England completed a fantastic five days of cricket for them on Monday by emphatically beating the number one rated team in the world at Lords. They consigned the much lauded Indians to a heavy and fully justified defeat after beating them in all departments – with bat, ball and in the field.
At the start of the days play, there were high hopes amongst India supporters that their team could chase down a mammoth victory target of 458. Starting at 80 for one, and with a fabled batting line up in their ranks, many felt there was just a chance that India could mount one of the biggest successful run chases in test history.
With Dravid and Laxman looking comfortable at the crease, and Tendulkar still to come the day started well for the visitors. However once Dravid and Laxman were dispatched back to the hutch, scoring became increasingly difficult against England’s top class bowling attack.
Indicative of this was Sachin Tendulkar’s batting display in what might be his last test innings at Lords. He was strangely becalmed in an innings of 12 runs from 68 balls before being given out lbw to the devastating Jimmy Anderson.
Anderson has moved up to number 2 in the official world rankings of bowlers after his second innings blitz resulting in figure of 5 for 65 and getting his name on the famous Lord’s honours board for the third time.
The Indian batsmen showed resilience, especially youngster Suresh Raina, who made 78 excellent runs in challenging conditions. However they were not able to find an answer to England’s penetrating bowling attack – now recognised as the most potent bowling unit in test cricket. The variation, accuracy and skill of the three seamers together with spinner Graham Swann’s control and guile eventually saw the Indian batsmen crumble.
In the end England won the match by 196 runs, and their performance fully justified the margin of victory. The second Test begins on Friday, with the Indians hoping to turn things around, whilst England hope to hold on to the initiative they seized here.