Trent Bridge (Nottingham): Indian pacers made strong statement on Day 1 of the second Test at Trent Bridge blowing away England top order in no time but a spirited fight back lead by Stuart Broad helped England put up a respectable total of 221 in their first innings.
Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and S Sreesnath finished with three wickets a piece.
India closed the end of Day 1 with 24 runs for the loss of one wicket.
Abhinav Mukund got out for a first ball duck as Rahul Dravid (7*) and VVS Laxman (13*) held the fort for the Indians.
Earlier in the day, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss on a gloomy Nottingham morning and elected to bowl in the second Test of the npower series at Trent Bridge.
With S Sreesanth in for Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh in for Gautam Gambhir, India needed to utilize the conditions early on.
And as India would have expected, the morning session did belong to the visitors with S Sreesanth leading from the front at lunch.
Ishant Sharma was bowling in rhythm pitching the ball short at uncomfortable height whereas Praveen Kumar relied heavily on his banana swing to trouble the batsmen.
Ishant first took out Alastair Cook (2) leg before wicket as Sreesanth struck in his very first over to send the solid Jonathan Trott back to the pavilion for just 4 runs.
Kevin Pieteren looked ominous for a brief period, playing with authority as Sreesanth in his usual sense started to bowl waywardly. KP along with Struass who slugged it out in the middle had a little partnership going.
But unlike Lord’s, the Indian bowlers were able to put a break on the partnership. Comeback man Sreesanth took his revenge of being hit for two consecutive boundaries scalping the prized wicket KP.
Throughout the morning session, the swing was very much evident and it was well exploited by both Praveen and Sreesanth.
Ishant on the other hand admirably stuck to his task of hitting the deck hard, giving no room for the batsmen to work around thus keeping on the pressure.
After lunch, as Sree picked up KP, Praveen joined in with the wickets of Strauss and Eion Morgan. Both dismissals were classic swing bowlers’ wicket. Strauss poked into an out-swinging delivery only to edge it to Raina at third slip.
Two balls later, Kumar produced a gem of a delivery against Morgan which came back in just enough to convince Asad Rauf to raise his finger for LBW.
England seemed to fall apart at this moment as the pacers continued to make merry. Sreesanth came back to square up Matt Prior giving catching practice for Dravid at first slip, then Sharma finished off a little resistance of Bell.
When it looked like india would wrap up the England innings before tea, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann combined to put up a fight till tea.
But the fight turned into fight back a bit later and in no time counter attacking from both the gritty players took India by surprise.
In between all this, Harbhajan squeezed in three odd over only to be plundered around the park.
Broad and Swann clearly stuck it out and with most of the steam gone out of the pacers by tea, Harbhajan should have taken up the role of clearing out the tail but instead he became the victim of a ‘tailwind’ propelled by Swann and Broad.
Broad launched an all-out attack on India trying to clear the in-field on every occasion and he did that rather successfully.
PK did take the wicket of Swann but last man James Anderson hung around enough for Broad to get his fifty and in the process clear the 200-run mark for England as well.
The last two wickets of England totalled 97 runs whereas the first eight could only muster 124.
The Trent Bridge Test on Day 1 displayed the same character of Indian team which had helped them reach the numero uno status in Test whereas England showcased the fighting spirit that could take them all the way to the top of the tree in Tests.
A long Day 2 awaits the duo of Dravid and Laxman as the English bowling lead by Anderson and Broad would be looking to ruffle up some early feathers at Nottingham.