If one could describe Day 3 of the first test between India and England at Lords in a nutshell, it would aptly have to be ‘unpredictable’. After an assuring start by both the openers who saw off the new ball by displaying a great level of restraint, the middle order barring ‘The Wall’ struggled to cope against the swinging Duke ball.
Kudos to the English bowlers for exploiting the conditions to the hilt. Special mention has to be reserved for Stuart Broad who appeared to have exorcised the demons of an awful series against Sri Lanka with an inspired bowling performance, pitching the ball fuller and extracting swing either ways to bamboozle the Indian batsmen. It was extremely disappointing as a fan to see the Master Blaster walk back to the pavilion after an innings riddled with some insecurity, especially against the burly Tremlett who managed to cause relative discomfort with his short balls directed at Sachin’s ribs.
But, the day belonged to the second highest run getter in Test cricket who with his elegant stroke play and astute defense seldom looked uncomfortable at the crease even for a moment. Hardly has India’s most technical batsmen spoken in the same breath as Tendulkar, Lara or Ponting. Unnervingly, Dravid went about his job in clinical fashion, patiently waiting to dispatch the loose balls to the boundary. It was fascinating to notice the grit in Dravid’s eyes during his entire unbeaten innings at the Mecca of Cricket. Dravid has been a loyal servant of the gentleman’s game, silently going about his job, always playing second fiddle to the flamboyant players in the team. One thing that must be appreciated is his constantly yearn to re-invent himself, adapting to the requirement of any given situation.
Dravid was the only silver lining in the clouds for India on a day that otherwise belonged to the England pace bowling trio of Broad, Tremlett and Anderson with Swann ably pegging runs at one end.