Losing the plot….
India had a great chance to win the second test in the current series against England. Note, I say ‘had’, because after taking the wicket of Cook early in the morning and restricting England to only 26 runs in the first hour, India has really given away the initiative. England scored 60 runs in the second hour with both Vaughn and Strauss looking very settled. Kumble, after a a good initial over strayed too much. Dravid strangely brought in Sachin for a couple of overs while the ball still had some shine (and swing). Zaheer, easily the best bowler in the morning and the only successful one, cooled his heels while Sreesanth bowled an erratic over just before lunch !!
India’s lead has trickled down to 154 runs and England still has nine wickets in hands. Unless we take a few wickets just after lunch, England has a good chance to bat out the day and wipe out the lead. India could still pull it off, but Kumble needs to use the uneven bounce better (and change ends – umpire Howell won’t give an lbw decision even if his life depends on it) and Sreesanth needs to provide a better support to Zaheer and RP Singh. Also, hoping for better captaincy from Dravid.
Ah – the joys and tension of watching live cricket ! More comments later….
UPDATE: Zaheer got Strauss just after lunch – a lucky edge though. And Vaughn and Pietersen aren’t in much trouble at all – taking the singles and hitting the occasional boundaries to keep the scoreboard ticking. Not that the Indians are bowling that badly – but the English batting has been pretty good. Key is to get Pietersen – he could take the game away when he gets going. Some power the guy has – just pulled a ball around from outside the off – down mid-on !!
Fascinating stuff overall.
UPDATE 2: The dangerous Pietersen gone – after some drama: he was given not out on a caught behind but then trapped plumb lbw as he was leaving the next ball (a peach of a delivery from RP Singh). He was hit him on head in the previous over by a Sreesanth beamer – as expected some of the English commentators complained this was why he lost his wicket (also as expected, not a peep from them when England’s Jamie Anderson or Pietersen himself was mouthing off against the Indian batsmen yesterday – that was good sport).
Anyway, game still in balance. Not good from India’s point of view: Vaughn playing superbly, Kumble quite ineffective, and England scoring at a good clip (reducing the lead to 72). If England takes a 30-50 runs lead by the end of the day without losing more than 2 wickets – it could get tricky for India tomorrow.