Stuart Broad celebrates his hat-trick as centurion Rahul Dravid watches in the background    Getty Images
Stuart Broad celebrates his hat-trick as centurion Rahul Dravid watches in the background Getty Images

On July 30, 2011, Rahul Dravid made a defiant 117 against a rampant group of England seamers. Abhishek Mukherjee goes back in time and revisits the Test match in which Stuart Broad s all-round heroics turned things around for England.

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni s team achieved the double of being the No 1 Test side and the World Cup champion, they had scaled heights hitherto unknown to Indian cricket. Given that they were the first side to achieve this after Australia had in the previous decade, the fans had expected a lot from them during their sojourn of England in 2011.

Things started off horribly for the world champions: the Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan broke down in his 14th over and was ruled out of the first Test at Lord s Test. England especially Kevin Pietersen with a brilliant 326-ball 202 capitalised on the advantage. Dhoni had to bowl on the second morning, and despite a gutsy 103 not out from Rahul Dravid, India conceded a 188-run lead.

Things went further downhill when Gautam Gambhir got injured while fielding and had to bat down the order in the second innings where India was set a target of 458. With Virender Sehwag also missing, India capitulated meekly to a 196-run defeat.

Being 0-1 down in the series, India had to solve multiple issues before the second Test at Trent Bridge. They now had their main bowler and both opening batsmen out of action. Abhinav Mukund had to be retained and Yuvraj Singh was drafted in; Rahul Dravid was asked to open the batting and Zaheer was replaced by S Sreesanth.

On England s side, Chris Tremlett was ruled out due to a hamstring injury, making way for Tim Bresnan. MS Dhoni won the toss and put England in.

Day One: Broad turns things around

The Test started in overcast conditions with Praveen Kumar, one of the best Indian swing bowlers, taking full advantage and making the ball swing. However, it was Ishant Sharma who drew first blood by trapping Alastair Cook leg-before for 2 immediately after beating his outside edge.

Sreesanth was introduced in the 11th over and he found Jonathan Trott s edge off his fifth delivery as the ball flew to VVS Laxman at second slip. England were in trouble at 23 for 2, but Andrew Strauss and Pietersen batted till lunch, helping England reach 69.

Sreesanth bowled another outswinger on the fifth ball after lunch, and Pietersen, caught in two minds, eventually snicked it to Suresh Raina at third slip. Praveen’s miserly bowling eventually paid off as Strauss edged one to third slip after a 166-minute vigil, and 3 balls later Eoin Morgan was trapped leg-before for a duck. From 73 for 3, England had slipped to 85 for 5.

England slumped even further as Sreesanth bowled the perfect outswinger: inducing the edge from Matt Prior with Rahul Dravid doing the rest at first slip. . Soon afterwards, Dravid dropped Ian Bell off Praveen, but dived low to his left to take a brilliant catch to dismiss Bresnan off Ishant. The lanky paceman then followed it up by having Bell caught-behind. At 124 for 8, England were almost as good as done even before tea was taken.

It was Graeme Swann who began the counterattack: he flicked and pulled Ishant for two boundaries in an over. Encouraged by the developments, Stuart Broad slogged Sreesanth over mid-on. They began to play strokes and got away with them: an agitated Dhoni turned to Harbhajan Singh.

It did not matter: Swann drove him with clinical precision, finding the small gap between the bowler and mid-off; soon afterwards Broad hoicked him over mid-wicket for another boundary. Swann ran a single to bring up the fifty-partnership, and Broad square-cut Praveen s next ball for another boundary.

Praveen eventually bowled a beauty to Swann to dismiss him. . The ball hit the handle of the bat and flew to Abhinav Mukund at gully, but the damage had already been done. Swann and Broad had managed to add 73 in only 70 balls. Broad continued to make merry with James Anderson for company. He smashed Praveen over his head to bring up his fifty, and eventually holed out to Sachin Tendulkar at deep mid-wicket off Harbhajan. He had scored a 66-ball 64 and had taken England to a respectable 221.

The Indian innings began dramatically as Anderson pitched the first ball up to which Mukund drove wildly, and the resultant edge flew to Pietersen at gully. Mukund had registered a golden duck, and Laxman walked out to join his old mate Dravid on the second ball of the innings.

The duo batted out a few anxious moments. India finished the day with 24 for 1 in 15 overs with Dravid on 7 and Laxman on 13.

Stuart Broad of England walks off to the applause of the crowd after scoring 64    Getty Images
Stuart Broad of England walks off to the applause of the crowd after scoring 64 Getty Images

Day Two: Broad turns proceedings again

Day Two began with four exquisite strokes: Laxman cracked the fifth ball of the second over past point, and then, almost apologetically caressed Anderson s next delivery through the covers for four more. Not willing to miss out on the action, Dravid flicked Broad past mid-wicket, and stretched his left leg to essay a cover-drive for another boundary.

Four boundaries in four balls: the spell had worn off, and India suddenly started to look confident. Dravid held one end up while Laxman carried on from his 58 at Lord s and essayed some exquisite strokes. This included two steered past gully off Anderson with minimal footwork, followed by a fierce pull off the same bowler.

He eventually brought up a sublime fifty with a silken cover-drive off Bresnan. As the 100-run partnership approached, Bresnan suddenly struck against the run of play. Laxman played slightly away from his body, and edged to Prior. He had scored a 112-ball 54 with 10 fours, and the pair had added 93.

Tendulkar began with a back-foot cover drive to the fence off Trott s gentle seamers, and was just beginning to look dangerous when Broad claimed his first wicket of the Test. Tendulkar tried to cut Broad and only managed an edge to Strauss at first slip.

Raina did not last long, and pushed Anderson to Morgan at gully. It was left to the World Cup hero and comeback man Yuvraj to carve out a partnership with Dravid. He was dropped on 5 by Pietersen at gully and then gradually settled down. Dravid, now past his fifty, took charge of the proceedings.

Along came Swann, and Dravid, shedding off all inhibition, stepped out and clobbered him uncharacteristically to deep mid-wicket for four. Yuvraj followed the boundary with two more in the same over past mid-wicket and past the bowler. He picked out Swann for more, hitting him to deep mid-wicket and past square-leg for two more boundaries.

Yuvraj reached his fifty with yet another boundary off Swann to mid-wicket; two balls later Dravid went back, deep into his crease, and cover-drove Swann for four more, and straight-drove the next ball to complete the century partnership. India were 228 for 4. They led by 7, and clearly in command of the Test.

Dravid reached his 34th Test hundred with a delicate paddle-sweep off Swann in the 80th over. He followed it with a steer for two, edged a boundary, and then drove Swann through extra-cover to bring up 14 in the over. Swann had conceded 76 off from 12 overs, and was not required to bowl during the innings again.

The pair cruised along, making merry at the cost of the English bowlers. Then, in the 86th over, Yuvraj lost concentration and edged one off Broad as Prior completed the catch. Yuvraj had scored 62 off 115 balls, and the partnership had been worth 128.

Dhoni walked out and blasted Anderson over gully next over. It seemed that the Indian captain would accelerate while Dravid would continue to play his role as the sheet-anchor. India needed to acquire a big lead quickly in order to bowl England out a second time in the Test.

Then came the fateful 88th over: the first ball went past leg-stump, and the next one was driven to mid-on for nothing. Dhoni slashed at the third one with absolutely no footwork and the ball went to Anderson s safe hands at second slip. India had lost two quick wickets.

Stuart Broad s hat-trick

More drama followed as Harbhajan was hit on the pads the next ball. Marais Erasmus ruled him out leg-before, though replays suggested that he had got an inside edge. The hat-trick ball was a beauty. Praveen was beaten by one that moved back into him and shattered the stumps. With that dismissal, Broad became the first bowler to register a Test hat-trick against India.

Just like Shane Warne, Darren Gough, and Nuwan Zoysa, both Broad and Harbhajan had now taken a hat-trick and had become victims of another in Test cricket. While Harbhajan s hat-trick came in the historic Kolkata Test of 2000-01, Broad was the third wicket in the previous Test hat-trick when Peter Siddle routed England with 6 for 54 at The Gabba.

Dravid, probably frustrated with the proceedings at the other end, tried to uppercut Bresnan and only managed to hit it to Cook at third-man for a 235-ball 117. He had batted for 371 minutes. Broad then produced a brute of a bouncer that Ishant could only fend to Bell.India were all out for 288, losing their last 6 wickets for 21 runs in 33 balls.

Rahul Dravid leaves the field after scoring 117 runs during the second day of the Nottingham Test    Getty Images
Rahul Dravid leaves the field after scoring 117 runs during the second day of the Nottingham Test Getty Images

Ishant had Cook caught by Yuvraj at gully, but Strauss played out time with Bell, who was promoted to number three. England were 24 for 1 exactly the same score India had ended on the previous day at stumps, trailing by 67 with Strauss on 6 and Bell on 9.

Day Three: England rules Test, India rules hearts

Sreesanth bowled an outswinger on the third morning which forced Strauss to play at it. The ball found the edge and Dhoni completed the catch. England were 57 for 2, still trailing by 10 runs. The game was evenly poised as a few quick wickets could get India back in business.

That was not about to happen as Bell took command. He took the Indian seam attack that had looked so good in the first innings by its horns, and when England reached 128 for 2 at lunch, he had scored 84 of them with 15 boundaries. The grip over the Test had started to slip away from the Indians.

Pietersen s booming drives came into play after lunch as he hit Ishant for three boundaries in an over to bring up the century partnership. He eventually fell for 63, but at 219 for 3, England were in complete control with Bell batting on an emphatic 150-ball 124 with 21 fours.

The Ian Bell controversy

Ian Bell walks out to bat after tea. He was reinstated by MS Dhoni in the spirit of the game after being given run out on the stroke of tea.    Getty Images
Ian Bell walks out to bat after tea. He was reinstated by MS Dhoni in the spirit of the game after being given run out on the stroke of tea. Getty Images

Then came the big drama. On the last ball before tea, Morgan flicked one to deep square-leg where Praveen managed to pull it off just before it could touch the rope. The English batsmen, however, were under the misconception that the ball had crossed the boundary and had already started walking to the pavilion before the umpires could announce tea.

Meanwhile, Praveen threw the ball to Dhoni who whipped off the bails, and the umpires had no option but to declare Bell out. The Indians were booed off the field as they left for tea. England were 254 for 4 at this stage, and Bell had “supposedly” fallen for a 178-ball 137.

Then, to everyone s surprise, Bell walked out to bat after tea. Dhoni was welcomed amidst cheers from the crowds. The decision had probably cost him the Test, but he had probably saved his team, and more importantly, the sport from a potential quagmire.

It was a no-contest after that: even though England lost Bell, Morgan, and Trott in a span of 16 runs.Prior and Bresnan then mauled the Indian bowlers to add a quick 102 in 110 balls. England were 441 for 6 at stumps 374 runs ahead with Prior on 64 and Bresnan on 47.

Day Four: India capitulate

Though Prior fell early on the next day after a 60-ball 73, Broad pulled off his third contribution in the game, scoring 44 in 32 balls. Bresnan fell for a 118-ball 90, and England were eventually bowled out for 544. Praveen, with 4 for 124, was the only one with respectable figures on the scorecard. India required a mammoth 478 to win.

The chase was never on as Broad struck first to have the dangerous Dravid caught behind for 6. Thereafter it was a procession as Bresnan reduced India to 55 for 6. Tendulkar, who had been the only one to put up some resistance, eventually fell leg-before to Anderson for 56. The tail did manage to put up some fight. Harbhajan blasted his way to a 44-ball 46 (38 of which had come in boundaries) before hooking Bresnan to fine-leg to give him his first five-for. And Praveen s entertaining onslaught ended in a 25-ball 25 with 5 fours as he was yorked by Anderson.

Fittingly, Broad ended things off by hitting the base of Sreesanth s middle-stump and India were bowled out for 158. They had lost the Test by 319 runs in four days after having England on the mat at least twice during the first two days. However, Broad had turned things around on both occasions, and was fittingly awarded Man of the Match.

What followed

– India slumped to a defeat by the humongous margin of an innings and 242 runs at Edgbaston as Alastair Cook scored a career-best 294. Sehwag registered a ‘King Pair in his comeback Test.

– India faced another innings defeat at The Oval despite Dravid being only the third Indian batsman (after Gavaskar and Sehwag) to carry his bat in an innings. His century took him past Gavaskar s tally of 34 hundreds as well. However, India were out of the Test after a 350-run third wicket partnership between Bell and Pietersen in the first innings.

– By losing the series 0-4, India conceded the top slot in Test cricket to England.

– Zaheer did not take any further part in the series, and was never the same bowler on his return. He picked up 15 wickets from his last 8 Tests at an average of 49.26 and a strike rate of 97.9, and quit Test cricket in 2016.

– Dhoni won the Spirit of Cricket Award for recalling Bell on Day Three.

Brief scores:

England 221 (Stuart Broad 64; Praveen Kumar 3 for 45, Ishant Sharma 3 for 66, S Sreesanth 3 for 77) and 544 (Ian Bell 159; Praveen Kumar 4 for 124) beat India 288 (Rahul Dravid 117; Stuart Broad 6 for 46) and 158 (Sachin Tendulkar 56; Tim Bresnan 5 for 48) by 319 runs.

Man of the Match: Stuart Broad.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry, thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and can be followed @ovshake42)