A lot of people consider test cricket to be boring. Nothing really happens for overs and overs. Plus when it rains, there is nothing much either players or spectators can do. But for the connoisseur, test cricket is the real cricket. The game is fought over 5 days and fans know that something exciting can happen in just a matter of few overs that can turn the game upside down.
England went into the day with a slight edge over the Indians. England’s plans would have been to get the score well over the 400 run mark. After all, they had Pietersen, Bell and Prior – all accomplished batsmen, who had scored heavily in the recently concluded test series against the West Indies.
From India’s point of view, the dressing room talk would have centered around how they can restrict the English to less than 350.
England had started Day 1 really well and were cruising at 200 for the loss of just one wicket and even after Strauss fell, they were 250/2 at one stage, with both the captain and Pietersen in good flow. England at that stage were probably thinking of a score of around 500-550. Then the game turned on its head – two quick wickets to end the day, heavy rains the next day and some inspired bowling from India with the new ball meant that eight wickets fell for just 46 runs. England were all out for 298 and India were back in the game.
When India came out to bat, their first target would have been to see off the new ball without the loss of any wickets. That was not to be the case as Karthik and Dravid fell in the 9th and 12th over respectively. Tendulkar and Jaffer then started to build a partnership and just when things were starting to look up for India, Sachin fell for 37. India would have done well to have finished the day without the loss of any further wickets, but Jaffer got out for 58 with just 3 more overs remaining for the day. India finished the day with 145 for 4 (compare this to England’s 268/4 at the end of day 1) and have lost the ground that they gained earlier.
All is not lost yet. India now need a couple of good partnerships to take the lead. India need a lead of at least 75-100 runs to still be in the game and that is what they would be looking to do. But as I said earlier, it only takes a few overs to turn the game upside down…