Nottingham: Tim Bresnan’s magnificent all-round efforts helped England take a 2-0 lead against India in the four-match npower Test series with a resounding 319-run victory at Trent Bridge.
Tim Bresnan was England's star on the fourth day
The Yorkshireman shone with the bat this morning, although he missed out on a first Test hundred when he was dismissed for 90 as Andrew Strauss’ men set the tourists an improbable victory target of 478 after being bowled out for 544.
Stuart Broad and James Anderson then accounted for veteran India batsmen Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, before Bresnan took 5-48 to complete a memorable day as India collapsed to 158 all out, with six of their top seven failing to reach double figures.
Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh put up dogged resistance and there were high hopes the former would achieve his 100th international hundred when he moved past 50. However, his exit for 56 left India on the brink.
Harbhajan fell four runs short of his own fifty in a counter-attacking 44-ball innings, which ended when he holed out to deep square-leg to give the irrepressible Bresnan his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
The 26-year-old was playing in his first Test since helping England retain the Ashes and was well supported by Anderson and Broad, who took 3-51 and 2-30 respectively and shared the final two wickets, as the hosts bullied India’s batsmen into submission.
In truth, the spirit of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side had been sapped yesterday and this morning as England, who triumphed by 196 runs at Lord’s last week, piled on the runs against an increasingly fatigued attack.
In the wake of the the run out that never was furore, it was easy to forget how brilliantly England batted in the final session yesterday, adding 187 runs, with an unbroken partnership of 102 between Prior and Bresnan a major factor.
James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar
The duo seemed keen to assert their dominance this morning and Bresnan reached his fifty from the third ball of the morning when a top-edge off Sreesanth flew over the slips for four.
However, Prior was out in the next over when he edged a short and wide delivery from Praveen Kumar to wicketkeeper Dhoni.
Broad wasted no time in finding his rhythm with a superb drive wide of mid-off that just about reached the boundary, whilst Bresnan produced the shot of the morning with a glorious cover-drive off Ishant Sharma to take England’s total past 500.
Broad, who top-scored with 64 for England in the first innings, then hit Suresh Raina for two successive sixes over midwicket as runs continued to flow freely.
The left-hander fell just after the drinks interval for 44 when he pushed Praveen to cover and set off for a risky single, with substitute fielder Wriddhiman Saha’s direct hit ensuring Broad would not get his second half-century of the match.
Bresnan was out off the next ball, one run short of his best Test score, when a rising delivery from Praveen found the safe hands of Rahul Dravid at gully and Graeme Swann was last man out when he drove Ishant to Saha at mid-off.
Anderson, who snared Abhinav Mukund with the first delivery of India’s first innings, almost repeated the trick but Bresnan dropped a tough chance high to his right at second slip.
However, Broad claimed the wicket England would have really cherished before lunch when first-innings centurion Dravid came forward and edged a back-of-a-length delivery to a grateful Prior.
Their position of strength was further enhanced in the second over after lunch when Laxman had his off stump removed by a fantastic delivery from Anderson that held its line.
Tendulkar showed his incredible timing with a flick to midwicket and followed that up by driving down the ground in the same over off Anderson to remind the hosts they were not home and hosed.
Yuvraj Singh winces after taking a stinging blow on the fingers
But unlike their counterparts this morning, England’s pacemen were able to extract considerable bounce as well as movement off the pitch and Bresnan made amends for dropping Abhinav when the opener could only fend a vicious bouncer to Strauss at first slip to depart for three off 36 balls.
A similar delivery off Bresnan’s second over was hooked by Raina to substitute fielder Scott Elstone at deep square-leg as the left-hander’s travails against the short ball continued.
India looked to be sinking without trace and although Tendulkar looked untroubled, Broad thought he had Yuvraj Singh caught behind with another lifting delivery. After a review, umpire Marais Erasmus’ decision of not out was upheld.
Yet the left-handed all-rounder never looked assured at the crease and Bresnan ended his stay for eight when another short-pitched delivery was snaffled by Cook, who took the catch over his head at short gully.
Dhoni’s woeful form with the bat continued when he offered no shot to a full, inswinging delivery off the next ball.
Bresnan had to wait until his next over to try to complete a hat-trick, but a full toss was dispatched wide of mid-off for a rare India four by Harbhajan. The seamer could still be content with a fiery eight-over spell that yielded 4-17.
Tendulkar offered up a rare chance when he hammered Swann over mid-on and just past the outstretched hands of Kevin Pietersen, and the Little Master brought up a 60th half-century in Tests when he cut Anderson for his eighth four.
However, he then shouldered arms to one that jagged back to be trapped in front by the Lancashire seamer, who has now dismissed Tendulkar seven times in eight Test matches.
After a golden duck in the first innings, Harbhajan would not go quietly. He had already smashed Swann over midwicket for India’s first six before Tendulkar’s demise and followed that up with a pulverising four off Anderson.
He was still giving a couple of half-chances, though, and eventually perished when a leg-side delivery from Bresnan was flicked to Elstone at deep square-leg, who just about held on to the catch, having dropped Praveen moments earlier.
A brief cameo from Praveen, who made 25, was ended as he failed to keep out a yorker from Anderson, while a similar delivery from Broad accounted for Sreesanth to start the celebrations.
Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan lead the victorious England side off the field
Result: England won by 319 runs.
Man Of The Match: Stuart Broad (England).
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Comments from both captain and from ‘man of the match’:
MS Dhoni (Captain of India): ”Those 100 really mattered when we were bowling and when we were batting we were four down but couldn’t see that new ball through. I felt the bowlers were tired but their batsmen played some great shots. It is a bit of a concern that we haven’t made 300 and it’s a continuation of the series in West Indies, we haven’t really had a gap, where we were struggling.”
“Right now Zaheer is out there practising but I don’t really know where he is with his fitness. Injuries happen in the game but when you go down to three bowlers it’s hard work on the bowlers. My form is a concern because if you are the leader you need to perform. But you have to look at your preparation and if that is right and the processes are right the form will follow.”
“Inside I felt none of us felt right about it [the Bell run out]. That’s what really matters, not the rules, not the spirit of the game. You want to feel good about what you’ve done when you go back to the dressing room. We had something similar with Laxman in the West Indies and didn’t want to be in revenge for that or anything.”
“Well of course we can turn it around. You have to have belief in yourself and the team.”
Andrew Strauss (Captain of England): “There have been some outstanding performances in the two Test matches. It was a fantastic turnaround and I’m very proud on what we’ve done this week. Bresnan was unlucky not to be playing in the first Test match and he keeps putting his credentials in place making it harder and harder to pick the team.”
“I didn’t tell Swann and Broad to do anything other than play their natural games. Bell was outstanding. To score that freely in tough conditions was outstanding. He’s in the form of his life.”
“It was very commendable of Dhoni, he has set a great example to myself and other captains. I like to think I would have done the same in similar circumstances.”
“We don’t know at this stage about Trott’s fitness he’s gone for a scan. The primary goal is just to win the next Test match, we’ll let everything else look after itself.
Stuart Broad (Man Of The Match): ”We’re delighted to go 2-0 up. It’s pleasing to pick up some wickets after they were harder to come by earlier in the season. My and Swanny never need encouragement to have a bit of a slog. Of course I’ve now found a fuller length and it’s paid off but I tend not to look back and worry. We have a lot of depth and a lot of confidence in our unit.”
Much to the surprise of everyone at the ground, Ian Bell emerged from the pavilion after tea