two consecutive Tests in England since 1974. This was also the first time that MS Dhoni lost two consecutive Tests in his captaincy stint.
Before this series, whenever Rahul Dravid scored a century, India had lost only once. Now, he has scored two consecutive centuries in two matches and India have lost both.
More than the numbers, the Test would be the talking point of cricketing circles for the controversy over Ian Bell’s second innings run-out that was overturned by the Indian outfit in the ‘spirit of cricket’ as a raging debate opened up amongst experts.
It was a Test that saw Indian team being booed at by the spectators as they entered the ground after tea on Day 3, only to be turned into cheers for the centurian Bell as he walked in to bat due to the Indian outfit`s sportsman-spirit, the kind of which was somewhat non-existant when Rahul Dravid raised his bat after hitting a gritty century in the first innings.
Tim Bresnan had the match of his life, raking up his first five wicket haul after scoring a super ninety, his last scalp being of Harbhajan Singh (46) who was the only saving grace with the bat after Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar showed character, hitting his 60th Test fifty to delay another humiliating loss that would see India almost lose its number one Test ranking, but was out at a score of 56 runs.
On a day when the Indian batsmen barring Sachin, Harbhajan and the tail-enders, could not even cough up a double figure score while chasing a record run chase, Tendulkar’s effort was valiant but his dismissal in the form of a misjudgement resulting in an lbw was an anti-climax.
Skipper MS Dhoni had walked in to bat with a huge task at hand, and failed at the first delivery he faced, getting out for a duck. His long walk to the pavilion took more time than his stay on the crease, a summary of his severe lack of form of late.
Yuvraj Singh failed to step up while Suresh Raina was helpless to short ones on a fast pitch, his proven weakness.
The top order was wiped out like an amateur bunch and English speedsters kept the noose tightened, never giving the visitors any respite. The primary attribute for this was awarded to Sehwag’s absence but it was more so due to poor shot selection.
India’s start to the second innings was ominous with ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid caught behind the stumps off Stuart Broad’s outswinging cherry that got a thin edge, bringing down the curtains on his innings and possibly to a large extent – on India’s remote chances of salvaging a draw.
The visitors were set a record winning target of 478 runs by the English outfit that was wrapped-up at 544 runs, Graeme Swann being the last one to go off Ishant Sharma’s efforts. The mammoth lead of 477 runs was possible due to the amazing run of the willow by the hosts who were particularly swift in their approach.
England kept on pushing for brisk runs as the Indian outfit was again seen wanting in the area of clearing out the tail, a perpetual nag since Anil Kumble’s retirement.
For England, the second Test saw Ian Bell producing a master-class of an innings with a brilliant knock of 159, putting England in a commanding position at the end of Day 3 that set the tone for a sure shot victory.
Going into the third Test at Birmingham, the Indian team would be hoping for consolations in taking lessons from Ishant Sharma’s heart, Sreesanth’s endurance and the tail-enders’ grit. Also, Virender Sehwag will land in England on Tuesday to bolster morale and hopefully play a pivotal role in maintaining India’s numero uno Test ranking.