England v India 1st Test Review

By Zaheer Haque
The First Test of this Series was a very historic occasion it was the 100th Test between England and India and the 2000th Test overall. It was a great Test match and very good advert for Test Cricket as it went all five days with only the first day having been affected by rain.

India won the toss and rightly bowled first as there was moisture in the wicket due to rain and the cloudy overhead conditions helpful for swing bowling.

Alastair Cook went cheaply in both innings of the match but this was inevitable after his sensational form with the bat in the past 8 months so no concerns regarding his form.

Andrew Strauss played a very painfully slow innings in the First Innings not contributing much and didn’t make a substantial contribution in the second innings either his form must begin to worry him.

The foundation of England’s First Innings were built yet again by Jonathan Trott who made 72 and Kevin Pietersen who went on to make a brilliant Double Century and Ian Bell contributed as well to the innings.

Kevin Pietersen Double Century I believe was his best innings I have seen him play in Test Cricket. He started of very watchful for the first 100 runs and showed a lot of character and applied himself well and hadn’t played this sort of innings before. Once he reached his 100 then began to bat with more freedom and increased his scoring rate and richly deserved his 202 not out.

A special mention for Matt prior who I think doesn’t get enough plaudits he had a great Test match with 71 and a century in the 2nd innings. It is long overdue for him to bat at number 6 and drop Morgan who had an awful Test match and play another bowler.

India on the other hand struggled with their bowling with Zaheer Khan getting injured and wasn’t able to bowl in large parts of the First Innings and unable to bowl throughout England’s Second innings.

Praveen Kumar was the stand out bowler for India taking 5 wickets with no support from the other bowlers which was very disappointing for India.

England made 474-8 Dec which is more than what they would have expected with bowler friendly conditions in the first 2 days of the game.

The score England made must have given great confidence to the bowling attack and all eyes were on how Stuart Broad would bowl.

I have been very critical of Stuart Broad inclusion in the team prior to the series against Sri Lanka and every Test he has played since. The reason was he was so out of form and bowling way too short. The selector kept faith with him and was a bowler inspired and he bowled really well throughout the whole Test Match. He bowled up to the stumps which I have been calling for so maybe someone from the team finally read my blog. He was very unlucky not to pick up five wickets due to dropped catches.

India batted very poorly and this was because collectively England bowled well as a unit. The two performances of the India Batting was Mukund who made 49 who looks a good prospect but must be dismayed that both of dismissals were inside edges onto his stumps. The other was Dravid who dug in and lived up to his nickname the ‘Wall’ who made a very watchful 100 in fortunate circumstances when he was dropped very easily before he reached 50.

India made a very poor 286 all out in very friendly batting conditions with the likes of Tendulkar and Laxman yet again failing at Lords.

This meant that if England could make a sizeable score and quickly that they may have a very good chance of winning the Test Match.

Ishant Sharma had a brilliant spell of bowling for India and ripped through the middle order leaving England on 62-5. It was a brilliant partnership between Prior and Broad that allowed England to declare again on 269-6 to set India an improbable 458 to win.

This meant we were all in for a fascinating last session of the fourth day and also with the fifth and final day.

England went on to win an hour after Tea on the final day with a huge margin 196 runs and it was great to see collectively England bowling unit contributing. Jimmy bowled really well on flat conditions and took 5 wickets in second innings to help setup a well deserved victory.


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