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The Enemy Camp: Praise for Ishant’s incisive spell and Prior’s rear-guard century

(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.)

Ishant Sharma got over his shoddy bowling in England’s first innings as he tore the heart out of the hosts’ batting line-up taking three wickets in the pre-lunch session on the fourth day of the Lord’s Test. But, then England wicket-keeper Matt Prior scored his sixth Test century and put together an undefeated 162-run partnership for the seventh wicket which helped the hosts set India a target of 458 runs to win the first Test.

Vic Marks is effusive in his praise for Prior’s century and writes this in The Guardian

The second half of Prior's innings was fun; the first half was fundamental to England retaining their grip on this match. At 62 for five when Prior strode to the crease, the lead was a modest 250; Ishant Sharma, his mane streamlined in the breeze, was at full gallop and India, despite the absence of Zaheer Khan, were doing a fair impression of the best side in the world.

This was one of the moments that the players often talk about. Suddenly against all overnight expectations the match was in the balance. Good sides win those moments and Prior, later abetted with great enthusiasm by Stuart Broad, made sure that England's domination was soon restored. Prior showed some discretion but he never deserted his natural instincts, which are to meet a crisis with aggression. If there was an invitation to drive square on the off-side or to cut, it was accepted with alacrity.

Even for a side with such a strong team ethic, Prior was selfless and frenetic in pursuit of swift runs for the declaration, which overshadowed his quest for another Test century. Suresh Raina, albeit a moderate off-spinner, came on to bowl with eight men stationed on the boundary. There was a time when such a field would, quite reasonably, encourage the risk-free accumulation of singles. Upon receipt of a short ball Prior decided he could clear the boundary fielders. And so he did.

His running between the wickets alongside Broad was harum-scarum. Such enterprise probably won Strauss and his bowlers another 20 minutes to dismiss India. It was also a message that England were hellbent upon victory rather than allowing their players to achieve some nice personal landmarks.

Nick Hoult of The Daily Telegraph writes Ishant is finally living up to the early hype

Aged just 22, Sharma has packed in plenty of highs and lows into his four-year Test career suffering lost form, confidence and depression in between becoming the fifth-youngest bowler to take 100 Test wickets.

Sharma broke on to the scene in Australia in 2007 with a working-over of Ricky Ponting on a WACA pitch tailor-made for a tall, back-of-a-length bowler.

Sharma claims he suffered from a scrambled mind which in turn muddled his technique.

Having been successful as a quick, bang it in bowler, he believes he started to think too hard about an action that used to come naturally.

The Daily Telegraph’s Simon Briggs says allowing substitutions is a disaster for the fan and players –

The game of cricket produces a uniquely subtle interplay between the players and the conditions. And any mucking about with an injury replacement clause would only encourage unscrupulous teams to work the system to their own advantage.

Substitutes are not completely foreign to cricket. You may remember that, for a brief period 2005 and 2006, one-day teams were allowed to pick 12 players and then bring on a “supersub” at the appropriate moment in the game.

But the system proved to be a disaster. Apart from confusing the hell out of fans, players and coaches alike, it also put paid to one of the most enduring traditions in the game: the premium value of the all-rounder.

No, let other sports shuffle people on and off the field like Shane Warne changing his poker hand. In cricket, the same team that starts the match must finish the match — minus any casualties sustained along the way.

Mike Walters on the centenary parade of legends at Lord’s –

For the 100th Test between England and India, Marylebone Cricket Club hosted a stellar cast of former captains and ­heavyweights of a rivalry which dates back to 1932.

Sir Ian Botham, whose match figures of 13-105 and 114 at the Jubilee Test 31 years ago remains the ultimate all-round ­performance of modern times, was there.

So was Geoffrey Boycott, Sunil Gavaskar, Donald Carr (the oldest living England captain), David Gower (the last England skipper to win a series in the old Raj), Graham Gooch, Sourav Ganguly, Ravi Shastri, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan.

It was quite a reunion, and to mark the occasion MCC presented their VIP guests with a ­commemorative cap, ­embroidered with gold tassels and piping.

Other interesting reads –

Prior says England has plenty of work to do on Day 5 of the Lord’s Test.

Lawrence Booth is all praise for Ishant’s incisive spell on the fourth day of the Lord’s Test.

The Daily Telegraph’s Scyld Berry says Prior has given England the springboard to reach for the No. 1 Test status.

James Lawton takes a dig at sceptics who say Test cricket is on the wane.

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