Brilliant Broad revives England
Stuart Broad single-handedly brought England out of the depths of despair with a stunning hat-trick on another dramatic day in the second npower Test at Trent Bridge.
India looked to be cruising towards a commanding first-innings lead as Rahul Dravid’s wonderfully crafted century and an impressive fifty from Yuvraj Singh helped them to 267 for four in reply to their hosts’ 221.
However, Broad ended the 128-run fifth-wicket partnership when Yuvraj edged behind on 62 and in his next over Mahendra Singh Dhoni was caught in the slips, Harbhajan Singh was controversially trapped in front and Praveen Kumar was bowled.
After the imperious Dravid had fallen to Tim Bresnan for a patient and clinical 117, his second hundred of the four-match series, Broad then returned to have Ishant Sharma caught at short-leg, completing a magnificent spell that saw him claim five wickets for no runs in 16 balls.
On his home ground, the Nottinghamshire all-rounder, whose 64 helped England recover from 124 for eight yesterday, finished with Test-best figures of 6-46 as the tourists crumbled to 288 all out.
Yet it was India who landed the final blow of the day when Alastair Cook fell to Ishant for his second single-figure score of the match.
Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell, batting at three in the absence of the injured Jonathan Trott, led England to the close on 24 for one, the score India resumed on this morning.
On a pitch that did not offer as much assistance to the bowlers as yesterday – in part due to the glorious sunshine at Nottingham – England’s quest for quick wickets this morning was dashed by Dravid and VVS Laxman.
Captain Strauss set an attacking field with three slips, a gully and Ian Bell at short-leg in an effort to add to the dismissal of Abhinav Mukund last night.
However, when offered width by James Anderson, Laxman struck back-to-back fours through the off side in the second over of the day.
Dravid continued the pattern in the next over by hitting Broad through the vacant square-leg area. He then creamed the same bowler through point to bring up a fourth successive boundary as India immediately warmed to their task.
From nowhere, Anderson thought Laxman had feathered a defensive prod to wicketkeeper Matt Prior, but umpire Asad Rauf's not out decision stood after Strauss decided to use England's remaining review.
After a brief lull in proceedings, Dravid released the shackles with a sweetly-struck four off a full-toss from Broad, while Laxman followed suit off the next ball by hammering Bresnan through cover.
Laxman brought up his second half-century of the series by flicking Trott off his hips for four but, just as the game looked to getting away from England, Bresnan made the breakthrough.
The Yorkshireman had just beaten Laxman’s edge with a lifting outswinger and a similar delivery next ball found the outside edge and was caught by Prior moving to his right.
England were quickly brought back down to earth when Sachin Tendulkar, in search of his 100th international hundred, disdainfully thumped Trott through cover for four to take India past three figures.
The Little Master looked in fine touch and drilled Anderson to the same region in the over before lunch, yet he perished for 16 just after the interval to give England a huge momentum boost.
Broad offered the all-time leading run-scorer in Tests some width outside off stump but his drive found the hands of Strauss at first slip.
Suresh Raina struggled with short-pitched bowling from Broad early in his innings and was fortunate to see a leading edge fly over the slips.
Typically, Dravid was the calming influence India needed and he moved to his fifty by steering Broad down to third man for his 10th four.
Raina was looking increasingly uncomfortable and it was hardly a surprise when, on 12, he cut a short and wide Anderson delivery straight into the hands of Eoin Morgan at gully.
India should have been five down when new batsman Yuvraj played an identical shot off Broad, but a crouching Kevin Pietersen failed to hold onto the catch.
Dravid and Yuvraj kept the scoreboard ticking over but three fours in an over - two from the left-hander - off Graeme Swann, who missed most of the morning session due to his hand injury, brought India out of their stupor.
Yuvraj brought up the fifty partnership by clipping a full Bresnan delivery to fine-leg for two runs, while Dravid took India past 200 by flicking Anderson off his hips.
Dravid helped India move into the lead with a deliberate edge down to third man after tea and Yuvraj brought up his fifty by pulling Swann to midwicket for his ninth four.
That was overshadowed when Dravid brought up a deserved hundred after tickling Swann to fine-leg for his 13th four and he would add another two boundaries before the end of the over.
England took the new ball straight away in the 80th over and were unlucky not to end Dravid’s resistance when he edged Broad just short of Anderson at second slip.
However, the persistant Broad was rewarded when Yuvraj nicked a steepling delivery into the hands of Prior to depart for 62.
Dhoni never looked comfortable at the crease and his nine-ball stay for five was ended when he flashed an outswinger to Anderson at second slip.
A buoyant Broad, whose place was under scrutiny at the beginning of this series, was celebrating a ball later after he trapped Harbhajan leg before wicket – although replays showed India’s off-spinner appeared to hit the ball before it cannoned into his pads.
Broad then became the 12th England bowler to take a hat-trick – and the first at Trent Bridge - when a wonderful inswinging delivery clipped the top of off-stump to end Praveen’s very brief stay.
With only Ishant and Sreesanth remaining, Dravid attempted to counter-attack, but the veteran succeeded only in guiding the second ball of the next over, bowled by Bresnan, straight down the throat of Cook at third man to end his 235-ball vigil.
After a brief respite, Broad returned with a throat-high bouncer, which struck the glove of Ishant before looping into the hands of Bell at short-leg via the tailender’s chest.
England’s jubilation was brought to a swift halt in the fourth over of their second innings when an off-balance Cook saw a leading edge off Ishant loop to Yuvraj at gully.
That left fellow opener Strauss and Bell to defend the remaining 7.2 overs, which they did with aplomb.
England’s cause was further enhanced when X-rays revealed Trott sustained no bone damage to his left shoulder after he fell awkwardly trying to prevent a boundary in the afternoon session.
The batsman will receive treatment tonight and his availability will be assessed tomorrow morning.