AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

Live Blog: England vs India, Day 2, Lord’s

(Note to readers: we will post live match updates, analysis and expert views through the course of the Lord's Test match. New updates will appear on top. Please hit the refresh button periodically.)

It was a day to cherish for PK and KP. But it's advantage England for now.It was a day to cherish for PK and KP. But it's advantage England for now.

It was a day to cherish for PK and KP. But it's advantage England for now.

12.00 am - Mukund looked out of place against Tremlett but India survived six overs without damage. England would sense an opportunity against Mukund and Dravid, who hasn't been a happy tourist in recent years. If those two fall cheaply, it would put huge pressure on the middle order. We'll find out how it goes tomorrow. Thanks for joining the live blog and discussions today. We'll look forward to seeing you again tomorrow. Goodnight.

Match Links:

Match Report | Scores | Action Images

Question for readers: Are there any positives for India on Day 2?

11.02 pm - With a hundred in 216 balls, a second hundred in just 110 more balls, this would be one of Pietersen's most memorable Test innings. He had gone 20-odd innings without a hundred in England. The conditions were difficult for batting yesterday. He survived that and tucked in India's bowling today. This is a good declaration from England, one which should steer the Test into a riveting contest. The wicket's expected to remain firm throughout. Now can India's batsmen handle the much talked about English pace and bounce?

Praveen dismisses Broad to complete his first Test fiver.Praveen dismisses Broad to complete his first Test fiver.

Praveen dismisses Broad to complete his first Test fiver.

10.18 - Some tweets on Praveen's effort:

@SANJAYMANJREKAR - Sun on the pitch today has quickened the pitch...just what praveen kumar needed..more pace to go with his swing...brilliant stuff !

@cricketaakash - In first-class cricket in India one bowler I didn't like to face in seaming conditions was Praveen Kumar...brilliant wrist position!

@legsidefilth - Well bowled Praveen. Banter with KP, banter with the crowd, 5 wkts on a day when Eng are booked in for bed and breakfast... star. #EngvInd

9.51 pm - Praveen Kumar, take a bow. In his 40th over of the innings, he tirelessly conjures up more magic to remove Prior and Broad with consecutive deliveries. The hat-trick ball — an in-swinging yorker — was kept out by Graeme Swann.

But having taken his maiden Test fiver, Praveen's name would now go up on the Lord's honours board. Where are the people who said he's a one-day specialist?

His Uttar Pradesh team-mate RP Singh had taken five in the Nottingham Test of 2007. India had won that game. Here, much work remains. Meanwhile, Pietersen passes 150.

The day's pictures are in. You can see them here.

9.30 pm - Here's the only thing that has gone Harbhajan's way today.

A panoramic view of Lord's on FridayA panoramic view of Lord's on Friday

A panoramic view of Lord's on Friday

8.50 pm - This is fill-in-your-boots time for England. Ishant and Harbhajan have bowled 50 overs between them and haven't looked like taking a wicket. Dhoni asked for India's first referral when Pietersen miscued a reverse sweep. HotSpot showed the ball hit his pad and groin before being caught by Dravid at slip.

As Pietersen nears his 150, one considers the merits of playing a certain pie-chucker. Ishant's short length wasted the new ball. Prior has moved to an easy-paced 40.

Vimalkar says:

Zaheer Khan has to first get himself fully fit before embarking on such an important series. I firmly believe that he was only 60% fit before they embarked on this tour. The BCCI bosses are to be blamed for this. Sending an unfit player for this important series without ascertaining whether he was 100% fit enough to undergo the trip.

Dharmesh says:

I think India will suffer because Ishant Sharma is not consistent at all and you can't depend too much on Pravin Kumar either (though he has bowled exceptionally well), and also Harbhajan Singh is not very effective on the Lord's pitch.

8.07 pm - Zaheer was seen exercycling furiously. Wasim Akram's expert view: Zaheer was probably checking if there was pain in his hamstring, but since he could cycle so hard without discomfort, it is a good sign for India.

7.55 pm - Dhoni is back with the ball. Praveen has bowled 16 overs today, 33.3 overall. Wonder how much more he can toil today.

UK says:

7:15PM IST: Over the last one hour, I saw history repeat itself many times - first wicket keeper Dhoni bowl in a Test match in England just as an India wicket keeper named Budhi Kunderan bowled in a test in England 4 decades back, then I saw the gentle/friendly pace and inswing of Praveen Kumar and remembered the days of Ekanath Solkar and Syed Abid Ali. Then Ishant came on with the new ball and failed to utilize his pace and hieght - he does not swing at all even in the best of English conditions and becomes a not so useful gentle-giant. And KP used the situation to full advantage and stroked his first century after 3 years ! England seems on the way to a big total.

Komal Singh Suri says:

Not a good news for us, Zaheer bowled exceptionally well yesterday. I'm also worried about Praveen Kumar, I heard he is running on the pitch (I never understood that rule)? It is time for other bowlers to do well. The match will be on our batsmen's shoulders if our bowlers fail to stop England from scoring big score.

Pietersen completed his sixth Test hundred at Lord's after lunch.Pietersen completed his sixth Test hundred at Lord's after lunch.

Pietersen completed his sixth Test hundred at Lord's after lunch.

7.30 pm — It will be a long, long time before you see Kevin Pietersen struggle to a Test hundred like that again. It's his sixth hundred at Lord's, fourth against India and 18th overall. He's had some luck, but it doesn't matter. Critics of his high-flying lifestyle can cool it for now.

Praveen Kumar has brought India back with two quick wickets after the hundred. Bell edged a beautifully shaped out-swinger to Dhoni. In the same over, Eoin Morgan was given caught behind. HotSpot shows only a spot on his pad. So if Morgan didn't hit it, why didn't he refer it? Bizarre.

7.02 pm - What's the English press saying about the Lord's Test? Jharna has the latest in our new feature, The Enemy Camp.

6.54 pm - Tweets on Dhoni, who has created more excitement in his first three overs than Harbhajan's last 22.

@diogeneb - Mein Geeta pear haath rakh ke kasam khata hoon ki yeh Sakshi hai ki Dhoni Bhajji se behtar bowler hain

@StewieCricket - MS Dhoni can now be classified as a genuine all rounder! Is there anything he can't do?

@kunalpradhan - #Dhoni is doing it all, including running on the wicket. #IndvsEng

@cricketwallah - DRS saves Pietersen, but must say he's been all at sea against Dhoni who's bowling well: Getting the ball to swing both ways at 77-79 mph

@andrewmcdonald4 - Ms dhoni keeps the art of gentle medium pace alive! How good is the man! Keeps the game of cricket exciting in what ever he does!

Dhoni thought he had taken his first Test wicket before HotSpot saved Pietersen. Dhoni thought he had taken his first Test wicket before HotSpot saved Pietersen.

Dhoni thought he had taken his first Test wicket before HotSpot saved Pietersen.

6.30 pm - Coming back to Kunderan. Budhisagar Krishnappa Kunderan was India's wicketkeeper batsman and played 18 Tests between 1960 and 1967. Apart from sharing his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi, he did such amazing things as take two hundreds off the visiting England side in 1964, including 192 in Chennai.

It remains the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper. An unorthodox batsman, he was sort of a maverick considered ahead of his time. That innings had 31 fours, an Indian record unbroken till VVS Laxman hit 44 against Australia 37 years later.

And as UK points out, Kunderan opened the bowling for India once in Tests. He shared the new-ball with middle order batsman and fellow Karnataka cricketer, Venkataraman Subramanya, who played nine Tests between 1965 and 1968.

The match — against England in Birmingham — where they opened the bowling is the only one featuring the spin quartet of Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrasekhar and Venkat together.

And as we speak of keepers who bowl, Dhoni bowled the first over after lunch and nearly had Pietersen first ball with a sharp in-swinger. The ball struck KP outside the off-stump and was given not out by Billy Bowden.

Dhoni created more sensation when Bowden ruled Pietersen caught behind. Pietersen called for a review and the HotSpot showed no signs of an edge. Dhoni's first Test wicket will have to wait.

6.08 pm - Hari says:

It is quite unfortunate not to have zaheer in the pace attack. At the same time our fielding lapses are alarmingly high. India has to struggle hard to maintain the No.1 position if this is the situation. It is high time to think of including Sree in the squad.

Mogana Sundaram says England have better bowlers, but India have better batsmen. Michael G respectfully disagrees.

Dravid indicates he isn't sure he had caught Pietersen cleanly. Dravid indicates he isn't sure he had caught Pietersen cleanly.

Dravid indicates he isn't sure he had caught Pietersen cleanly.

5.30 pm - First up, an update on Zaheer Khan. He may bowl in the second innings.

A reader named UK says:

Playing with only 4 bowlers and dropping Sreeshant is an irrational decision. Praveen Kumar is excellent for domestic cricket, but test cricket is a different cup of tea. Ishant has got wickets only when there are penetrative bowlers like Zaheer and Sreeshant at the other end. So today we don't have a bowling attack worth the name - I don't know how many of today's readers remember the times of Pataudi when we went into an England series with wicket keeper Budhi Kunderan as one of the opening bowlers ! Dhoni had better stopped relying on his luck to remain at No 1.

As for now, India have been reduced to three bowlers. Praveen has bowled 27.3 of the 77 overs so far. That is more than a third of all overs — humongous work load for a pace bowler and he hasn't shied away.

He has carried India through this session. Against the flow of things, he put in a little extra into an in-swinger to Trott and caught him in front of the leg-stump. He nearly had Pietersen when a flick eluded Rahul Dravid's hands at leg-slip. More about that catch below.

There's nothing in the pitch. There's little support from Harbhajan's end — by the way of containing runs or taking wickets. Pietersen has picked him for easily singles to the leg-side. Ian Bell has expressed himself more freely, cutting Harbhajan for two fours and sweeping him for one more.

Harbhajan is leaking runs at nearly four an over — a big number considering the innings has moved at well below three an over.

Bell averages over 200 in Tests this year. And he's off to a start. There's a hundred to be had here. India will have to rest the front-liners and bowl part-time off-spin at some point today.

Coming back to Dravid's near-catch. It has caught the attention of many tweeters. A small sample:

@ZaltzCricket - Looked probably out. But not the most confident appeal by Dravid.

@adityavnathan - Being too honest not the best remedy at times like this. It looked out.

@StewieCricket - Initial reaction was Dravid ct the ball. As always TV replays and 3rd umpire favour the batsman.

@greigtalks - For Gods sake the time has come for cricketers to grow up – take the fielders word for weather or not the catch was taken. Dravid is not a cheat and he claimed the catch all KP had to do was ask him. I would like to think that is what ST would do. That KP decision could be a game changer and its why players have to take more responsibility please RT I need feedback on this

Zaheer Khan pulls up on Thursday.Zaheer Khan pulls up on Thursday.

Zaheer Khan pulls up on Thursday.

As the first session was underway, a thought crossed this writer's mind. India have played many Test series abroad with at least one of their first-choice pacers missing due to injury. How long before one of them gets injured in England?

Given how much India rely on Zaheer's penetrative abilities, the answer to that should have been "eventually". But who would have thought it would be on the first day of a mouth-watering series?

Andrew Flintoff was quick to point out on Twitter that India's hopes of remaining No. 1 rank will go with Zaheer.

Similarly, our readers had a few things to say about dropping Sreesanth, who had bowled with distinction in Durban and Cape Town, but has only kept the bench warm since then.

An unnamed reader said:

I don't understand why sreesanth is not playing in this match. I know that he is not a good ODI bowler but he is a great test bowler. He already proved it in the recent south african tour where he picked wickets consistently including a 5 wicket haul. It would have really reduced Zaheer's burden since no other bowler has picked wickets...even Ishant is not getting his line and length right.

Patt1 said:

Just as Flintoff has tweeted, without Zaheer India will lose the series. Zaheer is perhaps the best bowler in the World alongside Steyn. He is the only reason India has won in the last couple of years. The other bowlers (Harbhajan included) are there just to take an odd wicket. There was no Sehwag to unsettle the English bowlers and now (it looks like) no Zaheer to unsettle the English batsmen. Bummer.

Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh is bowling to a leg-side field around the wicket to the two right-handers. The sun is shining. This is day to pile runs on. There's just one man catching. It would be criminal for Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen to not score hundreds here.

Stop press. Out of nowhere, Praveen gets Trott LBW with an in-swinger.

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