Trent Bridge, July 30: Mercurial Indian fast-bowler S Sreesanth has made an auspicious return to Test cricket, picking three crucial wickets against England on the first day of the second Test. With his destructive verve back in place, the Kerala speedster vindicated the management's decision to choose him over Munaf Patel as the injured Zaheer Khan's replacement.
Sreesanth astutely eschewed his weakness of bowling too many wayward or innocuous short balls, instead presenting a fiery display of spot-on swing bowling. A statistic that the firebrand speedster will be proud off is that two-thirds of the 19 overs he bowled were in the good to full-length zone. Such sustained accuracy guaranteed that he would be among the wickets.
No sooner was he brought into the attack, in the 10th over, than he was able to fox the usually solid Jonathan Trott with a ripper of an outswinger. The delivery drew the batsman into unwittingly attempting a drive, only to pick up a fatal edge to the slips.
Then, Sree went onto nip Kevin Pietersen's elaborate plans in the bud when he had the dangerous batter poking tentatively outside off-stump only to get a nick which was swallowed at slip as well. Mr Peace had changed his earlier, unfruitful tactic of bowling short-balls to the maverick batsman, which had anyway been dispatched to the fence.
But Sreesanth's best effort was yet to abound. He bowled a fantastic straight ball on off-stump at Matt Prior, coercing the batsman to play a shot. But the ball cramped Prior for room, inducing an edge to slips, yet again. The 3-wicket haul has proved that Sree is indeed back in the swing of things and training his guns on more scalps in the second innings, if and when it takes place.