(Note to readers: We will post live match updates, analysis and expert views through the course of the Trent Bridge Test. New updates will appear on top. Please hit the refresh button periodically.)
11.04 pm – The final post on this blog is reserved for the Bell run-out reversal by Dhoni and the Indian team at Tea-time yesterday. Asked about the incident at the post-match presentation ceremony, England captain Andrew Strauss was all praise for his Indian counterpart and said: “It was a very commendable decision. It was the right thing for cricket. As captain it is a very difficult decision to take and I think Mahendra has set a great example for me and other Test captains.”
10.29 pm - India need to pull up their socks and use the two-day warm-up match against Northants on August 5 and 6 to get some of their confidence back even as they gauge the match-fitness levels of Zaheer and Sehwag, who is due to arrive in England tomorrow morning.
The concerns though centre around Harbhajan's bad form with the ball and inability to either take wickets or contain the run flow; the make-shift opening partnership; Dhoni's unimaginative captaincy and lack of runs; the failure of the middle-order to be able to play short deliveries and make meaningful contributions; and Dravid being the only consistent batsman on the tour so far. And, an important statistic, the much-vaunted Indian batting line-up is yet to score more than 300 runs in an innings in this Test series.
The third Test starts on August 10 and it's time for the Indian team to stand up as a unit and play the brand of cricket that has got them to the No. 1 Test position.
10.19 pm - India have an uphill task ahead of themselves in the series and have to improve in all areas to harbour any hopes of holding on to their No. 1 Test status. One of the few positives for India in the Test match was Tendulkar getting amongst the runs and scoring his first half-century of the series. India's bowlers did well to reduce England to 124 for 8 on the first day, but once Broad and Swan counter-attacked the momentum started shifting towards England and the hosts held on to that for most of the match. India's collapse in their first innings when they lost their last six wickets for 21 runs gave back the momentum to England though the visitors took a crucial 67-run lead. But, terrible captaincy, shoddy fielding and awful bowling from India coupled with some terrific batting by England saw the hosts score 544 and set India a target of 478 runs.
India though collapsed in a heap in the second innings to be bowled out for 158 in 47.4 overs with only Tendulkar, Harbhajan and Praveen making meaningful contributions.
10.16 pm - This has been a terrific performance from England after being 124 for 8 on the first day. The comeback stated with Broad and Swann; with the former being the standout performer in the match. Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Matt Prior, James Anderson and Kevin Pietersen all contributed but the Man-of-the-Match deservedly was Broad for his eight wickets and 108 runs on his home ground. What a turnaround in fortunes it has been for him since the start of this Test series. The concerns for England would be Trott's shoulder injury and Swann's lacklustre form in the series so far.
9.55 pm – It is all over and deservedly it’s Stuart Broad who takes the last Indian wicket as he finishes the match off with a yorker that is too good for Sreesanth, who backed away. India 158 all out and lose the match by a huge margin of 319 runs. England performed as a team and a well-oiled machine, but their second innings heroics wouldn’t have been possible without Broad’s 64 and 6 for 46, including a hat-trick. He also batted brilliantly in England’s second innings, but the hosts have taken a 2-0 lead and are edging towards their dream of becoming the No. 1 Test team. Their only selection issue would be if Chris Tremlett is fit for the third Test, who do they leave out? Tremlett’s replacement in this match – Tim Bresnan – was simply outstanding.
India though have got plenty of problems with the bat, ball and in the field. They have been completely outplayed and outthought and are just not playing like the No. 1 Test team. Will India finally drop Harbhajan for the next Test and bring in Amit Mishra? There are also fitness concerns over Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir.
9.42 pm - Anderson takes his third wicket of the innings as England close in on what will be a very well-deserved win. A couple of deliveries after he had posted his highest Test score of 25, Praveen fails to bring down his bat in time as an Anderson yorker castles him.
9.36 pm - Sehwag update: Cricinfo says the Indian opening batsman is scheduled to land in England tomorrow morning.
9.32 pm - Praveen continues his policy of backing away while facing the short deliveries but he has also decided to go down in "a blaze of glory" as he has hit four boundaries so far, including consecutive ones off Bresnan. He is also trying to take as much of the strike as possible and 'shield' Ishant. England's pacers though are not giving any quarter to the Indian tail.
9.12 pm - India inch closer to a humiliating defeat as Bresnan continues his wonderful match as he takes his fifth wicket of the innings as he has Harbhajan caught by substitute Scott Elstone at fine leg. Elstone, who had dropped a tough catch off Praveen Kumar moments earlier, juggled this chance a bit but managed to hold on it and he was then warmly congratulated by the whole England team. Terrific moment for the youngster that.
For pictures from today’s play at Trent Bridge, click here.
9.06 pm - Harbhajan though has decided the best way to go down is by playing some shots. He hit four boundaries off a Bresnan over to give the Indian fans at Trent Bridge something to cheer about. Meanwhile, Praveen Kumar is finding Anderson's short balls a bit too hot to handle.
9.02 pm - After playing a good knock, an error of judgement costs Tendulkar his wicket as he is trapped plumb in front off an Anderson delivery that came in extravagantly. Tendulkar shouldered arms but was rapped on the pads to be dismissed for a 86-ball 56. This is the seventh time Anderson has dismissed Tendulkar and he was over the moon after getting that wicket.
8.45 pm - India finally have something to cheer about as Tendulkar brings up his first half-century of the series with a slapped cut to deep point of Anderson. He is looking good, it's just unfortunate none of the middle-order batsmen gave him any support. Meanwhile, Harbhajan has started playing his shots and has hit Swann for a six over long-on and off the very next delivery he hit a boundary through the third man region.
Tweets for thought –
@bhogleharsha: india's middle order, i'm afraid, has still to come to terms with bounce. the next generation seems a bit thin at this level
@cricketwallah: Maybe the 42 all out in 1974 was worse, but I haven't seen a more shocking batting performance by an India team in over three decades
@cricketaakash: When u try to play every short delivery, which can happen on pitches with slightly uneven bounce n pace, it's a matter of when n not if.
From Yahoo! Cricket’s readers –
Jaysheel: very very very poor performance by team india will be very difficult to level or win the series form here.
Jai Ho: the little master plays to his best, when the whole team is out cheaply, and he feels high by feeling that he was the only one left on the crease.
Oknufsaid: What a pathetic performance form Indian team! England deserves to be number one team. No need to ask any questions! Nufsaid
Mani: with make shift openers we heading back to old days and also not utilizing the best batsman in the world at no.3,Rahul Dravid.
8.10 pm – India’s slide towards the abyss continues as Bresnan and England continue to impress at Trent Bridge and since the first day of the series. Bresnan first got Yuvraj to fend horribly to a bouncer that the southpaw had no clue about and only managed to loop it high up in the air which was caught by Alastair Cook running back from a silly slip position; and off the very next delivery Indian skipper MS Dhoni chose strangely not to offer a shot and he was trapped plumb in front. Harbhajan Singh though denied Bresnan the hat-trick and Tendulkar has been the only Indian batsman to offer any resistance in the second innings. India’s toothless performance at Trent Bridge continues as they head into Tea at 68 for 6. The difference between the two sides in all departments is quite glaring, none more so than in the bowling department.
Ayaz Memon makes an important point with this tweet – “Difference in quality of attacks stark: England plundered runs at will, India struggling to bat out 2/3rds of a day -- on the same pitch.”
Sanjay Manjrekar tweets “Raina has a problem with the short ball..dont think yuvi has one, as some have assumed here..yuvi is unsure of test cricket, thats all.” While, Michael Vaughan is enjoying what he is seeing from the England pacers as he tweets “This is awesome to watch.. Pace, aggression and accuracy..”
7.32 pm - Yuvraj Singh is getting peppered with a barrage of short balls. After taking a painful blow on the index finger of his bottom hand off a Bresnan beamer, he was tested severely by Broad, who bowled five consecutive short deliveries that were played well by Yuvraj for the most part. However, in the last ball of the 21st over, there was drama again as Yuvraj fended a Broad short ball awfully and it ballooned off his elbow to Matt Prior, which may not have been clear in real time to the England players and they thought the fifth Indian wicket had fallen. However, umpire Marais Erasmus, who has had a terrible Test match, chose to review the decision and Yuvraj stayed on in the middle.
7.18 pm - Tendulkar is playing his best knock of the series so far in a high-pressure situation. He has been positive and has also played some exquisite shots and for India to take the match into the fifth day, Tendulkar will have to be in the middle for a lot longer and needs to get support from the other end.
7.14 pm - Sourav Ganguly commentating on Star Cricket said a while back India should have brought three opening batsmen for the England Test series; and added Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Wasim Jaffer are currently the three best batsmen in Indian cricket at that position. Jaffer, whose last Test match was against South Africa at Kanpur in April 2008, was the third highest run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy last season with 728 runs at an average of 80.88.
6.59 pm - Bresnan picks up another wicket to hasten India's fall from the No. 1 spot. India are in complete disarray as Raina plays a loose shot off a Bresnan bouncer to be caught by substitute SL Elstone at fine leg. He really should have been expecting that delivery and been prepared to face the short ball. And, Bresnan almost had two in two but a Yuvraj edge fell just short of the slip cordon.
6.52 pm - Bresnan has made amends for his dropped catch off Mukund in the first ball of India's second innings. The all-rounder gets a bouncer on the spot which is too good for Mukund and he only managed to edge a catch to Strauss at first slip. Meanwhile, Tendulkar continues to show positive intent and has already hit a couple of well-timed boundaries.
6.43 pm - Sunil Gavaskar commentating on Star Cricket suggested Virender Sehwag could play the two-day practice game against Northamptonshire on August 5 and 6. No official word on this from the Indian team management though.
6.38 pm - Tendulkar has started in a positive manner and looks to be determined to battle it out in the middle. At the other end, Mukund is happy leaving deliveries he doesn't have to play at and his judgement for the most part has been good. Broad and Anderson continue to bowl beautifully.
Yahoo! Cricket’s readers express their thoughts –
Vakul: “Well i never really speak against my country...but the present indian cricket team is a team good for nothing...I can't say they'll lose the match...but after such a poor show of cricket...they don't deserve the WIN as well as the No. 1 spot....!!”
Ananthu pins his hopes on Tendulkar: “India will surely win this match if Sachin sores his 100th century.”
Kamal: “To be honest india hardly played like world champs , thay dont have the fire that we have seen in earlier years in aus team, indian team lacks aggression and intensity to win which we can seen in the eyes of kevin pietersen. so thumbs down for India.”
Murfy: “If India wins it will be a miracle!!!.We are no match for England in any facet of the game. Soon you will see at least 3 players back in the pavilion cracking jokes. The selectors should be ashamed at our display. It is time to drop some seniors and look at young blood. Imagine the English tailenders scoring centuries freely. Dhoni is not fit to be a test captain. His recent decisions have been extremely poor. Sachin will continue to be selected as long as wants, to complete his 100th Century!!! Bhajji should be shown the EXIT sign . Amit Misra shaould replace Bhajji. Do what is good for India. Please!!!”
6.20 pm - Things have just gone from bad to worse for India. James Anderson bowls a beauty that didn't come in as much as Laxman expected and he played down the wrong line only to have his off stump uprooted. Both of India's proven match-savers -- Dravid and Laxman -- are back in the pavilion. Over to Sachin Tendulkar and Mukund to delay the inevitable as much as they can.
Some interesting tweets –
@cricketwallah: Given his current form, Dravid's dismissal almost like a kayo blow. Atmosphere in the Indian dressing room will be funereal...
@VaughanCricket: India need to show why they are No1 ranked team in the world.. So far today they look like they have thrown the towel in..
@warne888: I know everyone has a bad day but India's effort at the moment lacks pride - way to many misfields / heinous bowling. Eng will go 2-0 up
5.34 pm - After being run to the ground as England scored 540 in their second innings and being set a target of 478 to level the four-Test series, India would have hoped to get through unscathed in the five overs they had to face before Lunch. However, that wasn't to be as Broad bowled a peach of a delivery that left Dravid after making him come forward and the resultant thin edge was snapped up by Prior behind the stumps. India went into Lunch at 8 for 1 with Mukund and VVS Laxman in the middle and the pair will look to survive for as long as possible in the post-lunch session. Have India's hopes of salvaging an unlikely draw disappeared with Dravid's dismissal? England continue to dominate the Test and have won yet another session.
5.24 pm - Anderson and Broad have started well, but the drama continues at Trent Bridge. Prior took an excellent take down the leg side off Broad and then appealed for the catch against Dravid and after some time Strauss reviewed it, but they withdrew the review shortly after. Should that be allowed when the first step towards reviewing the decision had already been taken? Anyway, Hot Spot showed the ball hit the pad.
5.12 pm - Mukund was out in the first ball of the match and should really have met the same fate in India's second innings as well. The left-handed opening batsman edged a moving delivery from Anderson to the slip region and Bresnan at second slip attempted to take a one-handed flying catch in front of captain Andrew Strauss but spilled it. The pressure on India would have been magnified by leaps and bounds had the catch stuck.
5.01 pm - The pain for India finally ends as Ishant gets Swann caught by Saha at mid-off as England are 544 all out in 120.2 overs in their second innings. England's run rate in the second innings was 4.52 and scoring at this fast clip has given them enough time to bowl India out in the second innings. India need to bat five sessions to chase down the target of 478 - which, if successful, will be the highest ever fourth innings score. The odds are firmly in favour of England and India will need a special performance from their batsmen.
Ian Bell top-scored with 159 in England's second innings, but the controversy around his run-out dismissal and then Dhoni and the Indian team's decision to reinstate the batsman has already been much debated about and will continue to do so in the months to come. But, that takes nothing away from Bell's outstanding knock. Pietersen, Morgan, Prior and Bresnan all scored half-centuries as England ran India haggard in the second innings. Praveen, who took 4-124 was the pick of the Indian bowlers by a long way and bowled his heart out.
4.46 pm - Stop press! India get two wickets in two balls. Substitute Wriddhiman Saha runs in from cover and his direct underarm throw catches Broad well short, but not before he had played an entertaining knock of 44 from 32 balls, including two massive sixes. Hard to believe at the start of the Lord's Test, he was battling to keep his place in the playing XI. Off the very next delivery, Praveen gets extra bounce and the ball takes the shoulder of Bresnan's bat and travels to gully where he is caught by India's 'Wall' Rahul Dravid, who is now shadow practicing his defence. Bresnan was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved maiden Test century but played very well for his 118-ball 90. Praveen has now taken four wickets and been rewarded for bowling his heart out.
Sanjay Manjrekar tweets: The inevitable has happened..indian attack getting xposed in the absence of zak..bhajji's lack of spice not helping either.
4.30 pm - England's run-rate in the second innings currently stands at 4.70; it has been absolute carnage at Trent Bridge. And, in the last 10 overs, England have scored at 7.70 per over. India would love to wave a white flag and plead for the bloodbath to be over and try to save with a match-saving batting effort in the second innings. Meanwhile, Dhoni continues to have awkward moments behind the stumps every now and then.
4.26 pm - England's partnerships in this innings: 6 for the first wicket; 51 for the second wicket; 162 for the third wicket; 104 for the fourth wicket; 6 for the fifth wicket; 10 for the sixth wicket; 119 for the seventh wicket; 80 and counting for the seventh wicket!
4.21 pm - India and Dhoni continue to be bereft of ideas and just seem to be waiting for England to be nice hosts and declare their second innings so that they can come out and try and salvage the Test and their No. 1 ranking. The field placements and fielding continue to be less than ordinary. England have been absolutely outstanding as they continue to run India to the ground with their boundaries and running between the wickets.
4.12 pm - On the matter of the odd field placements, close to 170 of England's 500+ runs in the second innings have been scored through the vacant third man region. Just don't understand why Dhoni refuses to get a fielder in that position and also gets close-in fielders. Praveen has tried his heart out, but he can't do much without support from his captain. The same holds for the rest of India's bowling attack as well. England have maintained their stronghold on this Test since Broad took his hat-trick.
4.07 pm - Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad are keeping India pinned down. Admittedly, some shoddy fielding through their second innings (the latest culprits being Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh) and the wide spread field placements have made run scoring easier; but that doesn't take anything away from an impressive England fightback. India continue to look ragged as England continue to stretch their lead.
First tweets of the day –
@VaughanCricket: Overcast now and it's Humid... Good conditions for Bowling.. 50 for @timbresnan .. On Yorkshire day..
@warne888: Ball swinging lots today as it's very humid here at Trent Bridge... Very good bowling day...
@ZaltzCricket: On train to Edinburgh for a month of jokes. A tough day ahead for India. What do they have in the tank? Have they made some replica Dravids?
3.46 pm - India finally get something right as Dhoni just about manages to hold on to an edge offered by Prior off Praveen Kumar's bowling. Brings to an end Prior's 60-ball 73 and his 119-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Tim Bresnan, who has scored a well-made half-century. England have started off with aggressive intent hitting four boundaries in the first two overs of the day. Praveen and Sreesanth have started proceedings for India like they did yesterday. Dhoni really needs to get proactive now and set aggressive fields to bowl England out in the first session.
Day 4 Pitch report: Ravi Shastri says the green tinge on the wicket has disappeared and the track is batting-friendly. There may be a bit of turn on offer, but nothing to alarm the batsmen, Shastri says and adds England will look to bat for at least another session. And, when they bowl England’s pacers would wants to use their height to good effect in the first 15 overs of India’s second innings.
A quick recap of Day 3 - England started Day 3 on 24-1 and ended it at 441-6; adding a mammoth 417 runs on the day. India's bowling was shoddy as was their ground fielding to an extent; Dhoni's captaincy left a lot to be desired but his decision to call back Ian Bell will be a talking point for months, if not years. That apart, England were all over India with Bell making 159 of the best Test runs one can ever hope to see. Pietersen, Morgan and Prior all chipped in with half-centuries. Prior and Tim Bresnan (47*) have so far added an unbeaten 102 runs in 18.2 overs for the seventh wicket as England lead India by 374 runs; and look all set to unseat India as the world's No. 1 Test team. It was an eventful day of Test cricket that won't be forgotten in a hurry as much as for England's brilliance on the field that is likely to be overshadowed by the scenes just before Tea time involving Bell.
As expected, the British press was all praise for Dhoni and the Indian team’s decision to recall Bell. The man at the centre of the storm – Bell – admits he was naïve to do what he did; while Rahul Dravid said India wanted to protect ‘the spirit of the game’. Dhoni’s act, meanwhile, has both been praised and criticised in India; while experts feel the rule of law was trampled on.
This is what Yahoo! Cricket readers had to say about yesterday’s play –
Gunasekar: “TO BE No. 1 team in the world, the team should face any condition, any attack, any country and most importantly to give counter attack in all format of the game (bat, bowl and field). As per present position INDIA Lags almost all the skills. So better the series will go in favour of England to become No.1 in ranking. Still we have great players in our country who can strength their statistics and personal glory by having some hundreds against some weaker attacks in the home soil.”
P. Devaraj paints a gloomy picture: “I think match will be over toady itself.. as usual they will set target nearly 450 or 60 then india will be all out for nearly 300 or 300 + ... that 300 also will come by laxman +dravid +extas + 50 runs (all other batsmen total score)... and more thing as usual sachin seeing clouds while coming to bat...(most of the people doesn’t know that he is waiting for rain) .. after that he will be out for 15 or 20 ...”
Shri lauds Dhoni: “England may win this match, but Dhoni won entire cricketing world for many many years. By calling Bell back to play, he set an example to entire cricket world and shown how to behave as a gentle man in gentlemen's game like cricket.”
Anshu: “India will have to play like they are no 1.team in the world......its war between champions and challengers.. and champs can not loose so easily.... so buck up boys and prove yourself on the burning field!!!!!!!”