AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

Live Blog: England vs India, Day 3, 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.)

Question for readers: Is Dravid back to his best?

Dravid punches the air after completing his 33rd Test hundred.Dravid punches the air after completing his 33rd Test hundred.

Dravid punches the air after completing his 33rd Test hundred.

15 years ago on this ground, Dravid walked immediately after England appealed for a caught behind. He was on Test debut, five short of a Test hundred. It was a really thin edge. Who knows what the umpire would have ruled had Dravid not walked.

Earlier in the same year, another young batsman with a goatee got out four short of a hundred on Test debut against Sri Lanka. It was a dubious LBW decision.

Ricky Ponting and Dravid couldn't be more different. But when they first appeared on the scene, they were somewhat similar. Both were fantastic players of fast bowling, sported moustaches, looked serious most times and talked really fast.

It was in England, during the 1997 Ashes, where Ponting overcame a string of poor scores to cement his place in the side with a hundred at Leeds. Like Dravid, he was made in England.

On Saturday, they crossed paths again when Dravid overtook Ponting to become the second-highest Test scorer in history.

That was before he punched Tremlett on the up through the cover for an unbelievably good four, then turned him through mid-on to complete his first hundred on the ground which started it all for him.

For the last four years, Dravid had been a shadow of his former self. But if he's back to his best, good luck toppling India from their perch.

For now, India have to deal with a massive 188-run deficit. But England probably don't have enough time in this game to push for a result.

Match Links: Day's Report | Scores | Action In Images

10.27 pm - Praveen Kumar moves to a quick 17 off 12, saves India from following on, but gets out to a Broad bouncer. Dravid is on 93. Zaheer is seen in the dressing room, padded up to bat next.

Prateek Agarwal says:

This series is reminding me of 2005 ashes where all English cricket team united to defeat Australia, Mc Grath got injured, Ricky Ponting captain at that time bowled few overs. This time too England is vowing to be no. 1 side, Zak got injured, Dhoni took over bowling. Situations quite same, but I hope India still wins.

10 pm - Tremlett has removed Dhoni and Harbhajan in one over and India are practically eight-down with Zaheer's injury. The extra bounce is working from Tremlett. Laxman earlier got out playing a shot you'd not see him play in a Test for a long time. He was looking to flick it away, but ended up hitting it too well because of the bounce and pace.

Dhoni and Harbhajan fell wafting at short balls outside the off-stump. Dravid is in the vicinity of a hundred. Sourav Ganguly commented Dravid's heart would be in his mouth because of Praveen's cavalier batting style.

Swann drops Dravid in the slips. Swann drops Dravid in the slips.

Swann drops Dravid in the slips.

9.23 pm - Post tea, England have decided to slip in some quick overs with Trott and Pietersen. It would not discomfort India, who had problems against Broad in the noon. Meanwhile, here are the day's pictures.

8.53 pm - Wall Street Journal has published, tongue firmly in cheek, a list of reasons to hate Tendulkar (who has now gone 11 innings at Lord's without crossing 40). A clip:

He lacks focus at the crease — Part Deux: On July 15 to 17 in a game against English County side Somerset, Tendulkar was caught off the bowling of Craig Meschede, a 19-year old, for a paltry 26. It was Meschede’s first first-class wicket. We actually find this as endearing as it is embarrassing for the great batsman. But we do pity Meschede, who for the rest of his cricketing career will never get a bigger wicket — talk about having your best day behind you and you’re only 19. We feel even more for Meschede’s friends and family. They are going to have to endure the retelling of this incident at least weekly for the next five decades. They must be saying: Thanks a lot, Little Master.

Don't miss the comments. Sadly, subtle humour is highly misunderstood in India.

8.30 pm - This is why we love Test cricket. At tea, India are 193-5, miles away from England's 474, miles away from the follow-on mark. Yet, this game is far from over. Dravid has made 59 of his best runs even though Swann has caused him plenty of discomfort.

My colleague Anirban had one look at Broad warming up at the start of the day and said it could be his day. So far Broad has had four of the five wickets to fall. He had made a first-ball duck yesterday. This is why we love Test cricket. Lows on one day, highs in the next.

MCC members give Tendulkar a standing ovation as he walks out to bat. MCC members give Tendulkar a standing ovation as he walks out to bat.

MCC members give Tendulkar a standing ovation as he walks out to bat.

As Dravid battles it out through a top-order failure, James Lawton’s astonishing anti-India rant catches the eye.

A sample from the article titled "Arrogant tourists' refusal to embrace technology was nothing short of sabotage":

What India did, at the insistent advocacy of their captain, when arguing successfully against lbw verdicts under the Decision Review System, was nothing less than sabotage.

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.

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.

The word "sabotage" reminds me of something I recently learnt about India's 1974 tour of England, widely known as the Summer of 42. This was a time when England, not India, was the centre of the cricketing universe. And they called the shots then, just as India does now.

To allow this tour to happen, England imposed a condition on India that they had to limit the the number of fielders on the leg-side. It was a move to blunt India's spinners even before a ball had been bowled. Not surprisingly, India's famed spin quartet took only 15 wickets in three matches. India lost 3-0.

This was a huge fall from the preceding series. On their successful 1971 tour of England, Venkat, Chandra and Bedi aggregated 37 wickets in three Tests. In the home series that followed in 1972-73, Chandra had taken 35 wickets — still an Indian record — while Bedi took 25 and Prasanna 10. India had won that series too.

The 1974 incident? That was sabotage. What's happening now is a disagreement. And while BCCI's opposition to the DRS made no sense, their apprehensions against Hawkeye are valid.

Lawton's support for two over-the-hill umpires, Harper and Bucknor, is ever more astonishing. Their ousters from international had become necessary after a series of howlers, not just against India.

Harper, who got four decisions wrong in one World Cup game — and was overruled more times than any other umpire — had reached a point where he was doing more harm than help.

His World Cup performance wasn't an isolated one. Has Lawton forgotten about the Johannesburg blunder where Harper, as the third umpire, forgot to turn up the TV volume, misjudged a caught-behind, and practically cost England a Test series?

So wasn't Dhoni also speaking for England when he reportedly told Harper "We've had problems with you"?

As for Bucknor, let's not even go there.

Funny, Lawton should call for an angry reaction to India's ways because anger and a strong sense of injustice alone tends to get things done — as India discovered in Sydney, where Mike Proctor defied principals of natural justice by taking an Australian's word over an Indian's. Before this, Asian cricketers were expected to get shafted by match referees while their England and Australian counterparts got away with murder.

FYI, India didn't push Harper out; he opted out of his final Test on his own. Bucknor was sacked from the Perth Test by the ICC, not by the BCCI which had no jurisdiction in this matter.

If Bucknor's sacking was outrageous, why did the ICC go ahead with it? Too many like Lawton are calling other ICC members to revolt against India. My question is, why isn't this revolt happening? The short answer to that is everybody loves India's money; not everybody loves India.

Mukund cops one in the visor from Tremlett. Mukund cops one in the visor from Tremlett.

Mukund cops one in the visor from Tremlett.

Make. Them. Play.

Bowl. It. Full.

It takes 14 balls for Stuart Broad to do what Ishant Sharma struggled to do for 32 overs.

He bowls a full one to Gambhir, who shapes to drive it through mid-on. The ball lands, swings in just enough, Gambhir goes over his off-stump, the ball eludes bat and pad and makes a mess of the stumps.

Then there was Mukund.

With a push there, a nudge there, a knock on the visor, a flash through gully, a punch down the ground, he had held his own and was unbeaten on 49. Then he tried the glory route to his first Test fifty.

Broad served up a full ball outside off-stump. Mukund threw his bat. The pitch did the rest. The inside edge crashed into the stumps.

For India, too many Test openers have come and gone. Mukund knows he's only keeping the seat warm for Sehwag. But it is scoring hundreds that separates the boys from men. It is the only way Mukund will remain in public memory.

Meanwhile, Parvez Sigan is upset about the events of Day 2.

I fail to understand why Harbajan is selected. He has not performed even in the last series with West Indies. Imagine Raina taking a wicked and Bhaji has become a joke. He needs to be dropped and Ashwin needs to be taken. Please selectors stop being bias and get rid of Bhaji until he proves his worth. He seems to have become obsolete.

Can't say I disagree with you. Here's a previous blog post on the subject when Harbhajan took his 400th wicket.

Reader Suresh:

IT is a shame dhoni had to bowl. I guess it would have really put Ishant, praveen, harbajan to shame. As a bowler the worst thing you would want is your keeper keeping his kit off to bowl your team to rescue! And we call ourselves no.1 team in the world.

Not exactly, Suresh. India were one pacer short because of Zaheer's injury and the conditions suited seam bowling. Dhoni bowls a bit in the nets and he was an obvious choice — sad as it may seem. Can't understand why you would fault Praveen, though Ishant and Harbhajan could have done better.

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