Friday, July 22, 2011

India England Live Score


52nd over: England 132-2 (Trott 62, Pietersen 23) Pietersen whips a single away square. Sharma bowls from very wide on the crease, angling the ball in at the right-hander. He's not as fast as I imagined he would be, nor as I'm sure he used to be back in the days when he was giving Ricky Ponting the hurry-up. But the bounce he gets means that on the right pitch he could be a real handful. But I'm not sure this surface suits him all that much. "I appreciate that you boys are having a Trott love-in but the optimism here is medium to low (presumably because Bristol is freezing without any sign of the Lord's sunshine)," harrumphs Lori McConnachie. "And I am sure you're going to JINX it. Please be careful with your admiration."
51st over: England 131-2 (Trott 62, Pietersen 22) The first runs of the day are driven through extra cover. They came from Kumar's third ball, a gentle away-swinger which Trott biffed for four. "Come the end of a nuclear winter, Trott will still be there, batting," says Gary Weightman. Indeed he will, with only the cockroaches for company. Just imagine what he and Cook could do in a timeless Test. "Now that you lot are talking up Trott and the man-love you've all got for him, what are the odds on Ishant Sharma getting him to out first ball?" says Arvind Ramanan, two minutes too late. "Do you English ever take the jinx effect seriously?"
50th over: England 127-2 (Trott 58, Pietersen 22) "Let's play!" says Billy Bowden, and Ishant Sharma, lustrous lock blowing in the breeze, runs in and delivers the first ball of the day. It's wide outside off-stump, and Pietersen walks across to meet it. It hits him on the pads and Sharma clears his throat with an early LBW appeal. Billy curls his lip and shakes his head. It was well outside the line. The next two balls are similar, if a little straighter. The news is that Zaheer will not bowl today, but India are saying nothing about his chances in the match beyond that. "Are other readers as intrigued as I am by the prospect of a Timeless Test in the proposed 2013 World Test cup final?" asks Don Wilson, seemingly oblivious to the fact I wrote 1,000 words on this very topic earlier in the week. "I've heard all the stories about the 1939 match in Durban and must admit that I've always wanted to witness one for myself. If it were to go for 9 or 10 days that would be some marathon OBO."
My mind really changed about Trott during the world cup in India, when he took a stupid amount of flack because he wasn't hitting any sixes, even though he kept scoring run-a-ball fifties. Then, one night in Chennai, the British Deputy High Commissioner held a party for the Queen's birthday. They had to get permission to hold it early, because the weather gets so unfeasibly sticky as the summer wears on. They invited all the press and all the players. No surprise the hacks were out in force, tucking in to the Pimms and pies that were, bizarrely, laid on as part of the buffet. But Trott was the only player who turned up. On his own. The man has an open mind and good manners. And his reward was that he got to see a long speech from a tipsy Graham Gooch - who, to this day, is by far and away the most popular English cricketer in India - who got to make a request for a song from the Beatles cover band who were providing the entertainment. Inspired by England's recent success against the West Indies in the final group match, Gooch picked Imagine.
My, my, my my good mood must be infectious. Or is it just that the sun is out and it's Friday? Either way, here's Luciano Howard: "Agree totally on Jon Trott When he first arrived at the back-end of (one of our many recent) glorious Ashes victories he did not look anything special." [really? how hard to impress are you?] "Wrong. He's immensely special, just not spectacular. I trust in this line-up each and every time they bat now. With Cookie & Trott I am confident we'll always get a score. The other bats may be easier on the eye (Bell), more bombastic (KP), but Cookie, and more so Trott, are the names I expect to see each and every time I check the scoreboard. Trott is the man who glues together this batting line-up nowadays, I think. Without him (Cook being an opener and therefore often likely to fall early) we would fail more often. Its the nature of the beast."
Yorkies Bah. "Top of the morning to you," says Damien Sefton. "What is your early opinion on Broad over Bresnan? I for one support decision. A neat 19 at the end of the first innings and 2 for 18 really turned things around."
The word is that Zaheer is not going to be bowling today. Try to keep the smile off your face, all you England fans. "ZK or no ZK, it looks a lovely day to bat," chirrups a chirpy Gary Naylor. "Did MS Dhoni get it right at the toss yesterday? England's previous first innings scores at Lord's read 335/7dec, 486, 446, 505, 425, 377, 593/8dec. Giving the strongest England top seven I can recall first go, seems a tad optimistic." Ah, but in those conditions he would have been damned if he had done anything else.
You may have noticed that the sun is peaking out from behind the clouds and the sky is mottled blue and white. It looks a beautiful day to bat and I, for one, am expecting to fall ever-so-slightly more in love with Jonathan Trott over the course of the next seven hours. My man-crush on Trott has taken a while to brew up. For a long time, in fact, I couldn't stand him. Not because he was a boring batsman to watch, but because he was so inelegant. The comparison people made with Alastair Cook and Rahul Dravid always seemed invalid to me. Cook and Dravid are capable of playing beautiful shots. In fact Dravid's forward defensive can be a thing of wonder and perfection. But Trott is a shuffling, creaking nudger of a batsman, without a single stroke worthy of the name. But over recent weeks I've warmed to him. And now, when I think about the prospect of how, in the next few weeks, he could single-handedly infuriate a nation of a billion people. Well that brings a smile to my face. He may be a bastard. But he's our bastard. And his average in four Tests at Lord's? a mere 141.
While I'm doing links, sit up and pay attention to this one. The Wisden Almanack, now under the editorship of our esteemed old mucker Lawrence Booth, has just launched a new quarterly magazine. The first issue is all about India v England and features articles from our own Mike Selvey and Barney Ronay. You can download it here, and you'll be doing a good thing for the cause of quality sportswriting if you do.
So what did everyone else make of it? Lord 'Mike' Selvey reckoned that "England enjoyed the better of the first day", while Vic Marks sums up Praveen Kumar like this: "Kumar's shirt was hanging out like a man who had sharpened his skills in the Lancashire League, perhaps at Colne, where he might bowl at one end throughout the entire innings. Kumar trundled in on his gentle, energy-saving run-up and swung the ball cleverly in both directions at around 80mph. It might have been Abid Ali, Madan Lal or Roger Binny in years gone by."
Morning everyone. That was a slow start to the series. It felt a little like one of those moments when you're forced to slow down and appreciate the quality of the wrapping paper rather as you tear it off to see your present. It was a slow reveal, in which we learned that India's attack is rather better suited to English conditions than we may have imagined, and that - and there's no doubt that Duncan Fletcher has had a hand in this - their plans to the each of the English batsmen are immaculately thought out. The flip side was that their fielding was woeful. Either they are still warming up, or they're a bunch of old crocks. And now they're worrying about Zaheer Khan's fitness as well. There were rumours last night that it was just a bad case of cramp, but if it's anything worse than that England are never going to have a better opportunity to win a match in this series than they will over the next four days.

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