Bresnan the pride of England (and Yorkshire) as India are humbled
Second Test, day four, Trent Bridge
Match result: England 221 (Broad 64) and 544 (Bell 159, Bresnan 90, Prior 73, Morgan 70, Pietersen 63) beat India 288 (Dravid 117, Yuvraj Singh 62, Laxman 54, Broad 6 for 46) and 158 (Tendulkar 56, Bresnan 5 for 48) by 319 runs Full scorecard
Session score: India 90-4 England win session, and go 2-0 up in series
The pundits are queueing up to praise England, victors at Trent Bridge in the most stunning fashion. “Best England side I’ve seen,” said Nasser Hussain, the former England captain and the man who laid the base for the glories since 2003 of the Michael Vaughan and now Andrew Strauss eras.
“It’s incredible to think that England were 124 for eight on the first day here, and that India were then 267 for four on Saturday afternoon and already, at 46 runs ahead, looking to take complete control of this Test,” said Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent and TheCricketer.com columnist. “But, since then, and Stuart Broad’s hat-trick, England have just overwhelmed India, who look flat and no wonder!”
India were tumbled out for 158 in their second innings, after England had totalled 544 in theirs, and a defeat by 319 runs will be difficult to recover from – especially after a similarly heavy loss in the first Test at Lord’s.
At 2-0 up, with two matches to play in this riveting series, England are already on course to become the No 1 ranked team in Test cricket. They will achieve that status if they win the series either 2-0 or 3-1, or better. And if India, the current world ‘champions’, are being blown away far quicker than anyone expected, then it is because England are showing an intensity and a resilience that is quite marvellous to behold.
Strauss’s team look, quite simply, to be men on a mission. They are playing with passion and pride, with high skill and a joy at achieving excellence. At times, too, when things are not going quite to plan, they play with a grim determination not to be beaten. It is a winning cocktail, and India will do well now to avoid humiliation in this series.
Tim Bresnan was England’s fifth day hero, fittingly on Yorkshire Day – “the celebration of all things Yorkshire”. Well, no one looks more Yorkshire than England’s Yorkshire all-rounder, who took 4 for 17 in an afternoon spell of unremitting hostility and 5 for 48 overall after, in the morning, taking his overnight 47 to a robust 90 as England’s tail plundered second-rate Indian bowling almost at will.
There were 97 runs in the first hour before drinks and India’s players must have been tempted to sip something far stronger than water and lemon squash. Matt Prior was out early for 73, to a fine outswinger from Praveen Kumar, but Bresnan and Stuart Broad added 82 in 13 overs to rush England to an eventual lead of 477.
Broad then followed up his 32-ball 44, which included two sixes picked up over mid-wicket off successive balls from Suresh Raina, by producing a superb delivery to dismiss Rahul Dravid in the fourth over of the Indian second innings, shortly before lunch. Angling in, it straightened just enough to draw Dravid into the stroke, and Prior gleefully accepted the edge.
Losing their first innings century-maker so cheaply was a grievous blow to India’s chances of making a fist of chasing 478 to win, but no one could have foreseen the rapidity of their post-lunch collapse to 55 for six and – even with Sachin Tendulkar still at the crease – into a position of hopelessness.
Jimmy Anderson ripped out VVS Laxman’s off stump in the second over after the interval, and then Bresnan got to work. Opener Abhinav Mukund did well to fend a fearsome lifter from in front of his face to Strauss at first slip, and Raina top-edged a flappy hook to long leg, where substitute fielder Scott Elstone took a well-judged catch.
Yuvraj Singh, hit painfully on the fingers by Bresnan and needing on-field treatment before he could continue, ended an uncomfortable 52-minute stay at the crease by gloving another Bresnan steepler to Alastair Cook in the gully area and, next ball, a hapless Indian captain MS Dhoni was lbw playing no stroke to an off-cutter.
All the while, at the non-strikers’ end, Tendulkar watched impassively while offering a string of gem-like strokes himself. It was a mere sideshow, however, as a rampant England pressed on towards victory.
Tendulkar himself was the seventh Indian wicket to fall, after a perky 52-run stand with Harbhajan Singh, and it was Anderson who took his prized scalp – for the seventh time in Tests, more than any other bowler bar Murali – with an inswinger which foxed the Little Master into playing no stroke. Tendulkar was out lbw for 56 and, for India, that really was it.
Bresnan returned to cut short Harbhajan’s violent 46 from 44 balls, with Elstone clinging on to another skied catch at long leg soon after dropping one on the opposite boundary, and fittingly – after Anderson had yorked Kumar – it was Broad who claimed the final wicket by bowling Sreesanth for a duck.
Broad, with a hat-trick, eight wickets for 76 and a total of 108 runs including his vital first innings 64, took the man-of-the-match award but it could easily have gone to Bresnan for his runs and wickets or Ian Bell for his magnificent second innings 159. Bresnan, of course, would not have played but for Chris Tremlett’s withdrawal with hamstring and back niggles.
Shot of the day: A stunning on driven four by Tendulkar off Anderson. A 100th international century for Sachin would have been the perfect way to end a magnificent Test match – but he could make only 56 before Anderson got him
Ball of the day: The brutish lifter from Bresnan which ended Mukund’s stubborn resistance
Quote of the day (part one): “We’ll just concentrate on playing good cricket and that (becoming Test No 1 ranked team) will take care of itself.” Andrew Strauss.
Quote of the day (part two): “Bresnan did brilliantly and it will be difficult to leave anyone out at Edgbaston.” Strauss again.
Most predictable quote of the day: “The most important thing was that England won the match.” Stuart Broad, when asked about his man-of-the-match performance.