England set for big score

It was England’s day as the series kicked off against India, they racked up 268-4 before bad light curtailed the day.

England, surprisingly giving Chris Tremlett a debut over Stuart Broad, won the toss and chose to make first use of a decent wicket. Runs came thick and fast for the opening pair, Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan failed to make use of the new ball. They found little swing, and bowled far too often on the pads of Strauss and Cook, the left handers easily tucking it away. They rattled on at five an over for the first hour, before Dravid turned to Sourav Ganguly to stem the flow.

Ganguly found a little movement with the relatively new ball, and managed to beat Alistair Cook, trapping him lbw for a rapid 36, though at a closer look, it might have been missing off stump. In the period before the lunch interval, India managed to keep it tighter, but no more wickets were to come their way.

There was a chance offered by Andrew Strauss, but Dinesh Karthik put down a routine catch at point, one of many poor pieces of fielding from the Indians. Lunch was taken with England at 115-1, and given some rest, Sreesanth returned with a much improved spell. He did little to threaten the now settled Strauss and Vaughan, but managed to reduce the rate of scoring. Rudra Pratap Singh was also doing a decent job at the other end, until he sent down a dreadful over, two wides towards the slips, two crisp leg side boundaries from Vaughan.

His woes much spoken of in recent weeks, and his place in the side frequently questioned, Andrew Strauss delivered today. At the start of his innings, it was obvious he is not a man in form; he edged a couple through third man early on. Soon though, he was driving confidently, and putting the ball away through point with authority. He took his time reaching 50, 109 balls, but aided by the excellent surface and mediocre bowling; he almost broke his year long run without a century. Almost, but not quite, he reached 96 before edging Anil Kumble to slip.

Alongside Strauss for most of the day was Vaughan, who compiled a nice 78 before bad light brought about a premature close. He was confident both sides of the wicket, punishing the Indian bowlers when they erred in line, but happy to sit back and defend when they did get the ball in the right place.

After Strauss’ dismissal, he was joined by Kevin Pietersen, who added 15 without alarm before the batsmen took the light, just after 6pm. England had given themselves a solid base, but they could not keep it together after the play resumed again after a short break. In the third over after play resumed, RP Singh struck from around the wicket, removing Michael Vaughn as he went for an ill-advised drive. In the very next over, Kumble got rid of Collingwood for a duck with a well-disguised googly. England sent in Ryan Sidebottom as the nightwatchman, and he managed to hold the fort with Kevin Pietersen for the next two and a half overs until the light was offered again, and the play ended for good. England ended up with a very good score of 268/4, but India have a chance to get right back into the game if they continue tomorrow with the same spirited bowling they showed at the end.

England 268-4
Andrew Strauss 96, Michael Vaughan 79
Sourav Ganguly 1-24, Anil Kumble 2-56

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Alex Crampton