Day 4, Trent Bridge: England decimate India as Bresnan bags five

Posted: August 1, 2011 by thecognitivenomad in Cricket, India in England 2011
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Chandrasekhar Jayarama Krishnan

Head of Cricket, CouchExpert

1 August 2011

During times when an Indian fan walks along that thin line which separates faith from hope, most often observed when the team isn’t doing well as it is capable of, the common fan’s sword and the journalist’s pen come together to diminish that metonymic adage of the pen being mightier than the sword.

Much of it emanates from the status of virtual invincibility India had attained after topping the ICC Rankings in Test Cricket, only to be followed by the euphoria of being crowned World Champions. In a continent where today’s superstars run the risk of being relegated to the status of forgotten heroes if they fail, sometimes even if just once, immortality would appear an easier wish to attain than consistency. The packed schedules do not favour either.

And along this thin line, the Indian fans started their walk on Day 4 of the Trent Bridge test when they were left to rue with harsh memories of momentum and advantage escaping their grips, at various instances during this test, to hand England a clear sight of victory within the horizon.

In a test where Dhoni’s tradition of shrewd leadership seemed subdued, the scars left by Bell, Prior and Bresnan, by the time England’s second innings came to an end were painful, and India’s morale, gaunt. The Indian skipper’s faith enabled him to appreciate the bowlers who attempted to make the most of the conditions, but it didn’t force him to lay a trap to dismantle the English batting cheaply, even when he’d possessed the upper hand at times.

Bresnan's outstanding all round contribution has given the English selectors a pleasant headache ahead of the 3rd test at Birmingham

This clearly is at the heart of what is disturbing about an Indian fan’s faith at this moment of predicament: it doesn’t worry him enough; neither does it drive him to have second thoughts before lamenting over the captain’s lack of ideas when the England tail wagged once again, as he watched Bresnan and Broad scoring at a rate of more than 6 an over. Third man, once again, bore the greater share of the Wagon Wheel.

Talks of India having to restrict England to a score not in excess of 300, prior to the start of their second innings, seemed imminently laughable as the lead stretched to 477 – leaving India five sessions to battle through. A more than decent outfit was made to look hapless by England’s lower order batting.

Tim Bresnan was unlucky to miss out on a deserved hundred, but he did enough to place the English selectors in a spot of bother as they were left pondering over the moves to be made once Tremlett returns for the third test.

When the Indians came out to bat, it looked as though they were batting in a different wicket to the one in which the third innings of the match had come to a conclusion. Batting through five sessions was never going to be an option and the result clearly seemed to have only one way about it.

Excepting Tendulkar, none of the Indian top seven crossed single digits. At no point of time during this test did the Indians look like a champion outfit – barring the session on Day One where Dravid and Laxman negotiated through tricky spells of seam bowling.

Bresnan’s breezing spell that fetched him four wickets (and the selectors, additional aspirins – for the good) in his total of a five-for was complemented by Anderson removing his man, Tendulkar, yet again, for 56. Like MS Dhoni earlier, Tendulkar shouldered arms to one that nicked back in and was ruled out leg before.

Local hero Broad picked up the Man of the Match after amassing 108 runs and 8 wickets

The ruthlessness of the Englishmen resembled that of Nottingham’s popular folk figure, Robin Hood, while the Indian unit was made to resemble the deceitful sheriff, almost as though the visitors had stolen the sport’s supremacy from the land of its founders. Man-of-the-Match Stuart Broad, whose looks bear more resemblance to Maid Marian than the legendary outlaw, contributed both with bat and ball to lead the yeomen’s charge in conquering Trent Bridge. Bounce and seam, instead of bows and arrows, helped England take an unassailable 2-0 lead.

India’s reconstruction will be as symbolically important as Duncan Fletcher’s role in reshaping a side that probably hasn’t been on morale as low as what it is experiencing now. But the margin of victory – both an exact and significant barometer of English dominance – will linger in their minds for a long time to come.

As for England, the opportunity to top the ICC Test Rankings is a mere win away. Who’d have thought a couple of years ago that this would be a likely proposition? Even among the most optimistic of optimists, this would have seemed a far-fetched ambition, having witnessed what English cricket had been through.

Well done England, you deserve to be 2-0 ahead.

  1. England decimated India today. If they cannot show better form all round, they might have to be prepared for a white wash.

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