Elation for England, deflation for Tendulkar and India
Tea: First Test, day five, Lord’s
Match score: India 218-5 (Raina 54*, Dhoni 16*, Laxman 56) and 286 (Dravid 103*; Broad 4-37) need 240 more runs to beat England 474-8 dec (Pietersen 202*, Prior 71, Trott 70; Kumar 5-106) and 269-6 dec (Prior 103*, Broad 74*; Sharma 4-41) Full scorecard
Session score: India 74-1 England win
As soon as Sachin Tendulkar was out, two Indian legends Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri followed each other down the stairs from the commentary box corridor of the Lord’s media centre.
Looking grim-faced, they were probably just taking a pit stop during a TV ad break but there was a sense that a chapter had closed.
Rarely is a single dismissal imbued with so much meaning. There was to be no Lord’s fairytale for Tendulkar and the 28,000 people who had come to watch him. And with his wicket, the fifth to fall, went, it seemed, India’s hopes of saving this Test.
Unlike in the first innings when he looked in sparkling touch, he was contained, suffocated almost to a point where it was no great surprise that he was out. And all the while He had survived the one contentious lbw decision of the match, given not out by Billy Bowden when Hawk-Eye predicted that the ball from Stuart Broad would have hit the top of middle stump.
He had gone 38 balls without a run and was then dropped at first slip by Andrew Strauss. Two balls later Jimmy Anderson nipped one back into his pads, he was late on the shot and that was that. It was the sixth time Anderson has dismissed Tendulkar in seven Tests. No seamer has got him more often. Aussies Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie also dismissed six times each.
The story goes that it’s Sachin who leads the DRS denial in India figuring that he, and the other galacticos, get a better deal from umpires. He denies this of course but this seemed to be supporting evidence.
On Sky TV Nasser Hussain wondered aloud whether it was possible for an umpire not to be influenced by the identity of the batsman at the other end. David Lloyd, a former first-class umpire, said: “It’s just a pair of pads. I did it for a few years and I can tell you that you don’t give a flying … fairy [who’s at the other end].”
The post-Sachin mood was inevitably deflated. England might have been on top but soon they were bunkering down, waiting for the new ball to become available which it did just before tea. Suresh Raina, a talented left-hander, helped himself to a chanceless fifty but with 44 overs remaining in the day the hard work should be just beginning.
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John