The Enemy Camp: Pietersen and Praveen hog the limelight

Yahoo cricket editorial blogs

(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.)

There were clearly two cricketers - one Indian and one English (Praveen Kumar and Kevin Pietersen) - who deservedly hogged all the headlines in the British press after their heroic performances on the second day of the Lord's Test.

Speaking to The Telegraph on his superb 202*, Pietersen touched on the collective team effort and also lavished praise on Praveen Kumar. On his own innings, Pietersen said:

“India bowled really well in the swinging and seaming conditions. I was playing and missing at balls and missing them by a couple of inches. It was really hard graft. I really enjoyed it. I had to work hard but the other guys injected pace into the innings.”

Staying with Pietersen, The Daily Mirror's Dean Wilson, states the right-hander's first Test century in England for three years was worth the wait and goes on to write -

The 202 not out he recorded on the hallowed Lord’s turf was more than just another of his 18 Test match tons. It was a statement.

It told the cricket world that he was back to his very best, it told India that they had their work cut out to keep hold of their No.1 status, and it told those who doubted that he still had the hunger to become an England great to button up.

Arguably he has already become a great by passing 6,000 Test runs and carving his name on the Lord’s honours board for the fifth time.

Praveen Kumar was hailed by the British press for his large-heartedness and control over his length. Writing in The Telegraph, Simon Hughes says this of Praveen -

His control of length is superb. It was hard to recall a half-volley in his first 30 overs and the only short deliveries were attempted bouncers, attempting to stop the batsmen from standing out of their crease but which, unfortunately for him, failed to get up.

Belying his inexperience – he only made his Test debut in the West Indies last month – he kept all the England batsmen in check with impressive control but the real noticeable thing was his clear wicket-taking nous.

Into his 40th over he made one slide down the Lord’s slope and flick Matt Prior’s edge, and with the sight of Stuart Broad striding out, had five wickets in his sights. Broad knew what his first ball was going to be. A late inswinger seeking to trap him lbw. Kumar knew he knew.

Such was the perfection of the delivery – the exact full length, the probing line, the wicked late swing all achieved with a simple snap of the wrist – Broad was powerless to intervene. It was the less ostentatious honours-board moment of the day, but, achieved with old fashioned skill and cunning, it was no less deserved.

Meanwhile, in a hard-hitting article in The Independent, James Lawton hits out at India's refusal to embrace technology -

It would have been bad enough if Dhoni's team had not so recently hastened the retirement of experienced Australian umpire Daryl Harper with a distasteful, though unfortunately not unprecedented, attack on official credibility following some debatable decisions in a Test match against the West Indians.

That was a bullying performance which, ironically enough, perfectly illustrated the most important benefit of cricket's wider willingness to embrace technology.

The Indians say that the predictive capacity of Hawk-Eye is less than infallible and, scientifically and practically, they may have a point. But then when you consider the weight of probabilities – and the certainty that without DRS cricket will inevitably see the return of the vice that so routinely dragged it into the sports gutter – the overwhelming reaction must be anger.

Anger that a team which in the past has inflicted some of the most outrageous pressure on match officials – notably when Jamaica's Steve Bucknor was forced out of the 2008 series in Australia following the controversy of Harbhajan Singh's alleged racist remark to Andrew Symonds – has derailed a system which, while less than completely perfect, wiped away at the flick of a button some of cricket's worst ills.

Other interesting reads -

The Daily Mail's Lawrence Booth writes about Dhoni's spell on Day 2 of the Lord's Test.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain says Pietersen is among the world's best.

Mike Walters paints a doomsday-like picture for India's coach Duncan Fletcher.

Stuart Broad gets some much-needed encouragement from South African pace ace Dale Steyn.