Nottingham: Almost half-way into the Test series, there’s enough to suggest we’ll see an Indian summer.
At stumps on Day II of the second npower Test, the Indians had taken a 56-run lead, with seven wickets in hand. England, clearly, must now do all the running at Trent Bridge.
“Bat once and bat big” would be a favourite John Wright mantra when he was the coach. The Rahul Dravids couldn’t have remembered it at a better time and the game plan is not to have a second strike.
That the second day too would be dominated by India became evident early on, adding to the josh exhibited by the huge band of supporters.
First, Zaheer Khan (four for 59) and Anil Kumble (three for 32) got the last three wickets in around 40 minutes. Then, Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik authored 147 for the first-wicket, India’s highest at the ground.
“A combination of bad shots and good bowling did us in... It wasn’t easy to bat on the first afternoon and the Indians used the conditions well,” former England captain Mike Gatting told The Telegraph.
Jaffer had a let-off on 32, dropped by Ian Bell off Chris Tremlett, but deserved that slice of luck. He eventually fell for 62. Karthik, who continues to impress with each innings, couldn’t add to his tea score of 77.
He went (to Monty Panesar) on the first ball after resumption.
“I won’t say my dismissal was because I was lacking in concentration... These things happen... Obviously, I’d have liked to go on and make a bigger score, but what’s important is that we’re in a strong position,” Karthik said.
Later, Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar stitched together 97 for the third-wicket, making England stare even deeper into the barrel.
Dravid became the second Panesar victim, shortly before poor light forced stumps (beyond the scheduled close but with six overs remaining) and left cursing himself.
Resuming the march towards a totally terms-dictating position are going to be Sachin (57) and Sourav Ganguly (four), who’d got a 99 in his last innings at Trent Bridge.
The stage is set for a Super Sunday, but fingers are crossed over the weather.
Sachin, of course, won’t forget the day in a hurry: He crossed 11,000 runs and also became India’s most successful Test batsman in England. With 1,184 runs, he’s 32 in front of Sunil Gavaskar.
England have had to pay for being indisciplined with line and length. Unless consultant Allan Donald is able to set things right overnight, the problems can only increase.