When MS Dhoni almost got a wicket
Trust MS Dhoni to spring a surprise! The second day's play at the Lord's was no different.
With pace spearhead (Zaheer Khan) ruled out with a pulled hamstring, India was a bowler short. Besides, the remaining bowlers, save one (Praveen Kumar), were under-performing, thereby allowing the England batsmen to steadily build towards a huge target.
However, the home team was in for a surprise in the first over after lunch. India was in a desperate need for quick wickets, and Dhoni did what he usually does on occasions like this -- think out of the box.
In a bid to unsettle the England batsmen, the Indian captain traded his 'keeping gloves' with Rahul Dravid and came in to bowl.
Only three other Indian stumpers had swung their arms before Dhoni Syed Kirmani against both Pakistan and West Indies between 1982-84, Kiran More against Pakistan in 1990 and Ajay Ratra against the West Indies in 2002. And only Kirmani had succeeded in taking a wicket.
Image: Dhoni appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of Pietersen
Photographs: Getty Images
Dhoni conceded a single in his first over
It wasn't the first time that Dhoni had bowled in a Test match. In fact, it was the fourth occasion. However, the three previous occasions had been one-over spells at the fag end, nothing more than a formality.
This case was different. He was bowling in the middle of the innings, trying to secure his team a much-needed breakthrough before the second new ball could be taken.
Dhoni conceded a single in his first over. However, in the third ball of his second he appeared to have induced an edge off Kevin Pietersen's blade, Dravid making no mistake with the catch.
Umpire Bowden raised his finger and Dhoni and his team were palpably ecstatic. The batsman stood his ground though, unconvinced.
The decision was reviewed and changed, the hot spot clearly indicating there was no edge. Pietersen survived.
Image: Kevin Pietersen asks for a referral as MS Dhoni celebrates his dismissal
'Somebody had to bowl 7-8 overs'
Dhoni's joy was ephemeral. The Indian captain bowls five overs (for 20 runs) before resuming with his keeping duties.
Towards the end of the session (98th over) the Indian captain was back to bowl three more overs -- during this spell he bowled his first maiden over.
On this occasion, Dhoni's move had not had the desired impact. He couldn't get the breakthrough he was looking for. The Indian captain had succeeded in amusing the crowds though.
Dhoni's decision was later justified by his teammate and India's most successful bowler in the innings, Praveen Kumar.
"It was simple thinking. Since we were a bowler short, somebody had to bowl 7-8 overs," reasoned Kumar.
Image: MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar chat during the Test match at Lord's
'He got the ball to swing both ways and nip'
He might have been able to get a wicket but Dhoni's effort was lauded nonetheless. And the best compliment came from the batsman he almost got out.
"It was really difficult to get through," said Kevin Pietersen, thereafter proceeding to elaborate his statement
"Whenever a 'keeper comes on to bowl it's very hard," he continued, adding, "He got the ball to swing both ways and nip.
"He's a very talented man." Asked about his decision to opt for referral when Dhoni had supposedly got him out, Pietersen said he had to have umpire Billy Bowden's decision reviewed.
"I can't get out to Dhoni," replied KP, tongue-in-cheek.
Image: Ms Dhoni bowls during the Test match at Lord's