India 63 runs away from victory
Zaheer’s 5-wicket haul helps India edge towards a win at Trent Bridge on Day 4 of the second Test, reports Rohit Mahajan.cricket Updated: Jul 31, 2007 11:24 IST
Zaheer Khan was fire and fury, the swinger and the strongman, the difference between a draw and a victory. Zaheer Khan was the man of the moment, the man of the day, the match.
Zaheer Khan was the man who mattered at Trent Bridge.
Nine for Zaheer have set up the game for India — only Chetan Sharma has taken 10 wickets in a game for India in England. Twenty-one years after Sharma’s feat, India have the upper hand in a Test series in England for the first time. They are 63 runs away from taking the lead in this three-Test series.
Anil Kumble’s belated resurgence, three wickets off the tail, denied Zaheer a tenner, which would have been a perfect award for work done very well.
Making the most of their day in the sun, on a dry track that played true, Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood had feasted on the Indian attack, and slowly, through the afternoon, chipped down the lead.
At 270 for three, 13 short of the deficit of 283, the new ball became available to India. And an hour of listless bowling when England had steadily piled on the runs ended.
But the first over with the new ball, bowled by the priceless Zaheer, seemed ominous — 13 runs were taken off it, and England were effectively zero for three. India’s dream of an innings win in the second Test was over. The dream of a victory also seemed to recede steadily when, in the next over, Collingwood hoisted S.Sreesanth over midwicket.
Zaheer came back for his second over with the new ball and, out of the blue, England were dealt a crushing blow. Trying to hit Zaheer on the leg, Vaughan was struck on his thigh pad, the ball rolled on to the stumps and knocked down the bails. Vaughan looked back in agony, his vigil through the day was over.
Having got his man as the shadows lengthened, a man he had troubled with wile and swing in the morning, Zaheer was beside himself. He ran right down to midwicket, his arms stretched to his sides, his fists clenched. India had been given a shot in the arm and England, with their captain taken out, had been shot down.
Ian Bell walked in, a man who had been struck on his head in the morning at nets. Zaheer, perhaps in the know, bowled a bouncer, pushing Bell back. Next ball was pitched up and swinging in — Bell brought his bat down, but not in time. The umpire raised his finger and India were celebrating again.
Matt Prior, the keenest talker in the England side, walked in and was given a taste of his own medicine. He hung around a bit before R.P. Singh knocked back his middle stump with an inswinger. Zaheer got his fifth when Collingwood edged one to Dinesh Karthik at first slip.
Then Kumble cut down the tail, though Ryan Sidebottom chanced his arm with a degree of success.
The time was not India’s in the morning. England kept hope alive, surviving an outstanding spell from Zaheer.
<b2>Zaheer had got Alastair Cook early in the morning. The Indian left-armer mixed his wares with devastating effect, and Cook took the bait. In the third over of the day, Zaheer drew Cook out with a lovely outswinger; the next ball was full, pitched in perfectly, and Cook failed to read the line. Simon Taufel got it right this time and raised his finger. Cook, lbw for the fourth time in four innings, must seriously look at his tendency to play across the line.
In his three previous innings too, Vaughan had been had by left-arm pacemen bowling over the wicket, and Zaheer gave him a torrid time. Zaheer foxed the England captain with outswingers and then tried to pin him back with full inswingers. Vaughan looked shaky but barely survived.
Vaughan highest Test score, 197, came at this ground five years ago against India, and he seemed good enough to replicate that effort before he fell.
(1st innings) 198
(1st innings) 481
Strauss c Dhoni b Zaheer 55
Cook lbw b Zaheer 23
Vaughan b Zaheer 124
Pietersen lbw b RP Singh 19
Collingwood c Karthik b Zaheer 63
Bell lbw b Zaheer 0
Prior b RP Singh 7
Tremlett c RP Singh b Kumble 5
Sidebottom not out 25
Panesar c Karthik b Kumble 4
Anderson b Kumble 1
: (b-7, lb-6, w-9, nb-7) 29
: (all out, in 104 overs) 355
Fall of wkts
: 1-48, 2-130, 3-175, 4-287, 5-287, 6-304, 7-323, 8-329, 9-333.
: Zaheer Khan 27-10-75-5 (w-1), S. Sreesanth 21-2-60-0 (nb-5, w-7), RP Singh 18-5-52-2 (w-1), Anil Kumble 25-2-104-3 (nb-2), Sourav
Ganguly 6-0-22-0, Sachin Tendulkar 7-0-29-0.
Karthik batting 6
Jaffer batting 3
: (lb-1) 1
: (for no loss, at stumps, in 3 overs) 10
: James Anderson 2-1-6-0, Ryan
First Published: Jul 30, 2007 19:53 IST