Day 2: England?

ENG: 393 all out; IND: 136/1

It would be difficult to say which team has the advantage at this point. England battled very hard through Paul Collingwood and Steve Harmison (batting!) to post a more than respectable 393 in the first innings. While most pundits, fans and Indians would have hoped that India restrict the English to under 300, Collingwood had other ideas.

His assault on Pathan and Harbhajan were especially noteworthy. It just sends a message that he is not afraid of either spin or swing—the two real weapons in India’s armoury. Of course, he was aided by some listless bowling but full credit to the way he attacked and indeed guided the tail.

It means that the rest of the England team has something to crow about. And that they did. Pietersen seemed to be in his element when he caught Sehwag for just 2. India at that point was just 11 and England perhaps sensed a real chance. But enter the Wall. And he stood firm. He defended and defended and defended. And then defended some more. Contrary to belief (well at least mine anyway), the pitch was not at its best today. This can only be bad news for the remaining 3 days and further emphasises the fact that India should look to bat only once.

Dravid apart, Wasim Jaffer also impressed (finally!). With his maiden Test 50 out of the way, he should be looking to go on. That there is a long and distinguished batting line-up to follow would also put Indian minds at ease. But at 136-1, India would seem to have the slight upper hand. But then, it will take only 2 or 3 good balls.

At the moment, it looks to be fairly even. Tomorrow holds the key.


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