Bikash Mohapatra reports from Lord's on Day 5 of the first Test.
Arrogance is the word!
There was loads of it going into the ongoing India-England series.
'The English bowling attack is good, but not good enough to take 20 Indian wickets.' So said our experts.
'India's the No.1 Test team in the world,' boasted others, claiming MS Dhoni's men had cracked the code for success overseas.
True, the Indian team has won Test matches in Australia, South Africa and England in recent times, but there's a long way to go before it can boast of its away record.
Monday offered a reality check.
Chasing 458 to win, the visitors never attempted to go for it. A draw was all they were looking for.
In the end, a 196-run thrashing was what they eventually got, the result helping England take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
It was a deserving English win, to say the least. For, it happened against all odds.
The home team had lost the toss on a wet opening day. Having been asked to bat, they also lost both their openers early.
More importantly, they never had the crowd -- a crucial factor in home matches -- rooting for them. A massive influx of South Asians meant it was huge support for India.
Yet, it was the performance that eventually mattered. One that helped Andrew Strauss's men secure their first Test win over India in five years -- since their win at the Wankhede in 2006 -- and their first win over the opponents on English soil since 2002.
Their batsmen -- Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior in particular -- stuck to the task, and their bowlers -- James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad -- earned their wickets.
Anderson finished with second innings figures of five for 65, his third five-wicket haul at the home of cricket.
It was a job well done; a plan well-executed!
As regards India, it meant going back to the drawing board.
The team may have attained the No.1 ranking mainly due to a series of positive results on the flat tracks at home. However, the (defensive) mindset, when it plays away, is yet to change.
One or two inspired efforts may yield a positive result. But overseas dominance is but a pipedream.
There'll be excuses galore. There will be massive cover-ups for the poor performances -- Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir and the ilk.
Whatever be the case, the reality is India's miserable record at Lord's has just got worse (11 defeats in 16 matches played). And there is no explanation for that.
Morning session (62 runs, 26 overs, three wickets):
Resuming at their overnight score of 80 for 1 (27 overs), Rahul Dravid (36) and VVS Laxman (56) started on a cautious note.
The former, though, seemed in all sorts of trouble tackling the pace and bounce that the English quicks generated. In fact, Dravid had a stroke of fortune when, in Tremlett's third over of the day, he was put down by Ian Bell at short leg.
However, a horrendous error cost him his wicket. A momentary lapse of concentration saw him fishing at a wide delivery from Anderson, and Prior made no mistake with the catch.
The batsman's reaction was instant -- he slammed his bat to the ground. The frustration was palpable.
England though got the breakthrough they were looking for. Dravid's dismissal brought an end to a 75-run partnership for the second wicket which had defied the English charge for so long.
With Tendulkar not being able to bat till 12.27 (local time), Gautam Gambhir came in at No.4.
Broad came into the attack in the 39th over and Gambhir was fortunate to survive a huge leg before appeal off his final delivery.
Off the third ball of Broad's third over in the day, Laxman survived a huge appeal for caught behind. Broad was convinced, but umpire Billy Bowden wasn't. Referral time!
Umpire Bowden was right; Laxman did not nick it.
In Broad's next over, Laxman hit his eighth boundary to register his 53rd Test fifty, his fifth against England.
Anderson came in to replace Broad (11-3-24-1) in the 48th over and struck first ball, having the dangerous Laxman caught by Ian Bell at midwicket. It was a very callous shot by Laxman, considering he had settled down so well.
In came Sachin Tendulkar to a rapturous applause, and he hit the fifth ball he faced to the fence.
However, in the next over, Swann had Gambhir out leg before. The left-hander made 22.
Tendulkar and Raina ensured there was no further damage before lunch.
Post-lunch session (76 runs, 28 overs, 1 wicket):
How does it feel to have a hostile home crowd? Ask any of the England players this.
On the fifth day of the opening Test at Lord's, it was as if England was playing on Indian soil.
There was a packed house, no two ways about that. But those supporting the visitors far outnumbered English fans. Blame it on the huge Asian contingent in London!
When England dominated the opening session, the decibel levels were well under control. But, as the Indian batsmen defied the bowlers in the second session, the crowd became boisterous with each passing delivery.
The biggest beneficiary of this partisan support was none other than Sachin Tendulkar. Only, had he made it count.
The Master Blaster's innings (12) was, bluntly put, disappointing. At no point during his stay at the crease did he look comfortable. Having said that, one also has to admit that he had fortune favouring him not once, but twice.
When on 11, Tendulkar survived a huge leg before shout from Broad. The bowler was convinced; the umpire unmoved.
Television replays suggested Billy Bowden had got it wrong. The crowd was celebrating nonetheless. They wanted another century from Tendulkar.
A few overs later, Strauss put down Tendulkar at first slip, dropping what seemed like a regulation catch. England's captain had dropped Dravid (on 46) in the first innings and the blemish had cost England dearly, the batsman going on to score a hundred and help India avoid the follow-on.
On this occasion, though, the bowler (Anderson) made sure the reprieve did not cost England much. Two balls later, he had an out-of-sorts Tendulkar leg before.
In the next over, Swann had Raina stumped. Well, almost! The replay came to the batsman's rescue.
By now the crowd had gone completely silent. The noise came back when Raina and MS Dhoni started playing freely towards the end of the second session. Every boundary was greeted with applause, and so was every English blemish.
India ended the session at 213 for five (80 overs), with Raina unbeaten on 50 and Dhoni on 15.
With a session to go, and this being the last recognized pair left, India will need all the crowd support possible to eke out a draw.
As regards England, suffice to say, they have to keep trying. And not let the crowd, or the opposition, decide their destiny.
Post-tea session (43 runs, 15.3 overs, five wickets):
Tremlett struck soon after resumption. He had Dhoni, caught behind. India's captain scored 16 and his dismissal brought to an end a 60-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Broad came in to replace Anderson (24- 5-57-3) in the 89th over. And he was twice unlucky in the second over he bowled in the spell.
First, Morgan put down Harbhajan at gully. Then Raina (at 63) survived a huge leg before appeal next ball.
Broad was convinced, so were his teammates. But umpire Bowden remained unmoved.
Television replays suggested Bowden had got it wrong for a second time in the day. The ball had pitched in the line and hit Raina on the pads, the bat was nowhere near.
Anderson, though, brought some much-needed relief by accounting for Harbhajan (12) in the next over.
The bowler dug it in short and Bhajji's awkward pull was snapped up by Tremlett at wide-ish mid-on.
Soon after, Broad rattled Praveen Kumar's (2) stumps with a fuller delivery that nipped back.
And when Anderson had Raina (78) caught behind -- the batsman having survived a referral four balls earlier -- it was a matter of time before the Indian innings folded.
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