India probably had two objectives at the start of Day-2: (a) to bowl out England for less than 200 runs, (b) to get a good start. Both objectives were met. The first, thanks to Zaheer Khan and Kumble. The second, thanks mainly to the wonderful start that Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer provided India.
It was interesting that Dravid started the day with the use of a heavy roller. Clearly he expects the pitch to break up as the game progresses. Kumble should then come into the game much more compellingly.
India batted with positive intent when Jaffer and Karthik commenced. It was most refreshing to see the way Karthik batted. He played a gutsy innings. He also seemed to have got over the perhaps impetuous reaction to sledging that he showed in the 1st Test. He played with purpose and energy. Jaffer was solid at the other end. But once again, once Jaffar got to his half-century, he appeared to go into his shell. Having said that, the ball that got him out was a brute of a delivery from Tremlett.
The rest of the batsmen probably paid too much respect to Monty Panesar. Panesar is no doubt a good bowler. However, if they had played him with a bit more positive intent, my feeling is that they’d have ended the day on a slightly better note. The wicket of Dravid, towards the end of the days’ play, may offer England a sligtly open door.
India must ensure that the door stays shut and that the foot remains on the pedal — to mix two metaphors! And that must be what the doctor orders for the 1st session of Day-4.
India’s intention must be to bat only once in this game. And that would mean a lead of at least 250 runs, if not more. India, at 254 for 3, is 54 runs ahead. So, a further 200 runs — at least — are required. Given the solid platform that Karthik and Jaffar have provided, this should be possible. But as they say, funnier things have happened in cricket!
At this stage of the match, after the teams have played out 5 sessions, I’d say that India leads the session-by-session score at 4-0, with one session — the last session of Day-2 — being an even one (in my view), given the late wicket of Dravid.