Trent Bridge, July 31: India has been notorious for frittering away advantageous positions in Tests and Day 2 of the Trent Bridge encounter against England was no different. From being in a situation where the visitors were poised to launch out towards a large total and put the pressure on their opponents, they instead allowed the hosts to storm back into the match. An atrocious display of latter-order batting from the Indians was to blame.
All the ground-work that a perky VVS Laxman and a zestful Rahul Dravid had worked on in the morning and that Yuvraj Singh helped to carry on through the day, was undone as India struggled to contend with the arrival of the new ball. Until then, India had dominated proceedings. Laxman shrewdly carved out shots backward of point and pulled others to midwicket in a hodge-podge of control aggression, while Dravid worked diligently at playing his usual role of sheet anchor.
Then Yuvi made the most of a lifeline he was handed by the butter-fingers of Kevin Pietersen who had dropped him at point early in his innings. The southpaw bided his time against the pacers whom he knows he is not comfortable against and then turned the heat on the English when off-break Graeme Swann came onto bowl, carting him away to the fence with disdainful regularity.
But when a spanking red cherry was introduced, that's when India started to choke. It was the 80th over with India having taken the lead and were sitting pretty at 258/4. The batsman at the crease - Yuvraj and Dravid - had begun to check their quick scoring and fell back into a somewhat defensive rut. The onus was on them to see out the new ball, but Yuvraj who has been infamously vulnerable against seaming deliveries, wilted under pressure and it took all of five overs to dismantle him.
A smidgeon of extra bounce and a tight off-stump line spelt doom for Yuvi who edged the ball to the keeper. The dismissal had come at a crucial juncture as only the more experienced batsmen were equipped to counter its destructive potential.
But instead, India had reached a poor reserve of latter-order bats that preferred to chance their arm instead of see out the new ball. Thus, before India knew what had hit them, they allowed a resurgent Stuart Broad to rip through and wrap up the Indian innings for a dismal 288 with the lead at a meagre 67.