Pacers put India on top (Roundup)

July 30th, 2011 - 1:09 am ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh Nottingham, July 29 (IANS) India pacers ran through England batting before a gutsy half-century by Stuart Broad helped the home team to recover from 124/8 to 221 all out in the first innings on the first day of the second Test at the Trent Bridge here Friday.

The mercurial Shantakumaran Sreesanth (3/77), who came in as a replacement for pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, bowled a fiery spell of brilliantly pitched out-swingers to wreck the England middle-order along with Ishant Sharma (3/66), Praveen Kumar (3/45), who made the most of the overcast conditions at Nottingham. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh ended Broad’s resistance of 66-ball 64.

At stumps, India were 24 for one with Rahul Dravid batting on seven and V.V.S. Laxman 13. The duo weathered the storm safely for 15 overs after James Anderson dismissed young opener Abhinav Mukund in the first ball of the innings with Kevin Pietersen taking a low catch at gully.

But it were the bowlers, who put India right on top after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to bowl. Ishant, Praveen and Sreesanth swung the ball from the right length to trouble the opening England batsmen. Opener Alastair Cook (2) and Jonathan Trott (4) were back in the pavilion quickly as England took lunch at 69 for two.

Ishant trapped Cook lbw while Sreesanth struck in his first over with an out-swinger that Trott edged to Laxman at second slip. Cook, however, was unlucky as simulated replays suggested the ball would have cleared middle-stump.

England captain Andrew Strauss (32) and Pietersen (29) steadied the innings but their 50-run stand was cut short in the first over after lunch when Sreesanth dismissed Lord’s double centurion Pietersen with another out-swinger that flew to Suresh Raina at third slip.

The wicket triggered a middle-order collapse as England slipped from 73/2 to 88/6. Praveen, who swung the bowl with admirable control, was rewarded when he removed Strauss and Eoin Morgan in one over. Strauss, who resolutely batted 98 balls, went for a drive off Praveen and Raina again pouched a safe catch and Morgan was dismissed lbw for a duck.

Matt Prior (1) was out to Sreesanth jabbing at delivery that squared him up; the edge went to first slip Dravid.

Dravid fumbled a catch of Ian Bell (31), who bravely held the fort for 81 balls, off Praveen. Ishant, however, got the wicket of both Bell and Tim Bresnan (11) as India went into tea at 124 for eight.

Broad and Graeme Swann (29) prolonged India’s wait with their 73-run stand for the seventh wicket. The Indian bowlers in gave spaces to Broad and Swann, who scored at more than seven runs per over after the lunch break. Broad swung his bat for from some meaty blows down the ground as 50 runs of the partnership came up in just seven overs.

Their resistance was finally ended after Praveen produced an unplayable delivery that Swann gloved it to Mukund at gully. The England spinner looked in pain and didn’t come out to field later.

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