Survivor series continues

SP

Thrice, on this intriguing second day of the Test match, a wicket fell in the over immediately after a break. In each of these three cases, ones that would go on to define the day's cricket, the batsman in question played down the wrong line and damaged his stumps. The first one promised the beginning of the end to England's innings.

The other two engineered the beginning of the end to India's resistance. To this innings, and perhaps the match and Test series.

The first victim was Matt Prior. Following the hourly rehydration break in the morning session and having weathered the excruciating conditions, Prior faced up to Ravichandran Ashwin. He was batting on 57.

His play, along with the other overnight England batsman in debutant Joe Root, was just beginning to transit from solid to fluid. The delivery followed the wide angle it was bowled from and Prior creakily played inside its line.

It sailed wide of Prior's willow, crashing into the bail above off. England's last five wickets only managed a further 88 runs. By the end of the day's play, however, the entire Indian top-order wouldn't match that.

Having fielded for a period of 145 overs, Virender Sehwag's muscles perhaps froze during the 10-minute innings changeover. For when he tried to put bat on ball in the first over after resumption, he turned into furniture. And it didn't take much time for Jimmy Anderson to get rid of the iron legs.

With only the third ball of the innings, second to Sehwag, Anderson hit a divine length, seam straightening on kissing the surface. A blindfolded Sehwag in flow would have done a better job than this one, who poked at it inside its line from the crease. The fallen middle stick pointed the way back to the dressing room.

... contd.

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