The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The heat is on England
- Hosts made to bat when they would have loved to field
- Zaheer emerges day I hero

Nottingham: Had conditions been different, choosing to field would’ve been seen as an ultra-defensive move. On Friday, though, few eyebrows were raised when Rahul Dravid called ‘tails’ and inserted England in the second npower Test.

At stumps, with England on a fragile 169 for seven, the Indian tails were up. It would’ve been worse for the hosts had Sachin Tendulkar not grassed Chris Tremlett in Zaheer Khan’s final spell.

By the 36th over itself, as many as five wickets had fallen and Dravid stood vindicated with a capital V.

The Trent Bridge surface had enough grass and juice to excite the new-ball bowlers and with spearhead Zaheer giving little away in his first spell (7-0-25-2), Michael Vaughan’s men were pegged back straightaway.

Strangely, that one has to play late didn’t seem to strike the England batsmen.

If Zaheer had been the No.1 culprit on the first morning at Lord’s, he was very much the hero here. Indeed, having joined the 150-club, he’s now the sixth most successful left-arm paceman.

The seam was cleverly used and the ball swung in the air as well.

Sourav Ganguly, always a good bet in England, produced a fine performance too. Actually, he got rid of dangerman (and highest scorer) Alastair Cook. The replay showed the ball would’ve gone over the stumps, but the gifted opener accepted that philosophically.

Incidentally, there was little evidence that the former captain had been suffering stiffness in the back.

The bowlers, however, have to be supported by smart fielding. Forget the one catch which was put down, generally, the Indians were lackadaisical in the field.

Even if it was for brief periods, the pressure often eased.

The Test got underway four hours behind schedule, after a matting wicket was rolled out in one corner to cover the rain-inflicted damage.

“When conditions are such and you tend to believe things can happen, then you put the opposition in... After all, one way of looking at it is why not attack the batsmen' I guess I would’ve done the same thing,” former England captain David Gower told The Telegraph.

“We’ll be looking to get 200 and if our bowlers are able to reproduce the intensity and consistency of Lord’s, then it’s going to be a good contest,” is what Cook said.

He added: “It wasn’t easy to bat... Besides the swing and seam movement, the wicket was two-paced... We would’ve loved to bowl first...”

Of course.

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