Bikash Mohapatra reports on the second day's play in the second Test from Trent Bridge.
In the final analysis, it was about a dropped catch. When Kevin Pietersen [ Images ] put down Yuvraj Singh [ Images ] (then on four), at gully off Stuart Broad [ Images ], little did he know that it was going to be a costly blemish?
India [ Images ] were precariously placed at 144 for four at that stage, and another wicket then would have been detrimental to their prospects.
As it turned out, Yuvraj, playing in only his 35th Test -- his first in over a year and first on English soil -- turned out to be the support that Rahul Dravid [ Images ] so desperately needed to push forward the Indian cause.
'The Wall' had put on 93 runs for the second wicket with VVS Laxman [ Images ] (54) to lay the foundation of the Indian innings, but a couple of quick wickets (read Sachin Tendulkar [ Images ], Suresh Raina [ Images ]) had him running out of support.
But following Yuvraj's good fortune, Dravid found the ally he needed. The duo put on an invaluable 128 runs for the fifth wicket, helping the visitors take a vital first innings lead.
Dravid scored a spectacular 117, his 34th Test ton and ninth against England [ Images ]. His 235-ball knock was inclusive of 15 hits to the fence; he occupied the crease for more than six hours, spanning two days.
While his 103 not out in the opening Test at Lord's helped India avoid the follow-on, this knock helped them take what could be a crucial lead.
Yuvraj, on his part, registered his 10th Test fifty, his third against the opposition and made Pietersen and England pay heavily for their blunder.
Broad came back strong though. Bowling with the new ball, he not only accounted for Yuvraj in his third over but also took a memorable hat-trick in the next to decimate the Indian tail.
The 25-year-old finished with career-best figures of six for 46 as India were eventually bowled out for 288, an overall lead of 67.
At stumps on the second day, the home team had scored 24 for one in their second innings, still 43 runs adrift.
Morning session (93 runs, 28 overs, one wicket):
It was a bright, sunny morning at Nottingham on Saturday. Not quite something the England bowlers were praying for.
And the Indian batsmen signaled their intentions with four straight boundaries early on, two by Laxman off Broad and another two by Dravid off Anderson -- inside the first three overs.
The English plan of securing an early breakthrough had gone kaput. The 50-partnership for the second wicket was achieved in quick time as well.
The only glimmer of hope England had early on was in the 23rd over -- the eighth of the day -- when Laxman appeared to have edged an Anderson delivery to Prior. Umpire Asad Rauf remained unmoved.
The English were convinced they had got their man. It was referral time!
But the decision stood. Laxman survived and the home team saw both their referrals go abegging. As the over came to a close, Laxman and Pietersen were seen exchanging words.
An elegant drive to the extra cover fence off Bresnan ensured Laxman his 54th Test fifty. It was his sixth half century against England, and second in succession, following his 56 in the second innings at Lord's.
The home team finally got the breakthrough they so desperately required, in the day's 21st over (36th over overall of the Indian innings), when Bresnan had Laxman caught behind.
The Hyderabad batsman scored 54, his 112-ball innings comprising 10 hits to the fence. His dismissal ended a 93-run stand for the second wicket (with Dravid), which helped lay the foundation for the Indian innings.
In came Tendulkar to a thunderous applause. The Master Blaster got off the mark off the third ball he faced, a boundary through extra cover off Trott. The shot also helped India get past the 100-run mark.
Tendulkar (14 not out) and a well-settled Dravid (44 not out) ensured India suffered no further damage, going into lunch at 117 for two (43 overs).
Suffice to say, the visitors dominated the opening session, while the English's cup of woes brimmeth over.
Post-lunch session (98 runs, 30 overs, two wickets):
England couldn't have hoped for a better start to the second session. Broad struck off the last ball of the first over after resumption, having Tendulkar caught by Strauss at first slip.
In came Suresh Raina (12) and his first two scoring shots were boundaries, one each off Broad and Anderson. He never looked comfortable with the shot ball though, with Broad, in particular, troubling him a lot.
Meanwhile, a boundary to third man off Broad helped Dravid reach his 61st Test fifty, his ninth against England.
His celebration, though, was ephemeral, as Raina perished in Anderson's next over, hitting straight to Eoin Morgan [ Images ] at gully. It was a soft dismissal, and one that brought the home side back into the contest.
In came Yuvraj Singh, playing his 35th Test overall, but first in more than a year. It could have been worse for India had Pietersen not put down Yuvi (on four then) off Broad in the next over. The 25-year-old bowler has been a victim of poor catching in the series and did well to control his emotions following the blemish.
It proved to be a costly error, though. And Strauss compounded his team's misery by handing the ball to Graeme Swann [ Images ] -- Yuvi being far more comfortable against spin vis-à-vis pace.
Dravid (83 not out) and Yuvraj (43 not out) combined well for the fifth wicket, putting on a 76-run partnership for the fifth wicket and taking India closer to the home team's total.
If the Dravid-Laxman partnership had helped India dominate the opening session, the Dravid-Yuvi partnership helped the visitors overturn the early advantage the hosts had obtained in the second.
At tea, India were 215 for four (73 overs), just six runs adrift of the English total.
Post-tea session :
India (73 runs, 18.1 overs, six wickets):
Four objectives were achieved in the first seven overs after tea, two personal landmarks and two imperative for the team.
The fact that England persisted with Swann and Pietersen after the break -- to get on with the overs quickly for the new ball to be taken -- helped the Indian cause considerably.
As Dravid displayed some deft touch to take three runs off Swann, it also ensured India the lead. In the off-spinner's next over -- his third of the session -- Yuvraj helped himself to a boundary over midwicket to complete a well-deserved, albeit fortunate, half century.
It was Yuvraj's 10th Test half century, his third against England. A single by Dravid in the same over brought forth the century partnership for the fifth wicket.
And Swann's final over before the new ball could be made available witnessed Dravid sweeping the second ball to the fine leg boundary to reach another magnificent hundred.
It was the 38-year-old's 34th Test hundred, his ninth against England and second in two Tests after his unbeaten 103 in the first innings at Lord's.
Dravid celebrated the same with two boundaries. That over (the 80th) cost England 14 runs and ended an ineffective spell for Swann (12-0-76-0).
The new ball was taken in the 81st over and it delivered the desired result in the 86th, when Broad (in his third over) had Yuvraj caught behind. Yuvi's 115-ball 62 included 10 hits to the fence.
However, his departure sparked a spectacular collapse for the visitors, one that had them losing four wickets in the space of eight balls without an addition to the total.
In his fourth over (the 88th of the innings), Broad first had MS Dhoni [ Images ] (5) caught by Anderson at second slip. Harbhajan Singh [ Images ] was caught in front of the wicket first ball. And, as Praveen Kumar [ Images ] found his stumps rattled off the first ball he faced, Broad celebrated a well-deserved hat-trick.
Bresnan was brought to replace Anderson (26-8-80-2) in the next over and he struck second ball, having Dravid caught by Cook at third man. The dismissal brought to an end another remarkable innings from 'The Wall' that lasted a whopping 370 minutes.
Broad was unlucky when Cook put down Ishant (yet to open) at third slip. Ishant and Sreesanth [ Images ] took advantage of the blemish to put on 15 valuable runs for the final wicket before Broad had Ishant (3), caught spectacularly by Bell at short leg.
England innings (24 runs, 11 overs, one wicket):
The England second innings began on a disastrous note, as Alastair Cook [ Images ] (5) edged an Ishant delivery straight to Yuvraj at gully.
It marked a double failure for Cook, who made only two in the first innings. The 26-year-old, the hero of the Ashes earlier in the year, is yet to fire in this series.
With Jonathan Trott getting injured while fielding, Bell came in at No.3 and, along with Strauss, did enough to ensure England lived to fight another day.