Prior, Broad break the shackles; England consolidate (Tea report)

July 24th, 2011 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh London, July 24 (IANS) Matt Prior and Stuart Broad swung the pendulum England’s way with a firefighting unbroken stand of 67 at tea on the fourth day of the first cricket Test against India at Lord’s here Sunday. The hosts reached 174 for six in their second innings and lead by 362 runs.

Eoin Morgan (19) was the only wicket to fall after lunch. He dismissed by Ishant Sharma (4-41).

England, who were reduced to 62/5 courtsey Ishant Sharma’s brilliant spell in the morning session, consolidated their first innings advantage through Prior (55) and Broad (36), who has a century to his name here. The fast bowler played some fine strokes square off the wicket, hitting four fours.

India continued to bowl well, but Prior and Broad took the fight to the opposition with some counter-attacking shots. They took the risks and reaped the rewards.

It has been an intensly fought Test so far. World No.1 India, who were in deep trouble after being bowled out for 286 in the first innings Saturday, showed guts to make a comeback, despite pace spearhead Zaheer still sitting out with an injury.

Ishant stood upto the challenge in the first session with an incisive spell of fast bowling, taking three wickets and pushing England to the backfoot.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have done well to start with Ishant after the lunch break.

There were two chances that went abegging in the second session, both off Broad. The first was a difficult take for Dhoni off Harbhajan Singh. The second one would have been a regulation catch for the first slip had there been one. But Dravid was standing wide and Dhoni did not attempt a dive off Praveen Kumar.

Ishant was brought eight overs later and he struck in his second over, removing Morgan with a short ball. Morgan was late with the pull shot and the ball carried to Gambhir, who took a diving catch at midwicket.

Earlier, England, resuming at 5/0 and looking to consolidate their huge first innings lead of 188, were stunned by Ishant’s (3-15) onslaught.

Praveen Kumar, who took five wickets in the England first innings of 474, dismissed Alastair Cook caught behind and Harbhajan Singh took out a well set England skipper Andrew Strauss (32) lbw. Both Praveen and Harbhajan bowled tight spells and kept the pressure on England.

Ishant, coming from a successful series in the Caribbean where he took 24 wickets, stood upto the challenge Sunday.

His first wicket of the day was of double centurion Kevin Pietersen, who was surprised with a brute snorter and fended it off awkwardly. The ball brushed his gloves and Dhoni did the rest.

Ishant dismissed Ian Bell four balls later, forcing the batsmam to edge one to Dhoni.

The two wickets lifted the morale of Ishant, who was bowling with rhythm and hitting the right length in contrast to his wayward perforamnce in the first innnings.

Jonathan Trott (22) was Ishant’s next victim. The pacer bowled a fuller length delivery that brilliantly cut back to beat Trott’s forward defensive push and crashed through his stumps.

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