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The Enemy Camp: Dravid, Broad applauded

(Note to readers: 'The Enemy Camp' will be the tongue-in-cheek name for Yahoo! Cricket's coverage of the English press during India's tour of England.)

Rahul Dravid scored his 33rd Test century and also passed Ricky Ponting to become the second highest run-scorer in Test cricket. Stuart Broad’s place in the England team was being questioned, but he took 4-37 to help the hosts take a 188-run first innings lead on the third day of the Lord’s Test.

Paying tribute to Dravid’s innings, Steve James writes in The Daily Telegraph –

While most stride out carrying blades resembling railway sleepers, Dravid prefers something much skinnier. He relies on touch rather than power, playing the ball so much later than the modern generation who generally rush at the oncoming ball like enraged bulls.

Whereas others score runs to third man by accident, he does so intentionally- bringing joy to a batsman like me who based a whole career around the exploration of that area. Yesterday was not quite as testing, but nonetheless it was difficult enough. England bowled excellently. There was one over from Anderson in which Dravid struck three fours - two square drives and a clip to mid-wicket - but it was a rare moment of fluidity.

Generally it was a struggle. And Dravid, always concentrating fiercely with head as low over the ball as his left elbow is high above it, enjoys that struggle.

They call him ‘The Wall’, a nickname he hates, but it is not, excuse the pun, without foundation. Indeed that base, an immaculate forward-defensive stroke, seems to be made of the very best concrete.

Writing in the same paper, Simon Hughes is effusive in his praise for Broad and says the lanky bowler reaped the rewards for pitching up the ball –

Stuart Broad’s first ball on Saturday morning swung into Abhinav Mukund, and it swung late.

Broad worked hard in practice this week trying to remind the selectors of his value. He concentrated on a fuller length in the nets and troubled all the England players on a juicy surface. His action looked grooved.

That was enough to convince the selectors to stick by him and he repaid their faith. But he might not have done so without that first ball.

The late swing he generated would have immediately convinced him to stick to a more searching length.

Meanwhile, Mike Brearley mentions the man who was firmly in the limelight, but only played a cameo knock

As it happened, the warm-up act having played its part and withdrawn, Tendulkar revealed just a few of his jewels, a fluent cover drive, a well controlled steer to third man, and two magnificent back-foot forcing shots through cover point off balls that were on a perfect line and barely short of a length. There was even (as in Shakespeare) a moment of light relief to help him on his way when Kevin Pietersen shied with wild, histrionic optimism at the stumps and gave him four overthrows.

But then it was over; the cameo came to an end with a fine piece of bowling when Broad, no longer striving to be the Enforcer, returned for a second spell, and at once drew Tendulkar into an edged drive for an excellent catch at second slip and thus took his third wicket with well-pitched-up, swinging deliveries.

Sachin has been a wonderful model, both as batsman and as representative of his country. In 22 years of international cricket he has never lost his cool, or misbehaved (unless one counts the one time he was brought up before a Disciplinary Committee – 10 years ago – for alleged ball-tampering, a charge which led to incredulity and outrage).

Stephen Brenkley of The Independent has a rather interesting take on the ongoing Lord’s Test being the 2000th Test –

It has been widely publicised that the Test match in progress at Lord's is the 2,000th. Poppycock, of course. The occasion has been wonderful and Lord's has been characteristically grand even when it has been tipping down, but it has not been the extra-special event we have been led to believe by the International Cricket Council.

This is either Test match No 1,999 – with the 2,000th at Trent Bridge next week – or it is No 2,005. The ICC are having it both ways at present.

Other interesting reads –

The Guardian’s David Hopps is effusive in his praise for Rahul Dravid’s unbeaten 103.

The BBC’s Jonathan Agnew writes Dravid was determined to get his name on the Lord’s honours board.

England pacer James Anderson is all praise for his teammates Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad in his column for Daily Mail.

David Lloyd writes Stuart Broad must now focus on being a wicket-taker than an enforcer.

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