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Praveen Kumar's feat completes the dozen

Last updated on: July 23, 2011 15:24 IST

Praveen Kumar's feat completes the dozen

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Bikash Mohapatra in Lord's

Till a few weeks back, he wasn't certain of his place in the Indian Test line-up.

In the three-Test series in the Caribbean he earned it, making the most of the opportunity with a haul of 12 wickets. 

With his performance in the first innings against England, Praveen Kumar has proved that he deserves it.

It was a historic occasion this being the 2, 000th Test ever besides being the 100th between the two nations involved. So was the venue, Lord's the home of cricket.

And having got an opportunity to be part of the history, Kumar ensured the participation was a memorable one.

The 24-year-old registered his maiden five-wicket haul, in the process joining an elite group.

Photograph: Reuters


Image: Suresh Raina congratulates Praveen Kumar after picking up five-wicket haul

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12th Indian bowler to record a five-fer at the Lord's

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Kumar's five for 106 made him only the 12th Indian bowler to record a fiver at the Lord's (see list). More important was the fact that for most of the innings he shouldered the responsibility alone.

The start was anything but auspicious for the young bowler.

Even as the Indian spearhead, Zaheer Khan, removed both the England openers and hogged the limelight early on, Kumar struggled to make an impression. With Zaheer limping out of the match with a pulled hamstring, the Indian attack looked to have lost its edge.

And even as England recovered, India's three frontline bowlers -- Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma and Kumar -- struggled. The latter's opening day's figures (17.3-5-46-0) made for a poor reading.

The first spell (4-1-12-0) on Day Two wasn't very encouraging either.

Photograph: Getty Images


Image: Praveen Kumar celebrates after picking up a wicket

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First five-wicket haul in Test cricket

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However, with the second ball of his second spell Kumar struck, having a well-settled Jonathan Trott (70) out leg before. Though the England batsman continued to build on their advantage thereafter, the bowler didn't give up.

Kumar's persistence was rewarded in the post-lunch session when he made twin strike in an over, first having Ian Bell (45) caught behind off the first ball and three balls later, dismissing Eoin Morgan (0) in a similar manner.

The 24-year-old continued to press for wickets and the next opportunity came in the day's final session. Bowling what was his 40th over, Kumar made twin strikes, first having Prior caught behind and then trapping Stuart Broad (0) leg before in the next ball. The last wicket endured him his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Photograph: Reuters


Image: Praveen Kumar celebrates after picking up a wicket

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It was a dream to play here at Lord's

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"It was a dream to play here at Lord's and it feels nice to get my first five-wicket haul here," said Kumar afterwards. The 24-year-old remained unperturbed by the fact that he had to bowl more than 40 overs in the innings and said he relished taking more responsibility in the absence of Zaheer.

"I am used to bowling 30-35 overs in domestic cricket as well," he reasoned, adding, "And in the absence of Zaheer bhai, it was not a question of pressure.

"It was about motivating yourself and I liked the challenge."

It was this attitude that had helped Kumar succeed at a time when his fellow bowlers had flattered to deceive.

*The delectable dozen

Mohammad Nissar: 5-93
Amar Singh: 6-35
Lala Amarnath: 5-118
MH Mankad: 5-196
RB Desai: 5-89
BS Chandrasekhar: 5-127
BS Bedi: 6-35
Kapil Dev: 5-125
Chetan Sharma: 5-64
Venkatesh Prasad: 5-76
RP Singh: 5-59
Praveen Kumar: 5-106


Image: Praveen Kumar and Kevin Pietersen share a light moment during the Test match

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