By Denzil Fernandes
Daijiworld Media Network - Sports
London, Aug 11: The writing is clearly on the wall. There is no stopping England in their home territory. The Indians are not even showing any form of resistance against England in the current Test series. The riots in London notwithstanding, the attendance at the stadium showed how much the Englishmen love their cricket. Just as the 3rd Test started on thurday, skipper Strauss won the toss for England and sent India into bat. And the Indians promptly responded to Strauss’s decision by getting themselves out in quick time and confirming their dislike to hostile bowling from Anderson, Broad and Bresnan. Even before one could blink in disbelief there were wickets falling at regular interval.
The much awaited arrival of ‘Viru’ the ‘hero’ turned out to be a stunning shocker when the ‘Nawab of Nazafgarh’ perished within no time as he gloved a catch to wicketkeeper Prior off the first ball he received from Stuart Broad with a ‘zero’. What followed was a procession and except for Gambhir (38) and Dravid (22) there was no other batsman able to face the England bowlers. Laxman played nicely for his 30 runs but was impatient and fell. Just when India looked like folding for a small total, skipper Dhoni throwing caution to the winds smashed a good looking 77 runs containing 10 fours and 3 sixes with tailender Pravin Kumar’s help (26). The late resistance helped India to reach a total of 224 runs at the end of day one. At one stage, India were 112 for the loss of 7 wickets. Dhoni exploded finally to save India from certain embarrassment.
In reply, England began quietly and went off for the day with 84 runs without loss which included another half century by skipper Strauss leading from the front. England trail by 140 runs with all 10 wickets in hand when play resumes on day 2 of the third Test. One can expect England to amass runs on the second day and force India on the back foot. Unless there is some remarkable bowling performance especially by spinner Amit Mishra and the other slow merchants yet another defeat looks possible for India.
In the backdrop of the London riots, one expected a riot of runs from the well known Indian batting line up who all failed in one lot. It was left to skipper Dhoni and the tail enders who helped in bringing up a total of 224 runs.
Unless you have a reasonable total to support the bowlers, the case is lost and India will be fighting a huge battle to stop England from scoring big. Big hearted bowling is the need of the hour.
At least for the records, the Indians have to save their face and ensure that the match is drawn if not lost. Hopes of an Indian win will sound absurd and out of the ordinary. It is a shame that on a good batting track, India’s top order batsmen simply failed to deliver.
As day two begins, India has to contain the England openers before they go on the rampage. At the end of day one too, the bowlers did not create any impression on England openers Strauss and Cook. One can expect a long day on the field for the Indians in the next two days before England set the trap for yet another win and a convincing 3-0 series winning lead.
No other result looks possible unless there is a miraculous bowling performance by the Indians on day two of the Edgbaston Test. Except for Dhoni’s batting, there has been nothing special from the Indians. One hopes that Dhoni will inspire his boys to stop England from scoring big and try to come back to keep England on hold. The next two days are going to be crucial for India if they want to stop England from winning this test and winning the series. At least so far, everything on the field has been dominated by the hosts in the Test matches.
One uphill task for India to say the least !