Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Monday, 25 July 2011

England take a 1-0 lead

England beat India by 196 runs

England have asserted their credentials as the best test team in the world with a thumping victory in the first test at Lord’s against India, winning by 196 runs. James Anderson took 5-65 as England swept aside the Indians with only Suresh Raina (78), and VVS Laxman (56) showing any real resistance, eventually bowled out for 261.

It completed what had been a hugely successful test match for the hosts, but though the margin was comprehensive, this does not mean that England will find it easy to win the series, or claim the No. 1 spot in the Test World rankings.
The loss of Zaheer Khan in this match may well have been the crucial moment, and Sachin Tendulkar has never much liked playing at Lord’s. With injuries picked up throughout the match by the tourists, this was not India at full strength, though they did underperform. It seems probable that India will improve for the swinging conditions at Trent Bridge, in the second test which starts at the end of this week.

England were, however, very impressive. All of the batsmen and all of the bowlers played important roles, with the exceptions of Cook and Morgan. It was an ensemble performance. They should move into the rest of the series full of confidence.

Finally, this was a wonderful advert for test match cricket. Quality players were on show on both sides. First, Pietersen’s double-century, then Dravid’s elegant and gritty century, followed by Sharma’s electric spell on Sunday morning, and Prior’s excellent response in the afternoon, and then Anderson’s brilliant day today. The absence of Hawkeye to correct two shockers from Billy Bowden today was a sorry thing to see because it was rank stupidity, which we can only hope will be rectified by the ICC unilaterally soon.

Nevertheless, if anyone thought that test cricket should be phased out and left to die, then they should have thought again when they saw the amazing crowds this morning. Test match cricket has the capacity to grip the world.

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