Home > News >

India vs England 2014 1st Test, Lunch Day 3: Bulletin from Trent Bridge

Sam Robson is batting on 59 at lunch on Day Three © Getty Images
Sam Robson is batting on 59 at lunch on Day Three © Getty Images

By Arunabha Sengupta

Nottingham: Jul 11, 2014

With the cloud cover refusing even a tiny patch of blue make its way through, MS Dhoni walked in with his orange tinged sunglasses perched behind his head. As a captain, it is perhaps an asset to have eyes at the back of the head. From the committee room balcony, former British Prime Minister John Major looked on.

The first two balls from Mohammed Shami were slanted across Sam Robson. Dhoni moved Virat Kohli across from one of the four slips to his left on the leg side. For the left-handed Gary Ballance the number of slips were back to four and waited eagerly for the edge. Indians were on the attack.

However, if one expected helpful conditions the hopes were dashed soon enough. When the fifth ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s first over pitched short of good length, Ballance had nearly an eternity to go back and pat it down back the wicket. And the first ball of the following over from Shami reached Dhoni on the second bounce. No new devil had appeared overnight out of the pitch or in the air. All the cloud cover had done so far was to offer some relief from the sun to the spectators in uncovered stands.

The only excitement in the first few overs occurred when umpire Bruce Oxenford raised his arms in a peculiar six like signal towards the western stands and a member of the ground staff appeared, bearing a huge, rather unsubtle instrument resembling Thor’s Hammer, and worked vigorously to flatten some small unevenness in the bowling crease. He departed to a warm round of applause.

Under the Radcliffe Road scoreboard, a couple of fans stood dressed up as nuns and, not quite in keeping with their choice of fancy dress, gulped beer from voluminous glasses at twenty past eleven in the morning. In the meantime, Ballance inside edged a ball from Bhuvneshwar to long leg to get his first run of the day after 20 minutes. The England total trickled past 50.

Shami pitched it up, and Robson leaned forward to drive one through the covers for four with minimum back-lift and maximum middle. The next ball was also over-pitched, moving across into the batsman and was flicked away for four.

Even with Ballance practically stroke-less, the batsmen looked comfortable and the England dressing room relaxed. Stuart Broad was seen absorbed in the superb Duncan Hamilton penned biography of Harold Larwood, perhaps the most famous son of the Notts county. To allow a peaceful read, Robson forced Shami past mid-wicket for four. The number of slips was now down to three, a short mid-wicket positioned instead.

Robson tended to stand a wee bit outside the crease, more to negate the slowness of the pitch than to counter any hint of swing. Dhoni signalled to the dressing room. Out came a helmet, and the Indian captain went forward to stand up to the stumps. Two slips stood in wait, a short cover and a short mid-wicket.

Ten overs were bowled, Robson had scored 21 in the morning, Ballance just three. Ishant Sharma replaced Shami from the Pavilion end. Ballance edged one along the ground to third slip and fished at two more. It was the angle rather than swing.

As in the Indian innings, the sluggish pitch necessitated unusual fields. After about 50 minutes of stalemate, Bhuvneshwar bowled with one slip while two men hovered in front of the bat at straightish short cover and short mid-wicket. With 31 overs gone by there was a faint hint of reverse swing.

In the pre-match press conference, Dhoni had stated that Ishant could get additional bounce. On the brink of the drinks break he made one kick up against the run of play and Robson played it awkwardly, in a tangle, gloving it down. The 15 overs of the first hour had brought 34 runs, just eight of them off Ballance’s bat.

The hint of tentativeness of the morning gave way to composure in the second hour.

Ravindra Jadeja was introduced immediately after the break, and managed to turn one in from the rough rapping Ballance on the front pad. He wheeled away with his short, economical run up, a slip, silly point and short leg for Ballance, slip and two short legs for Robson. The occasional runs that trickled off his bowling were scored in nudges and deflections, occupation taking precedence over accumulation. One off Robson’s bat did not quite carry to Kohli at backward short-leg. By lunch his figures read 10-3-15-0, his morning session registering 8-2-12-0. This is one department in which India has been distinctly ahead of England.

The action was however taking place at the other end.

The monotony was broken when Ishant drifted on to the pads of Ballance and was flicked past mid-wicket for four. Ballance had struck the last boundary 78 balls earlier. As so often happens, it was followed by two more, a fierce cut and another flick. Dhoni moved the third slip to short mid-wicket. After a fairly good morning spell, Ishant had lost his length. But, it must be said that he looked the most threatening of the Indian medium pacers in the morning session.

He was taken off and Stuart Binny was introduced. Ballance drove the rookie seamer handsomely through cover to bring up the hundred of the innings. In the next over the southpaw cut him delicately to the third-man boundary to beat Robson to the fifty mark. He repeated the stroke again after three balls, the ball reaching the fence at a faster clip this time around. After the glacial morning, the batsman had now hit six boundaries in the course of 17 deliveries.

Binny’s innocuous offering was next steered by Robson to the third-man boundary to bring up his half century. When Shami was brought back for one over before lunch, he dispatched him to mid-wicket for four. The score at the break stood at an ominous 131 for one.

By now, the game seems poised to go down as one of the old fashioned stalemates, with high scores and low interest levels. Ballance, blessed with a last name converted into a nightmare by autocorrect, is showing all the signs of becoming a thorn in the Indian flesh. Robson demonstrates no inclination of departing anytime soon.

Binny has gone for 21 off his five overs. In retrospect, on this wicket, Ravichandran Ashwin could have been a handy arrow in the quiver, but as Rahul Dravid put it in the morning, “In hindsight it is a wonderful idea. If India knew they would win the toss and score 450 runs on a slow track, they would have picked Ashwin. But, in the first Test of a long series in England, it is difficult to decide which team to go with.”

The first few minutes after lunch have been pivotal in the last two days. It remains to be seen whether there will be some miracle during the same period on Day Three to restore some balance between bat and ball.

Catch Live Blog of the match here

Catch Live score and ball-by-ball commentary of Day Three of India vs England 1st Test here

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry.He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Kingstown, St Vincent

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014  at Harare

Zimbabwe won by 3 wkts

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Photos

Australia vs Zimbabwe, ODI tri-series at Harare

Videos

Misbah disppointed with Pakistan's performance

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Key Battles

India vs England 4th ODI at Birmingham: India’s likely XI

Ishant Sharma: 10 facts you need to know about the towering Indian paceman

India vs England 4th ODI at Birmingham: England likely XI

Supreme Court refuses to reinstate N Srinivasan as BCCI president

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 Australia vs Zimbabwe England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 Zimbabwe vs Australia

Live Streaming Australia vs South Africa 5th ODI at Harare: Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014

Live Cricket Score Australia vs South Africa 5th ODI at Harare: Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014

Live Scorecard Australia vs South Africa 5th ODI at Harare: Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014

Usain Bolt, Yuvraj Singh to clash in exhibition match

Younis Khan pleads fans to pray for nephew’s soul

Australia vs South Africa, 4th ODI at Harare: Key Clashes

Tom Groube: First New Zealand-born cricketer to play a Test

India tour of England 2014: Shikhar Dhawan may be an innings away from getting back into form

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Key Battles

India vs England 4th ODI at Birmingham: India’s likely XI

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

668 Posts | 6 Fans

Yuvraj Singh's ton against MCC

Is Ranbir Kapoor worried about Katrina Kaif’s healh issues?

India vs England 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Eoin Morgan faces Merlyn bowling machine

India vs England 4th ODI at Birmingham: Ravichandran Ashwin credits hard work for success

Ebola in India: First suspected Ebola case in West Bengal

International programme in Animal Husbandry

European Union questions Facebook-WhatsApp $19 billion deal

How to maintain coloured hair

Why did Akshay Kumar ask Sayantani Ghosh to meet him after the shoot?

China landslide: 8 killed, 24 missing after rainstorms

NGOs pursue education for all

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here