India are in a great position of going 1-0 up in the 3-Test Match Series after an outstanding opening day at Trent Bridge. England having been put to bat first by Rahul Dravid are in deep trouble at 169 for 7 in their first innings of the second test at Nottingham. Zaheer Khan was the spearhead of the Indian attack but each and every bowler did his best in sustaining the pressure right through the day.
It was a great effort from the groundstaff to make play possible today despite the water level at this ground being very high. The Test Match got underway four hours late because of a damp outfield conditions but there was still the possibility of 55 overs in the day’s play. Both sides as expected remained unchanged. India didn’t have to work hard to get their first breakthrough as Andrew Strauss carelessly drove on the up to be caught at first slip off Zaheer Khan. This wicket came in just the 3rd over and the next one wasn’t far away as it came in the 9th over. Michael Vaughan was once again done in by the left arm pacer bowling it from round the sticks. It was Zaheer angling it into Vaughan and getting it to hold its line to find the edge while Tendulkar took his second catch. England were off to a bad start at 24 for 2 but more disaster was to follow as Kevin Pietersen was beaten by a sharp incoming delivery from RP Singh that had him plumb in front. KP had hit three boundaries in his 18-ball 13 before being the third batsman out.
England went into Tea through a brief fightback from opener Cook and Collingwood at 94 for 3. A little while later, a tentative Paul Collingwood played a drive onto his stumps off Sreesanth to reduce England to 101 for 4. Collingwood made 28 with 4 fours before getting out to a lovely inswinger. After three overs, Ganguly got the big wicket of Alastair Cook, given out lbw by Umpire Simon Taufel. It was a big wicket as Cook looked solid for his 43 runs. The lbw decision could have gone in the batsman’s favour as he was standing outside the crease and was struck not so low on his pads in his attempted backfoot shot. But Ganguly deserved this wicket for his nagging swing bowling in which he hardly conceded any runs.
Half of the English side was gone with just 109 on the board and they had just the last recognized pair of Bell and Prior. Both right handers started to build a useful partnership before Matt Prior needlessly went for a booming drive off Kumble to be caught at slip. Kumble infact was getting some kind of turn from the wicket which will keep him interested throughout the match. Prior contributed 11 out of the 38-run stand with Bell. Towards the dying moments of the day, Zaheer Khan got the prized wicket of Ian Bell, the third lbw of the day. Zaheer beat Bell in both pace and movement as the right hander missed the line completely in his attempted flick. Bell wasn’t happy with the decision from Umpire Howell, but it was indeed a good and a straightforward decision to make. Bell made 28 in 44 balls with four boundaries. It was a good innings from him but at the same time, they were a couple of nicks that dangerously fell short of the slips. England ended the day at 169 for 7 in 55 overs with Chris Tremlett looking impressive with 14 along with Ryan Sidebottom who is yet to open his account. England could have been eight down had Tendulkar taken a simple catch at slips that was offered by Tremlett off Zaheer.
Zaheer Khan was the chief wrecker of the day with 3 for 50 in 16 overs and not to forget the way he kept the lid on the scoring with four maidens. Sreesanth and RP Singh did their part well while Sourav Ganguly was more than handy for Rahul Dravid. The best part of today’s play was that the Indians kept the ball hard and new which helped it to deviate in both directions. The Indian bowlers will have to be ruthless tomorrow in wiping off the English tail and then look upon their batting to come good. For England, they will need a great fightback from their young bowlers.