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India 24/1 in reply to England's 221 at stumps

india Updated: Jul 30, 2011 02:13 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times
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This is a place with a great tradition of fast bowling. It's the home ground of the greats like Harold Larwood and Bill Voce. Richard Hadlee is counted as a legend here. He played as a professional for Nottinghamshire County from 1978 to 1987 and took 622 wickets at an average of 14.

It was as though the Indian pace attack was inspired by it all. Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth and Praveen Kumar bowled as men possessed to rattle England on the opening day of the second Test. The trio ran through the England line-up, restricting them to 221 all out, to start India's fight-back on a strong note. In reply, India were 24 for one with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman at the crease. The visitors, who lost Abhinav Mukund on the first ball of their innings, trail by 197 runs.

When he picked Sreesanth ahead of Munaf Patel, skipper MS Dhoni wouldn't have been sure what he would get from the Kerala pacer, especially, after his drab show in the warm-up game at Taunton. Sreesanth bowled an exceptional line, getting the ball to wobble in the air with the famous seam position and then getting it to dart away.

The Somerset batsmen would be wondering if the England batsmen were playing with the right technique. It was the same bowler they had bullied into submission, plundering 88 runs in his 20 overs in the first innings and 53 in the second off just eight.

On Friday, Sreesanth started with a bang, picking up the big wicket of Jonathan Trott with his fourth ball of the day. Trott's attempt to drive the well-pitched up outswinger ended in the safe hands of Laxman at second slip. He followed it up with the wickets of Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior.

Sharma continued from where he left at Lord's. He bowled a consistent length and got appreciable carry. The lanky pacer gave the early breakthrough when he won an LBW appeal against Alastair Cook.

Kumar troubled the batsmen with his classical swing bowling. He got into his groove with a double strike in the 37th over, sending back Andrew Strauss and Eoin Morgan.

The only England player to challenge the Indian pace trioka was Stuart Broad. Playing on his club ground, Broad led a late fight-back in the post-tea session. He launched into a counter-attack alongwith Graeme Swann, to help England recover from 124 for eight with an invaluable 64.

Earlier, Dhoni won the toss and had no hesitation in fielding first.

Gambhir's injury gave Yuvraj the break he was looking for. It is the Punjab batsman's first Test after the game at Galle against Sri Lanka in July 2010. Yuvraj's presence will give India an extra bowling option as well, especially against Pietersen. He was in the thick of action immediately, when Dhoni tried Yuvraj's left-arm spin against Pietersen in the last over before lunch. With the pacers wreaking havoc, Yuvraj's spin was kept in the cold for the rest of the day though.