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 Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Quinton de Kock’s century in vain as Australia register two wicket win over South Africa

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India New Zealand Pakistan South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Tour Game at Adelaide: Pacers ensure advantage at Lunch

Live Cricket Score: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Live Scorecard: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood named in Australia’s squad for 1st Test against India

Sri Lanka vs England 2014: Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook’s form bodes well, says Mark Ramprakash

Myth Busting — did Sachin Tendulkar’s rate of scoring become slower in the second half of his career?

Single-wicket cricket match between John Grange and James Sadler lasts three days

Bill Ashdown and Bert Wensley beat a team of 11 all by themselves

Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina in interesting tussle ahead of India’s Test series against Australia

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey will get another chance to impress in final

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here