England Completely Dominate Opening Day

England Completely Dominate Opening Day
England Completely Dominate Opening Day
©Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic

India 224 (Dhoni 77, Broad 4-53) v
England 84-0 (Strauss 52no)
Third Test, Edgbaston, day one

England dominated the opening day of the third Test against India at the newly-refurbished Edgbaston, delivering a performance to match their new surroundings.

Under the shadow of the £32 million redevelopment, England overwhelmed India, first with an outstanding bowling performance and then with a composed reply with the bat.

Four wickets apiece from Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad saw India dismissed for 224 with only a combative half-century from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni holding them up.

Openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook then forged their way to a half-century partnership during which they hardly looked in any danger.

Much attention surrounded the return of Virender Sehwag for India and after Gautam Gambhir took two fours from the first over of the match, Broad had him caught behind from the first delivery he faced when he failed to drop his hands far enough and gloved the ball.

Gambhir played some nice strokes in his 38 while Rahul Dravid made 22 in 68 balls but both were bowled by an inspired Bresnan, Gambhir playing on and Dravid beaten by a beauty that smashed into his off stump.

Sachin Tendulkar was given a working over by James Anderson before Broad profited with his wicket as the experienced campaigner got no closer to a hundredth international century when he steered the Nottinghamshire man to Anderson in the slips having made just one.

After lunch, Suresh Raina's desperate battle continued but not for long as once again, pushed back by a barrage of short balls, he succumbed to a delivery of better length, clean bowled through a large gap between bat and pad.

VVS Laxman (30) then almost repeated his dismissal at Lord's when he lifted Bresnan into the hands of Broad at deep backward square leg and it wasn't hard to find fault with shot selection among the Indian top order.

Amit Mishra, brought into the side as Harbhajan Singh's replacement, can hardly be blamed for edging Broad to Matthew Prior but now Dhoni began his fightback.

He looked uncomfortable early on but decided the best way out of it was to attack, and he struck ten fours and three sixes and he grew in confidence alongside Praveen Kumar, who hit four fours and a six in a cameo of 26 before he too edged Bresnan to Prior.

Dhoni fell when a wild drive at Broad succeeded only at finding Strauss at slip and the innings was ended when Ishant Sharma (4) pushed firmly at Anderson, hitting Cook in the body at silly point but in a sign that this was truly England's day, the ball lodged in his arms and he took the catch.

Broad took for 53 and Bresnan four for 62 while Anderson was also impressive in taking two for 69. Off-spinner Graeme Swann bore the brunt of Dhoni's assault as he conceded 22 runs in four overs.

England then saw off the new ball with a solid display, Strauss and Cook relatively untroubled save for a couple of ambitious leg-before shouts from Sharma and Kumar and some early spin from Mishra.

Strauss took advantage of some ill-advised short and wide bowling to cut through the field to reach a half-century, closing unbeaten on 52 while Cook was more circumspect as he reached a series-high score of 27 not out in 67 balls.

Strauss, who before the game began had failed to pass 32 in the series, faced 83 balls and hit ten boundaries.

England lead the four-match series 2-0.

© Cricket World 2011