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After some virtuoso performances by cricketers from both the teams, India and England travel to the home of cricket — Lord’s — for the second Test match on Thursday. Sudatta Mukherjee looks at the five English players, who have made Lord’s their favourite hunting ground.
Since the first time India played against England at Lord’s in 1932, the teams have faced each other 16 times and the hosts lead the winner’s count 11-1. The last time India won a match at Lord’s was in 1986, when the visitors guided by Chetan Sharma, Dilip Vengsarkar and Kapil Dev, defeated the hosts by five wickets.
India return to the home of cricket after 28 years since that victory. India will also go into the Test match at Lord’s without Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman for the first time in 24 years. They would want to put past feats behind and look ahead to go one up against the English in the five-match series.
However, Lord’s wicket has always been partial to the hosts, maybe due to the home factor. Here are the five players from the current England squad, who feature in the list of records and can trouble India.
Had Kevin Pietersen been in the current Test squad, then the England Test skipper’s name would have appeared later. However, after the Delhi Daredevils (DD) skipper was shown the door by the English selectors, Cook in the current squad tops the list of cricketers, who have made Lord’s as one of their favourite hunting grounds. From 17 matches Cook has played at Lord’s, he has scored 1,206 runs at an average of 41.58. He has scored three centuries and seven half-centuries at the ground. Although, it has been sometime since Cook has got a big score or played a vital innings, the England opener will be wanting to go ahead and break-free against India on Thursday.
Another senior English batsman in the current squad, Bell’s name appear right after Cook among the most runs scored at Lord’s, however, Bell has a better average when compared to the skipper. From 15 matches that he has played at Lord’s, Bell has scored 1,205 runs at an average of 57.38 and has four centuries and eight fifties under his name. Just like Cook, Bell hasn’t scored a century in a long time. Last year in The Ashes 2013 against Australia, Bell scored 109 and 74 at Lord’s.
Nicknamed as the Royal Baby by many fans, young Root, who scored an all-important unbeaten 154 in the first Test match, has had a sensational record at Lord’s. Root has played three matches at the ground and his highest score is an unbeaten 200 against Sri Lanka. He averages 102.40 and has scored 512 from six innings. After 18 Tests, Root’s batting average reads an impressive 43.33.
The bowler might have been in the news lately due to his brilliant knock against India and missing out an opportunity to save the Test series loss against Sri Lanka, however, the English bowling spearhead is second on the list of highest wicket-takers for his country after Ian Botham in Test cricket, and also second on the list of most wickets taken at Lord’s. From 15 Test matches he has played at Lord’s, Anderson has taken 68 wickets and has an average of 25.14. He has registered five-wicket hauls four times at Lord’s. Not only, Anderson will be looking to continue his performance with the bat, but also show his worth as a bowler. He has certainly shown the willpower to comeback after that nerve-wracking loss at Headingley against Sri Lanka.
The lanky English pacer comes second in the list of bowlers, who have taken the most wickets at Lord’s from the current squad. Broad has taken 52 wickets from 12 Tests at Lord’s. Adding to that feat, Broad has a tendency of piling up vital runs and has 648 runs from 18 innings at an average of 43.20, which is ironically better than Cook’s.
With only three players —MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma — from the current India squad, who have the experience of playing at Lord’s, it doesn’t bode well for India, and more so, if the above five cricketers produce vital innings. With one day left, Dhoni needs to chalk out a well-balanced strategy for the five cricketers and alter past records at the home of cricket — Lord’s.
(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)
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