The bowlers sparkled during a fantastic opening day to leave the test finely balanced going into the weekend.
A tough choice, as all three Indian seamers caused England huge problems and Stuart Broad played a superb innings to keep the hosts in the game. In replacing the injured Zaheer Khan, a great deal of pressure was on Sreesanth to perform, and he put in a display which underlined the fact that if he could control his temperament he would be a mainstay in the Indian side. After England had recovered well from a couple of early wickets, his burst after lunch turned the game on its head. A superb spell in which he removed Kevin Pietersen and also dismissed the in-form Matt Prior with the ball of the day meant India never missed Zaheer, something few observers would have predicted pre-match.
Having lost both Cook and Trott in the space of a few minutes, Andrew Strauss and Pietersen, in particular, began to look more threatening as the morning session wore on, and with those two at the crease England would have been expecting to push on towards a big first innings score. As it was, the dismissal of Pietersen in the first over after lunch triggered a collapse of mid-90’s proportions. An incredible two hours of bowling followed, as India took six English wickets for just 51 runs.
India will be hoping to bat all day and establish a big first innings lead. If conditions remain similar to day one then England should be able to put the tourists under considerable pressure, but they will have to be at their very best regardless of the weather. Much as on the final day of the first test, breaking the overnight partnership will be vital. The crucial difference this time around, however, is that there is a fully fit and healthy Sachin Tendulkar to contend with as well. Given that the test is unlikely to be affected by rain, the result of the match could hinge on tomorrow morning, if India get through it unscathed they will be in an immensely strong position. Likewise, if England can pick up three wickets they will feel confident of keeping India within touching distance on first innings. It is well and truly game on.