No fracture, Gambhir is likely to bat
Mon, Jul 25, 2011 9:47 AM
Be it with ball or bat, Stuart Broad just can't have enough of Team India.
England's bowling coach David Saker has called him The Enforcer, but he's The Tormentor right now.
After Ishant Sharma had turned the Lord's Test on its head, on the fourth morning (Sunday), Broad joined forces with centurion Matt Prior to wrest back the initiative.
It helped that Ishant, who bowled 11 overs in the first session, didn't come on immediately after lunch. He defended himself by saying: "I have a body and needed a break."
By the time Ishant began his third spell of the day, England were in the recovery mode.
Given the way Ishant was bowling, dream-like, he should have continued. After all, he'd got a breather in the form of a 40-minute lunch interval. Perhaps, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ought to have been firm.
Broad and Prior put on 162 for the seventh wicket, at almost a run a ball, and their sterling effort allowed Andrew Strauss to declare. At 62 for five, he'd been glum, with anything but a declaration on his mind.
Ishant finished with four for 59 and thanked senior pro Zaheer Khan for helping him cope with the slope. "I bowled the way he wanted me to and I got the results," Ishant pointed out.
His victims included Kevin Pietersen, who'd got an unbeaten double hundred in the first innings. It was a classic fast bowler's dismissal, via the bouncer.
Set a target of 458, India lost Abhinav Mukund rather quickly. To Broad, who else?
Rahul Dravid opened with Mukund, as Gautam Gambhir was in hospital, undergoing an x-ray of his left elbow after taking a hit when Prior went for a sweep.
That wasn't the only piece of bad news for India.
Sachin Tendulkar, down with a "viral infection", and off the field till tea, won't be able to bat till around lunch on the final day or when five wickets have fallen.
At stumps, India were 80 for one, with Dravid on 34 to V.V.S. Laxman's 32. Dravid last opened in New Zealand, more than two years ago, and he's been having to do everything at Lord's.
Lord's is like home for Dravid, but even then...
Late in the evening, manager Anirudh Chaudhry informed that the x-ray on Gambhir hadn't revealed a fracture. "It's an impact injury... There's no fracture... We're very hopeful that he's going to bat," is how he put it.
All, therefore, isn't lost.
Significantly, the manager said that there was "no issue" with the over-rate. Another 'breach' and Dhoni will be banned.
"The first target was not to lose another wicket... That has been achieved, but it's still tough (to save the Test)... Let's see what happens in the morning," former India captain Ravi Shastri told The Telegraph.
What's interesting is that the wicket is playing rather well and 98 overs have to be bowled. A handsome crowd saw an intriguing day's play on Sunday; Monday promises to be tantalising.
Prior made the point that the wicket still had "plenty of runs". However, he quickly added: "Wickets are going to come by building pressure. We're ahead on that because of the runs we scored."
Ishant, for his part, maintained that the India dressing room was "calm and confident".
Few are likely to sleep well, though.