India collapse after tea as England go 1-0 up in four-Test series
Close: First Test, day five, Lord’s
Match score: India 261 (Raina 78, Laxman 56; Anderson 5-65) and 286 (Dravid 103*; Broad 4-37) lost to England 474-8 dec (Pietersen 202*, Prior 71, Trott 70; Kumar 5-106) and 269-6 dec (Prior 103*, Broad 74*; Sharma 4-41) by 196 runs Full scorecard
Session score: India 43-5 England win
One of the many impressive things about this England side is the way different players raise themselves to contribute at the optimum time.
It was Jimmy Anderson’s day, after four quiet ones, but it was Stuart Broad’s Test, with seven wickets and 74 runs, even if Kevin Pietersen won the man-of-the-match award.
It was fitting that Broad should take the final wicket and fitting too that Ishant Sharma, lbw to one that kept low, should examine his bat so ostentatiously. You get what you pay for. At India’s request reviews are not permitted for lbw decisions in this series. They had benefited earlier when Sachin Tendulkar escaped a decision that Hawk-Eye predicted would have hit the top of middle stump.
India lost five wickets for 36 runs in 68 balls after tea, Anderson’s fifth spell of the day yielding 2 for 8 in four overs. From 218 for 5 they slumped to 261 all out.
In the end it was relatively comfortable, victory achieved with 28.3 overs to spare. The draw never seemed that likely once Rahul Dravid had fished at Anderson in the eighth over of the day.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, insisted that his side’s batting will improve as the series progresses. He is probably right but it smacks of the sort of complacency that has got them into the mess they find themselves in after this match.
He cited the variable bounce of the fifth-day pitch as a significant factor in the result yet he put England into bat. It was a more even pitch, he said, when they played at Lord’s in 2007. It is these natural imperfections and developments that make Test matches so enthralling. We have seen too many bland pitches here in recent years.
It was an unforgettable day made special by a unique atmosphere generated by a capacity walk-up crowd of around 28,000, a bigger last-day crowd even than the fifth day of the 2009 Ashes Test when England took five Australian wickets to seal their first Ashes victory at Lord’s for 75 years.
The queues snaking round the ground were reminiscent of the 2005 Ashes and in particular the last day of the third Test at Old Trafford when 10,000 were locked out. There is a sense that this series against the world’s best side, as Australia were in 2005, can go some way to matching the level of interest if today’s frenzied atmosphere is anything to go by.
“It was a great atmosphere,” said Andrew Strauss. “We expect India to have a lot of support over here and that’s great, it all adds to the mix. We want big crowds. It shows that what you are doing is important.”
Oddly, it was almost a year to the day since Anderson last took a Test five-for yet since that time he has been England’s most outstanding seam bowler. Wickets are not the only measure of a bowler’s performance.
In 2007 at Lord’s India hung on for a draw with nine wickets down and went on to win the series. It cannot be over-stated how important it was for England to take advantage of India’s lack of preparation for this series. And once they had them over a barrel last night, it was essential that they finished them off.
The absence of left-armer seamer Zaheer Khan, who pulled up with a strained hamstring in the first innings, is a mitigating factor in assessing how good a victory this was by England. But their bowling was relentlessly accurate and always threatening.
Three dropped catches were the only serious blemishes on a superb all-round performance that puts England in a great position to need to beat India by two clear Tests to become the No.1 Test side in the world.
Suresh Raina, India’s left-handed No.6, showed class and temperament. He has been pigeonholed as a one-day player but, in his 12th Test, is maturing promisingly.
There wasn’t much sign that others were in the mood to hang around with him after tea. Harbhajan Singh smashed Chris Tremlett over mid-off and then in one extraordinary over from Broad top-edged him over the slips and was dropped at cover point by Eoin Morgan two balls later.
Raina’s dismissal typified Anderson’s excellence, caught behind off an away-swinger that slid down the slope.
Test cricket needed a good game to mark its 2000th instalment and it got one, a match of intensity, great performances and watched by five capacity crowds. Roll on Trent Bridge.
Shot of the day: Raina’s coaching-manual cover drive (one of many) off Broad. He’ll be worth watching as the series progresses.
Ball of the day: VVS Laxman, on 48, played and missed at an away-swinger from Broad that pitched middle and missed off.
Strauss quote of the day: “Our first innings was a magnificent total in the conditions. Kevin’s performance was one of the great innings since I’ve been involved with England.”
Dhoni quote of the day: “Most of the things that could have gone wrong for us did.”
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John